Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Year's Vegetable Garden: What didn't work

Tiny carrots from the 2 Green Acres vegetable garden
Despite our success with a number of vegetables, we still had some that didn't produce. It is often hard to know why this happened. Was it the weather? The soil? Old seed?

Last week I wrote about my vegetable garden success stories. Now, here are the disappointments of our growing season:
  1. Carrots – these were the biggest (littlest?) disappointment. It was my first year growing carrots and I am not sure what I did wrong, but as you can see, I only got tiny little carrots. One thing I will do different next year is plant them a bit earlier. I got them in a bit late this year and that might have been the problem.

  2. Cucumbers – we got some, but not nearly as many as last year. Perhaps it was not hot enough for them? Unlike the carrots, I might have started these too early. Right after I but the plants in the ground, we had a late, light frost. It did not kill them, but they took a long time to recover and that may have impacted their yield.

  3. Fall spinach – our spring spinach was great, but I could not get fall spinach growing. I have blogged previously about my lack of luck with fall gardening. I thought I finally got some established, but then I went on vacation. When I came back, there was no trace of the little plants - victims of insufficient watering. Perhaps I should give up on the fall gardening.

Overall, it was a pretty good year. Although I want everything to flourish, part of the fun is experimenting with new things. I will definitely try the carrots again, but unless I plan to be around to water it, I will probably skip the Fall crops.

What were the disappointments in your garden?


  1. Carrots are not an easy crop. In my garden they have two pests that stunt their growth. Nematodes and carrot fly. Carrot flies cause stunting by eating the feeder roots, then they often tunnel into the main root - you can tell if they have tunneled in because they cause black rings in the carrots) You can prevent carrot fly by using a row cover when you seed, but you have to keep it very well tucked into the dirt to keep them out. Onions and garlic are good companion crops for that. They find the carrots by smell and alliums help cover up the smell. I've also heard that thinning carrots attracts the fly. You have to thin, but don't plant the seed close together so you don't have to thin much.

    Nematodes are my worst problem (cause forking, stunted plants and bumps on the carrots). I used Ground Control marigolds this year as a companion plant and it really helped a lot. I was surprised to not find any obvious nematode damage when the marigolds were close.

    I had so many disappointments in the garden. Corn was the worst since it was a total failure.

  2. Thanks for the carrot advice! I did not have any black rings, but as you can see, I did have stunted growth, so maybe it is the nematodes. Oh well, I will try again next year.