Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


How-To Not

The corner stone of any quality blog is the ‘How-To’ post. How-To pick an avocado, how-to live rent free, how to paint furniture.

How-To’s get pinned on pinterest. They get liked on facebook. How-To’s go viral.

I’m in no position to tell anyone how to do much anything. That’s not currently a service we offer. Ok, perhaps with the exception of a dog topic or two. I’ve got broad personal and professional experience to cover those. When it comes to dirt though, to growing, starting, tending and all tasks Ugly Garden… Well, how about you tell me? Otherwise, here’s how I’m currently not.


Lettuce table, I officially declare you, epic fail. Please note the marked similarity in size and fortitude of my lettuce to earlier in the month. That is to say, its not stinking growing! At all.


The largest of my ‘crop’ at less than palm size. Most of them look more like this.


We sprouted. There was much joy. And that’s about it. I think they looked better in May. No distinguishable progress in 8 weeks? Evicted. The Ladies will dine on gourmet micro greens before the week is out. Mark my words.

In recent history, I’ve amended their soil with everything from coffee grounds to compost to fish emulsion. Nothing. I got nothing. Ingrates. Pale, wilty ingrates.

That’s our lesson in how to not start a lettuce table.

Next up? Tomato Trellises.


This is how you don’t trellis your tomatoes in desperate need of a little support. It’s a complicated procedure, involving not enough time, and just a dash of apathy. Tough to get it right.


This here though, this is advanced. The lost art of how to not have a fall garden. It’s hard to tell, I know. Subtle. The tell tale sign being the lack of a f$!@ing bed. For this you need really good intentions. Plans even. You take those, and you go watch the second season of Downton Abbey.

There you have it. My contribution to the blogger world of How-To’s. In some cases, I’m actively doing something wrong. Does it matter that I’m not sure about the exact nature of the wrongness? Not according to the lettuce and spinach it doesn’t. Will I start over? Will I ever grow some fricking lettuce? I’ll let you know after the lettuce table is violently dismantled. Clearly, I’m also rocking the just plain Not. Not doing. Not building. Not getting done. I’ll serve as a cautionary tale, if not a pinterest pin.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share via emailShare on TwitterPin it on Pinterest


Miser Mom

My garden and your garden have been colluding. I’d show you pictures of my not-basil, but it would just make me cry. Dang.


I could’ve included a not growing basil how-to as well. Mine looks like it’s been through the armageddon… and made it, but just barely.

Heather Hunt

your writing cracks me up – love this not-tutorial :)


Are your lettuces and mine related? Mine are all about the size of yours but for some reason have started to go to seed it is the weirdest thing. At least my guinea pigs are enjoying them.

I think I prefer your how not toos, they make me feel so much better. All the people that only show what works in their garden make me feel like the only gardening failure.


I had a not to garden last year. My dang lettuce was done (or so I thought). I had actually chopped it out of the ground with the hoe. Then dang stuff replanted itself and grew again. It isn’t any good though as it’s been hot and it will be bitter. Wish I could bring it your ladies – instead it will be thrown in the field behind us. Every year I wish for that bountiful garden that leaves me able to pass out veggies to my friends. Every year and I learn more and more of what NOT to do. Don’t give up!!!


Last fall we planted lettuce, kale, spinach and other fall stuff (fall for the deep south, that is) and I’ll say it: I’d rather buy the stuff bagged and pre-washed. I know that sounds awful, but it was impossible to clean the lettuce and spinach. A real pain in the butt. So – don’t cry too much about it – it’s more trouble than it’s worth.


I love it – this, truly, is why yours is now one of the 4 blogs I read regularly.

My father-in-law built me a lettuce table a few years ago. Like yours, everything sprouted into an abundance of empty promises.

I had it violently dismantled and reconstructed into supports for grapes and, as it turns out, renegade raspberries, both which my family happily consumes endlessly.

It’s been 4 years. Shame has lingered. Finally, another outed lettuce table fail, allowing me to say:

Eff lettuce tables, man. And eff Martha Stewart too.

Your tomatoes look amazing. Be proud of those babies!


Are you watering those lettuces enough? Lettuce is shallow rooted and needs lots of water, and this time of year, a good amount of shading… you could move your lettuce table into dappled shade… and ensure the soil is staying moist enough. Coco-fiber mixed in with the soil… or a good quality potting soil in the lettuce table is essential, as the table is really a container… regular garden soil ain’t gonna cut it for water retention in the shallow-dirt situation of a lettuce table. It’s not too late to re situate and try again with the lettuce table!


I’m sorry to be laughing at your frustrations, but this really had me cracking up. At least the failures were good for something :)

Kimberly C

Your dry humor had me laughing harder than I have all day! I barely mustered up the energy to open the cloche covering my tomatoes today. I keep telling my tomato plants that I’ll mulch them and weed the bed and stake them for support “just as soon as I have time.” Someday, maybe. They’re like.. 3 feet tall. And some grow sort of horizontally across the ground. That’s normal, right?


Thanks for all the commiseration! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one struggling in general or with god forsaken lettuce tables specifically. The table’s gravestone will read “It seemed like such a good idea at the time… “

Leave a comment


email (not published)