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Tell me about your failures

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
And make me feel better!!

This is my first year really attempting a garden. It will be our second summer in our house, but last year I was pregnant and on bedrest, and then had a newborn.

I tried starting some seeds indoors. My broccolli and pumpkins sprouted, but then dried out and died. I still have one type of tomatoes that seem to still be alive. My peppers, watermelon and onions never sprouted at all. I am a bad seedling mommy

I have some more seeds that we will direct plant in time. I am Zone 3, so it will still be a few weeks. We will also be buying some plants from the nursery so we have a chance of actually harvesting something.

I know this is all a learning process, but I still feel like a crappy gardener. Please make me feel better by telling me about your failures along the way.
post #2 of 30
The first year I started seedlings inside, I started them wayyyyyyyyyyy to early. I'm zone 2b so I can't plant out tender plants until June. I started my tomatoes in February. That's 4 months for those poor things growing inside. That wouldn't have been so bad if I had a good light set up but in my little window, they were really leggy, yellow and sad by the time I could plant them out. Then I didn't harden them off properly and they died anyway.

Then there was the year I had beautiful little cucumber starts growing in a flat. When I separated them it shocked there roots and they died. Now I start them in individual containers and they transplant better.

And to this day, I just can not seem to grow corn. I try every year and every year I get one or two scrawny inedible ears. I really should give up and stop wasting space but I keep thinking about the corn my mom used to grow and how fantastic it tasted fresh.

The good thing is that I've learned something from each failure. Every year my garden is a little better. One day I might even have a garden like my moms, or-dare to dream-like my grandmothers.
post #3 of 30
I have tried cauliflower and they never got bigger than about 2in diameter, never tried again.
Last year we started our seedling indoors the first time in peatmoss. It was a desaster, they sprouted, but never got bigger and died very quickly. So, this year we are back to just regular plain old garden dirt and all of our seedlings are doing great.
post #4 of 30
I'm a complete failure with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. I've given up after 5+ years of disasters. It's either the bugs or the deer and if I deter them they just grown a little and then bolt. I'll be counting on the farmer's market for those crops
post #5 of 30
Last year, my first at gardening, I somehow managed to screw up summer squash. You know, the plant everyone says is care-free and will give you an overabundance, be careful not to plant too much, lock your doors if you live in the country so neighbors won't unload excess on you? My 10 plants grew a total of zero squashes. Yes they had flowers, male and female, yes they had bees pollinating. My tomatoes I tried to start inside never grew, I pitched them and their soil in the garden and 3 yellow cherry tomato plants came up and went wild, growing lots of lot of little tomatoes. I didn't like them, they weren't that sweet, but my son and other kids loved them. So, my one huge success was an accident. We bought 2 or 3 tomato plants from Lowes so we'd have something. They were scrawny half dead looking things all summer and grew a few tomatoes each. I tried to do the 3 sisters thing: corn, beans, and squash. The corn grew short and didn't really mature or something. The pole beans grew, but had nowhere to go since the corn didn't get tall. I dug through a tangled mess of bean vines to get a handful of green beans to go with dinner once a week.

Oh my sunflowers were nice, attracted lots of pretty finches and hummingbirds and were just as enchanting as I thought they'd be. This variety has smallish seeds so nothing to eat though.
post #6 of 30
Oh geez... what *haven't* I done...

I've had a May baby and a June baby. Hubby's had to work 60-80 hours a week lately - meaning my rototiller guy has very little time to get things ready for me.

I used store-bought seedling mix one year. Freaking damped off all my seedlings - they were spindly, sad, and green stuff started growing on the top.

Another year I used yogurt cups and milk jugs to start seeds in the pantry. At least half the roots literally stuck/glued themselves to the sides/bottoms of those containers, leading to virtually zero tomatoes or peppers that year.

Last year we had 3 weeks of torrential rain. On the baby tomato/pepper/basil/everything else plants. They weren't fond of that since I don't live anywhere near the Amazon. Not under my control, but still sucked.

Last year I spent like 2 hours planting all my potato seeds (like 3.5lbs of seed?). And hubby didn't get the drip irrigation set up, and being 38-42 weeks pregnant and then having a newborn, they didn't get watered so much. I dug up almost exactly as many (if not less) potatoes as I planted. That was a waste of time.

Last year I planted garlic. Total success, which was great. The downside? I forgot green beans and garlic don't like each other. Those 2-3 rows of pole beans were just, beyond sad.

Tried cucumbers in a different spot last year. Uh, they don't do well under the shade of a maple tree. I think we got 1-2 cucumbers from half a dozen plants.

Basil. I forgot to yank the plants before we got a soft freeze. No basil to throw in the freezer.

Forgot to plant turnips last year. I only use 'em for vegetable broth, but still.

I yanked up my rosemary and sage plants last year just before our hard frost. Only to be told that it's possible one, maybe both, might've actually lived to tell another tale this year. C'est la vie.

I keep trying to get celery to germinate. Just.

Mulching. Weeding. Bermuda grass. Need I say more?
post #7 of 30
I can grow just about anything in the dirt-except okra and peas. For some reason, I just destroy these things without trying! I can grow anything else in the dirt really really well.

That being said, if I put anything in a pot I somehow kill it. Bamboo? You know, just sit it in water and ignore it? I kill it. Herbs? gotta go in the ground. I once spent a lot of money on about 5 gorgeous bonsai trees...within two months I had what my husband called 'the haunted bonsai cemetery'. Seriously.
post #8 of 30
The only melon I've ever gotten to grow was a volunteer watermelon over by the compost (not even in the garden). Every year I try and fail.

I have also had bad luck with summer squash--poor pollination and pickleworm caterpillars. NEVER had a huge abundance.
post #9 of 30
I've never been able to grow anything from seed purposely. It happens on accident all the time, but whenever I try it on purpose, everything just dies.

So instead I just buy 4 inch plants or 6-packs. It's more expensive, yes, but less frustrating.
post #10 of 30
I tried a container garden last year. Starting late August / Early September, mostly with summer plants (corn, squash, watermelon, beans, eggplant, cherry tomato, bell pepper). On the north-facing covered patio to our apartment. It didn't work so well. Got a few sprouts we could put in vegetable stock, about 3 beans (only one of which made it into a cookpot), a lot of leaf and vine, maybe some flowers, but no fruits. No flowers on the marigolds, either. But since the point was to give me some practice, I didn't consider it a failure.

This year, my brand new raised bed lasagna garden, with cardboard laid over the sod, is already full of grass. I put out my seedlings about early to mid-March (zone 7), but we got some late frosts in April. Some things have survived, others are struggling.

Since the plants were sprouted in peat-pots and set into the (compost-fertilized) straw with a handful of potting soil, I think I might be able to perform a "surgery" to remove the plants, the lasagna layers, dig up the sod, replace the straw/compost, and replace the plants.

I also figure I'll plant more seeds over the next month.
post #11 of 30
Last year I got my kids all excited about planting sunflowers. About 20 minutes after we planted them, the squirrels had a feast. Der...maybe I'll start them indoors this year.

DS1 requested that we plant pumpkins and watermelon. I swear they were EXACTLY the same size in the fall as they were the day we planted them. Maybe I should water this year?

Lastly, I kill rhubarb whereever I plant it. Everyone else in my neighborhood has huge plants their kids tromp through and still lots of pies to eat. Me: dead rhubarb, maybe one spindly stalk. I am very sad about this, but trying again this year after a year off.

OP, gardening is a learning process like everything else. Keep trying and Good luck!!

Lara
post #12 of 30
The first summer I had my own small garden outside, slugs ate all my lettuce. I was out there at night pulling slugs out of my garden but it didn't help. I probably shouldn't have started a garden next to all the ivy. I had 2 zucchini plants that produced a single zucchini.

Last summer I had a few containers on my balcony and I planted corn, carrots, broccoli and I forget what the 4th was, maybe tomatoes. They were old seeds and I wasn't sure they would sprout so I planted them in 6" and 8" pots. Then I left them in those pots, I never transferred them to larger pots. Obviously I never was able to eat anything out of the pots.

I had basil and rosemary on my kitchen windowsill and I can't even keep plants alive.

But I bought soil and a large window box today for some lettuce seeds! I think playing in dirt is still fun even if unsuccessful.
post #13 of 30
My gosh, I think I have killed just about everything at one point or another. For years I killed every houseplant I had except a Pothos I got in college (still have the darn thing!).

The first year I grew anything outside, it was in a tiny little plot where the sidewalk had been ripped up in front of my apartment. I didn't do a thing aside from plug the starts in. I think I got one tomato and a tiny hot pepper. It was beyond tragic. Then there was the year I planted watermelons next to a hole that should have drawn my attention. Imagine how surprised I was when the groundhog ate the plants down to nothing. : Last year I spent a week wondering what on earth was wrong with my corn only to discover the dog was cropping it neatly as he walked by. This year not ONE garlic came up from the .5 pound I planted. However, some store bought garlic that had sprouted and DD planted in a corner came up and looks beautiful.

ETA; I quit with broccoli too. Every year I grow it and we get one meal before it bolts. I have to remember to plant it in the summer for a fall harvest!
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
Oh geez... what *haven't* I done...

I've had a May baby and a June baby. Hubby's had to work 60-80 hours a week lately - meaning my rototiller guy has very little time to get things ready for me.

I used store-bought seedling mix one year. Freaking damped off all my seedlings - they were spindly, sad, and green stuff started growing on the top.

Another year I used yogurt cups and milk jugs to start seeds in the pantry. At least half the roots literally stuck/glued themselves to the sides/bottoms of those containers, leading to virtually zero tomatoes or peppers that year.

Last year we had 3 weeks of torrential rain. On the baby tomato/pepper/basil/everything else plants. They weren't fond of that since I don't live anywhere near the Amazon. Not under my control, but still sucked.

Last year I spent like 2 hours planting all my potato seeds (like 3.5lbs of seed?). And hubby didn't get the drip irrigation set up, and being 38-42 weeks pregnant and then having a newborn, they didn't get watered so much. I dug up almost exactly as many (if not less) potatoes as I planted. That was a waste of time.

Last year I planted garlic. Total success, which was great. The downside? I forgot green beans and garlic don't like each other. Those 2-3 rows of pole beans were just, beyond sad.

Tried cucumbers in a different spot last year. Uh, they don't do well under the shade of a maple tree. I think we got 1-2 cucumbers from half a dozen plants.

Basil. I forgot to yank the plants before we got a soft freeze. No basil to throw in the freezer.

Forgot to plant turnips last year. I only use 'em for vegetable broth, but still.

I yanked up my rosemary and sage plants last year just before our hard frost. Only to be told that it's possible one, maybe both, might've actually lived to tell another tale this year. C'est la vie.

I keep trying to get celery to germinate. Just.

Mulching. Weeding. Bermuda grass. Need I say more?
lmonter, I'd trade my successes for your failures.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeasleyMum View Post
lmonter, I'd trade my successes for your failures.
Oh, you'll get there at some point. These were all years in the making for me. We'll see what I screw up this year - it's just a comedy of errors over here. This weekend's fun? My fully stuffed fridge/freezer in the kitchen up and died. Just died. Raur.
post #16 of 30
I can't grow flowers. Every flowering plant I have either 1) came with the house or 2) was given to me by a neighbor or 3) may not make it yet (that would be my hibiscus). I even killed a star jasmine and am working on 4 agapanthus (aka lily of the nile).

Flowers from seed? hahahahaha. Poppies--Shirley, CA golden, or poppy seed poppies. They get to be 3" tall and die. Sunflowers? All germinate, out of 10 maybe 2 will make flowers. And then tip over when a squirrel? Possum? climbs them in the middle of the night and munches away. I have even tried alyssum (which I am allergic to!) and killed it.

The morning glories that seed companies won't ship here to CA because they are so invasive? I kill them.

Nasturtiums? Kill them.

The roses that came with the house? Killed them back to the rootstock. Even I couldn't kill that.

I can grow chard, leeks, garlic, peas, lettuce, carrots, summer squash, pole and bush beans, a variety of herbs, peaches, lemons....you get the picture.

I would love to have a cut flower garden. :
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by craftymom View Post
I would love to have a cut flower garden. :
Day lily?
My sister got me a solitary lily from Home Depot of all places, like 3 years ago. I ignore it, it's in a partially shaded spot, I forget to water it half the time, and now? It started out as a single stem. Now, I've got like 36+ stems/blooms that come up. I'm just too lazy to cut 'em, and have the best intentions about dividing them up and sharing them with friends and family, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
post #18 of 30
I am gardening by trial and error. I buy seeds and plants and have about a 50% success rate, which means I also have about a 50% failure rate.

Apparently it is a little too cool at our altitude for tomatoes and cukes, so they never did very well. They grew and grew, but they didn't produce.

All of my squash and melons went kaput.

I grew a gazillion tree tomatoes and I only have 2 plants left, one of which had something come up in the middle of the night and eat all the leaves off...so I may be down to 1.

I have a miracle berry plant that may be dying.

I've brought home countless plants that have died. I killed my lilikoi vine. I grew a bunch of lilikoi from seeds and they looked great, then one morning I came outside and they all were starting to turn a funny color and wilt. Within a week they were all dead.

I've killed countless cactus plants that started coming up from seed, and I've planted a bunch of seeds that just never came up. I planted 3 packets of dragon fruit seeds but I only had about 6 plants survive.

I have 3 coleus plants and one of them just suddenly dropped all its leaves and looks terrible. All of my kiwis were growing like crazy and then one day they started turning brown and within a few days they were dead. I think we're a little too cool up here for them, too.

We've got a row of pineapples that look really good, and then we have a row of a different variety of pineapples that look like they're dying. I have 2 bougainvilleas that something ate all the leaves off, and 1 that still looks good. About half of my bromeliads have survived and the others look like shriveled dry sticks.

My mint looked like cr@p until I started ignoring it, now it looks great.

We've got some really scraggly looking geraniums that stubbornly refuse to die but won't flourish either.

My plantains never came up, my angel's trumpet seeds never came up, my lion's tail never came up, I've killed 2 avocado trees that I started from seed, my miracle fruit seeds that I bought never came up, my guava seeds sprouted but didn't make it long enough to transplant.....

Right now there are 3 plants on death row outside looking like they aren't going to make it.

and I'm fairly confident I could kill an air fern if you gave me enough time


feel better?
post #19 of 30
Last year we bought organic potting soil for our container garden. I guess it wasn't pre-fertilized or whatever like normal potting soil is, because nothing really grew past starter stage. My peas did start to fruit but they died when the pods were tiny.
post #20 of 30
Oh yeah, that reminded me, my peas and green beans died too.
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