Epic Failures of 2015

It's a shame that you only get one shot each year to get gardening right. Once you figure out what went wrong, you have to wait all winter to try again.....

Well, this year I had some epic fails; here they are in no particular order:

Grape transplanting in summer
Last winter, I moved my Niagra white grape out of the forest (where it barely subsisted for 3 years) and put it out in full sun. It put on some new growth this year but not as much as expected. Even still, I was encouraged enough to take the faltering Valiant grape from the forest and move it up into the sun.

It had much longer roots than I expected and they were entangled with other plants and even spiraled around themselves! So I straightened them out and put them in their new home.

The plant promptly died. Like - died, died. Crispy, brown, death.

I just left it alone and went and asked my neighbor if I could take cuttings from her grape this winter to replace the one I killed.

Then lo and behold  - the grape came up like a phoenix...maybe.

Here are some new leaves:
So....that tells me the roots are still alive and hopefully they with blast out of the ground next spring with new growth!

Growing plants under a blue spruce tree
I have a spruce tree with major issues.
It's basically missing it's whole butt. It had a severe fungal infection and a lot of the branched died. I cut them off. That might have been a mistake....

Well....so far this year, I have tried to grow strawberries, salvia and astilbe. All of them have died under the spruce. I watered them, I was attentive....

Here's the problem. The spruce provides a ton of shade. It's also growing in the worst class 5 clay mixture I have ever seen.  Poor tree. No wonder it got all infected and grew slowly over the last 8 years. So none of the other plants could cope.

I am still holding out hope that the astilbe might be alive. It's all brown and crispy. Maybe the roots are all good and they will send up new growth in the spring. I am toying with the idea of waiting to see....but am also tempted to divide some daylily plants and pop them underneath. We shall see...

Growing fall peas
I was so suave this year. I planted two crops of peas. One in early spring and the other a week after the first crop was taken down. They were doing great in the shady strawberry patch. Then they just stopped growing. And got eaten by flea beetles. Then they just gave up.

If I try fall peas again, it's going to need to be in the sun.

Planting Rye as a cover crop
I am just disgusted about this one. I had plans this year to make my garden grow through the fall and winter. Partially to make food in the winter (greens mostly) and partly to add/keep nutrients in the soil. So I planted my first cover crop. I went to Whole Foods and bought some Rye.

I planted it and waited for the glorious growing to begin. But no glorious growing occurred. Instead, I found half eaten rye grains all over my garden. Mice!!! Or Squirrels!! Or some other little buddy had eaten all the grains.

Well, that's not happening again.... I planted fava beans and a few random soybeans I had in storage and they will grow in some of the garden and get turned in next spring.

Growing butternut squash
These plants were so gorgeous going into summer and full of flowers. But they never made a single squash. Not even a baby one. I really wanted butternuts to work for me. I am to scared to grow them again and will be growing trombone squash next year instead.

Protecting the garden from wildlife
My garden is fenced for a reason....but I still find myself growing things outside of the fence. All of my "outside" sunflowers were eaten to the ground (repeatedly!) and now the new potato plant was devoured by somebody. That's the risk when you don't use fences....but even in the fence we had massive bunny attacks this year.

Failing to water for most of the season
There is no excuse for this. I really thought the sprinklers hit the garden and I have apparently not watered for 8 years. This year was dry and cold. The plants needed water and I didn't deliver. There was a major decrease in productivity as a result. I take full blame.


This one is also my fault but it was with good intentions. I don't like the idea of relying on outside inputs to keep my garden growing. I want it to be sustainable. So I have been feeding my garden only what grows in my lot - leaves from the trees, table scraps, etc. It's not enough and I need more food for my heavy feeding squashes, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, melons, peppers, and greens. I think I have a solution! But we'll have to wait for next year to see if it all works out!

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