When I first started gardening, I wanted row labels. I fell in love with the polished brash signs on sticks. They were out of my price range.
Channeling my inner child, I looked into Popsicle sticks. While researching types, sizes, pricing, and local sources, my mind wandered. Did I have some Popsicle sticks in my craft shoebox? I went to look…nope. What did I have that might work?
Things I (re)learned (that)day:
- Things that are on hand are often better than specially made things that cost money and take up extra space. (I like relearning this in new areas of my life.)
- Reusable is important. When I’m done with this tray, I’ll simply brush off the toothpicks and put them back in their (designated garden usage only) jar.
- Color is fun, but not necessary.
- Save the gardening budget for things that actually grow, or directly feed things that grow, when at all possible.
But wait a minute, you say, how do you remember what’s in each row?
The answer is simple: Magic.
Or a camera phone (or other digital camera, or pen and scratch paper)
It’s important, I’ve found, to do nothing else with my brain in between placing the seeds, laying out the packets, and taking the pictures. I can’t move the tray (I might rotate it and if it’s just rows, or quadrants, I may not remember which way is “up.”) That sort of thing.
If you notice, the toothpick layout does not exactly match the seed packets. That is what happens when you want to make sure you take the picture before going for your nightly walk…and forget to lay the last two seed packets down.
So even though I laid out my rough “grid,” laid out my seed packets to “match,” and took my pictures, I could have still had an “oops surprise” later on trying to remember what those last two spots on the right with the orange toothpick were.
Now you may be saying, that picture is small, from a cell phone, I can’t read the fine print – what’d you plant?
Pictured above (left to right, top to bottom as you move left to right):
- Lark’s Tongue Kale
- Even’ Star Land Race Collards
- Dark Green Italian Parsley
- Lemon Basil
- Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce
- Cimmaron Lettuce
- Gentilina Lettuce
- Little Gem Lettuce
- Mignonette Rouge Lettuce
- Rodan (Chadwick’s) Lettuce
- Rouge Grenobloise Lettuce
- Cracker Jack Mix Marigold
- Red Cherry Marigold
I liked the romaine I grew last year in flavor, but not in production, and the other varieties of lettuce I grew I didn’t want to eat. That makes this season a Try Again one when it comes to greens. From this myriad of choices, I’m hoping a few stand out as delicious, productive, and happy plants. If I luck into a few such species, they’ll be rewarded in my Fall 2012 garden with more space. Whereas some of the underperformers will have joined other packets in my Trade Box.