Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 Garden Review Part 4: The Fails

In this final part of my 2012 garden review I am going to address the fails. I mean the utter fails. For me there is good news and bad news in this review. The good news is that there weren't many utter fails. The bad news is that they were completely preventable because in general they failed because I never got them properly started or out in the garden in the first place!
I decided last year that I wanted many more marigolds in my garden. They are supposed to help with pest control and they make the garden look so cheerful in August and September. So I started over 300 of them and they looked great! But I got myself bogged down and never...oh, the shame of it! them transplanted into the beds. Only a small handful made it into the garden and they are still happily blooming away today. But as you can see in the above photo, most of them died miserably in their original cells. The exact same thing happened with my celery. I started two kinds: Tango, which I've grown before and love, and Afina Cutting, which was new to me and looked interesting. I start them in a small flat and then transplant to individual cups in late winter, where they grow big and strong before planting out. This is the point where I went wrong. They never got transplanted and eventually choked out in their tiny flats.
My fall brassicas: broccoli, kohlrabi and cauliflower were fails because they never even got started. I dragged my feet and just didn't do them.

Swiss chard was pretty close to an utter fail. Which is a first for me. Chard is usually extremely reliable and prolific here, but this year my plants were diseased early on and remained so all summer. They are still growing, but they are stunted and as soon as the leaves reach a usable size, they get all speckled and brown. I have gotten almost no harvest out of them as opposed to pounds and pounds last year. I planted four varieties which usually do quite well: Fordhook Giant, Ruby, Perpetual Spinach and Argentata. None of them did well this year, but at least in this regard I am not the culprit!
I have yet to have any real success at growing spinach, though I try every year. The plants never get very big or robust, whether they are spring plantings or fall plantings. They also seem to be a real target of pests!
Cucumbers were also pretty close to utter failures. Last year I was giving cukes away by the bagful and making jars and jars of refrigerator pickles. I have only grown the heirloom variety Double Yield and been very pleased with them. But alas, this year they produced a mere handful of cukes. With the cukes, I'm not at all sure what the problem was. Maybe it was just the location I chose for them.
That about covers my 2012 garden! I have missed mentioning a few successes like my garlic and shallots, which did really well this year. And the garden's not finished yet; I have brussels sprouts yet to harvest and cool weather crops such as kale going strong. I am not done totalling the overall poundage yet, but I know I have harvested more than in 2011 so it will turn out to be my best garden to date, which is what I strive for each year: to improve the garden and to improve as a gardener. There is always more to learn and I can see that the importance of self-discipline is one of the lessons I am learning. I'm already looking forward to next year's garden!


  1. Congratulations on the best garden to date! Yes, we all have our failures. A perfect year would be nice, but I've never had one in over fifty years of gardening.

  2. Thank you Granny! I can accept the failures; you are right, there is no perfect garden. I just get mad at myself for not always getting things done that I should!

  3. Great that you had the best garden ever! One can only do so much so enjoy what you do get done! Nancy

    1. I am loving gardening Nancy! I knew it was for me even after the first year of retirement when we had miserable weather and almost nothing grew.