The “Been There, Done That” Spring Garden Plan

One benefit of aging, supposedly, is depth of experience. But when you never actually learn from that experience, it kind of cancels itself out.

Take gardens, for instance. After 25 years of gardening in various forms – from home landscape trees and shrubs to bricked, urban perennial oases, and large community vegetable gardens on vacant city land  – one would think that I might know a thing or two about garden planning. And I do. I just don’t practice it very effectively.

Every year I end up falling for the same tricks. Those glossy seed catalogs, with stunning photos of perfectly formed fruits, vegetables and flowers……they take my experience-based knowledge and toss it right out the window. Sixty bucks later, I’m opening a box of seed packets with, of all things – PEAS, again. Please.

While they might be a great spring crop in places like Maine and Massachusetts, peas in my Maryland home garden have honestly been a waste of time. Much better to buy some fresh peas at the farmers market, twice, than to dedicate half your garden space to unwieldy trellis systems, out of control vines, and all for naught, when you realize that the peas were at their ripe perfection during that one week that you left town. Weeks later, you’re ripping and digging and have a six-foot pile of fresh green for the compost pile (well, there’s one benefit).


illustration by Kevin Garber

And all those lettuces? C’mon. How about one lettuce variety, not twelve, for my family of two? Because along with the spinach and arugula, there simply aren’t enough meals in a month to use up all those greens. And good intentions to take it to the food bank rarely result in food actually feeding hungry people. More food for the compost pile, is more like it.

And with just those two early vegetables, peas and lettuce, the entire season can easily start with double failure. Psychologically, that’s not a good way to enter the long gardening season in a place like Maryland.

This year, I’m going to start with, and build upon – success. No crop failure allowed, which means, I’m only going to plant what I really eat, and in quantities that I’ll actually eat it. Yes, everything is possible in spring, but less is more, indeed.

Spring garden:


Green onions

Italian kale

Lettuce (only “winter density”, a romaine)

Radishes (not too many)


Arugula (seeded with restraint)

End of story. Lettuce begin.

Kathy Bosin took both levels of the Missouri Master Gardener program, and has yet to demonstrate that she’s learned a darn thing from her own experience.

~ by kbosin on February 14, 2013.

6 Responses to “The “Been There, Done That” Spring Garden Plan”

  1. I look forward to hearing about Success! One day I’m going to do spring crops. I want rainbow swiss chard smiling up at me. Neighbor did pea bushes and they were wonderful. And I want more Kevin artwork here please.

    • Oh Shalagh, this is all hogwash. It’s me trying to convince myself. I have a seed list a mile long, and can only assume I’ll continue the way I always do…..

  2. Peas please!

  3. Ha! I’m with ya Kathy. We’re “suckers” to those catalogs too! Indeed, less is more. I like the small Cherman gardens that are very manageable. Love the artwork too, Kevin!

  4. I am so in love with Kevin’s watercolor!!

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