Answers to the Most Common Gardening Question

| 1/18/2017 9:40:00 AM

Tags: vegetable varieties, garden planning, tomatoes, Ohio, Don Abbott,


As the Snarky Gardener, I’m asked gardening questions all the time. Before, during, and after gardening presentations, on Facebook, at work, at business meetings, and during evenings out with friends. Sometimes the questions come at the beginning of the season (“I started tomatoes from seeds and now they look bad. What’s wrong?”). Some are during the season (“My tomatoes have black spots on the end of them. What’s wrong?”). And other questions come after the season is over (“My tomatoes produced poorly this year. What’s wrong?”). Of course, people ask about vegetables other than tomatoes, but since they are the most popular, that’s what I generally get asked about.

What’s the Most Common Gardening Question?

What I have noticed over time is the questions I receive seem to be bunched up, meaning I hear the same question over and over again. It’s not the same question from year to year, but just the same for a specific season. For instance, this last fall, I had several people ask about their tomato production. Most either had only a few green unripe tomatoes by the first killing frost, or they had like one tomato all season. So in this instance, the question was, “Why didn’t my tomatoes produce?”

The Answer May Surprise You!

The answer I gave every time was, “Yea, it was a bad year for tomatoes. I think the drought and other weather conditions here in the area slowed growth down.” What I didn’t tell them (because it would sound like bragging and make them feel bad) is that while I had lowered production, my garden still produced plenty of tomatoes.

Being an experienced gardener means you have gardened for multiple seasons, enough to know that each year is unique. The novice has no past to recall as a reference and believes it’s just their bad gardening skills. But you are probably wondering, “Why did the Snarky Gardener’s garden produce so much more?” Are his mad gardening skills that much better?

Here’s the Actual Answer

Because I have all this experience, I’ve learned much through the school of hard knocks. The lesson I’ve been taught above all else is that if you want a certain level of production, plant more than you think you should. The gardening philosophy I have developed is what I like to refer to as “Prepare for the Worst. Hope for the Best.”

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