My Foray Into Food Storage

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Gardening Fail!

34 Comments

Remember how I said that I would always keep this real?  That you’d see the “real” me?  Well, this is as real as it gets.  I cannot grow spaghetti squash to save my life.  Last year, I killed one plant (in a garden with automatic sprinklers, that takes some real skill).  I bought a new starter and got some beautiful flowers, but no squash.  See?

 

Beautiful flowers, no squash!

Beautiful flowers, no squash!

 

Recognize that picture?  It’s the picture in my blog header.  Beautiful flowers.  No Squash.  Not one.  The plant was huge, too!  It took over a large part of my garden.  Not sure what I did wrong, so I decided to try again this year.  I planted a starter.

 

I looked beautiful and promising when planted.

I looked beautiful and promising when planted.

 

It didn’t look like it was doing too well a week and a half ago.

 

It's obviously struggling, but as in experienced gardener, I didn't know what to do, other than to make sure it had water.

It’s obviously struggling, but as in experienced gardener, I didn’t know what to do, other than to make sure it had water.

 

Yesterday, it looked like this.

 

Not quite sure what happened.  Perhaps I shouldn't wait a week and a half before I check on a struggling plant, huh?

Not quite sure what happened. Perhaps I shouldn’t wait a week and a half before I check on a struggling plant, huh?

 

Dead, gone, nothing!  Maybe you experienced gardeners can give me some tips.  Or maybe I will recognize that I am not meant to grow spaghetti squash in my southern California backyard.

 

My eggplant plant is not doing very well.  I have rabbits running rampant through my neighborhood at night, and, apparently, they really love eggplant leaves.  Just look at my sorry little plant.

 

The bunnies really love this eggplant.

The bunnies really love this eggplant.  I don’t begrudge the bunnies some food.  I just want my eggplant to produce actual eggplant!

 

I put a tomato cage around it with some plastic “mesh” to protect my plant.  Hopefully it’s not too far gone and will come back.

 

Cage of protection.  Let's see if the bunnies eat through this.

Cage of protection. Let’s see if the bunnies eat through this.

 

My other plants are doing just fine.  The tomato plants are growing and flowering.

 

Tomato plant #1

Tomato plant #1

 

Tomato plant #2

Tomato plant #2

 

My zucchini squash plant is thriving.  Hopefully I’ll get some zucchini from it this year.

 

DSCN6784

It’s growing slowly, but steadily. See the onions peeking up around it? I read the bunnies don’t like onions. It didn’t help my eggplant, but maybe it will save my zucchini plant.

 

My onions are doing wonderfully!

 

I may have to learn new ways to use onions, because it looks like I'll have a bumper crop!

I may have to learn new ways to use onions, because it looks like I’ll have a bumper crop!

 

My three, sweet pepper plants from last year survived the winter.  My lovely friend, Jennette, (our April giveaway sponsor and gardener extraordinaire) told me I could trim off the dead parts, and they should grow peppers this year, too.  Score one for me!  Not that I did anything to deserve it, but I’ll take it.

 

Sweet Pepper Plant #1

Sweet Pepper Plant #1

 

Sweet Pepper Plant #2

Sweet Pepper Plant #2

 

Sweet Pepper Plant #3

Sweet Pepper Plant #3

 

 

I planted broccoli from seed last year, but it didn’t grow very much.  I think I planted it too late last year.  This year, however, it has started to grow a lot!  See?

 

Broccoli plants.  It looks like it's time for me to thin them out.

Broccoli plants. It looks like it’s time for me to thin them out.

 

So, like most things in life, I have some successes and some failures.   Not too bad overall.  I’m learning.  Slowly, but I am learning.

 

Are you gardening this year?  What are you planting?

Do you have any gardening advice for me?  Perhaps you can help me grow a spaghetti squash plant that actually produces squash!

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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

34 thoughts on “Gardening Fail!

  1. Hi Laurel, since your name is a plant you must be a good gardener! I really love this post, thank you from the UK. I started growing veggies last year and had most success with zucchini (courgettes over here), cabbage, swedes, spinach, salad, onions and parsnips. I found I have to cover everything with netting or else the snails/slugs and birds have a lovely time munching on them, so would recommend netting if you aren’t using it already. Looking forward to reading your updates x

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  2. I hope the cage will keep them away to the point of giving up, Wonder how most of these will do inside a greenhouse. Hum! 🙂

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  3. Hmm, that is odd! Looks like something just took the whole thing out! Maybe you can put “night caps” over the little plants, like a bottomless plastic milk jug (take it off in the AM so it’s doesn’t scorch in the sun) just to get them going strong without getting eaten. I know squash likes the richest compostey soill you can give it- we often have it sprout out of our compost pile! But, if your zukes are doing well, this IS pretty mysterious. Spaghetti squash isn’t that good anyways…..:)

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    • I like spaghetti squash. 🙂 I have some dietary restrictions which severely limit the amount of pasta I can eat, and I think spaghetti squash makes a nice substitute. I’d love to grow my own, but, alas, it does not seem it will happen. Maybe I’ll try one more time.

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      • If your squash had those beautiful flowers and your plant did not produce and squash the possibility is that you do not have enough honey and bumble bees in your area to pollinate your flowers. You can hand pollinate if that is the problem. I did it with a very soft clean paint brush a small one. Hope that helps.

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  4. I’m growing snap peas, lettuce, swiss chard, tomatoes, and summer squash. I never had much luck with winter squashes either… Sorry I’m no help there but you’re not alone!

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  5. Thank you for sharing your gardening efforts with us it really is hit and miss sometimes our in the garden for us isn’t it Laurel! You have more success than not though so keep at it. The only thing I can think of next time you grow spaghetti squash is check for squash bugs or cucumber beetles. You can see them and pick them off. Squash needs a long warm growing season with no frost, lots of regular water and rich soil full of compost. Maybe try keeping the soil covered with a lush lucerne mulch for nitrogen as it breaks down and to keep the soil moist. Keep at it you will get there and be showing us your squash piccies in no time 🙂

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  6. Little tip on the squash plant. When the flower has what looks like a mini squash behind it, pollinate that one. Find an open flower with no squash and rub a q-tip down in the flower. Then find the flower with the squash behind and rub the q-tip in that one. Yes you are having flower sex but the bees are not doing it for you . lol the rabbits never bother my garden but I tend to plant peppers on the back row closet to where they would come into my garden. Happy gardening and keep on planting. 🙂

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  7. Looks all fine to me. You can eat squash flowers … as for the fruit … maybe they just needed pollination help?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Have you thought about doing a raised bed for the squash because it hasn’t been too successful? I dont’ know much about gardening I am learning since we start a Community Garden at work for the LGBTQ community, but we are doing raised beds instead of in the ground planting because its easier and we live in MD. Just a thought.

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  9. I’m sorry about your plants. A gardener can only hope that everything she planted will give her healthy produce in the end. We’ve experienced many failures in our garden as well. Each year our experience is different. Just like any other type of squash they like loam soil as it holds plenty of moisture and also drains well. It seems like your squash had died from pest attack. Make sure you till your garden soil well, keep it moist before transplanting a new plant. It’s always good to water your newly transplanted plant with water fertilizer (follow the direction on the package) to give your plant a boost.

    Yellowing of leaves at the beginning stage of the plant is an indication that your plant is not healthy therefore it’s more susceptible to pest and other pathogens. You don’t want decaying organic matter near your plant because unwanted bugs/pest can easily migrate to your plant. Squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants are very susceptible to garden pest and mildew. Watch for early signs of plant diseases by checking on them daily: leaves, stems and branches. We use Soap Shield to treat our garden plants diseases and Pyola to kill bugs. We bug them online from http://www.gardensalive.com/ we like their products because they are organic. You might want to check it out to help your garden plants. I hope my simple tips helps.

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  10. Better to learn and build your skills in a non-emergency environment, than waiting until you HAVE to garden to eat and find out that you don’t get to eat.

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  11. ***We BUY them online… And also we mix Spreader Sticker to the mixture to make it last longer and not wash off.

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  12. Interesting about that spaghetti squash. I have grown most squash, including spaghetti squash, and don’t recognize the symptoms you are seeing. I will make a few comments that may help. The did you “open up” the container that the plant came in? Those peat-pots need to to have their bottoms removed so that the plant roots can get out and grab nutrients from your soil. I should mention that most squash germinate very easily and reliably, so buying a packet of squash seeds is worthwhile. Just plant them 2-3 to a “hill” and keep the hills 2-3 feet apart. I planted just 4 hills of spaghetti squash last year in the worst soil I have – very clayish and no fertilizer or organic amendments, and still got about 15 good sized squash (I also got a lot of what I call “single serving” squash – just enough for one person for one meal ). Also, I notice that you have some wood bark in your garden soil. This may be making the soil too acidic for the squash. However, I doubt that is the problem since spaghetti squash like it slightly acidic and besides that, if your summer squash are in the same soil and they are ok, then pH isn’t like to be the problem. A soil analysis may be in order.

    The eggplant plants, however, look like they are getting eaten by flea beetles. They are very small beetles that remind one of fleas. You have to look closely! Google about how to handle the fleas, there are many options.

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  13. Hmmm, I don’t see my comment. I am wondering if it disappeared in cyber-space!

    Anyway, a quick re-cap:

    The spaghetti squash may be suffering from root-bind – make sure your tear off the bottom of those peat-pots when you plant! Also, maybe the pH is too acidic for that plant? I noticed wood bark in your soil (I think) and that can make things too acidic (although most veggies like a slightly acidic soil). Also, decaying wood can “eat up” nitrogen from your soil – maybe time to get a soil test kit and check it out!

    The eggplants look like they are being attacked by flea beetles. Google “flea beetles” and you will get some ideas on how to deal with them.

    Looks like you are about 1-2 months ahead of us here in South Central Pennsylvania! I’m jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The pollination comment is dead on – if you had a ton of flowers last year and no squash – you likely don’t have a large enough insect population to pollinate and easily could have done that yourself. Common problem in residential gardens. Lots of info online how to do it. There is the odd occasion where you’ll find yourself with all make or all female flowers (influenced by temperatures and daylight hours etc) in which case hunt down a fellow squash grower and borrow pollen 🙂
    Don’t give up.

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  15. There are a lot of things I’ve found I cannot grow. Fortunately, lettuce is not one of them.

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  16. Way ahead of us in Buffalo although I have started a few things in pots and pull them out during the day and tuck them back in at night such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, and romaine lettuce. Last year I had a problem with my butternut squash. I had about 7 of them and they were a perfect shape but the size of a large pear!! You’ve gotten a lot of good advice above so hopefully something works!!

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    • OMG, you grow brussel sprouts in Buffalo? Please, tell me how? I had only one of 6 that I put out make it to the end of the season and produce. By “produce”, I mean these little sprouts no bigger than a nickle – adding up to only a bit over a pint, once cleaned. Oh, and by “end of the season” I mean WAY past the real end of the season – like November! I am going to look at your blog now…

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  17. I hope the mesh cage gets your eggpant growing again! Your onions look fab and no doubt you’ll have some lovely tomatoes from your plants. I am trying to grow here in the UK too but I’m having to grow everything in containers due to very poor and waterlogged soil – fingers crossed!

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  18. Are there stray cats in your area? We have feral ones that hang out and get the field mice. Unfortunately, the garden plot is their giant litter box. I tried gardening in it last year before I knew of our feline companions. They sterilized my dirt! Even one flower pot is ruined because they like to lay in it. :/

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  19. We used to palnt marigolds around the perimeter to keep pests like deer out- don’t know if it would work for rabbits but I imagine.

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  20. I think someone already mentioned the link between the squash flowers and lack of pollination. That happened to us last year – tons of blooms, no veggies. This year we’re getting bees so I’m hoping some of those issues will be resolved! I’ve also read you can pollinate the flowers by hand. We’ve done summer squash, zucchini, and butternut squash, and this year we’re adding spaghetti – I’m excited!

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  21. Awww I wish your plants well! We live in a one bedroom on the third floor with a balcony and want to start growing some veggies in a wooden bed. When we get started I’ll be back here to show you my updates! I may have the same fate as you!!

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  22. Getting ready to plant peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, and potatoes this week.

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  23. The rabbits and other wild life wreaked havoc on my garden last year. In sunny CA, you should still have time for another try at squash. Good luck!

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  24. I get super jealous when others are successful at growing things! 🙂 I live in an apartment and can barely keep my few herbs alive!

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  25. I’ve given up trying to grow anything and have turned to cultivating what grows on its own here that edible/useful/pretty. While I’m sure your thumb is greener than mine, it’s kind of you to admit there are plants whose care in your environment eludes you, too. 🙂

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  26. I have the same problem with tomatoes. I guess it just happens that way sometimes. Scott

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  27. I agree with Wrekless Farmer that the bottom of the peat pot needs to be torn off and the sides opened a bit. Something else I noticed though, is that you had the rim of the peat pot above the soil. The peat can wick the moisture from the soil and cause it to evaporate. This can dry your plants out quickly. If you are still within spaghetti squash planting time in your area, I’d just take some seeds from a squash you buy from the store (or buy seeds), stick them about 1/2 deep into good soil, and water them. Follow the spacing suggested by Wrekless Farmer in a previous comment. Congratulations on the peppers! You should get a good harvest from them. BTW, if it is bugs bothering your eggplant, I had success with Sevin Dust last year; they survived that onslaught at the beginning and produced well later. Let us know how it goes!

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