Have you ever known you were doing something a bit stupid but you were excited and nonchalant about the consequences so you did it anyway? Well, that’s me with vegetable gardening, particularly this season because I grew my own seedlings and needed to plant them somewhere! I became a bit carried away during the seed planting process because watching the seedlings grow was exciting, resulting in an oversupply of seedlings. An oversupply of seedlings resulted in overplanted garden beds.
Exhibit 1 – Tomatoes. What can I say about the tomato garden? I knew this was going to happen! Tomatoes are my favourite fruit/vegetable to grow. I enjoy trying new varieties and I use fresh tomatoes in so many dishes. And I knew when I had 10 seed packets of different tomato varieties (such as green zebra, black Russian, artisan mix, Roma tomatoes etc) that the garden would burst at the seams. So now it is. Flowers are developing, the plants are expanding and soon they will be out of control. This is not the first time I have succumbed to excess tomato planting, so I have plenty stakes and I think I will need them! I’m choosing to focus on all the tomatoes this will generate, rather than the obviously crammed garden bed.
Exhibit 2 – Zucchinis and pumpkins. So this is where the overplanting was really quite silly. I have grown zucchinis before and was well aware they will grow large and run away but I still planted several together, and added pumpkins into the mix! I think some cucumbers are also in there. Somewhere. So now the pumpkins are taking off. I have directed them so they run along the fence line and so far so good. But I will keep you posted!
Exhibit 3 – Beans. I planted some beans directly into the soil. I found I had more success starting the bean seedlings in pots. So I grew some bean seedlings (broad beans, dwarf beans, purple climbing beans etc) in pots and then the directly sown beans started growing. Thus, an excess of bean seedlings resulting in overplanting. So far they are going well, jostling cooperatively for position at the trellis. But they will continue to grow!
I think my gardens are looking great, but consequences of this overplanting have now started. Access to all the vegetables is now becoming an issue. I am currently trying to devise a strategy for accessing zucchinis at the back without damaging the plants. In another garden bed on the other side of the yard I have planted more cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelons, rockmelons etc and, while it is OK for these plants to run amuck where they are, I am anticipating the same problem with actually accessing the produce. I’ve missed some beans when harvesting and have to be careful to check everywhere without damaging the flowers on the plants. And I know all this will happen with the tomatoes too!
While I am focusing on the amount of produce this (deliberate) mistake will generate, rather than the mess it will also make, I was careful not to overplant in my brand new garden bed. But I can’t promise I will learn from this mistake as my enthusiasm is generally more powerful than my restraint.
Does anyone else have this problem? Feel free to confess in the comments section below!