Monday, June 1, 2009

Garden Blogger's Death Day

I was going to give you this post tomorrow, but when Kate at Gardening Without Skills put up her little Death Day meme I had to join in today. I may not quite have the black thumb she is looking for, but I do have black under my thumbnail and if you are a vegetable gardener at all you know that Death loves to visit our vegetable gardens as much as we do.

Death has been visiting my sunflowers regularly. I have two kinds. One is from seed that I bought myself - Music Box. I duly planted my seeds six inches apart and two seeds to a hole. It came up thick enough that I had to thin out all of the extras. Though they got nibbled on, none died. I'm sure this is because I have plenty of seed left to reseed. Death knew that killing one seedling would not kill off my Music Box Sunflowers.

The same day I planted my Lemon Queen Sunflowers. These were from The Great Sunflower Project. They sent them in an unpadded envelope. Death of Plants was being lazy that day. He crushed a lot of the seed in transit. There were only 12 seeds that weren't dead on arrival. I was hoping for four plants in the back of my little flower plot in my vegetable garden. Just like the other sunflowers I planted two in a hole. One came up and then was dug up by a squirrel two days later. Another came up but it never grew roots. Then I waited. Nothing more happened.

I despaired and planted the last four seeds in soil blocks inside. I'd pamper the little seeds until they sprouted and then immediately planted them outside. One sunflower showed its green head. The others? Dead.

When I planted this solitary sunflower outside I noticed a stunning arrival. One of the earlier sunflowers was up too. So now I had two in my garden. They grew well for two weeks. They were four inches tall and growing well. Yesterday Death came once again in the form of a bird. It tried to yank the sunflower out, but didn't quite succeed. It left the poor dying plant desiccating in the sun. Only one remains. Will Death take this one too?

Maybe or maybe it will be the broccoli. The same day I seeded those sunflowers in my soil blocks, I was showing you a very ugly photo of my first broccoli plant to die. Death came in the form of a swarm of root maggots. I thought my other two broccoli plants were large enough to live through a few maggots, but apparently not. I've noticed my biggest one (shown above) slowly wither and die. Death was taunting me with this one. It had started to form a head before it started wilting. The head hasn't grown since and the leaves are dying one by one. There are not many grains of sand left in its hourglass.

I have one broccoli left. It looks wonderful and is just starting to form a head. This is just what my last one looked liked when it started its downward spiral. I want at least one head of broccoli this year. Ok I confess, I wanted three, but at this point I'll take one.

If I make some burnt offerings of my overly prolific lemon balm would Death be appeased and move on? Maybe he would like tea and cookies better? I think no matter how good of a gardener you are Death is always waiting at the garden gate.


  1. Well....I don't have anything dead yet, but the tomatoes are looking really freaky!

  2. If I were Death, I'd prefer the tea and cookies. :)

  3. Hi Daphne, don't despair. I can't grow broccoli's because of the cabbage worms, our landlords don't seems to have a problem though. They gave us a huge bag full of radishes and a head of broccoli when we paid rent.

    My seeds from the great sunflower project were also crushed. The plants were also plagued by bugs and some sort of leaf chomping. They are getting bigger now, so I'm hoping they pull through. I hope you remaining sunflower and broccoli plants survive!

  4. Death visited my garden too,three out of four, of my bell peppers have croaked. sheesh! how discouraging.

  5. Ha!!! Garden Bloggers' Death Day! Gotta love it! Given the inevitable casualties that are inherent in the gardening process, if we don't have a sense of humor about it we're doomed!

  6. Engineeredgarden, I hope you don't have to deal with Death this year. I don't think I've ever had a year where everything lived. Usually most things live at least.

    Alyssa, ok tea and cookies it is ;> Do you think if the squirrels eat his offering he would go after them instead?

    wormsandflowers, thanks I hope they make it too. I'm not sure I which one I want more. I think the sunflowers.

    keewee, I always save a plant or two after I put them in. For about three weeks I look at the extra plants as the ones in the ground grow. I always feel so sorry for the left overs, but occasionally they get used.

    our friend Ben, It is much more fun to laugh at it all than to weep. Thank goodness I don't do this for a living or it would be a lot harder.

  7. I've lost a few plants that I put out early. But overall... my plants are thriving.

    Going to be cooler this week and we may get some welcome rain.

    It's today's wind that's upsetting me!

  8. This is too funny! I need to join in on this! Funny, my friends think I have such a green thumb- if I do, I didn't naturally have one (I wish :), it's all by trowel and error!

  9. I have 7 lemon queen that have germinated. I put chicken wire over them to keep the vermin out. Now that I read about the squirrels eating them after germination I don't want to take it off. Maybe I will leave it in place until it is just about constricting them and then cut it out.

  10. It happens to us all at one time or another. Sorry that Death has been so cruel to you this season. Hope your lonely Broccoli produces a nice fat head to make up for the lost of its' two siblings. :) To be honest my Roma Tomato is looking a bit bleak so I purchased a new transplant this morning to replace it (just in case). ;)

  11. Ohhhhh Daphne. What a sad, sad group of pictures. I swear I have that exact same sunflower picture in my files somewhere - LOL. They just sorta keel over and give up fast, don't they? I feel for you though - it's such a bummer when you put so much work into the plants, but Death comes knocking and beats you to the punch! Thanks for participating in GB Death Day (although I do wish you didn't have to... having all of our plants thrive would be much better!!) Thanks!!!

  12. Toni-zone, I would say the same thing about my garden. Most of the plants are thriving. A few have bit the dust (more than on just this post), but overall things are doing well. Live is usually that way. One things thrives another is unhappy.

    DirtDigger, Yeah we all learn by doing. I think the natural green thumbs start out by growing up with a parent (or aunt or someone) who gardened. They learned it growing up. If you didn't have that luxury, then you have to learn it all yourself. Reading helps, but I've found what works for one person doesn't always work for another.

    Dan I wish I had had the forethought to do chicken wire. I think the squirrels went after them because the saw or smelled the hulls that come off when the plants germinate. Or then again it could have been random. Squirrels dig in my garden randomly all the time.

    perennialgardener, at least he hasn't been overly cruel this year. I'd say about normal. And I do have some things that are growing better than I expected, so it all evens out in the end.

    Kate, Yes they do die very fast. My cucumbers are just as fast though. I picked a huge slug off one with just the seed leaves and then it keeled over. The slug had chewed through the stem. I do have to say though if I ever get a spring and go the whole way through without something having to be replanted, I'll be pretty shocked.

  13. We have so many squirrels that it is always to first thing on my mind. I have seriously contemplated learning how to shot them a bbgun! You can pick out 8 at a time in the back trees no problem any time of the year but winter.

    Here is the blog link that I saw those eggplants on:

  14. That sounds like a meme made for me. What a great idea to make a sacrificial "offering" to death in the hope that he'll move on...I wonder if he'd accept nibbled on cucumber leaves. Probably not huh? I've got plenty of those but don't know what's eating them. Too bad about the sunflowers - maybe they'll pad them next time.

  15. This post made me giggle...and not feel so bad about my "death days".

    Also, I gave you an award; it's on my blog:


  16. Dumb birds ripped out my sunflowers too as well as half my corn. I think it is the mother robin that I was feeding grubs this spring and her chicks. Ungrateful bird!

  17. Dan, in the last few days the squirrels have become more aggressive in the garden. I keep thinking of a slingshot, but I'd probably never hit the things.

    JGH, Yeah I'm guessing he already owns those cucumber leaves he is just waiting for the right time to collect them. You have to give him something healthy ;>

    Jackie, thanks. I'll head over and check it out.