Whew. Sorry I’ve been away for a while, I’ve been working on some new essays and pitching them here, there, and yon, which takes a lot of time. Also, there’s nothing much new to report with the vegetables. In all honesty, they look about the same as they did last week, before I ran out and got the instant-gratification lettuces – pitiful (the lettuces, which I bought nearly full-grown from the garden shop, however, look wonderful). I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.
I’ve got several theories as to why the veggies aren’t looking any greener, or bigger, or badder, based on everything I’ve looked up on the internet: 1) it’s still a little early for them to be outside, and maybe the ground just hasn’t gotten warm enough for them to really take off and start growing; 2) their poor little roots are still waterlogged from the three weeks of pouring rain; 3) the really nice lady at Redenta’s suggested I use some seaweed fertilizer – is it bad to say fertilizer hasn't even entered my mind up to this point? 4) this is difficult to admit, but I don’t think I planted some of them the right way.
(I’m wondering if I should just change the name of this blog to “Ooops.” It would so much better describe what the hell’s going on around here.)
So, because of my limited brain function, for the next few posts I am going to go back and spell out the correct way to plant some of the vegetables I’ve already planted, which will be a huge boon for you if you live anywhere north of Dallas, because chances are you are just getting started and could really use the info. I, on the other hand, will be gingerly digging up seedlings in many cases and just plain ol’ replanting them and hoping for the best. Please don’t use me as your sole source of info (I can hear cyber-laughing through the wires), but you know what I mean – check up on this stuff yourself before you get out your shiny new spade and start digging away. Remember: this blog is about life, not about gardening. Gardening is just the tool. And in this episode, Holly learns a valuable lesson about impatience and the importance of reading up on each vegetable’s needs before she goes out, buys a bunch of dirt on clearance at Albertson’s and sticks them in the ground. Got it? Good.
From what I've gathered, here is the semi-correct way to plant a radish:
Radishes are the coolest of cool weather vegetables – I read that in many parts of Texas they plant radishes in December for winter harvest. (Go ahead and say it: ooops.) But, I planted mine in March, so chances are they’ll be a lot like my lettuces: they’ll peter out by June when the weather goes completely off-the-charts hot (I read that warm weather actually makes the radishes taste bad). That’s why I’ve chosen to re-do radishes first – they’re the ones that will be finished the earliest.
Most sites said radishes need to be planted in a 4-6” dirt hill about 2” apart, not straight into the dirt in rows. I am confident in saying that I knew nothing about planting them in hills. In order for the roots to sprout their tart, peppery veggies (my absolute favorite, by the way) the soil must remain loose and airy, so the hill provides the space for the root vegetables to branch out.
After I read the bit about planting radishes on a hill of loose dirt, I ran out and gently, very gently, transplanted them, again (the first time being from the seed starter kit to the ground). I dug the radishes out of the dirt in the veggie beds carefully, using the side of my spade and scooping out the widest portion of dirt around the little seedling so as not to disturb its roots. I laid the radishes on their sides, side by side, while I made the little hills, being sure to pile the dirt up loosely and to the proper 4"-6", and then filled the hills with fertilizer water. Radishes back up, at attention, filled the soaked holes I'd made for them perfectly. I tamped them down, erect, with more dirt. Then I ran back inside to read more about radishes, feeling wonderful about going out and making the tender, aerated hills for my little babies, and found that radishes hate to be transplanted, and hardly every make it – that’s why one never sees little radish plants in a garden store. According to the experts, the seeds are supposed to be dropped into the hills, covered lightly with dirt, and nature allowed to germinate and take it from there. Well, look people, I did more than transplant them, I transplanted them twice. That should leave you with some kind of feeling as to who you're dealing with here. Obviously, someone who's mentally deficient - someone who runs out and takes action after reading one paragraph without reading the entire article. Take this information however you want, but if you take it as some sort of personality essence, or even worse, a life lesson, I think it's safe to say: please do not ever let me cut your hair, or take care of your children.
Okay. Okay. I'm trying to think this is not a big deal. The radishes may well be kaput. So maybe I’ll not have any radishes this year. Okay. Maybe I’ll only have very green and vibrant-looking radish tops – providing they keep looking so green and vibrant-looking after the second transplant.