Friday, July 30, 2010

garden fail friday: an easy to grow fail.

i didn’t kill, maim, mutilate, injure, stunt, disfigure or otherwise destroy any plants this week, so instead of the usual, single-incident fail i thought i’d profile an ongoing fail that’s been plaguing me since march: “an easy to grow herb.” any time a seed packet or seed catalogue description suggests that an herb is easy to grow, i’m certain to have a hell of a time growing it. example one, borage:

this borage is obviously a win, but it took a whole lot of fails to get here. borage is “an easy to grow herb” that gave me about a 5% germination rate when i started seeds in early spring. i don’t know what i did wrong--i treated it the same way i treated every other seed, and the results frustrated me endlessly, taking over a month to get the first and only seedling (pictured above in adulthood). later on i direct-seeded half a dozen borage seeds, of which three came up, and even though 50% is still a pretty terrible germination rate it seemed like a huge victory.

example two, dill:

dill is “an easy to grow herb” that went alright when i grew it inside, but when i tried direct-seeding outside it was a disaster. multiple times i planted a bunch of seeds. one time only one seed sprouted, then after a few days it flopped over and died. another time, in a different location, five came up, grew incredibly slowly, languished with one or two true leaves for a couple weeks, then flopped over and died. a third time i saw the pattern repeating so i pulled them out and gave up.

there are numerous other examples, even extending beyond the realm of herbs--“love-in-a-mist” flower, for instance. the phrase “easy to grow” is an insult and a curse. it’s gotten to the point where i will seriously avoid buying seed packets that indicate their contents are easy to grow because i know i don’t have a chance. perpetual fail.


Andrea said...

Weird about the dill. Were the seeds fresh? Sometimes old seeds don't germinate well. One thing you never fail at is taking beautiful photos of the garden!

GoneferalinID said...

I've always had trouble with dill. It consistently looks crappy.

Vetsy said...

Emily I feel you.... here's a house plant that I read and heard was EASY and IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME to KILL!

The ZZ plant..Zamioculcas Zamiifolia a native of South Africa.. It doesn't need a lot of light, water or attention a perfect fit for a brown thumb....But guess what?

I managed to Kill it!.. It really hurt my feelings when it died on me.

mangocheeks said...

Hey now that you have borage, next year you'll find that it has self-seeded here, there and everywhere.

mangocheeks said...

Oh about dill, I'e struggled growing it too.

Emily said...

hehe, thanks andrea. yeah the dill seeds are fresh. i think i just can't grow them in the ground, i have to grow them in containers for some reason...

vetsy--how sad! isn't it insulting to be told something is easy to grow and then it dies on you? you obviously don't have a brown thumb though, your garden is so healthy and beautiful.

mangocheeks--i hope that does happen with the borage. i'd really love if i didn't have to struggle with it again next spring.