Klutz gardening

As fellow blogger janeishly commented, “Klutz gardening is just an indication of your subconscious knowing where stuff will grow. Honest.”

I don’t have to take her word for it, because I already know this to be true. I have racked up numerous instances of klutz gardening over the years, although these have seldom been documented. The success stories crowd them out. I mean, who wants to talk about utter garlic crop failure when there’s a bumper tomato crop to marvel at?

It’s commonly thought that the idea that our subconscious as the true source of our manifest actions is a New Age one. The notion that the expansive self only began with the dawning of the Age of Aquarius is spurious.

Ancient Indians got there before the Hippies. Honest. Early Vedic theory of consciousness, dating back to before 2000 BC, explored the concept thoroughly. They weren’t the only ones of course, but for the moment, I shall stick to the subject of what it takes to be a klutz in the garden.

Surprise, surprise: to be a gardening klutz, you need no experience. As it happens, lack of experience will increase your chances of achieving a high klutz rating.

Conversely, a great deal of experience fissling about in the muck and the weeds, and so on, does not preclude klutziness, neither does it prejudice your potential when it comes to ranking high on the klutz spectrum.

Klutz gardening embraces actions and occurrences that go beyond mere clumsiness. I’ll give you some examples from the voluminous gardening diary in my head.


First, there was the time that I was on holiday in Portugal in 2006 (when I still lived in Zimbabwe). I was amazed at the huge garlic bulbs so common in Portugal, where I now live. Onions also grow to enormous sizes too.

I was so impressed that I purchased one of these enormous heads of garlic and smuggled it back to Zimbabwe. I stuck it in my fridge until green shoots appeared on the cloves.

I eagerly planted them and tempered my impatience with the hope that when the crop was ready I would be the proud bearer of enormous heads of garlic.

What a klutz! Ever heard of the idea that climatic and soil conditions might influence the outcome of cultivated vegetables? Well, you guessed it. My garlic bulbs were neither bigger nor smaller than the average garlic bulbs produced in Zimbabwe.

Okay, so this outcome is more anecdotal than statistical, but in my defense, I shall remind you of the dictum that doing something repeatedly and expecting a different result constitutes a certain kind of idiocy.

Vegetables versus weeds

Gardening klutzes frequently commit the error of believing they have prodigious memories. This was the case earlier this year when I planted cucumber, courgette and cabbage seeds into three old drawers found at a nearby rubbish bin.

So, three little things to remember, right? Perhaps I should have placed the drawers in alphabetical order, left to right to remember which was which, but I did not. I also forgot a lesson learned by empirical observation: it is a fact of nature that weeds imitate the plants around them.

The upshot of that particular bout of klutziness was that I could not tell the three drawers apart, and I could not tell the growing seedlings apart from the growing weeds.

I lovingly transplanted ten or twelve “cabbages” into an equally lovingly prepared vegetable bed, only to discover the obvious a few weeks later. I had the healthiest looking weeds I have ever seen! I pulled those out quickly in a brief rash of embarrassment, and vowed and declared that careful labelling of seedling trays should be included henceforth in my gardening practice.

You already know about the accidental spillage from the packet of onion seeds, classified henceforth as a moderate but klutzy success. I will now confess that all those posts about onions the size of marbles were to cover up my embarrassment about the failure of the so-called cabbage crop.

Failure with the courgettes was contained: I am eating one for lunch today. One cucumber plant survived an onslaught of slugs: there is hope yet on that front.

Rusty drum

I have an old and quite rusty 44-gallon drum into which I turf kitchen scraps from my slops bucket. All well and good, but when the drum was last empty, I forgot about the holes near the bottom of this bottomless drum.

The first time I poured the slops into the drum, I ended up with foul-smelling liquid all over my sandals and feet. Eugh! What a klutz!

So, you would think I had learnt my lesson. No, no. This occurred the next three times I emptied the slops into the drum. There is nothing more annoying than having to wash your footwear and your feet in the middle of the morning. Such is the life of a klutz.

Now that the drum is half full, my feet generally remain clean all day.


Klutzes never quite get the hang of wheelbarrow basics either. I cannot tell you, even after several decades of vegetable gardening, how often I forget that soil shovelled into a barrow should be evenly distributed in the barrow. If it is not, the wheelbarrow falls over on its side, and the soil lands back on the ground.

I remembered this basic rule again only last week when I crossly re-shovelled soil into the barrow. Good grief!

In related news, I did not mention in my previous blog post that by the time I had finished work for the afternoon, I looked like what I had really been doing was applying a mud pack to my shins.

A clue for klutzes who want clean shins: do not use your hoe for soil removal when the soil is under one inch of water or more.

Lemon picking

I am a klutz when picking lemons too. I know that I should wear long sleeves when doing this job because of the thorns, so I do. But, before doing anything practical, unless it is freezing cold outside, I always roll up my sleeves. I like to think this is indicative of my “hands-on approach” to life, but I suspect it is more realistically one more thing to add to the list headed “Why I am a Klutz”.

Close inspection of my forearms reveals more scratches and scars than the number of lemons I have picked. And I have picked a lot of lemons.

Danger zones

Being a klutz gardener is, like most things, somewhat paradoxical.

You would think a klutz would be incapable of constructing raised beds and crude vine conduction systems for large pumpkin vines. You would be wrong. I would hazard a guess that any klutz could manage it with enough meditation as to the true nature of consciousness.

Yellow is good

The photograph above is miraculous proof of sorts. Hey, what’s that bright yellow thing waving in the breeze?

Ah, that’s an anti-klutz device to prevent klutz decapitation.

I only had to walk into the strings spanning the two beds about five times in two days before I came up with that visually appealing solution. Needless to say, I frequently get a face-full of yellow cloth.

©2019 Allison Wright

6 thoughts on “Klutz gardening

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    1. Just keeping it real! 😉
      My latest klutz move: yesterday, while putting a pallet structure around a raised bed, I managed to unearth an entire gem squash vine. I shoved it back in the soil, and said sorry to the plant, and watered the jolly thing, but fully expect it to wither and die on me in the days ahead.
      At least I didn’t stand on the massive worm that startled me more or less at the same time… 🙂


  1. Ha, I’m pretty ham-fisted in the garden too, but seem to manage to combine extreme clumsiness with green fingers, so usually get good results!
    I’ve carefully nurtured a choice seedling before, only to find it was a common-as-muck geum urban – no thanks! And the teasels I carefully speed and positioned in the borders are now coming up in the lawn – but at least the birds will be happy….

    Enjoy your gardening!


  2. Easily done; I don’t always receive notifications of comments on my blog either. So sorry to hear you’re having to move away from your garden – you must be devastated! All that hard work and TLC devoted to a piece of land… hope you manage to find a new site for your gardening ventures 🙂


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