My Garden Fail and How I’m Going to Recover My Losses

Garden Fails happen to us all.

This has been a rough week here as we had a family emergency Monday that has taken me away from the homestead most of the week. Unknowingly, I had put some beautiful cucumber, pumpkin, basil, zinnia, and tomato starts out to harden off on the back patio on Monday during a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon.


Then I left suddenly and only returned this morning to gather some more things from home and I cried when I seen my seedlings. Dead, withered, stems flopped over and some broken-it looked like an end of season, big box store seedling reject rack.

The aftermath

It’s no ones fault. And to his credit, my dear husband, who has been holding down the farm and fort at home kept watering them and trying to revive them even though they looked like this. The seedlings were the furthest thing from everyone’s mind this week, as we divided up all the daily chores I usually do (there were a few 😉 until I return home.

After my cry, I had a short nap which allowed me a better mindset. I will survive this garden fail . They happen. It is not too late for me to get all this in order, so I don’t have to lose important food stores. Here’s my plan:

Cucumbers will now be direct seeded with a variety that has the shortest maturity date, around 90 days. Luckily I planted triple the amount of tomatoes I need, so I am still okay although I lost some of my determinate varieties like Scotia but they can purchased locally quite easily. Zinnias will be direct seeded and with their short maturity date and some seaweed compost tea love I will still be able to enjoy blossoms for the month of mid August into September.

I often use dried zinnias and flowers in my homemade soaps.

Basil starts will be purchased from a friend.

Pumpkin will not be bothered with this year. They are purely an “if it works or grows- great“ vegetable for me right now. I will purchase a few pie pumpkins to roast purée and freeze. Also our new neighbors have put in a beautiful patch so I will enjoy seeing theirs grow.

It’s so important not to give up when coping with garden fails, simply have a nap, regroup and figure out your plan B. Then remember to source a market grower locally as a plan C.

White pumpkins, winter pears, zinnias and fennel and beeswax candles make me very happy in fall.

I do not want to rely on grocery store produce so that is not in my plan. That’s the last resort.

But this ability to keep going, regroup and still figure out how to get it done. is my homestead heart. The other trait that makes me a good homesteader is my flexibility. Things will not always go according to my plan, in life or in the garden. I can’t get stuck in the failure and overwhelm. Good things are born from creativity and loss. Maybe I’ll discover a variety of cucumber I will like even better ( I doubt it-I was damn attached to those National pickling cucumbers seedlings but I’ve got to move on.)


Jenn xx

Three very good reasons to grow our own food
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