Karen Alley has been working with Carolina Gardener Magazine off and on for 10 years, but reading and writing about wonderful gardens doesn't automatically make you a gardening expert! While a passion for gardening has been a part of her personality since childhood, she will vehemently profess to not knowing much when it comes to the ins and outs of designing and creating beautiful landscapes, yet the desire is definitely there. This blog will follow Karen's adventures as she continues landscaping a relatively new landscape and starts a vegetable garden in a beautiful raised bed built by her husband.

Recent Blog Posts

Aug 26
The Summer of Rain  

Jul 18
Outsmarting the Varmits  

Jun 27
Trial and Error  

Jun 13
Second Time’s the Charm   (2 comments)

May 02
Full of Hope  

Apr 19
A Fresh Start  

Feb 25
Fun with the Birds  

Jan 25
Weather Watching  




Second Time’s the Charm
by Karen Alley - posted 06/13/13

I had something happen this year that has never happened to me before. My bean seeds rotted in the ground. At least that’s what I assume happened.

Here’s the scenario. As I wrote in my last blog, I planted my garden and then it rained. I was very proud of myself. But it didn’t just rain that afternoon. It rained for two weeks.

When the sun finally came out, it was as if the garden had frozen in time. Nothing had grown at all, and one squash plant had turned yellow and wilted to nothing. But with the return of the sun, things started growing. All except the beans. I waited two weeks, hoping to see some sign of life, but finally gave up, took my hoe to the rows and started again.

I’m glad I did. This time the bean seeds sprouted in just one week, and now I have healthy, strong plants.

I have learned something valuable this year. Maybe it’s something I already knew, but it seems to have taken on more importance this year, with the long, cool, wet spring we had, the snowflakes that fell the first week of May and the horrible tornadoes that have ripped through the Midwest. Mother Nature is fickle. We can calculate average last-frost dates and watch the forecast to know when to water the garden and when to hold off, but in the end, there’s only so much we can control. The bulk of it is out of our hands.

Luckily I don’t depend on the vegetables from my garden to feed my family. We enjoy them, but can always buy food if necessary. But this experience made me even more grateful for the work farmers do and for our great agricultural system in the United States that enables me to buy a can of green beans from the supermarket whether it’s rainy or sunny outside.

And I’m also grateful for the long growing season in the Carolinas. Because I had plenty of time to plant more seeds and watch them grow. I’ll probably even plant a third time in late July!



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Christopher (Louisiana - Zone 8a) - 06/17/2013

We got a load of dirt from a local nursery, and apparently it hadn't fully cured. The dirt pretty much killed the tomatoes. The red beans were stunted and yellow for a bit, but they recovered. This weekend they were starting to look bad, and many of the pods had small black holes from an unknown pest. We pulled them all out and got a mess of beans, but not as much as we'd hoped. Now, I think I'll just start over this weekend. There should still be plenty of time for another red bean harvest, but I may have to work on the raised bed's soil first.
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Karen Alley - 06/18/2013

I'm so sorry you lost your tomatoes and beans. Soil preparation is one of my least fun garden tasks, but it's so important.
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