Wishing and Hoping

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at this scene lately. Just standing still for minutes at a time staring into what is quickly becoming known as The Abyss. Staring and thinking. Thinking about where these plants will go. Thinking about which of these plants will have to be given away. Trying to keep in mind that there are other plants that haven’t even made it to the outdoor Staging Area/Holding Pen/The Abyss yet. And that those plants will also need a space to grow, live, flourish, make delicious eats.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Probably the biggest plant placement dilemma I am facing right now is finding a space for these ‘Painted Lady’ sweet pea seedlings I started in a moment of Hopeful Optimism/Garden Size Dysmorphic Syndrome. I have been staring at that cluster of seedlings all week hoping that the perfect place will magically appear by sheer force of will. Because that’s how it works right? Just like some kind of The Secret-like scheme, but for gardeners.

Gah! I just can’t let them go!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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20 thoughts on “Wishing and Hoping

  1. I am growing my Explorer Sweet Peas in hanging baskets this year (an experiment that seems to be, surprisingly, working) but I expect these Painted Ladies are too large for this.

    Also, I should really thin my sweet peas…but I can’t pull out healthy plants. Gah!

  2. There is a similar scene out on our back deck, too. I haven’t even been over to the community plot, yet. Hoping to get there this weekend!

  3. I had a similar abyss … but now I have some major remorse because I gave away a ton of plants and I wish I could have some back already. It was nice having so many people say “wow those tomatoes look great!” that I too often responded with “would you like one? I have tons!”. I am hoping that it will just serve as good karma for my season. So part with plants carefully and purposefully!

  4. Are those planted in toilet-tissue tubes?! Awesome!

    I tend to have eyes and dreams bigger than my gardens, too, though this year I seem to have made it all work pretty much perfectly. Of course, this makes me think that I could/should have more!!

  5. I know that staring and thinking trick all too well, although in my case it usually ends with me building something. That’s how I ended up with two small decks and two even smaller gardens where there used to be only parking.

    Right now it’s all about the brick wall and how I can make use of it without infringing on the neighbours. Your picture frame chalkboard has given me some interesting ideas…

  6. I think this is a familiar sight for many of us. I thought I was doing okay with my tiny and overstuffed yard and then my parents went away for the weekend and returned with a fantastic gift for their housesitter-daughter: a 5 foot bamboo teepee trellis; holy cow, it is awesome, but now where the heck will I put it?

  7. Chair: Indeed they are. I use anything I can find for seedlings and transplants.

    I just came back with another box of plants so… they were planned plants but still…

  8. Everything seems to grow to the same point so quickly, and all at once, when spring finally settles in. At least all your plants are thriving!

  9. I wish I could say I had the same problem. Alas, an unanticipated (and still unexplained) epidemic of transplant shock is threatening to take everything- and has already claimed some of my babies. (Oh Cosmos, watermelons, and pumpkins, how I’ll miss you…) Now I, too, find myself wishing I could reclaim the seedlings I adopted out…

  10. A bit off topic i planted some Little Marvel Peas on my Balcony in the middle of March and they are now almost a foot tall. They realy like the cold weather. Got about 60 pea plants jammed in 5 long containers. Peas don`t transpant properly they go into shock. They hate the hot weather.

  11. That’s why those peas are in toilet rolls. I don’t have to take them out of anything just pop the whole thing in the ground. I typically sow peas directly but didn’t know where those were going and they were already late going in… and I still don’t know where they are going.

  12. Oh Gayla! What a beautiful dilema to be in. 2 days ago, my aunt passed away. I inherited over 30 potted plants from her tiny apartment in chicago. I just moved into a newer home & have space to grow (baby on the way & over 30 new plants). Some are not doing so great but I couldn’t dream of letting them go. And, with a bare yard (1 acre) I cannot wait to dig in. If I could, I would give yours a home. Good Luck! Part with them wisely.
    A fellow plant glutton:

  13. snow peas go in your tummy!

    my snow peas are about 2 1/2 – 3 feet tall and probably close to being done – so we celebrated yesterday’s 1 pound pea harvest with snowpea stir fry last night. mmmmmm…

  14. Gosh, I am so jealous. Growing where I live is so hard (7500 ft). But I am desperately trying: about 18 tomato seedlings (12 from seed and 6 bought as seedlings). Left the bigger ones out last night and it might have gotten a little too cold, hoping today’s 70+ degree temps will help it out a little. Peas have gone in (hoping they like the cold here). I am just so scared to start anything else because of the threat of more snow (crazy weather here in Colorado). But I am going to get in the lettuce and beets, they should be fine! Any advice would be welcomed!!!

  15. Hey Gayla,
    I’ve run out of people to give my seedlings to… almost. Ha.– I even convinced two neighbours who share a front yard fence between their driveways to plant 40+ tomato plants. I warned them that the heat from the driveways will create aggressive “hothouse” growing conditions. They don’t seem to mind that at all.
    P.S. The rest of my plants are going to the HOPE community garden on Cowan just south of Queen Street. Right ’round the corner from the big bluepainted brick wall! ;-)

  16. I got Sugar Baby Watermelon seed, will they work if grown in containers on my balcony i face east. I dont think i can plant them in the community garden, last year the racoons took care of my Cantalopes and Korean melons. Planted the Melons and Cantalopes too early and they ended up real small like the size of golf balls. Maybe plant then in the middle of June so they will germinate better and grow a bit bigger. Excellant idea with the Toilet Rolls Gayla.

  17. This will probably make you laugh now but I am at the other end of the scale, we have a 3 acre ex pony paddock which we have rested for 8 -9 months. it is now full of wild flowers, grasses etc and we have decided to have hens on part of it and put up a couple of polytunnels to grown our own veg and flowers etc. however….. we have started in a corner and even a 30′ x 10′ polytunnel looks ridiculous in such a huge space!! this is going to be a lifetime job!! also have you ever actually tried digging a field? whose bright idea was this one?

  18. Hi there

    I’m new to your site and this is my first year having a balcony garden but I wanted to ask, are those empty tp rolls you are using as starters?? Because if so that is a fantastic idea!

    Love this site


  19. lol..nevermind..I see from another comment they indeed are Tissue rolls. I’m going to start saving some now:)

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