Stink! How Did THAT Happen?

What have we tried in our garden at Little Sprouts that has failed? A LOT! We are learning the key to gardening success is never give up and keep trying.

Many seeds we planted did not germinate. Why? I have no idea. When planting seeds in trays in the house, we had things fail to grow and things that germinated with ease. We also had many things germinate and die. There are multiple reasons why this can happen. Even outside we had many seeds fail. We were so excited about our monarch way station kit, but truthfully, we got a couple of zinnias and one other plant I haven’t identified and that’s it. There were some vines growing in it that I thought were part of the kit, but they turned out to be birdhouse gourds. They must have come from rogue seeds from the gourds we grew last year.

Let’s talk about our epic failure with squash. We planted a bed of summer squash, one full of pumpkins, and one with butternuts. Guess what? For the second year in a row, they are all DEAD. Squash vine borers-the bane of my existence. In the future, we will probably not even try to grow squash. We are going to give it another shot this summer, but if they get them again, we are done. Over it! Borers look like a wasp. They bore a hole in the stem of the squash, lay their eggs and fly away. The eggs hatch and the larvae inside the stem eat it from the inside out. And the plant immediately dies. We got a handful of squash, more than last year, but still disappointing from more than a dozen plants. I noticed today that our watermelons were looking like the dead squash and I wondered if the borers got them too.

What about broccoli? We grew broccoli, but most of the heads were the size of a thumb. Why did we not get huge crowns like you see in the grocery store? I really don’t know. We only had two cauliflowers produce and they were big, but what happened to all the rest? I don’t know. If we wanted to eat a lot of broccoli and cauliflower, too bad!

Oh my goodness, the weeds! What kind of supernatural weedy weed faces made all these weeds get in our gravel between our beds? We spent a lot of time and money planning for little weeding between the beds only for the weedy mc weedersons to ignore all of our efforts. Johnson grass and wild blackberry vines are creeping their way up everywhere. What’s the deal with that? And the brand new planting medium in the expansion is full of crab grass and Bermuda. In our original backyard garden, we never had grass like that, so it must have come with the medium which is a total drag. We have been relentless about picking weeds, but we are just not keeping up with the demands of the gardens. They look a fright.

The carrots we planted in the one bed that has clay dirt in it were a big mistake. They are growing in there, but if you try to pull one, off pops the top and you have to dig the carrot out with a jack hammer. I’ll remember next time to only have the kids plant carrots in sandier soil.

Last year was our first time to plant garlic and it grew beautifully. This year we grew it again and it didn’t turn out quite as well. I bought some giant cloves at the farmer’s market that were already separated. I shared some with a friend and neither of us got a great harvest from them. I did some reading and found out I had the kids plant them a little too deeply and you should not separate your cloves until you are about to plant them. Hindsight is 20/20 right? Also, some of the cloves just made one giant round bulb with no separate cloves. I asked my friends from Peace of the Prairie Organic Farm who have a stand at the farmer’s market and they said we should have snapped off the scapes and the cloves would have formed. The other garlic we’ve grown was soft neck garlic and it didn’t make scapes, so I didn’t know we were supposed to do that. Another lesson learned.

Many mistakes have been made in the Learning Garden, but guess what? It’s a LEARNING GARDEN and we are here to learn in it. It’s still absolutely breathtaking and putting out vegetables as fast as we can figure out what to do with them, so it’s a blessing anyway. And every time we make a big mistake, we learn a lesson that we won’t forget. It’s the best way to learn. When you make mistakes, remember to focus on all the things you’ve done right and you’ll be okay. Enjoying the process is what matters.



  1. I’m glad it’s not just me that has disasters! Things always look so promising in spring and early summer – but at this time of year things start to go wrong! It can be so disheartening. But as you say, it’s all about learning – and even better if we can all learn from each other’s mistakes (and provide moral support!!) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s