Thursday, August 6, 2009

Right Plant, Wrong Place

I recently attended a Get Gardening! event with Ray Rogers, author of Pots in the Garden and Coleus. He spoke about many things: Color, line, form, space, and texture. But one thing that stood out to me was something he said in his introduction. He prefaced his talk by saying that many gardeners don’t take into consideration the needs of the plants when they work in the garden--they walk into a garden center or nursery, pick a plant they like, take it home, and just plunk it into the earth without thinking about water usage, light requirements, space needs, etc.

This struck me particularly hard when I got home and looked at my own garden. I had planned it for months before actually building the box this spring, and I had sketched the “look” of it on paper deciding that the 3’ x 3’ space (9, 1’ x 1’ gridded spaces) would be designed as such:

Tomato Herbs Tomato
Eggplant Peppers Cucumber
Tomato Herbs Tomato

This seemed all well and good to me, until I realized--after the fact, of course--that I hadn’t taken into consideration that the tomato plants in the outside front positions might in fact grow too tall and shade my peppers out of the sun.

At first it wasn’t that big of a deal--everything was small--but after about a month or so, I realized that while everything in my garden was lush and green, the pepper plants hadn’t quite matured the way everything else had. Sure, they looked healthy, but that was about it. They were tiny compared to my giant tomatoes.

Next year will be different. I will consider the varying heights and light requirements of my veggies, and the peppers will definitely be front and center. For now, I’ll just enjoy my glorious tomatoes, and chalk this up to a learning experience!

Olivia Dunn, publicist

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