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do gardening make you feel frustrated sometimes?

15 years ago

like for me, i used to think that gardening is so easy, you can just plant the seeds, water them daily, they will just grow like you see in those pictures on the packages.

but in real life, it is not like that. bugs eat my young plants. i have some pill bugs problem as some of you already knew. sometimes, i can spent quite a lot of time, trying to squeeze those tiny ones by hand. very time consuming.

if i don't fertilize, the plants don't seem to grow much; and if i fertilize too much, they will die! and sometimes, for no particular reason, they just die. for example, i planted some alaska peas at different areas with different sunlight exposure, somehow they all just died recently. and they didn't even grow much.

and once they die, i always try to plant some more, then i will have to spend extra time on that again.

what do you do when those things happen to you?

Comments (26)

  • 15 years ago

    I always figure that is part of gardening. Not everything is going to grow right, and bugs will always be a problem.

    The most frustrating thing I find about gardening is dealing with invasive species- namely the Japanese beetle at the moment. Who the heck released that pest. If it was meant as a science experiment, then why didn't the research a little bit better?!

    Despite the Japanese beetles, and constantly having poor pea plants, I still feel gardening is worth it. There's just nothing quite like eating a bean right off the vine, or running out to the garden to harvest some lettuce for a quick salad.

  • 15 years ago

    Ay, tell me about it. All of my squash plants only want to put out female blossoms, which has been so frustrating. I just try to remind myself that I'm trying to do this for fun and to better understand how food is grown and the process plants go through in their life cycles. It's really a learning experience for me. I also am reminded that I'm not dependent on my garden to eat and that I'm lucky in the sense that if my veggies fail, I can just go to the store to eat. I think about what it must've been like to face some of these problems when life was rustic and your plants were all that fed you. So I just wait it out and just hope the next blossom will finally be the one to give me squash.

    It's still tough when you devote so much of your time and energy on something that just won't go totally right.

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  • 15 years ago


    That's all I have to say on the matter.

  • 15 years ago

    I second the squirrels and raise you a tomato plant eating Great Dane who things raised beds are his personal play yard. He chases the bees and if he just "happens" to leap at one into the center of a box, while he's there, he might just as well wallow in the soil a bit.

    But seriously, the bugs are enough to make you want to throw up your hands in defeat. However, if it wasn't work, it wouldn't be so rewarding.

  • 15 years ago

    I take the good with the bad because I really do enjoy gardening- most all aspects of it, including weeding.

    Here's something that may be of interest to you, PJ: I especially love hanging out on these boards and learning. It really is amazing that once you've got a thing 'figured out' how much more enjoyable it is. For instance, when I first started gardening about 5 years ago, I did the usual nursery thing, and the traditional veggie patch rows. It bored me, but I still enjoyed it. Things died, so I tried new things the following year. I hang out on several boards here, and it's amazing the wealth of information that can be gleaned, and when applied, OH WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT MAKES! I learned to winter-sow. I have thousands of plants now before the nurseries are even thinking about selling. I found the square-foot gardening forum, and I've changed the setup of my veggie patch. I discovered black plastic! WOW, that one was HUGE!
    I have learned about plants and their habits, and a little information goes a LONG way in the gardening arena. Nasturtiums like to be left alone- I put them in a neglected part of my garden, and big difference over there.

    On your pea-issue: I did alaskas one year, and they were 'so-so.' Realizing this year that peas in general don't like the heat was huge- I started them WAY earlier, and am having tremendous success. I also discovered one called "Wando" which loves the heat, so you may find that one works for you.

    It really is amazing the turnaround in my yard in such a short time by simply reading these forums and applying different techniques. Oh, and be sure to pay attention to people's zones, since that's key to guiding you in your area.

    As for bugs...well, yeah, they're part of gardening, too, unfortunately, and unless you're REALLY into entomology, I guess I'd suggest to search for specific things that people are doing to control whatever you have. There's a couple of simple recipes that people have found, too, that work to control bugs, but there's also the concern about what beneficial bugs might be being killed, too. I haven't gotten this far in my gardening career yet to worry a lot about bugs, but if I were going to, I think I'd be looking for ways to attract the beneficials, rather than kill the bad ones. For instance what to plant to attract them, or what to plant to deter others. Marigolds near tomatoes is the only bug-deterrent that I'm currently using, but I've heard that planting chives near roses deters Japanese Beetles, and other stuff like that.
    I prefer to just let my garden go au-naturale rather than introduce a lot of chemical applications.

    So for what all that's worth, are you starting to enjoy the gardening at all, or is it still causing you heartache?

  • 15 years ago

    Y'all haven't tried to garden in Texas, have you? We have two of every bug ever invented and they're busy making more bugs. We have strong winds that knock down the plants that have managed to survive the drought and 102 degree days. Our weeds are Texas-sized and many are fully armed with thorns and stickers. And then there are fire ants that bite you as you try to harvest. If it weren't so much fun, I'd give it up!
    Seriously, gardening is fun and rewarding, and we have two growing season here in Texas and I take full advantage of both. Love to plant, love to weed and love to eat!

  • 15 years ago

    I'll see your Great Dane and raise you scores of voles, who like to chew plants in half at the base and have bitten through a metal hardware cloth fence. And slugs by the pint.

    The hard thing is to focus on what I can harvest, rather than what's gone because of pests. I can't look at my garden this year without thinking of the dozens of marigolds, zinnias, basil plants, etc. gone to slugs, the pepper, broccoli, and kale plants eaten by voles, pea vines bitten in two at the base, squash plants eaten to the nub, cukes that never made it past seedlings, morning glories and moonflowers chopped in half, nibbled-on strawberries, girdled berry canes, greens full of slug holes ....

    This week, I actually priced some heavy-duty, stainless-steel mesh that might solve the vole problem. For the slugs, maybe next year I'll use those "organic" pellets, even I've read they may disrupt the earthworms as well. This past week I caught half a dozen voles. But the more time I spend on pest control, the less I enjoy gardening ...!

  • 15 years ago

    Give it time. You have to learn same as with anything else. As you go along, you'll see what works and what doesn't. I can't believe some of the stupid mistakes I made when I first started gardening - I was the same as you. I thought, dig a hole, put the plant in, water it, and you're good to go!! Uh-uh. Read, read, read. Learn about soil, really understand what nutrients plants need and why. You're still going to have troubles - no one can control nature or the weather. But it will get easier. I can only speak for how I learn best, but actually growing the plant and seeing what it does, how it behaves, how does it root, how does it grow, etc. is how I learn.

    I've been gardening in general for about 25 years now, but I'm growing some veggies for the first time this year and it's like my first time gardening! Until I've actually spent a season growing these plants and seeing their growth habits and life cycle, I'm not going to learn anything.

    Finally, accept that your best laid plans might, and probably will, go awry. My asparagus never sprouted leaving me with a large bare patch when it's too late to plant a lot of things, animals dug up half my cucumber and parsley seedlings, my 11 tomato plants aren't going to give me a tenth of the tomatoes I planned on because of this horrid weather we've been having, etc. You have to look at it like an adventure and every year will be different. I'm trying to relax and go with the flow. It's all you can do, really.


  • 15 years ago

    Not really. I don't expect much and am happy when I am able to harvest something.

    Last year....first year attempting gardening, all my plants that I planted in my planter along the side of my front yard were eaten. Ok...decided I can't plant edibles there. I put roses in. I lost a container oregano last year and this year. I think I overwatered both times and it just didn't recover. Or maybe it just didn't like the container or was too rootbound when I bought it. I will try again from seed next time. All my radishes and most of my toms were eaten by hornworms last year. Lots of my pepper plants were badly chewed.

    So this year I'm using Sluggo in the front, DE in the back and BT on everything and things are going a lot better. I still have some pest problems but am still able to harvest most things. Beans are still getting eaten by something. I did have some zuc plants get singed in the sun as well. Now I have to deal with leafminers. Lot's of them so I am going to go to the fabric store and get some tulle and some elastic bands and see if I can make little "hats" for my containers to keep the moths and flies off of the greens.

    I'm also learning about fertilization this year. Last year I didn't even use any. Many of my plants died from that. Okra did really well last year despite the abuse so I would recommend that to anyone in a hot climate.

    Then there is our 100-107 degree weather right now. I also learned the hard way that you cannot water during the day in that weather.

    It's all a learning experience and not everything will turn out. I doubt I will get anything off my bushbeans this year unless I find out what's eating them.


  • 15 years ago

    Be glad that you've got a garden going - I had planned to put one in this year (first spring in first house), but was never able to because: had too many other things going on, funds got diverted to other priorities, abundance of rabbits / moles / raccoons / deer that would've loved the free meal, etc. I was doing good on the seed starting (marigolds, zinnias, nasturtiums, onions, oregano, basil, parsley, and various peppers), but lost many to bad conditions, forgetfulness, and late start.

    So what I eventually ended up with is a couple pots (4 12" and 4 14") of marigolds and peppers, complete with drip irrigation - and the marigolds are doing a lot better than the peppers are (I've got one marigold plant that is almost 18" high with several 3" golden-yellow blooms). I've also got 2 window boxes that I planted a month or so late with the oregano and basil seedlings - which have really taken off despite the lengthy time spent crammed into one of those seed starting greenhouses, thankfully.

    So for now I'm in the planning stages of a new garden area. I need a new shed, so I'm gonna build a new gardening/storage shed as a "wall" on the northern garden edge - this way I can fence in the whole garden, and have the only entrance be through the shed (we'll see how that works out). Put a bird netting roof up and I'll even be able to plan for some blackberries as well.

    - Mike

  • 15 years ago

    "This week, I actually priced some heavy-duty, stainless-steel mesh that might solve the vole problem. For the slugs, maybe next year I'll use those "organic" pellets, even I've read they may disrupt the earthworms as well. This past week I caught half a dozen voles. But the more time I spend on pest control, the less I enjoy gardening ...! "

    For years my yard has been over run with chipmunks. This year I made it a game to see how many I could take away. So far I am up to ten(one I had to take away twice, she went for a longer car ride the second time around). I just took a chipmunk away today who was trying to uproot the one and only pepper plant producing peppers. I saved my pepper plant before the chipmunk ruined it, and the chipmunk now has a new home away from my garden.

    I don't know if any of you have read the book "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan - read it if you haven't- but he talks about getting creative with pest control. I like to be creative, and pest control has actually gotten fun for me.

  • 15 years ago

    Non-fruit producing tomatoes

    The banes of my existence. I'd never give up gardening though I love it way too much!

  • 15 years ago

    Yes, some things make me a bit frustrated but not overly so, because I just love gardening. I love being outside, putting my hands in the soil, growing vegetables, flowers and plants that make our lives so much nicer. I really enjoy growing from seeds and watching through the growing processes. I enjoy turning yard and kitchen waste into compost to improve my gardens.

    This year the long spell of cloudy weather slowed everything down and slugs that enjoyed it so much were a pain, but with the sun coming out a bit more now I'm starting to get a handle on them and things are finally starting to grow well.

    Over all things seem to get easier every year as you improve your soil and learn what grows well in your area, how to grow them and what you really enjoy growing. In my opinion organic fertilizers are much more forgiving than chemicals. If you concentrate on improving your soil and adding organic matter to your soil, creating a more balanced enviroment it is much harder to kill plants by over/under fertilizing a little bit. I don't think that you can add too much compost to your garden, unless you actually bury your plants you wont kill them.

    Good gardening, Mary

  • 15 years ago

    What frustrates me is sandy soil and the woes that come with it. It doesn't hold water. Fertility leaches through in an instant. And its a constant race to add organic material faster than it can burn out in the heat and humidity. But on the plus size, I can grow root crops for the first time in my life. :-)

    Note: If you live trap pests and relocate them to a different area please release them only on land that you personally own. My dad, out there in the country near the cornfields, cattle pastures, and woodlots where people want to release pests, has plenty of pests of his own already and does not appreciate city people bringing him more.

    Additionally, releasing non-native animals into a new area spreads diseases and parasites and depletes local ecological resources as the newcomers compete with the natives.

    Please, live with it or kill it yourself (snap traps are quick and merciful). Don't pawn your problem off on someone else.

  • 15 years ago

    Nope life is great in the garden if it doesn't work out I will pick it up at the store its the last place I want to be stressed at

  • 15 years ago

    Certain things frustrate me about gardening. Why aren't certain plants producing? Japanese bettles. Cucumber beetles. SVBs. Spots on my tomato plant leaves.

    Of course, each of those things gives me reason to study and plan for next year, which is part of what I love about gardening. What can I do better? What can I learn?

    I started my gardening just last year and I wish I had been able to do it all along. I love the feeling of self sufficiency. I love the satisfaction of knowing that I helped cultivate a crop that helps feed my family.

  • 14 years ago

    I love gardening, but I am frustrated at the ants and aphid problem I'm having. I feel like Bill Murray in caddyshack movie, chasing the gophers and cussing at them.

  • 14 years ago

    Gardening is not for sissies Prep. 20 push-ups for every time you over-fertilize.

  • 14 years ago

    Hang in there preppyjock, it's gardening! Some years some things do well and not others, then next year the things that did well and not so well trade places , and then some years everything does great. But one thing that remains the same is ,every year is a learning year! Have fun.

  • 14 years ago

    ya, it still makes me frustrated sometimes. because i can't plant another one, the weather won't permit, and i have to wait for another year! that is a long time. but i am getting over with it.

  • 14 years ago

    It's 86% experimentation (plants don't read the descriptions in the catalogs) and a whole lot of just plain sweat!

    I worked for a nursery for 11 years (just quit 3 wks ago) - this year, record numbers of people were looking for vegetable plants & seeds. I'm wondering just how many of those folks are putting in a garden for the first time, and how many will be disappointed at the realities. Hot sun, watering, feeding, mosquitos, squash borers, beetles, weeds and Hard Work! Not to mention the regular ruination of one's manicure. Oh, and Squirrels.

    Not for the fainthearted! But another suggestion - take classes if you can find them. The county Extension Office and local garden centers are good places to start. And if you don't see a class on a subject you're interested in, make suggestions!

  • 14 years ago

    Taking the "Master Gardener" class at your local County Extension office is a great idea. Also have you thought about teaming up with another gardener who might have a bit more experience. Most garden people I know ( as you can tell on this site) are more than willing to help. Maybe voluntering at a community garden would give you a chance to be helpful and learn at the same time.

  • 14 years ago

    I think I like the planning and troubleshooting more than the actual harvest. This was my first year planting a veggie garden and I spent (way too many) hours over the winter planning the layout, picking seeds, determining water/fert needs, etc, etc. And now after losing most everything to rot, bugs and slugs, I am already planning for next year (row covers, black plastic and drip irrigation). The few crops that have survived have almost been forgotten about. Now, I will be excited if I ever actually pull in a bumper crop of more than a handful of peas every few days. Until then, I tinker.

  • 14 years ago

    It is my belief that there is a solution to any gardening problem, you just have to find it. However, some problem's solutions may be not economically viable.

    So far this year we've successfully managed:
    Spider mites.
    Cabbage moths.

    Of course, those were the least of our problems. Even though it snowed here for two days, and was near freezing for an entire week at the beginning of June, we still held out hope for a good year. "It'll warm up!" We told each other, as we replaced frozen seedlings.

    It didn't warm up. Half of June had lows in the 30's. Half of July had lows in the 40's. We've had only a few days in the 90's. These last two weeks are supposed to be the warmest weeks of the year, and the height of our growing season, but the temps have struggled to even get into the 70's. A few nights ago, the temps were in the upper 30's and low 40's once again. It has been like Zone 1B or 2A, instead of Zone 3B.

    I've already written off any fruiting plants that normally take longer than 70 days. Walthams? Forget it! Melons? No way. Sweet corn? Not a chance, since even the wheat in the fields is having difficulty ripening. We'll be lucky to get any cucumbers at all, and a few tomatoes that will have to be ripened off the vine. No living person can remember a colder Summer in the area. But... There are beets, leafy vegetables, potatoes, and such.

    The frustrating part is figuring out if more high tunnels are worth it, or would moving be a better idea.

  • 14 years ago

    The main thing that frustrates me is that even though I live in Luther Burbank country (Sonoma Co CA), I can't seem to grow bell peppers bigger than a tennis ball! Same with eggplant!
    Here I read all these people in zones 4-7 have all of these coming out their ears, and I can't get them to grow!
    I think it may be our cool foggy nights might impede the fruit set. Other people in the area get beautiful peppers, though!
    This year has been very cool, only in the 70s, low 80s all this month. My tomatoes are very late, but I expect an August heat wave and will get them all at once! They look very healthy!
    I think we get less disease here cause we get no rain from about April/May-Oct.
    Everything else is hunky dory! LOL NT

  • 14 years ago

    every year I think, "this is it!" My garden will be AWESOME, and something random happens. THis year it is leaf miners and record heat. truth is.. Every year there is somethng that is going to happen, always frustrating, but a gardener HAS to enjoy a challenge. even if it lettuce...:)