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The Amateur Gardener: What's the worst that can happen?

I love to garden. I also have no idea what I'm doing. That shouldn't stop you from doing something you like doing and want to get better at, and so I try my best anyway. Still, at some point, you want to see progress. You want to plant basil and actually see it thrive instead of needing to be assured by your best gardening friend, "basil is really finicky though," over and over. 

I'll be writing a series of columns all summer on my gardening adventures and the progress I'm making. If you're reading this, you may be an avid gardener, but please don't expect to learn any great new tricks or lessons. Rather, I hope you take some comfort in knowing your garden could always be doing worse, but also joy, at knowing the gardening community in Fort St. John continues to grow.

I'm not a complete rookie when it comes to gardening. I tended to and helped out with my father's garden growing up and into early adulthood. I planted my own garden for the first time last year, and it worked out surprisingly well, despite only having a small patch of dirt on either side of my apartment that didn't get much sun.

This year, I got a couple beds at the FSJ Community Gardens and am ready to become a full fledged green thumb, no matter what it takes.

If you're noticing a slight tinge of disappointment in my words, that's because that's how I feel. The beginning of gardening season is supposed to be a hopeful one, one of endless possibilities and the hope that trying different things than you did last year will yield abundant crops.

I seem to have skipped that step.

You see, I planted my garden last weekend, May 16. It's not crazy early, though it does go against the general rule of green thumb in waiting until after the May long weekend. I know the rule, but I'm impatient. I also like the idea of just doing something anyway — in this case planting my garden earlier than I maybe should — with the thought of "what's the worst that can happen?"

This, this is the worst that can happen:

Gardening-deathAn early-season casualty, the result of foregoing the rule of waiting until after the May long weekend. By Dillon Giancola
gardening-battle By Dillon Giancola

I'm probably overreacting, I know that. Yes, there were a couple days this past week where it touched below freezing overnight, and the intense wind on the days I planted didn't help.

Still, the forecast for the coming week is promising, with beautiful weather on the way. I'll make it through, and am excited about the possibilities, even if I'm not looking forward to potentially having to replant most of my garden after the long weekend. 

I'm a long ways away from being a green thumb. In fact, at this stage, I fear I'm a black thumb. Webster's Dictionary defines black thumb as having "a notable inability to make plants grow." It can only get better from here. 

I'll end every column with an updated shot of my garden. Here is one of my two beds as of May 19:

Gardening. By Dillon Giancola

Have any gardening tips for Dillon? Email him at