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The Amateur Gardener: Better than expected

After my garden struggled out of the gate this year, I was prepared for the second column in my Amateur Gardener series to be full of me complaining and being pessimistic about my garden, and the art of planting and growing vegetables in general. However, just like when a guy is mad when someone he likes doesn't text back, only to later find out that the other person was out of service for a day or dropped their phone off a bridge, I'm a little embarrassed I was so quick to lose hope. 

But, I'm also relieved, because the garden is in full swing and the amateur gardener is back on the path to green thumbery. My zucchini plants are on their way, my potatoes are thriving, and my tomatoes and beans are proving their worth. Plants are naturally resilient, of course, and gardens often improve along with the weather, but I must take some of the credit for this legendary comeback.

You see, more than two weeks after I initially planted, just before June, I got back out there and replanted half the garden. I didn't want to at first, but I'm sure glad I did. Instead of sulking over the now three dead basil plants, I replaced them with pea and bean seedlings. I doubled down on the struggling zucchini and planted more, and though I initially planted my potatoes too deep, I brushed off a lot of the soil, and mounded them up once they began growing. 

Credit is also due to you, the community. I had a lot of people reach out and offer their best wishes for my green adventure, and an encouraging member of the Friends of the Fort St. John Public Library club rented me three books and dropped them off. Now, two of the books were Gardening for Dummies and Gardener's Problem Solver, so I had full right to take offence. Instead, I opened them up and read eagerly. I'm learning about how to rescue wilting plants, and which are the toughest ones to grow for our unique climate. 

This week I plan on reading about pruning and cutting away dead leaves and shoots, because I still don't understand how that hurts or helps a plant and what I should do about it. 

What I'm most proud of since I first planted the garden, is the resilience of my precious Swiss chard. The six starter plants I put in didn't seem to grow or stop wilting for two and a half weeks after planting. Still, they never gave up, and today are leafy and luscious, and growing more and more each day. A couple of the chard seeds I planted are coming along as well. 

Garden update
My Swiss chard is coming along much better than I initially expected. By Dillon Giancola

Just like we as a town seem full of optimism with B.C.'s progression to Phase 2, and Phase 3 just around the corner, I too am excited about the possibilities the next two weeks have for my garden. 

Until next time, thanks for reading, and happy gardening.

Email reporter Dillon Giancola at