Garden 2009: Failures…

I wanted to write some posts to catch up on my garden from last year. A couple weeks ago I wrote about my garden successes in 2009. Today is the opposite – the plants that were complete failures in 2009.

Cucumbers. Cucumbers were a complete and total failure. I tried planting them twice and barely got any flowers, much less a cucumber. They would grow into these pitful looking plants and then die. I’m not sure what went wrong with them. Not enough water, bugs, the soil, who knows. It could’ve been anything. I’d like to try them again in 2010 though to see if we fare any better.

Corn. I tried planting corn in a three sisters garden in one of the beds along with pole beans and pumpkins. The three sisters garden is a method of companion planting where the pole beans use the corn for support and the pumpkins grow around the bottom of the corn and keep the weeds down. The pole beans also fix nitrogen in the soil for the corn. Well I ended up with some decent looking corn stalks, but very few actual ears of corn. And the ears we did get were not developed all the way. We may have been picking it too early. Also an animal of some sort got in the garden and ate some of the corn so that didn’t help at all. We’re going to try corn again but not in the three sisters format.

Pole Beans. I am totally done with pole beans from now on. They were the bane of my garden in 2008 and were also a pest in 2009. I planted them around the base of the corn in the three sisters garden (see corn above). They wound around the corn stalks for support and then kept right on growing until they pulled the corn stalks over. We did get more of a harvest off the pole beans in 2009 compared to 2008 but I thought the pods were a lot tougher than bush beans. Also the pole beans were home to the BIGGEST grasshoppers I have ever seen. They totally freaked me out.

Soybeans. I thought it would be great to plant soybeans in the garden because I love edamame. I had visions of my freezer stocked with edamame and I could snack on it all winter. So I planted an entire plot of soybeans. And they grew just fine. They even survived a deer attack. But when it came time to harvest them, oh boy. I think we let them stay on the plant too long so they were a little tough. And really, really hard to get off the plants. We sat out in the garden all afternoon one day pulling soybeans off the plants. We never did get them all. If we plant them again, it will only be a few plants and I will keep a careful eye on them.

Peas. Peas were one of the first vegetables I planted last spring. I planted two short rows of them by my onions and lettuce. They were supposed to be self-supporting plants so I did not use a trellis. They took forever to grow and did not produce very many pods at all. I probably got about a half-cup of peas total for the whole year.

Herbs – Cilantro, Parsley, Oregano. I planted all three of these herbs two or three times and they never grew. I direct sowed them into the garden and not one sprout came up. This year I will start seeds indoors so I can set the seedlings into the garden instead of direct sowing.

Beets. We tried two different plantings of beets, one in the summer and one in the fall. The plants never came up for the summer planting. For the fall planting, they did come up and get some decent leaves but they never got big enough to produce any fruit.

I think that’s pretty much it on the crops I consider failures. There were also a bunch of crops that were in between. Not a wild success but not a complete failure either. I’ll try to write up a separate post on that and also on a phenomenon in the 2009 garden – surprise plants!


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