The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Learning from garden failures

Roast brussels sprouts

We enjoyed our first and possibly only roast brussels sprouts of the season Tuesday, the combination of a new variety and an extremely wet fall meaning that the plants blighted instead of thrived. The experience made me think about how frequently home gardeners give up on a crop because of a single failure, when what they really should have gotten out of the experience was an impulse to figure out what made their plants refuse to grow.

For example, I often hear from folks who think carrots aren't worth growing, while for us the tasty roots are an easy crop. Well, an easy crop as long as I pay attention and make sure their seeds germinate during the summer heat. And as long as I locate the root vegetables in loose, humus-rich soil. So, not really an easy crop, but easy once you figure out what factors of your unique site are standing in the way of getting a stellar carrot crop.

Garden vegetables

Now that the cold weather has truly set in and most of you have nothing left to plant for the year, why not spend a few hours thinking back over your garden past? When you look at all of those luscious-looking pictures in the seed catalogs this winter, try to ignore the pretty photos and tantalizing descriptions. Instead, seek out the less sensational but more important notes on which blights each variety is resistant to and how well they do in other difficult situations that your garden will throw at them in the year to come.

And, as a reward, next year your garden will grow twice as well!



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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Hi Anna and Mark,

Sounds like the title of a new book :).

IF, you can learn from what didn't work and make it work!

John

Comment by John Wed Nov 19 11:40:41 2014





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