I suffer from Black Thumb. I can’t seem to grow veggies! I’ve tried. Year one I had moderate success, despite starting too late in the season. Year two yielded a few pounds of green beans and maybe five tomatoes from five tomato plants. The next few years were a blur of blossom end rot, un-sprouted seeds, and one-inch carrots.


This was my garden about a month ago. It actually doesn’t look so bad here, but keep in mind that the raised bed in the background has virtually nothing in it but a few dying cukes and peppers.

This year in a new house with a new back yard, I vowed it would be different. I checked books out from the library and pored over my copy of the Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Ed Smith. We made new raised beds, filled them with brand-new four-way soil recommended for veggie gardens, and planted everything according to the directions. It was sunny and I watered my garden faithfully. Why, then are the leaves from my pepper plants turning yellow? Why aren’t some of my plants any bigger now than they were a month ago? Why won’t the carrots, lettuce, and basil sprout?

My friend Ingrid came over to analyze the situation. She recommended amending some of the soil with compost and getting a drip irrigation system. Despite the fact that I’ve already poured too much money into this project, I’m going to take her advice.

The most disappointing thing, for me, is how much time and money I’ve wasted. Isn’t gardening supposed to save money? I am not a gardening failure all-around–I’ve managed to grow a nice organic lawn, maintain around sixty rose bushes and other shrubs and flowers. So what is my problem?

If you have any gardening advice or commiseration, please let me know! I need all the help I can get. It’s not too late to save my garden! (I hope.)

Note: I wrote this about a month ago and have somewhat revived my garden using the method I described above! So if you are a garden failure like me, keep trying. . . . And for more enthusiastic posts about home gardening, check out our organic gardening archives.