I readily admit I am old and set in some ways, but I’m also trying to embrace new technology. Obviously I can encourage far more people to garden and continue gardening despite discouragements through blogging, than by silently burrowing my head in my potager and gardens in a very rural part of Indiana. And I’m running out of time to learn, so any wonderful information on gardens, plants, and gardening advice that I can pick up easily and quickly is a treat. So, I blog and read blogs. However, two things have been needling me of late.
The first is bloggers who complain about a problem in their garden, for instance growing garlic and not knowing when to harvest it, or starting a sweet potato in a jar of water only to have it rot. They expound upon their trials and sorrows…..and yet fail to have a comment box. There are many skilled gardeners who have mastered these tasks and would be happy to give a helping hand, if only the blogger would let them. It seems they just want to talk, and don’t want to listen. It’s definitely a one-sided conversation, and those can be annoying. Please, dear blogger, add a comment box if you truly want to learn without wasting a lot of time and sweet potatoes! Even if you can’t respond to every comment given, there may be one or two bits of wisdom that arrive to save the day…or the garlic, or the sweet potato, not to mention time and money.
(And maybe there is a way to comment if they don’t provide a spot to click on, and I’m just ignorant. If so, I apologize. Enlighten me!)
Secondly, it is seed starting time in many places and the gardening blog world is bursting with advice on varieties, techniques, tools, and planting schedules, which is great. I’ve learned a lot. What is not so great is the verb usage. Are you really sewing seeds…with a needle and thread? We SOW seeds; we SEW cloth. It’s a tiny thing, and in this day of “R U ok?” shorthand, maybe I am just too old-fashioned and no one else cares. However, it’s those small details that show how much effort was put into the writing, how accurate the observations recorded may be, and so on. Make an old lady happy! Use the correct verb.
Now go sow, sow, sow!
(And just in case you need to know, for success in sprouting sweet potatoes, be sure the potato is organic and has not been treated with a sprout-suppressing spray. I generally start mine in February for Zone 5 growing. Inspect the potato. You want one free of soft spots. Look for the flat circle at one end, usually slightly smaller than a pencil, which is where the potato was attached to the vine. That’s the top. Suspend in a jar of water so that the bottom 2″ are submerged, using toothpicks if necessary to keep it in place. Place in a warm, sunny window. Check the water level daily and top it off if required. When sprouts are at least 3-4″ tall, carefully break them off right at the potato’s skin. Remove any leaves on the bottom 1″ and place them in a glass with 1-2″ of water in a filtered light position for a few days to recover from “surgery.” When they form roots, you can put them in sunlight. Don’t plant out until the soil is very warm, or grow in containers. They cannot tolerate frost.)
(A good way to know when garlic is ready to dig? When the scapes are harvested, leave 1 plant untouched of each variety grown. When that scape is uncurled and pointing skyward, the garlic is ready to dig. That one bulb will be smaller than the rest, but it’s worth it to get the timing right and to have that visual reminder.)