top 10 reasons why i suck at gardening.

8 08 2011

when i first started my garden about a month ago, i was on top of the world. things were growing! i was making life! i would eat salad like a boss all summer long!

almost like sex fantasies, i would imagine myself harvesting shining and plump red tomatoes and pornographically large cucumbers (ron jeremy grade produce). it would be glorious, and things were going so well!

and then, shit started to go wrong:

1. neighborhood cats started digging in my seed areas, killing whole squares of crops (i lost 3 squares of lettuce and one square of carrots).

2. my tomatoes won’t pollinate. the flowers just turn brown and die, and the bees never come. i only have the 4 tomatoes that were already pollinated when i got the plant.

3. my peppers are dying. the little pepper buds are just shriveling and falling off.

4. my cucumber is taking over everything. i find it’s spindly tendrils wrapped around every other plant in the bed- strangling them all slowly. although to its credit, it’s the only thing that’s actually producing any sort of vegetation.

5. my green beans have nothing to climb up, and they are OUT OF CONTROL.

6. my pumpkin just doesn’t look right. it has leaves rotting off and flowers dropping like crazy.

7. my butter lettuce keeps getting ass pounded by the rain and is looking very very sad.

8. i tried last weekend to install some barrier plants to try to keep the cats out (brussels sprouts, cauliflower, & iceberg lettuce), but i don’t think the brussels sprouts are supposed to be yellow.

9. maybe planting 5 heads of iceberg lettuce in one square was a mistake?

10. the basil seems fine, but i don’t eat that much basil.

basically my gardening euphoria has quickly descended into gardening shame and disappointment. maybe i should read a book or something, but i don’t even know where to start. i just feel very overwhelmed and very at sea. i could ask the lovely soul who helped me plant it in the first place, but i don’t want her to be disappointed in me! basically, i am castrated by my lack of knowledge and fear of failure.

i thought that gardening was supposed to be relaxing!  somebody please, FIX IT.

*no, that dead garden picture isn’t mine, but you can check out the “progress” of my garden on my flickr page. i haven’t taken any pictures of the really tragic stuff, but you can picture them in your mind’s eye (don’t forget to make ’em extra shriveled).

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7 responses

8 08 2011
Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap

I think you are very brave to have started a garden. The extent of my gardening experience was last year when I grew some green beans in a pot on my porch- I was hoping my son would want to eat them after putting all of the effort into growing them but that was just a stupid mommy pipe dream of mine.
I think I may start a garden next year but I’m not so sure organic is the way for me to go- I suck so bad at keeping plants alive I’ll need some mega chemical shit to grow anything (just don’t tell my kids in case they incur future ailments due to any chemicals ingested- I don’t need any lawsuits on my hands).
Good luck with the garden and if it doesn’t work out, just go to Whole Foods and buy a bunch of produce to give to your friends telling them that you had a bounty of a crop.

14 08 2011
bessmarvin

honestly, i really only went organic because my friend who set up me does it that way. although i have to say that i haven’t had any bug problems yet, and i’ve seen multiple worms in the hood. but really, i’m not expecting to get anything out of it. i’m surprised it’s still alive at all (although i still have time to kill it before the season is out!). sadly, if it doesn’t work out, i will not be going to whole foods for fakes. my friends can suck it, shit’s too expensive for my blood.

8 08 2011
edibleobsession

I think things are looking pretty right on in the garden. Everything seems pretty green, if a bit lean. Doesn’t look like you have any pest problems–except for the cats.
Cats, ones like mine, will eat up the baby carrot greens and lettuce sprouts like there’s no tomorrow. I can’t grow them because of our one cat. Some things were moved up a ledge that she can’t reach, if I hadn’t done that I would have no chives or lemongrass to speak of. She tries to eat the fennel fronds but, thankfully, hasn’t tried to tear them off. The fennel is also 5 1/2 ft tall, so she isn’t able to reach much of it.
One thing that helped me last year, and my pitiful cucumbers that the squirrels ended up chomping, was a tip I read to attract bees–add some yellow flowers like Yarrow to the mix. Apparently the color really draws them in.

14 08 2011
bessmarvin

thanks! my cucumber (randomly enough) is the only thing that really seems like its flourishing. the good news is that it’s full of yellow flowers and i did see multiple bees this weekend when i was pruning. still no tomatoes though… or peppers… or anything that looks remotely like a pumpkin. since i’ve installed the barrier plants, the cat attacks have stopped, but now i realized that i’ve planted my iceberg lettuce way too close together. is it possible to transplant? also, it’s growing really tall and skinny and does not seem to be producing a head of any sort… if nothing else, i can eat a lot of cucumbers this summer.

17 08 2011
jenericallyspeaking

It’s not actually Iceberg lettuce, I’m pretty sure it’s Bibb’s Buttercrunch lettuce. It is supposed to grow upwards like that. If you harvest some of the leaves, more will grow. If it looks too crowded, maybe pluck out one or two plants and leave the others growing. Also, if it starts producing seeds at the top of the plant, the leaves will be bitter & not so yummy to eat…and it’s time to pull up the plant and start over. I just took a look at your Flickr and your garden looks pretty great! Especially for a first-time garden. Some things you can do:
1. Mix one tablespoon of epsom salts into your watering can and water the peppers with that mix. They like the minerals and it might give them a boost.
2. For the pumpkin, cut off the rotting leaves and throw them away in the trash, not anywhere near the garden. Sometimes birds will nip the flowers off and just leave them laying there. True story. Pisses me off every time.
3. Your green beans shouldn’t need to climb.

To fend off the neighborhood cat, try brushing your dog and then taking the hair from the brush and scattering around the perimeter of the garden bed. I use this technique to fend off the squirrels, too. It has worked so far.

You’re doing great, keep it up!

22 08 2011
bessmarvin

it’s not the buttercrunch lettuce that i’m worried about (although that’s not doing very well. it’s so delicate and keeps getting its butt pounded by the rain). it’s the iceberg lettuce that i planted as a barrier plant for the cats. i think it’s gone to see. still keeping the cats out though, so i shouldn’t complain. and i am pleased to report that as of this weekend, i have 5 baby tomatoes on my plants & 2 baby peppers! i think having the cucumber plant have so many flowers has drawn the bees and everything seems cool. i thought my green beans needed a trellis because they were wrapping around all the other plants, but they appear to have stopped growing up and have started producing tiny beans! i can’t wait to harvest!

17 08 2011
jenericallyspeaking

P.S. I freakin’ panicked when I saw that photo at the top of the blog.

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