Failure: Part of the Gardening Experience


I picked my first ear of corn. Corn I grew myself! Unfortunately, my ear of corn is about 3 ½ inches tall. And that’s after it had been incubating on the stalk for nearly four months. (I later found out corn should grow in about 75 days.) So, it’s not the large, plump, melt-in-your-mouth-with-every-bite ear my wife purchases at the road-side stand. But still, I’m elated! Could we classify this as a resounding success in the garden? I think it’s safe to say, it’s a colossal failure! But only in terms of how the corn turned out. The overall experience was wonderful!

Failure is part of the deal when gardening. It’s not preferred… but we have to keep in mind that gardening is about learning, experimenting and accepting the outcome, good or… well, in my case, puny, as a part of the gardening experience.

I’ve never grown a vegetable in my life! Not even every edible garden’s staple – the tomato. But I like to try new things. Live on the edge. Attempt to grow corn in my suburban backyard.

Turns out, I planted way too early, didn’t fertilize enough, and failed to monitor the little critters that like corn as much as I do, (who knew snails could be so vicious?) Thanks to the sunny Southern California weather, I can try again if I act now. So I learned something from this failure, as I have from previous gardening challenges, and know what I need to do to be successful the next time. A gardener once commented, “We aren’t making mistakes, we’re making experiences!”

Here are four common mistakes gardeners make when trying to grow something new:

Planting The Wrong Type of Plant
Be sure to plant what will grow in your area. The U.S. is divided into 26 zones based on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This will help you determine which plants will grow well in your area of the country.

Planting In The Wrong Area
Different plants require different amounts of light. Be sure to understand how much sunlight specific plants need in your garden and plant them in the right spot. I won’t tell you about the time I planted roses on the north side of my house… I was young.

Planting At The Wrong Time
Every zone has the “right time” to plant if you are planting edibles. There are warm weather edibles like tomatoes, squash and herbs. And cool weather edibles like cabbage, broccoli and kale.

Paying attention to how your plants react to the amount of water you are giving them is important. Be sure to research your plants watering needs to help get them off to a good start and maintain healthy growth.

Don’t run in the other direction if you have had a gardening failure. Gardening is about the experience of being outdoors, spending time working in the soil. Learning how to grow a beautiful flower or a nice ear of corn is an added benefit. Happy gardening!

What challenging gardening experiences have you had?


One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. This is so true. This year I planted Cucumbers at alternate sights throughout the garden. What an eye opener to discover how under fertilized areas of the garden were. Corn trail 1…….Fail for me too. Rotten on the stalk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *