New Year’s GOOPs – a gardener’s faux pas

Happy 2010 to all my gardening friends and fellow bloggers.  This being the first day of the month, and a new year to boot, it’s time for me to fess up one of the many gardening oops – GOOPs for short – I’ve made in my three-plus decades of garden dabbling.

2010 seed catalogues 12-09 My tale starts way back in 2008, when seed catalogs for 2009 began arriving in December.  Is it just me, or didn’t they used to arrive right after Christmas, but in time for perusing on New Year’s Day?  When seed catalogs showed up amongst holiday cards, donation pleas, and last minute holiday catalog enticements that there’s still time to order, I stacked them, along with the winter issues of numerous gardening magazines, in a pile for later reading.  Well, one family/work obligation led to another and before I knew it February had arrived … in fact it was half over … and I had not yet completed my seed shopping list.  Now think back to last winter.  All the BIG gardening news focused on how many people were planning to start their own seeds and plant their own gardens – it was the modern-day victory garden trend.  Every news outlet had some sort of story on the virtues and economics of home-grown food.  Why even the White House was planning a vegetable garden!  All this interest – which is a very, very good thing – caused an overwhelming number of orders to seed companies.  This, in turn, caused a delay in shipping seeds out to anxiously awaiting gardeners, which of course resulted in the late-orderers, such as moi, getting seed orders way too close or after recommended indoor starting dates.  Granted, I was able to start seeds leftover from some of my previous year’s packets, but I wanted my new seeds too!

2009 garden journal 12-09 I’m not a New Year’s resolution maker, but this year I’m resolving to spend my New Year’s weekend scrutinizing my 2009 garden journal and 2010 seed catalogues – all with the goal of getting my orders out in early January.  In fact, were you able to peek through cyberspace as you read this post, you would likely find me on my couch with a stack of seed catalogues in my lap.  I don’t plan to come up short-seeded again.

Now it’s your turn.  What’s your GOOPs; what damn-I-wish-I-hadn’t-done-that tale of woe can you share?  For some ideas just scroll through other GOOPs of mine – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – if you haven’t made a mistake you are not really gardening.

Share your GOOPs in a comment below or share it on your own blog (but be sure to give us a teaser and a link in a comment here).  We all learn best when we can learn from each other.

10 comments for “New Year’s GOOPs – a gardener’s faux pas

  1. January 1, 2010 at 11:10 am


    Happy New Year! It’s funny that you mention how the seed and plant catalogs seem to be arriving so early because I was thinking the same thing myself this year. Somehow I’m not emotionally ready to start thinking about buying new plants yet – I’m still assessing 2009.

    I just posted my GOOPs (here’s a link to it: This month, I decided to write about mistakes of omission rather than commission and my vow to right my wrongs in 2010!

  2. joenesgarden
    January 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Debbie, The link to your post did not work for me. Want to see Debbie’s GOOPs? Click on the Garden of Possibilities link under the Blogs for Gardeners list on the right column of this page.

    I’m also busy assessing 2009, but so looking forward to gardening in 2010. I look forward to comparing notes with you, Debbie.

  3. January 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I always get around to ordering seed potatoes after my favorites are sold out!

    Your post reminded me of a poem by Marge Piercy, about curling up with seed catalogs during a snowstorm, and the pleasure of ordering in winter, which allows one to dream of summer. Do you know that poem?

  4. joenesgarden
    January 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Alexandra, I was not aware of it till now, and thank you for pointing it out. I googled Marge Piercy and found the poem … Winter Promises. The second stanza reads:
    I lie on the couch under a blanket
    of seed catalogs ordering far
    too much. Sleet slides down
    the windows, a wind edged
    with ice knifes through every crack.
    Lie to me, sweet garden-mongers:
    I want to believe every promise,
    to trust in five pound tomatoes
    and dahlias brighter than the sun
    that was eaten by frost last week.

    What a great depiction of a gardener’s imagination .

  5. January 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Excellent advice to get your seed order in early Joene – I have been thwarted in the past too by leaving it too late. I have made plenty of GOOPs in my time – planting bulbs upside down, planting out tender plants before the last frost, burying my door keys in the soil etc, etc. – of course all committed when I was young and green 🙂 A happy new year to you and may all your blooms flourish in the new decade!

  6. January 3, 2010 at 5:21 am

    When I first moved to the Middle East, to Qatar, I brought seed packets with me and endevoured to create a vegetable garden. I managed to raise a couple of green tomatoes, three raddishes and one sad carrot.
    But in the end had to admit that without a little air-conditioned green house and a lot of soil to replace the local sand it would never quite work. So now the plans are on hold until we move to a more temperate climate…

  7. joenesgarden
    January 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Anna, I think all gardeners have at some point planted tender annuals too early, but I’m not sure everyone has buried thier keys … that’s definitely a new GOOPs in my book.

  8. joenesgarden
    January 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Ulrike, I’m sure growing greens of any sort is much more difficult in a desert. Perhaps some potted veggies would work, particularly if shaded from the hot, hot sun?

  9. January 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    My entire gardening experience has been one big GOOPs that I dare not repeat in print. I think it’ll be much safer and better for the environment if I just live vicariously through yours.

  10. joenesgarden
    January 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    That’s fine with me Jackie. I’d hate to encourage an environmental disaster in your neck of the woods.

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