The Failure Garden- Part 2

Two quick notes to get us going.:

If you’ve read Part 1, skip the section in italics.

Also, in the previous section I utilized all my pictures of lovely garden flora, so since I just visited Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, this post is adorned with pictures of cute fauna. For no relevant reason.

Moi, with piglets!

I was at a large gathering, talking to a friend and concluded my story by saying: “…Thus far, all I have is a failure garden.” The phrase caught the interest of another friend, who inquired as to what I meant. I relayed my story about trying to plant things for the last two years. The first year I only came away with 3 pieces of radish greens and mint. The second year the mint took over, the radishes grew well, there was a surprise turnip nobody planted, some peas turned up, but a lot of things went to seed and my pumpkins never grew past the blossom stage. As a result, this year I did a bunch of reading and focused my efforts armed with new facts, but I wasn’t feeling optimistic, since thus far I only cultivated a failure garden. “Failure garden?”-she asked. “You’re growing more each year and learning stuff along the way. That sounds like a success garden to me.” Thanks friend! Her response got me thinking, and she was absolutely right. I was so caught up in my failure story, where my reality was not meeting my expectations, that I kind of missed my success garden.

Cute, but sure to fail any garden!

Blog Related Goals

Ugh, feels like I’m failing at all of them. I am certainly writing a lot less then I thought I would. Yes, in theory a post a week is do-able. In reality, it would mean sacrificing things that I’m not always willing to sacrifice. I think I was smart to set a goal related to the total number of posts rather than “a post a week”. That said, with only 12 posts published to date (13 including this one) I’d have to average ~1.5 a week in order to meet the goal of 52 by the end of the year. I’d like to think that I can knock it out, but I don’t want to write things if I have nothing to say. And I know Fall will be crazy. I’m curious to see if I can meet this number, but I’m not positive it’ll happen. I have to accept that any outcome is ok.

I’ve been guest published twice so far, nowhere near one a month, and I’m not even sure they should count. I write for some industry blogs, which I enjoy, but it’s not the same as this blog. But, one of my favorite jokes goes something like this:

A man says to God, desperately:

“God, God, why can’t I win the lottery?”

To which God replies:

“Geez, for my sake, at least buy a ticket”.

So the answer is simple: just keep swimming. I’m not ready to give up on this one, and there’s no harm in trying.

I’m also not feeling connections with the online community. The same “keep trying” logic seems to apply here. Blogs are awesome, so I have no intentions of quitting reading them or commenting.

The chickens hid as we cleaned their coop!

Slow Summer

*Laughs maniacally* A lot of the bloggers I read are all about the slow summer. Perfect, I said to self. I can be that too. I’ve hit a major milestone, and now it’s time to relax.

Please! No matter how many Seth Rogen movies I watch, I simply suck at being a slacker. For example, this “relaxing summer” came with chair duties, a building move at work, and article for a journal, a grant project and a Scenic Design at a rep theatre. That’s how you relax!

On top of this there’s land projects, house remodeling projects, art projects and oh yeah, regular old adulting. Somehow growing up I thought adulting would be a lot more “no bedtime, ice cream for dinner” than “bank, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, dishes”. Spoiler adult- it’s not.

Is this failing? Or a change of desires? I’m honestly not sure I’d change anything. Sure, it’s hectic, but submitting an article and working as a department chair both give me a rush I wouldn’t just get from sitting around. I kind of like accomplishing things. I like to plan more things than I can do. Which means I can’t complain about “busy”, if I choose busy. Yeah, it’s a choice. It’s my preferred way to be, and I’m kind of excited about it all. Perhaps a slow summer just isn’t for me.

Happy cow, winning at life!


I went on a vacation. A real vacation, that I paid for myself and work did not contribute in any way. We visited Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, volunteered the first day, attended the festival the second and visited Albany on the third.

Y’all, it was worth it and it really made me feel relaxed in spite of not taking it slow and *gasp* spending money. It might not seem like a big deal, but I was really on the fence about this. With a goal involving saving, a vacation felt so frivolous. However, it really was a good choice. I came back ready to tackle anything and this is a “failure” that is sure to blossom.

How about you? How is your summer going?

2 thoughts on “The Failure Garden- Part 2

  1. Raederle Phoenix says:

    My summer is going quite well, thanks for asking. My own garden triumphs have mostly been due to the fact that I consider everything a success. I like to say, “When plants compete, you win.” I tend to plant lots of things I love close together. Some of them die, but it is the victor that remains that I behold and say, “Wow, this is great!” I honestly often forget about the plants I planted that failed. I didn’t even realize I was selectively observing my garden this way until Lytenian pointed it out to me. I’ve never read a garden book, yet I’ve been often told I have a “green thumb.” Mostly I think it is just that I love the act of putting plants in the ground and watching them change over time and I’ve been doing it for a lot of years. I do pick up tidbits of knowledge from others over time, which makes the learning more manageable anyway. (Can you imagine memorizing some crazy thick encyclopedia of plant information? Bah! It would baffle me blind!)

    Things like squash and melons (like pumpkins) by the way, can be really tricky to grow. Rain can knock the blossoms off before they get pollinated enough, or depending on other factors you can simply lack pollination (like growing in a solarium, which I tried and learned the hard way), and also many melons just mysteriously never develop all the way and I don’t know why. I’ve had trouble with these, so had my Mom, so have other members of this community, and Greg, and many people I’ve known. It’s a difficult sort of crop to grow and I don’t recommend it for most people.

    Easier things to grow include chard, broccoli, collards, kale, carrots, potatoes (if you grow them in a bin they can be particularly easy), raspberries, blueberries (so long as the soil has some acidity to it, like from fruity-composted soil), grapes, currants, elderberry, crab-apples, parsley, basil, thyme, and sage.

    Vacations are good. I’ve had a goal of building a life that didn’t require vacations, which I think I’ve thoroughly succeeded at, but nevertheless, changing scenery and meeting new people and doing new things seems essential on occasion for health. Kudos for giving yourself permission to have a vacation and to enjoy it in the way that worked best for you.


    1. simplesweetspot says:

      Yeah… I have the opposite of a green thumb. It doesn’t help that my husband didn’t water anything while I’m away- I really thought the sunflowers were going to make it!
      I love what you said “I’ve had a goal of building a life that didn’t require vacations”. Brilliant 🙂


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