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So You're a Gardening Failure...

Aug 17, 2007
There's a feeling I understand. I had it last year when my garden was a complete flop. But this year things have changed. My garden is flourishing. We're seeing results already. Everything is coming up, umm, maybe not roses, we have lots of other plants growing, but coming up beautifully.

We've even picked our first squash of the year. It was delicious.

Sometimes things just aren't right for your garden right away. I suspect last year's failure was due to a combination of factors. Soil that wasn't quite right. A heat wave we weren't home for that killed a lot of our plants. Other factors that were beyond our control.

But that didn't keep us from trying again.

The difference this year has been amazing. We did a lot of composting through the fall and winter. We changed the containers we use, and allow the roots to leave the container and go into soil. And the weather has quite frankly just been cooperating.

Sometimes it really can be just the most basic things that are keeping you from succeeding with your garden. That doesn't mean you have a brown thumb, just that you need to figure out what went wrong.

Look at where you plant your garden. Is it really the best place in the yard for it? My husband and I were able to change the location of our garden this year because several highly unusual for our area freezes killed off plants in other parts of the yard. Rather than replace the flowers, we moved our vegetable garden there. It has been a huge help.

Think about how you water. We grow several varieties of squash and cucumbers, and they really do not like water on their leaves. We use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler, so that the water goes just to the ground and roots, where it is needed. This is highly efficient and better for your water bill in many cases.

Watch out for heat waves. I really think this is what did us in worst of all last year, as many plants died shortly before the vegetables had ripened. It was hugely frustrating. If we had watered enough we probably could have kept more plants alive.

Think about how you are fertilizing your plants. Chemicals are easy, but I really love using compost. No worries about what you're putting on your food. It's cheap. But a poor soil may not improve fast enough sometimes, which can cause your garden to fail. Don't give up. Odds are it will have improved by the following planting season.

Make sure you understand the needs of the plants you are trying to grow. Read up on specific plants, even before they give you trouble. Some like more sun, some like more shade, more water, need slightly different soil, you get the idea.

A beautiful garden won't happen every year for every gardener, but you can improve your own chances for success.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.gardenmedley.com/ about her own experiences gardening. She also offers a review of the Home Vegetable Gardening ebook at her site.
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