The gardens will get planted when they get planted

The extra time that allowed for more and better gardening last year has gone away.

Plants awaiting their new homes in gardens, planters and flower beds sit outside Jenny Schlecht's garage. (Jenny Schlecht / Agweek)

The plants I bought from our school's FFA chapter and from a local greenhouse are sitting outside the garage. Unplanted. Kind of sad looking. Nearly forgotten.

Last year, June was a wide-open field of "what do you want to do?" So many things were canceled that every event or activity that wasn't called off felt like a special occasion. And with all that unexpected extra time, I gardened , as did many others, some for the first time . I spent hours planting seeds and nourishing young plants, and then later finding their perfect spots in the soil. Perhaps that's why my little plants did better in 2020 than they usually do .

This year, I don't think I'm alone in feeling like I've scheduled in bathroom breaks for the month of June. And what I'm having the most trouble scheduling in is planting my flowers and garden.

I started, as always, with good intentions. The flowers I purchased are mostly drought-resistant and do well even if slightly neglected during busy summer nights. I didn't buy nearly as many tomato or pepper or cabbage plants as I grew a year ago.

But still they sit, unplanted.


To read more of Jenny Schlecht's The Sorting Pen columns, click here.

At first, it was a problem with the weather. I was ready to plant a few weeks ago. But then we had a few glorious days where rain actually fell. That was wonderful, but it kept me from the tasks at hand. And then freezing temperatures in the forecast in late May kept me from starting, because I didn't want to be covering every tender little shoot, nor did I want to be replanting everything a few weeks later.

And now we've started our summer baseball and softball program, in which I coach and both of my daughters play. That ties up many of our nights. The push is on for the county fair at the end of the month, so the 4-H sheep must be walked and cleaned and sheared and fed, all in their due time and mostly with some amount of adult supervision. The supervision also extends to the other not-quite-completed 4-H projects. The motivation to finish those doesn't seem to kick in until school lets out.

The schedule is packed and somewhat exhausting, but it's also kind of exhilarating and fun. Every day is a new adventure, running from basketball camp to work to softball practice to the sheep pen. After last year's empty June, there is great joy to be had in all these experiences. It's hard to say no to trying something when we know what it feels like to not have those options. I'd rather a hectic month than an empty one, because I find great satisfaction in watching my kids try new things and learn what they love.

Those poor unplanted plants are not feeling that satisfaction, but they'll get their time. By the time you read this, I'm sure I will have taken a few stolen moments to get everything planted. Then it'll be a matter of making sure to throw some water at them every day or two and pulling a few weeds when the opportunity presents itself. The schedule opens up after the Fourth of July, so if they can hang on through my neglect until then, we may be able to partake in another bounty of fresh produce.

I hope you've made more progress in your gardens and flower beds that I have. But more so, I hope you're enjoying your June, no matter how packed it is.

Jenny Schlecht is Agweek's editor. She lives on a farm and ranch in Medina, N.D., with her husband and two daughters. She can be reached at or 701-595-0425.

Jenny Schlecht is the director of ag content for Agweek and serves as editor of Agweek, Sugarbeet Grower and BeanGrower. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.
What To Read Next
The author recalls a time when the only thing that really mattered was putting food on the table and sharing it with others.
Leadership takes honest reflection and thinking about the needs of others, Jenny Schlecht writes. With that in mind, do we have the right leaders to get a new farm bill passed by Sept. 30?
When Katie Pinke directed her daughter to a beef expert in preparation for her speech meet, it made her think about the need for trusted ag sources of information.
Weather forecasts were calling for Argentina to see weekend rains and for more rain to fall in the six to 10 day forecast.