August gardening tips for April

Every year my blog goes in a very specific cycle.

I love gardening, I hate gardening, I love gardening, I hate gardening. 

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. 

It's true though. Mastering the art of gardening in Kansas has not been an easy task. Now after 4 years of gardening in the prairie, I feel as if I am not one step closer to truly understanding how to garden in this space. 

Oh well. There is always next year. And next spring will undoubtedly bring about so much hope for tomatoes that my heart pretty much bursts from excitement. 

Right now? Right now is is August. And in August, I hate gardening. Things are not going well. (Although, Kansas decided to give up a break this weekend and give us a preview of fall. My windows have been open for over 24 hours. It's a miracle). 

It seems as if every week I go into the garden only to completely pull up something because it clearly so sickly nothing will happen. (We also got 2 1/2 inches of rain in a short amount of time on Friday, which is part of there reason why things are going so badly in my garden). My zucchini, melon and eggplant have all been ripped up because of either weird things caused by rain or bugs.  It's sad. And my tomatoes, which were looking so good just a couple of weeks ago still look fine but actually aren't producing like they should. This is probably because of all the rain. And actually, it might be my worst tomato year to date. I've only canned 3 pints and made sauce twice. (I also have plenty for my lunch salads). So really, it's fine. My energy for canning this season has not quite been there. But it is so maddening. I have 7 tomato plants but only the produce of what would be 1 plant. This happens every year. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Ugh. 

Ironically, the tomato plant that is doing the best is the lucky number 7, which came up on its own, is not in a cage and was never on the soaker hose pipe line. It's doing great! So I guess the lesson here is plant stuff in the ground and do nothing...? That doesn't seem like a smart plan though.

I decided to "bottle up" my garden frustrations from this season into my blog. That way I can try and remember what not to do when spring comes again and I get seduced by flowers and tomato names.  

1. Do not plant cilantro. It's not worth it. Since I don't grow it from seed, it is not cheaper than buying it from the store. It also grows way too fast and never seem to need it before it goes to seed. 

2. Only plant begonias in a hanging basket. You might remember this spring I got sucker punched by begonias. (They are my favorite). But the only ones that did well were the ones in my hanging basket. The wind completely destroyed one and I am not sure what was the other potter's deal.

3. Plant herbs in the flower bed. I have a "flower bed" right next to the garden that ideally will be filled will herbs and perennial flowers. That's the goal anyway. The soil is awful and needs some work. However, I had basil come up there by itself and hope it will keep it up over the years. I also had basil and rosemary in pots on the porch. They did not do very well. 

4. Do not plant squash. This one is going to be hard for you, Anna, but remember, it makes more sense to buy it at the farmer's market than to try to deal with it in the garden. It's not in the stars for you to grow squash in Kansas. Maybe try again in another state. 

5. Plant zinnias in a more sunny spot.  I do have some lovely zinnias this year, but they would be doing so much better if they had a tiny bit more sun. 

6. Ask your landlord to ease up on all the fall/winter/spring tilling. I have the best landlord in the world. He takes really good care of this house and it's property. However, he gets a little too gun-ho when it comes to tilling the gardening in the off season. I mean, I get it, it looks nicer than all the grass and weeds trying to come up. But the more it gets tilled, the more the soil has the opportunity to blow away in the winter. I do not want this. 

These are the things I need to remind myself in April. Hopefully next time around, I'll be less frustrated. One can hope anyway