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Gardening and losing the faith

WildFlower_UKWildFlower_UK Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 215
I don't expect to be the only one this year, let alone ever, but I've had so many gardening fails this year that I'm starting to lose faith.

It started earlier this year when it was the main spring sowing time. Although I had a 100% success rate with tomato seed germination (more on that later), other veg seeds like beetroot and radishes were much less successful. And although some beetroot did germinate, they never amounted to anything. After about 2 months since sowing them, no beetroot bulb was forming so yesterday I pulled them all up. About 1/3 of my radishes are successful - plenty of bushy greens, hardly any actual bulbs. My coriander keeps bolting, as does my rocket, and the mixed pick and come again lettuce are taking forever to grow to anything edible. By the time it was warm enough and I hardened off my tomatoes to be planted outside, they were looking stressed and leggy (particularly the cordons - bush variety slightly healthier, although not so much now). Hardly any of my giant sunflower seeds germinated (although I'm assuming that the seeds might have been a bit old), and lots of my Dwarf French beans seeds didn't germinate (I managed to get five which are now in the garden although very small still). 

So my veg growing wasn't going great. But last week I went on a UK break to elope and left my cat and garden to a friend to look after, with a breakdown of instructions. Through absolutely no fault of theirs, what I came back to was a flattened meadow (due to heavy rains), potted lavender and rosemary bushes that had just completely died and gone brown (I told her not to water them as they'd been watered a day before we went so not sure what happened as they should have been fine), and my tomatoes look like they're struggling even more (see image below of a bush variety). I was, and still am, gutted. So much so it took me 5 days to work up enough strength to get out there and really investigate the damage.

I've managed to stake/prop up some of the worst of the collapsed meadow, the lavender and rosemary will have to be binned, and I'll just see what happens with the tomatoes (they were planted out 2-3 weeks ago - after hardening off for a week - into a rich, fresh soil/compost/manure mix, and were given some Tomorite yesterday to see if that will help). My green beans and courgettes plants are small but reasonably healthy looking, and the sunflowers (small red ones) that did germinate are steadily growing (hope!). Thankfully I've had a plentiful supply of basil so we've at least enjoyed a few batches of decent pesto!

I don't really expect anyone to say much, but I don't have many friends who do a lot of gardening and I just wanted to rant/seek sympathy from fellow gardeners who I'm sure have experienced more than their fair share of disappointments!



  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 22,939
    It's been a bad year for many of us and vegetable growers seem to have been hardest hit. It helps to rant!
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,562
    You have my sympathy. It certainly HAS been a bad year and vegetable growers get the worst of it because they are relying on lots to eat, not just a pretty appearance. I can't comment on the poor germination but more details might elicit advice and improved results next time. Don't lose hope - we have all been there - and the weather/ pests/ diseases are beyond us all at times.
  • EustaceEustace OxfordPosts: 1,230
    Vegetable growing is subject to the vagaries of the weather; we had a drought in April and extended frosts in May. So, everything is delayed here in my garden. Radish has bolted and I made stir-fries out of the leaves. The leaves of beetroot were all frosted over and the survivors have not set any beetroots. Tomatoes and chillies survived because they were inside until the beginning of this month. Every year is different and we have to accept what nature gives us :smile:
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,214
    What a disappointment.  We start off so full of hope with our seed sowing and then things just disappear, die or generally fail.  We only have a small veg patch and as I was sowing lots of flower seeds in the kitchen this year I limited the veg to courgettes and basil.  I buy young veg seedlings from Rocket Gardens.  That said, the chard I got from them was all eaten by snails/pigeons and even sparrows.  I've ordered more...  I'm happy with the basil though - all lined up on a kitchen windowsill.  We've had one crop for pesto from it already.  We tried growing rocket on the allotment when we had one but it was always decimated by flea beetle so gave up on that.  And no-one can grow coriander!
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 16,511
  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 2,666
    No two years will follow exactly the same pattern weather-wise, so some plants are going to cop for it one way or another. We'll sow/plant something too early or too late and get caught out by an unexpected/prolonged spell of rain/drought/wind/hail/snow/frost/plague of locusts. I'm working on the basis that if I have a wide variety of crops (small numbers of each), my chances of some success increases ;) 

    Germination of sweetcorn and broccoli seeds was very poor. Leek, sweetcorn and french beans seedlings have been weedy and not really developed.

    I got loads of chilli and tomato plants (more germinated than I needed/have room for) but no tomatoes or chillis appearing yet so the jury is out there.

    I've got loads of strawberries, peas, broad beans and rhubarb. Potato plants are currently looking good.

    I got 3 bareroot blackcurrant bushes and 3 small blueberry plants this year. All are healthy and have small amounts of fruit on them. The blackberry and cherry bushes have nothing as yet and the bare-root raspberry canes are all dead  :( 

    It's very much swings and roundabouts, which probably make the successes that much sweeter :) 

    Keep the faith @WildFlower_UK!
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,531
    I planted 21 squash plants out, and overnight all but 3 completely vanished to slugs, the last 3 were also covered in the horrible things. I went inside and told my husband to go and remove the slugs.. because I would burst into tears if I had to look at the stumps of my plants again.

    The next day I sowed more plants, don't give up, there's always next year.

    PS your tomato looks as if it is to wet and possibly to cold as well.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,042
    I'd say the tomato looks hungry.
    As my life mentor (Sir Terry Pratchett) points out "Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom". This definitely applies to growing vegetables. Annual veg growing is much more difficult than growing flowers - a much narrower window between success and failure. But when it does work - and it does sometimes work - it does make you happy. So its worth putting up with these setbacks - we all have them - and to keep trying. 
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,199
    A lot of varieties of coriander bolt really quickly but I've found that Calypso is very slow to bolt and can continue to provide leaves for most of the year.
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