Like the saying goes - You get out of it what you put in. A vegetable garden can be very rewarding and delicious, but it is also a lot of work. It can also lead to frustrations when things don't go as hoped. As long-time vegetable gardeners have learned, no matter how hard you work on your vegetable garden, there will be times when things won't go right. You will loose certain plants or maybe even whole crops; it's just a fact of growing vegetables. Here are some tips to help you when you face a frustrations in your vegetable garden.How do you cope with gardening frustrations?
The best piece of advice I can give you is to keep trying. Every gardener out there has had frustrations in the vegetable garden. Like anything else that is new, it will take time, patience, and determination to see it through.
- Don't give up - Frustrations can grow when you put all your effort into growing a vegetable and the plant dies or doesn't produce. Keep trying! If it is not too late in the season, replace the plant and start over with a new one. I know that if you are buying seedlings from a garden center this can get expensive, but I think it's worth the extra couple dollars. Remember, most of the time the best way to learn is through trail and error. Experiment with different techniques to find out what works best for you and your garden. Vegetable gardens can be like people - they are all different.
- Learn from your mistakes - Try to find out as much as possible about what may have happened to your vegetable plant. Take it to a garden center and ask someone there if they will examine your plant. They may be able to tell you whether it had a disease, or was under or over watered. You also need to test your soil. Many garden centers sell soil test kits at a very reasonable price. If you are unsure about doing the test yourself, ask the people at the garden center if they do soil tests or know of a facility that does. Contact your local cooperative extension office about soil testing (You can check out my posts on How To Take A Soil Sample For Testing and How To Properly Test Your Soil). Finding out about the type of soil (along with pH and other factors) in your garden is very crucial to how well your garden will produce.
- Take notes. - It is very important to keep a garden journal. You want to document everything you do with your garden - when and how you planted each plant, what type of fertilizers you may use, how often you applied them, how and when you watered the plants, if you notice the plant doing something unusual such as turning colors or wilting, pests that you may have seen in the garden, and so on. Taking thorough notes about your garden is very critical in trying to determine what went wrong when it happens. Take pictures of your plants at each stage of growth, especially when a plant begins to change (i.e., wilting, yellowing leaves, etc.). This way you have a record of everything you did in your garden, and you can go back to see if you were doing something you shouldn't have, or vice-versa. For more information about taking notes on your garden, please see my post Keeping A Garden Journal.
- Talk to other gardeners - I have found out that the best source of information is talking to other gardeners. Whenever I need some advice on a particular gardening problem, I have a couple people that I rely on for solid information. These are people that have been there done that. A very good resource for gardening wisdom could be a relative; maybe a grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother, or sister that have been gardening for years. The very best information I ever received about gardening was from an elderly gentleman that lived on my street. He was full of tips and tricks that he learned "back in the old days" (as he used to say), and often passed them on to others. Participate in online forums, where you can ask questions to experienced gardeners. These untapped resources are indispensable when it comes to figuring out your gardening woes.
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