Posted by: Kate | June 3, 2010

Gardening With Your Senses

This time last year the peas were growing quickly, the raspberries were flowering and the strawberries were forming. This year the peas are barely three inches and are spindly, the second batch have barely broken the soil. I planted them before I knew that the spring was going to be so cold and wet, but now I can use how they are growing to direct me in planting the rest of the garden. To me, this is a perfect example of using your senses to garden.

The other day a friend emailed me to say she was going to plant her beans that night. This is her first year with a big vegetable garden, and I knew she was reading the books that said to plant your beans on the west coast at the end of May. I quickly emailed her back. While those books in general may be right, and usually you can safely plant your beans seeds at the end of May, you shouldn’t this year. You need to trust yourself to look at your soil and your thermometer and your weather forecast, and know that it is simply too cold for bean seeds. There is no point in planting them because the book says it is time, when the seeds will either shut down or worse rot, in the wet cold soil. Now, by the time we do get the beans planted we will certainly run the risk of it being too late for a full harvest at the tail end of the season, but we still have to use our senses (including the common one) and plant when the weather is right.

Gardening books are invaluable to a vegetable gardener, and I have a collection of them that I treasure. They have helped me to learn what certain crops like, what soil conditions are appropriate, what to do about certain bugs, etc. But they have also given me the ability to trust myself and my senses, so that I can make my garden work for me every year, not just on the perfectly average year.


  1. You are absolutely right, Kate, you have to trust your senses (all 6 of them) when you’re a gardener. Trust your judgement, stick your nose out the window, feel the air, check the daily weather report, and on it goes. It sounds to me like you’re going to have a productive garden this year, cold & wet regardless! Hey, I’d be thrilled if I got just a few vegs or fruit! Happy gardening!

  2. The girls planted pumpkin seeds last week….too excited to wait. Three came up (of 10) but I think the rest are drowned!

  3. Totally agree. Of course, when mother nature messes with you (warm, spring-like temps for weeks before reverting back to winter), sometimes it’s hard to read.

    Lots of folks here try to plant too early each year and every year they pay for it. It’s about learning how to garden for your season (short or otherwise), not about trying to trick Mother Nature. Cuz you know…she always wins! ;)

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: