Kate from Gardening Without Skills used to do a Garden Bloggers' Death Day post at the end of every month. I always loved that day. Not because of the death, and not even because it was funny in a very Monty Python way, but because it showed that even long time gardeners have failures. We often don't show those things on our blogs, but many new gardeners read blogs and end up thinking that gardening is so easy. That once you learn, everything lives.
Well I'm here to say that that just isn't true. Plants sometimes struggle. Sometimes they die. Sometimes the damn goundhog eats all your butternut squashes as mine did last year. Sometimes life just gets the better of you like one year in my garden I had no garden. This was four years ago. I had mono. My garden was just weeds and nothing was planted. Google was so kind that year. It took street view images which are still up. Five foot tall weeds can be seen behind my garden fence. Sometimes life happens and then life rubs it in your face. At least they have since changed the satellite image from that year. So gardening requires patience. It requires being able to accept defeat and try again. Never give up and never give in. That's what makes a gardener. So here are some photos to show you the non picture perfect parts of the garden.
I'll start with the non plant part of the tour. You see that empty spot where the trellis used to be? Well I thought the trellis just wasn't going to be strong enough to stand the winds we get here. And I just don't have the energy to deal with it right now. So no big trellis for the runner beans.
Of the plants let start with the seedlings. The above photo is a really bad photo of some basil that I put in the garden last weekend. I mistakenly took my basil out really early with some of the other plants to harden off weeks ago. Basil does better if not taken out until it warms up. When I noticed it, it was really sad. But I just left it there. It has grown slowly. But some is really struggling. I figured I'd just stick it in the garden. If it grows fine. If not I'll purchase some starts. I'll already have to buy starts from peppers as mine didn't germinate well at all.
Then there is the cumin. I haven't figured cumin out yet obviously. It too is a warm weather plant, but to get it to go to seed I need to start it early indoors. So I did. Then it started to bloom. Now it is in the garden to live or to die. Next year I'll start it later. This is my second year of trying it. Last time my seedlings all died once they got transplanted.
I planted some of my tomatoes last weekend. All of the Heinz plants seem to have sunburn. Or is it? The worse parts are in the vein area. Sunburn is usually the opposite since the deeper veins get some shade. Plus these plants have been out in full sunshine for over a week hardening off before planting. And it has been mostly cloudy since they were put out. So it is probably some disease. Last year my Heinz plants were really sickly. They put out a nice harvest on really small sickly plants. I hope they produce for me this year as I have eight of them out of 21 tomato plants so that is more than a third of my tomatoes.
This is half of my spinach bed under the row cover. Notice the bare spots. Well if you could see a bit closer you would see the poor dead plants that have withered away. When they had about two true leaves they just keeled over and died. Damping off death. RIP. The other half didn't have as much of an issue with it. I've never had such a bad damping off problem outside before.
And last but not least are the dang birds. Every year I lose some seedlings to the birds building their nests. Usually they go for the ferny foliage, but this year they went for the zinnias and left the cosmos. They lopped the top off of three plants. And one just totally disappeared without a trace. Not even a stem stub left. This one they couldn't actually get off so it is left dangling. I had one replacement zinnia. The other three will just leave holes in my bed - the bed right at the end of the rock wall garden for everyone to see.
I would still say my garden is doing pretty well this year. Amazing that I can say that when I do have so many issues. But to be a gardener is to be an optimist. Every time you put a tiny little seed into the ground, you believe it will sprout and grow. Or why would you do it? I am hoping that those tomatoes grow well and the basil survives. Maybe they will.