Dismal Failure

In late March-early April, Husband and I started our pepper and tomato plants. I knew we would be gone most of April, so I made sure that the timer on the grow lights was functioning well, and we only went down to water and thin seedlings. I often feel tied down by the garden. A friend came to water when we were gone.

Most years, I would check on the plants obsessively, making sure everything was perfect for the plants. We pride ourselves on being successful gardeners. Well, this year it didn’t happen.

The peppers were pretty pathetic this year. We grew five kinds, mostly sweet varieties, and they just wouldn’t grow. We have enough of them to have a variety, but they are so short and puny!

I had to buy San Marzano paste tomato plants because the ones I started just died after germination. The Brandy Boys are good, as Husband fertilized them as they were languishing in the backyard as we hardened them preparatory to planting.

I always dismissed claims that you should talk to your plants, but this year makes me think I can’t travel in April or May just so I can cosset my seedlings.

What is your most dismal failure? What is your experience starting seedlings or growing a garden? What ties you down?

33 thoughts on “Dismal Failure”

  1. The most dismal failure that comes to mind is a friendship that I failed to nourish last fall, and had to let go of. I think about this every day and wonder if there’s a way to patch it up now.

    Husband has more experience at starting seedlings, but not this year. Last year I tried zinnia seedlings, and they never emerged. I’ve just now remembered I’d like some zinnias – I could try and find some plants – is it too late to plant seeds?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Which dismal failure would you like to hear about? There have been many. The bookkeeping failure of 2010-2011 was epic and got me audited by the state and caused inaccurate paychecks. Man, does that make people mad! Yes indeed. I discovered that having an accurate invoicing, billing, and bookkeeping system is vital to operating anything. Tough lesson. I had long known that I have little talent for visual detail, to the point of a learning disability. You can hire people who do that well. Hiring someone to do this saved time, money and angst.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. failures
    let me count the ways
    someone told me once as a salesman you never count failures you just keep going until you find yes
    that’s about right

    i don’t feel so much tied down as in a situation where i get to live with the choices i’ve made

    i love hanging with my grandkids every wednesday and might be living out of the back of a vw bus if it weren’t for them but that’s not tied down that’s reaping the rewards
    i’ll just have to rig the bus with handicapped ramps in a few more years

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I feel the same about gardening, Renee. I have so many other things I want to do that I end up neglecting the young plants. I’m usually tired of tending them by August. I used to garden much more but my back won’t tolerate it so I have opted for a wooden patio garden and several large clay pots. I just have to prioritize what I want in my limited condo space.

    I started seeds in March – way too early for this long, cool spring. They were ready to be hardened by the third week of April but April was still behaving like early March. It stayed very cool and wet here until the second week of May when the temperature soared to 90, complete with July-like humidity. I had quite a few nasturtiums started and they simply gave up, along with the morning glories. I ended up direct-seeding everything into my little wooden garden and now it’s going like crazy. I have spinach, kale, chard, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, nasturtiums, zinnias, petunias, one tomato plant and one pepper on the deck. It’s warm and sunny enough on my deck to direct-seed the leafy greens. Oh, and I am also trying a few beets – we’ll see how that goes. On the ground level, in front of the front door and alongside the driveway, there are several large clay pots filled with salvia, sweet potato vine and purple petunias. I also have a large red and white impatiens. One of the morning glories that I started from seed did survive and I nursed it through the long wet spring. It’s out in front now in a small clay pot that I put on the ground near the oak tree. It’s starting to reach out to the trunk of the oak tree and I’m really hoping it can grow quickly now and bloom by late August.

    So it wasn’t a total failure, but close. I did buy the petunias, salvia and impatiens. Most of the rest I started from seed.

    I don’t want to talk about my other failures. There are so many real failures. I have enough of a genetic tendency to focus on my failures and get all morose about it so I think I will try to focus on my successes instead.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I don’t think we’ve ever started garden plants indoors…except for the dixie cup things in elementary school or something.
    Renee, do you know if your friend talked to your plants? Maybe she was mean to them?

    I don’t remember the failures. There’s been some bad crop years, but that’s just bad luck, not failures. There’s a difference I guess.
    I’ve had some set and lighting designs that didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. I remember a couple paint jobs that were really really bad. Those were ‘Learning Opportunities!’.

    Dairy cows certainly tied me down. Now days it’s just the theater schedule. or physical limitations. I don’t expect to hike Machu Picchu for example.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love your pragmatism, Ben. Blaming yourself for things over which you have no control is a surefire recipe for misery. So is blaming others for your own mistakes. All too many people do both.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. I clearly wasn’t any good at marriage although the failure of the second one wasn’t really in my hands. I’ve had some spectacular failures in the kitchen – probably too many to recount. A few years back, I tried to grow some of Jim’s heirloom bean seeds but that’s when I discovered that there is hardly any place in my house safe from the terrorist tabby. That was sad… I had been looking forward to them. And I never had the heart to tell Jim.

    I am also fairly tied to the house during gardening season; I resist any kind of big travel – I hate to be away for the big bloom which happens most of July. I often just sit on my front steps and survey all my florals in bloom during that time!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I find it interesting, vs, that you think of yourself as no good at marriage just because you’ve divorced twice. Some partners are easier to live with than others, no doubt about that, and I wouldn’t consider it a failure to opt out of a marriage that isn’t fulfilling, or even downright abusive. Life is too short to squander in a miserable relationship if you have the power to end it.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. With hindsight (boy would that come in handy upfront), I should not have married Wasband #1. Very nice guy but emotionally and psychologically we were just not suited to each other. I am reminded of this every holiday season when I get his holiday newsletter (written specifically for me, I believe) – he manages to say something every year that makes clear how different we are.

        And although second marriage’s implosion was all on Wasband #2, the red flags were all over the field on that one from the beginning. I have told YA more than once that if EVERYONE you love and admire can’t stand your choice of partner, you should definitely sit down and think that through.

        So maybe failure to pick good partners?

        Liked by 6 people

        1. I’d say that you didn’t have the wisdom to see at the time that those two choices were not good ones. I’m certainly not advocating that you start looking around for a third marriage partner, but I’m pretty sure, that those first two choices taught you things, both about yourself and your choice of mates, that you probably weren’t aware of, or at least ignored, at the time. Now, with that useful experience behind you, you’ve raised the bar, so to speak, as to whom you’d consider a potential mate. I’d be willing to bet that you’d now rule out a lot of candidates who would previously have passed muster.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Sandra has tied me down for about 5 years, especuially the last one, but I do not consider that any burden or restriction of my life. But to go to Moondogs games and eat healthy I have to leave her early in the afternoon than before. That bothers me a bit but she forgets I left in about 3 minutes

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I would like to get back up to the North Shore, but even without Sandy I would not do it. My pain issues would prevent it, driving that far.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m having trouble thinking about what my most dismal or spectacular failure might be. Somehow I’ve managed to forget most of them, and the ones that come to mind have to do with regrets.

    As BiR alludes to, losing a friend is painful, and I have lost two. One of them has since died. It pains me to know that I wasn’t there for her through her last months of life. That’s difficult to accept, and it took a long time for me to forgive myself.

    The other one hurt me deeply. She violated a sacred trust, and though we have reconciled, and she has offered a sincerely apology, our relationship is permanently damaged. For that I have forgiven her, but the fact remains, that we’re no longer friends.

    The only things I’ve started from seed were annuals, lettuce, beans, potatoes, and a few herbs. During the height of my gardening activities, which coincided with holding down a full time job, I chose to buy bedding plants established by others.

    Our animals have always tied us down somewhat. Husband and I have often traveled separately so that one of us could stay home and take care of the menagerie. On the few occasions when we traveled together, we had to find reliable caretakers for a dog, cats and several birds. Except for one case, where the couple we had hired to stay at our house while we were gone, didn’t, it worked out pretty nicely. Thanks, Bill, for taking such wonderful care of our Daisy.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. OT – The Mankato Brewery has just released it’s 24th annual RibFest beer. It’s named City Mouse in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the band of which Mike Pengra is a proud member. Congratulations, Mike. Can your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone be far behind? Skål!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. I bought a few bedding plants, flowers, spending top dollare at the local graden center. The almost constant 40 mph winds have ripped them tho shreds.


  12. The Birds tie me down as they need clean water and fresh food daily. The most I would consider leaving them alone is two days. Any longer than that requires boarding. I have a trustworthy resource to do that but these past few years with covid have sucked out my desire to go anywhere longer than a few days.

    Liked by 6 people

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