I have to write myself a note so next year I'll remember: Planting seeds indoors is time-consuming, expensive and frustrating!!!!

Every year I tell myself I'm going to buy plants from the nursery, and instead, every year I get sucked into buying all these seeds from the catalog companies. Last year, the plants turned out great. But this year, an entire flat of tomatoes turned reddish, then sort of blackish, and then they died. Ditto marigolds, of all things, which have to be among the easiest things to grow on earth.

So two weeks ago, my husband and I went to a local garden center, got a wonderful variety of tomatoes for only $30 — very close to the amount we had spent on tomato seeds, if I recall correctly, seeing as how we couldn't resist buying about six different kinds.

Two hours later: instant garden! And they were big enough to withstand the heavy rains that followed, whereas even the best of my young seedlings would have gotten thumped.

That said, I still love the act of planting a seed and the miracle of watching it sprout. So I'll stick to the squashes and beans and cucumbers and such, which you can plant right in the ground and which come up sturdy. And, I swear, NEXT YEAR, buy plants when it comes to the more delicate veggies.

Now if only we could keep up with the weeding. Why is that every time we don't have plans for the weekend, it rains? And every time we do have plans, it's good gardening weather?

On a happier note: The salad pots are cranking away like mad. We're getting several salads a week. Ditto the chard. (Which I started indoors, by the way).

My husband is the chard maestro: He cooks it down with oil, onions and garlic. Adds a little nutmeg. Then ham or bacon. Then walnuts. And at the last moment, Parmesan. Yum!

P.S. We have eight new chicks, tiny things that hop about and peep like crazy, and a new worm bin. Stay tuned.