Monday, August 17, 2009

Try, Try Again

I recently moved from a home with a big back yard to an apartment with almost no yard at all. As a result, I went from having a third of an acre that was landscaped mostly with edible landscaping and a 2,000 square foot garden to a container garden. At the old house, which I am still trying to sell, I have a very healthy raspberry patch which keeps trying to claim the strawberry patch next to it. When I put together my container garden, I dug up a couple of those errant raspberry canes and planted them and the strawberry plants that came with them in my new container garden. My assumption was that a combination of excellent soil, mycorrhizal fungus and abundant water would be enough to protect my canes while they tried to grow a new set of roots. In full sun. In Arizona. In late June. I was wrong. It was apparently good enough for the strawberries, though, as about two-thirds lived. My raspberries, though, withered and died.

Humbled by my earlier failure, I decided to try again. I grabbed several more raspberry canes plus an errant blackberry vine that survived an earlier cull. Again, I have given them excellent soil, mycorrhizal fungus and abundant water, but this time I did a few extra things to help. For the plants that lost most of their roots, I treated what was left with rooting hormone. I also put them in temporary pots and placed them on my patio in a place that gets little to no direct sun and trimmed off all but a foot of the cane, thereby reducing leaf surface available for evapotranspiration. Only time will tell if my efforts were successful. If they aren't, I'll just try again, and again, for as long as I still own the house.

I often read comments by people who really want to start a garden but don't know where to start and are afraid they will fail. To those people I say this: Yep, you probably will fail. And you'll probably do it more than once. But you will also succeed. A garden is a big thing. There will be some failures and some successes. You learn more from the failures. But if you don't try, you'll never learn and you'll never succeed. So get out there and try!

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