Monday, April 8, 2013

Gardening Fail Moments - Learning From My Adventures (and maybe sharing a laugh or two?)

When I write a blog post, usually I just summarize what went well and how I did it. This time I decided it was time to own to up to what I call my "fails" in the garden. You know when you have an idea and you're very invested in it, only to see it fall apart or finish with lackluster results? Yeah, it happens. And it's funny! Here are my top 4 garden-fail experiences of the last year. I hope you are as amused by it as I am. It's all part of learning and growing right (pun intended)??

Before I get into the main story, here's another fail moment that I had to capture on camera. I reached for the oatmeal in the cupboard, and...

Oatmeal everywhere. I still find a piece here or there. Luckily I could laugh about it, because it was just so ridiculously messy! But I digress, on to the more interesting stories:

Fail #4. Squash. This one isn't very exciting, but last year I had three squash plants in my yard that I started from seedlings. They looked like the picture below, with beautiful healthy leaves, and bright yellow flowers. Guess what happened to them? They were eaten by squash bugs - literally eaten to stems. No squash last year - but I'm trying again this year! Winter squashes, not summer squashes. Cross your fingers for me.

Such pretty flowers. It could have been a squash!
Fail #3. Celery. I love 17 Apart's blog, and was inspired to regrow celery starting from the base. I've successfully planted somewhere close to five celery bases. Then, they die. Every. Single. Time. Either I leave the plant out in the cold, or it doesn't get enough water, or it gets too much water. I have not freaking figured out how to make this damn plant grow. I love celery leaves, which I used in chicken soup. Then the plant that I took them from died. Keeping with the theme, I have another one growing roots in the kitchen windowsill...

Celery plant #1 growing some roots in a shallow dish. RIP.
Celery #X: This one died out in the cold. I wasn't really surprised that it died, so my mourning was extremely tempered.

Fail #2. Daffodils. I'll elaborate on these last two stories. The previous apartment that Ben and I rented had these beautiful daffodils in the front yard. Gorgeous, multicolored flowers that pop up just when you're getting really sick of winter. 

I found one bulb off to the side that was sticking out of the ground. So I decided to bring it inside and put it in a pot! Then, I accidentally snapped it. What do you mean snapped it, Carolyn? Here:

Yeah. It never came back after that.
But wait, that's not all. I had the (actually brilliant, not a fail) idea of digging up the excess bulbs in the fall and bringing them with us to our new apartment. After carefully layering them in pots, I watered and watched them do nothing during the winter, and was excited to see beautiful stems poking out in January. I watched and I waited, and they grew and grew:

Then Easter came around and the bulbs were SO close to blooming. I took these pictures periodically, because I was planning on having a bulb-to-bloom post about how beautiful the daffodils were. Also because i wasn't sure what color daffodil bulbs we have. See close to blooming flowers:

So close to bloom!

And then it was hot in Seattle for a couple of days. And apparently I was supposed to water my plants in pots. (But I live in Seattle!). And the blooms completely dried out. No daffodils. No daffodils?! Yep, no more daffodils this year...

Ben was quick to remind me that they'll bloom again next year. Thanks babe.

Fail #1. Carrots. I love carrots. Roasted, raw, in stew; orange, purple, organic, non-organic. All kinds of carrots. I started some in the fall last year, and I was really excited about them. I planted maybe 20. Then the adorable cat next door scratched around the seedlings, and then there were only four. They were too tiny all winter to harvest, but tonight I was going to roast some carrots from my farm share and thought, hey! Let's add the biggest carrot from the garden! They look almost ready (and I planted a new crop, and need space for new seedlings). Here's what the green foliage looked like:

That looks big and tasty doesn't it?!

So I carefully dug around the root, got a solid grip, and pulled!

Well, little carrot, I can't very well put you back in the ground, can I? (My hands aren't very big). I took it in the kitchen and hoped that it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. Then I tried not to laugh. 

Nope, still a tiny carrot. Well, I decided to wash it off and roast it anyway. After taking a bite off the bottom. And guess what? It didn't taste very good. Not sweet, kinda bitter. A bit carrot-esque, but not extraordinary...

Can you guess which one is from my garden?
We'll just say Full Circle did a much better job growing carrots than I did. But on the plus side, it's a fancy white carrot!!! OoooOOoOo. Unfortunately it was about half that size once it was done roasting. I was surprised - after a good 30 minutes at 400, it was actually really tasty. For the one or two chews that we got at least. Here's hoping to better carrots next time!

Are there any gardening fails that you've learned from?


Edie said...

LOLOL I literally LOLed when I saw the poor little carrot sad but so cute! :)

Laineybug said...

Haha, wonderful post! =) I love daffodils, here's hoping they bloom next yea!

Sophia said...

Your carrot is adoooorable! I'm so disappointed that it didn't taste good. Do you think it just needed more time? I also had a similar oatmeal fail this morning while making my smoothie! hahaha

Benjamin Leipzig said...

the carrot was very tasty!!!!! but dont forget all the wonderful planties that are growing. and good thing we got that vacuum for the oatmeal.

Vicki Valdez said...

I did the same thing with flour I am afraid if I moved the frig I would still find some.And I am so sorry about the daffodils. I seem to only have luck with the yellow ones I have planted the white and orange ones but they never seems to grow right , but yes they will be back next year. I have never tried to grow celery so not sure what would help.And finally the "CARROT" that is the cuties thing.