I’ve been gardening a long time – at least half my life if not a little longer. But I still remember what it was like starting out and moving on to the next level. There’s even a term for this – sophomore year gardening. This is where you ease into the more advanced stages of gardening, including more advanced problems. I’ve had many of these, and the more garden problems you face, the more you question why you became a gardener. My advice? Don’t give up!
Facing Problems in the Garden Head On
You know that saying, “Stuff happens?” Well, it’s true, especially in the garden. You’re gonna run into issues beyond your control – pests, disease, and Mother Nature. And while you can control pests and disease to some extent, they’re usually inevitable. Weather, on the other hand, is the one thing you cannot change. It’s also the one thing that seems to always factor into my garden fails and flops. But there’s also another saying. “You can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you react.”
Did Japanese beetles skeletonize your prized rose bush? Maybe your tomato plants were fine one day, then stripped bare the next by hornworms. Did you have a warm winter? You could see more insects in the garden as a result. Perhaps the drier and warmer than usual weather led to an abundance of spider mites or stunted growth. This could also mean more wildlife than usual in search of moisture, meaning your plump veggies may fall victim to their voracious appetites. Then again, if you’ve received a large amount of rain, your garden may have developed a fungus that’s now wreaking havoc throughout, or root rot. These are just a sampling of the many garden problems that exist. It’s normal to feel frustrated or even mad. Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of cursing or stomping in situations like this. I’ve also wondered why I bother sometimes and have thought about throwing in the towel, but haven’t. Take moments like these with a grain of salt. Expect them to happen even when they don’t. One of my personal mottos is to “expect the worst but hope for the best.”
Learning from Mistakes
Gardening, no matter how long you’ve done it, is a learning process. There will be seasons of greatness and seasons where nothing seems to work out. Accept this and you’ve won half the battle. Next year will come and you can start anew – new plans of attack for those pesky Japanese beetles (which begins in fall by targeting the source, grubs), tomato hornworms or other pests. Have a backup plan for hot, dry spells like implementing a new drip irrigation system. And include water features of some kind so critters can have a quick drink when needed rather than eyeing your crops. You can’t stop the rain but you can keep something on hand for fungal issues, such as neem oil, or create raised beds which will dry quicker.
As your gardening skills continue to develop, you’re bound to encounter more problems in the garden. That’s a given. It’s perfectly okay, and normal. I’ve always told my kids not to give up no matter how hard it gets. Perseverance really does pay off. This holds true for gardeners too. Plants aren’t the only thing growing in the garden. We grow right alongside them, even when things go wrong!