Successive planting

It was three months ago that a few brave souls fessed-up their New Year’s garden resolutions in this column. I’m curious as to how those are coming, with gardening season well under way. If you remembered, I stuck my neck out and volunteered that “I’d like to have a better spring garden, and to do this, master the art of direct seed sowing in the garden.”

I’m accustomed to giving exams, grading and submitting semester final grades this week. But this year, it’s time for my grade. I’m happy to report that I was successful and I’ve given myself a solid B for my efforts. I will admit that I didn’t get started quite as early as I wanted and that is why I didn’t earn that A. In my 5-by-16 foot raised bed, I successfully started snow peas, four varieties of lettuce and a couple of varieties of spinach. I’ll admit that I cheated and purchased a flat of spinach transplants to ensure an abundant spinach harvest. That was a good move, as I’ve been enjoying spinach for some time.

I’ve found that in life, I’ve learned as much from my mistakes as my successes. To that end, I’m soliciting you to bare your soul, and send me your past gardening/landscape mistakes. I’ll compile these and share in a future column. As with the resolutions, I’ll step up to the confessional and admit mine first – just one of many I’ve made over the years.


Q. I’m a Dare County, N.C., Extension Master Gardener with lots to learn. My question concerns neem oil, horticultural oil and insecticidal soap. I’ve never understood when to use these relatively safe insecticides to kill problem insects. I understand that neem oil is derived from the seeds of Azadirachta indica, which gives the oil some pesticide properties, but nonetheless the oil kills primarily by smothering. Horticultural oil kills solely by smothering. Insecticidal soap – not sure…