Before we even moved into our home, we knew where we were going to plant our corn. A sunny corner in the back of the yard was the perfect spot. We called it Corn Corner. Last spring, after spending a couple of years cleaning up and defining our garden beds, my family finally mapped out our perfect garden. Some of our plants – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash – we purchased as seedlings. Some – corn, peas, spinach, arugula – went into the ground as seeds. Those were the most exciting. We checked daily to see what had sprouted. And we fantasized about what we’d do with our bounty. The corn started to germinate. One by one, we saw little green sprouts unfurl and grow, and we were very proud of ourselves.
Then, one morning, I found my husband inspecting Corn Corner. "There are only 2 left!" he told me. The chipmunks had devoured our corn stand. The thought that we wouldn't
have corn hadn't occurred to us. Sure, it's just corn. We could easily buy it fresh at the market. But when you put work into your garden and it doesn't turn out the way you expected, it can be frustrating.
One of the joys of my work is seeing all of the beautiful photographs and reading the inspiring stories of excited kids biting down into bright, crunchy vegetables. When your garden doesn't go as planned, however, those images and stories can be more intimating than inspiring.
Why aren't my carrots as big and straight as those?
How can all those beds be so free of weeds?!
Was I supposed to prune our apple tree?
What ate all the pea plants?
Why didn't that school's raspberry patch grow into a thorny jungle?
How did that garden program get up and running so quickly?
The pressure to produce picturesque gardens can be overwhelming. So we are embracing all of the frustrations, imperfections and, well, failures that come with gardening. In this month's newsletter, you'll find resources to help you maintain the garden you want and anecdotes to remind you that struggles are universal and we all have experienced our fair share of "learning opportunities" in the garden.
In preparation for setting realistic expectations for this year's gardens, we want to see your less than perfect garden photos. Let's share our less successful moments so that we can all learn – and laugh! – together! Share your photos and stories on our Facebook
page or Twitter
using the hashtag #GardenFails