Empty Plot Anxiety – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

Does anyone else get Empty Plot Anxiety? (I made that up. It’s not a thing, but it should be.)

I have written before that my favourite time to plant out for the season is around about the 20th May, yet here I am on 23rd May with an empty plot, a box full of plants due to be delivered to me today, and a total fear that if I don’t plant immediately, the whole summer will be wasted. It’s like the worst kind of FOMO, and here is what I know will happen – my plants will arrive later today, I’ll unpack them and stand them in a tray of water and then I will leave them there until the weekend when I have time to plant – and they’ll be just fine. In fact, I could probably stretch it out if I was busy and not plant them until the following weekend, and they’d still do well.

I get this Empty Plot Anxiety every year (and it was rampant during that first lockdown when we all thought that the whole world would run out of potatoes and cabbages as well as toilet paper) and every year I realise that I don’t need to worry. I nearly always end up planting out during the third or fourth week of May, and my plants nearly always do brilliantly. In fact, the year they didn’t do brilliantly actually was that lockdown year, because I planted them out in early May and then they all got too chilly and I had to uproot a whole load of beans and squashes and move them into the greenhouse temporarily!

Another aspect of this Empty Plot Anxiety is that it doesn’t make logical sense, because as soon as I’ve planted up, I no longer worry about planting times. I might decide to add some pumpkin plants in two or three weeks time, or maybe some extra sweetcorn because I just love homegrown sweetcorn, and I won’t give any thought to whether or not it might be too late. I know that I have plenty of time, and I’ll just keep planting bits and bobs here and there all summer as I normally do, but until that moment that I knew my plants were on the way, I just had this Empty Plot Anxiety, thinking that with every day my veg garden was going to waste.

I really think that this could be an actual thing and that loads of other gardeners suffer from Empty Plot Anxiety too… if you’re one of them, then please know that you are not alone. It’s normal.