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Gardeners are Optimists

submitted by Don Janssen, UNL Extension Educator

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For better or for worse, another outdoor gardening season is over. If your garden post mortem revealed that the season was a disappointment, take heart: there's a whole series of natural laws that explain what happened. Below is a list of laws for gardeners. Check to see how many were true for you.

-- The likelihood of rain is inversely proportional to the need for it.

-- Weeds proliferate most vigorously when you least have time to deal with them.

-- Four plantings of beans at weekly intervals will all come in at once.

-- The year you get your cool-weather vegetables in early will be the year of record high temperatures in April and May. If you plant them for a fall harvest, September will be the hottest September in history. -- If you prepare the garden for spring planting in the fall, early spring weather will be dry and pleasant. If you wait to prepare the soil in the spring, it will rain steadily from March through mid-May.

-- The greater the cost of seeds and/or plants, the more likely they are to: 1. Never come up. 2. Be eaten by moles before they come up. 3. Be eaten by rabbits or deer after they come up. 4. Come up and contract a fatal disease. 5. Get stepped on. 6. Be killed by frost.

-- Seeds planted too close together will all germinate so plants must be thinned. Seeds planted at the appropriate spacing for best growth will germinate poorly.

-- Your neighbor's favorite high producing variety will fail to grow for you.

-- Rabbit-proof fencing isn't.

-- Gardening tools put carefully into storage in the fall will be under foot until early March, at which time they'll disappear until you no longer need them.

-- The kink in the garden hose is always at the other end.

-- Overplanting to compensate for anticipated losses to insects, animals or weather invariably results in a glut of produce. Planting to meet anticipated needs means you won't have enough.

-- The pesticide that kills your neighbor's cabbage worms only inspires yours to greater appetite.

-- Early tomatoes never are. Late tomatoes always are.

-- The more meticulous you are in keeping garden records, the greater the likelihood that you will lose them.

-- All gardening tasks take longer than you think they will.

-- You never find out about the easy and/or inexpensive way to do something until you've tried all the other ways.

-- Lawn and garden chores multiply to more than fill time available to do them.

-- You always need one more gadget. Corollary No. 1: You never realize you need it until after the store is closed. Corollary No. 2: If the store is open, the gadget you need is back-ordered. Corollary No. 3: If you can get it, it doesn't work.

-- The likelihood of gardening success varies inversely with the cost of the tools, seeds and plants involved.

-- The more you know about garden problems that could develop, the more problems you'll find.

-- If you play it safe and plant only a few tomato plants early, there will be no frost after April. If you gamble and plant all your tomatoes early, a late frost will kill them. If you replant, a later frost will kill them, too.

-- Any gardening problem can be overcome, given enough time and money. Corollary: You never have enough time or money.

-- Rows laid out in straight lines develop zigzags when you're not looking.

-- Birds will get under bird netting and destroy your plants as well as eat the fruit.

-- If you have plants and seeds at the appropriate time for planting, you'll be too busy to plant them. If you have the time, the plants will arrive late.

-- Gardeners are optimists.

This resource was added November 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement


University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office

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