Beeting Myself Up

I hate it when I screw something up. It makes me think that I am terribly incompetent and basically stupid. I know that when doing something new there are bound to be bumps in the road, but ignorance is no excuse for poor planning.

Gardening as I have mentioned before is not something that comes naturally to me. If a particular plants thrives without much care, it would do mediocre in my garden. If a plant required the least bit of care, typically it would struggle valiantly to survive but ultimately die a slow, painful death mid-summer.

This year I wanted things to be different. This year I wanted to really make my efforts pay off with a huge bounty at the end of the season. This year…well, that pipe-dream came to end yesterday — at least when it comes to my beet crop.

This is my beet garden –

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Isn’t it absolutely beautiful!

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So many healthy leaves.

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So many healthy plants.

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Or are they? As I was watering my beloved beet crop yesterday, hubby came by, took one look, knelt down to take a closer look, and said, “Why is the top showing like that?”

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I looked at it and told him I didn’t know. I guess I figured it was supposed to look like that.

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With one question, hubby planted to seed of doubt in my head, and that old nagging, sinking feeling began to grow in my gut and I just knew — I just knew I’d done something wrong, screwed something up, killed my chances of a bumper crop of beets.

Sure enough, when I went online to research growing beets, it turns out the although the package of beet tape I used did not specify “thinning” the seedlings, this is a crucial part of growing them. Now, perhaps there is a just a tinge of a “gardener” in me somewhere, because when the beets first began to grow, I did think they were growing too close together and did thin them. Problem is I didn’t thin them enough.

Who knew that each beet seed can produce between 2 and 4 plants? Who knew that the seedlings needed to be thinned to one plant every 3 to 6 inches? Who knew that the thinned seedlings were transplantable?

So much information out there and I knew none of it because all I did was read the package instructions and wing it! Ignorance is bliss until reality hits and crushes any hope of canning home-grown beets for another year.

In a last-ditch effort to salvage some of the plants, I did try transplanting one of the mature plants yesterday. I had to just pull it out, as it was too close to another plant to dig it, and then carefully placed it in a deep hole in fresh compost, watered it and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately, this is what it looks like this morning.

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The leaves are limp and lifeless and even with the morning sun, there appears to be no sign of life.

I feel like such a failure. Grace tried to make me feel better by reminding me that this is my first year trying to grow a lot of the vegetables I planted and that mistakes were bound to happen. Hubby tried to make me feel better by saying that maybe I’m jumping the gun and thinking all is lost when things might not be as bad as I think they are. Zeb just gave me a hug. Bell just keeps diligently following me from the beet garden to the replanted beet root, wondering why I’m so upset.

I know that gardening is a learning process. I know that mistakes are bound to happen. I know I should have researched far more about growing beets before I planted them, after they sprouted, or sometime before it was too late. I know that there is always next year. I know I can order a bushel from a local farmer and still can beets if I chose to.

None of this makes me feel better. That sick feeling in the pit of my stomach is just aching and at this point, I am questioning whether or not there is any way I will actually be any sort of true “gardener.”

Here is my beet garden —

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Isn’t it beautiful? At least, if nothing else, it looks healthy and lush, not perfect, but something, and for this I am trying so hard to be — Simply Grateful.

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12 responses

  1. Hey – don’t beat yourself up! (No pun intended) They ARE beautiful looking plants. If they don’t come out as large as they maybe should, you know for next year. You’re a gardener as long as you try. Next year it’ll be even better!

  2. Awww, come on Tilly. Be nice to yourself. Hubby may be onto something. All may not be lost. There is yet hope. 🙂 Meanwhile, I thank you for sharing your hard earned lesson. I hope to grow beets next year for the first time and being the king of winging it, I will benefit tremendously from the lesson you just learned. Thanks.

    • I’m considering hilling the beets next year as well. When I’ve grown potatoes in the past, hilling them was essential. Hilling the beets once they are thinned would give them more cover to grow under. Not sure it makes sense for this root, but I don’t think it will hurt.

  3. At least you have an excuse for them being so close! I still plant many crops too close together. I agree with Jim; all is not lost. Try thinning them now. You can roast the baby beets and use the greens in a salad; they’re edible too. They really are VERY healthy plants.

    • I am going to thin them again and see what I can salvage. The greens are beautiful and I am going to try adding them to a salad to see if the family likes it. I don’t want them to go to waste.

  4. I’m not a gardener myself, but can appreciate the labor that goes into it and it’s a shame you did not end up with the results you wanted. As you said, it’s a learning experience.
    But at least the leaves look nice and green, and you can use them just life spinach. You can check my blog for a recipe for beet greens and cheese patties. 🙂

  5. Don’t beat yourself up! The good news is you’ll know better for next year’s season + you can still get a harvest, they might just be smaller. I think your garden looks great, and you do such a good job 🙂

    I started beets from seed a few weeks ago + thinned the seeds to the maximum room. I had no idea there could still be 2-4 plants per seed, so thanks for the heads up to keep an extra careful eye on them.

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