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What silly thing can't you grow?

 
gardener
Posts: 697
Location: Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
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I can't grow zucchini. Every year, I say I am going to plant 5 plants so maybe I get one a week, get laughed at, relent, and plant 2 or 3. I have harvested 3 zucchini so far this year. Planted 3, one died, one has produced 3, and one is just producing its first.

It's not my seeds/varieties. I started plants for my aunt with the same variety I planted. She has now presented me with 7 oversized zucchini. I have tried direct seeding. I have tried purchased plants. I have started my own. I have tried 3-4 varieties.

I grow acorn squash (same species) like crazy. Currently have one plant with 10+ full sized, others with 3-5.

But zucchini is the devil vegetable and it hates me.


What silly, 'easy' plant do you struggle with?

 
pollinator
Posts: 366
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
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Figs and rosemary gave me trouble in zone 7 until I put them in an are with lots of masonry, concrete, and a bit of protection from prevailing winter winds.  Don't know how easy spinach is supposed to be but it has never done well for us. We had spectacular carrots once, then never again. Sugar peas fail more often than not.  Early spells of hot dry weather are probably to blame for the pea failures.
 
Posts: 21
Location: Carlton County, Minnesota, USA: 3b; Dfb; sandy loam; in the woods
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Carrots. Something like one in ten seeds throws up some greens and then they disappear once they're two inches tall. I'm only on year two with them, but it's disappointing. (Zucchini grows like gangbusters.)
 
master gardener
Posts: 3424
Location: southern Illinois.
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I have a horrible time growing corn.  There are millions of acres of corn all around me .....but none in my garden.   The real insult is there is volunteer corn in the pig pen.  The Kunekunes can grow corn better than me!
 
steward
Posts: 4402
Location: West Tennessee
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Eggplant. It's always the flea beetles that decimate my plants, and here in my region flea beetles seem to be one of the first on the scene come spring.
 
pollinator
Posts: 276
Location: Sierra Nevada Foothills, Zone 7b
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Bell Peppers. Which is cool because they are basically my favorite vegetable.
 
gardener
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I just want to say I love this thread. I'm usually looking at everyone's pretty garden pics and thinking about how crap my tomatoes/zucchini/eggplant are.

Today, my broccoli are doing their usual thing: they have tiny heads and will start bolting before said heads are bigger than ping-pong balls. I live in an area known for its broccoli, and it used to embarrass me. Now I just plant enough to make a hell of a meal with many tiny brocos, and think about how happy I am to be avoiding whatever gick they must be spraying the farmed broccoli with to make it so pretty. (nothing like gick-free farming to make you realize the herculean efforts that go into growing food)
 
Posts: 89
Location: Eddington, Maine
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For me its onions, I start with onion sets about the size of a small marble and can't seem to get them much bigger than a cherry tomato. Despite being a 2.5" diameter variety.

Also lettuce. The one year it got big enough to tell it was lettuce, it bolted. Most years I am stuck wondering if it is lettuce or some weed coming up in the row.
 
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: New Hampshire
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Mint. I'm serious.
After 9 years of trying I finally got mint to winter over.    I can grow 30 different veggies and I struggled with mint till this year.  I have planted at least 7 different kinds of mint in several different locations in at least 4 different years.  I finally have lemon balm, peppermint, and spearmint trying to take over.  I will finally get to drink my own mint tea this winter.  

Radishes, Spinach and Arugula.  We go from frozen ground to cold wet to hot enough to bolt too quickly in the spring to ever really get them to produce anything other than seed.  Fall plantings are iffy due to needing to be planted in the heat of mid to late August.  

I always struggle with cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash and any winter squash other than butternut.  Vine bores, squash bugs, and powdery mildew take them out unless we have a drought year and then I have to water them all the time.  I  Trying to grow a Blue Hubbard or Buttercup squash is a complete waste of time.  They rarely get past sprouting let alone live long enough to set flowers.    Our hill side is too windy to use netting over the plants so I try and plant zucchini and cucumbers every couple of weeks in different parts of the garden.  

Eggplant.  The flea beetles completely perforate  the leaves and they struggle all season.  I plant my potatoes in late may early June for the same reason. The flea beetles go to town on them in the early spring.  




 
 
Posts: 41
Location: South Louisiana, 9A
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Big tomatoes. I can grow plenty of cherry tomatoes, but never a Roma, Beefsteak, or anything else. Also broccoli. I can grow lots of broccoli leaves, but never a big floret. I keep trying and I'm always disappointed. I've no intention of giving up though!
 
pollinator
Posts: 215
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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Squashes...hordes of squash bugs descend upon them and about the same time one sees them, the wilt has already started. Additionally, squash vine borer moths hammer anything they can...including cukes.

I have yet to grow salsify from seeds. I'd really like to get them going.

Ditto on parsnips...a single plant grew in two years and I let it go to seed because it was struggling.

Beets, turnips, etc from seeds have struggled.

Eggplant production has been lackluster in prior years so I dropped them. I have roughly 0.12 acres total and by the time you get to prime crop areas, much less.

All of the above were directly sowed into beds. Maybe it was a seed issue but consistently? I should note that several of those same crops I planted at my folks' place about 19 miles away and they did well without all the pest pressures.

We have done well with figs. At first they languished so I had to move them two years ago. We've been rewarded.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1987
Location: Denmark 57N
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Most of the "problem" plants above grow like weeds for me, but I can't get passable radishes or turnips, round beetroots hate me (long ones are fine) and coriander just goes straight to seed no matter what the weather.
 
gardener
Posts: 653
Location: Eilean a' Cheo
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I struggle with most annuals. I think this is why I started becoming interested in perennial plants. Even though most of them still fail, it only takes one to overwinter and I`ve got it for years - or at least that`s the theory! My motto was I`d rather fail with Yacon than carrots.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2552
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Kate Muller wrote:Mint. I'm serious.
After 9 years of trying I finally got mint to winter over.    I can grow 30 different veggies and I struggled with mint till this year.  I have planted at least 7 different kinds of mint in several different locations in at least 4 different years.  I finally have lemon balm, peppermint, and spearmint trying to take over.  I will finally get to drink my own mint tea this winter.  

 



I say this with all the love Kate, that is hilarious.  I've never heard of anyone that couldn't grow mint.  I can plant one sprig of it and the next year, I might have an acre :)  It fascinates me how different things grow like gang-busters for some people, and struggle and die for others.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 787
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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Cucumbers never grow for me. I had one year where I had a decent run for a bit before they all got powdery mildew. Most of the time they don't grow at all or grow but never set fruit. I've direct seeded, started in pots inside and out, different times of the year, etc., etc. One year I even measured the soil temperature before planting, which I've never done for anything else.

For some reason this spring, while planting pots with four different kinds of cucumbers, I was chortling to my husband about how many we were going to get this year. Well, some of the plants actually did survive, and I just harvested my first (and probably last) one. I had twenty plants. And one cucumber...in September. 😒

I've got all kinds of things that don't grow well for me, but I can chalk those up to my stupid microclimate or soil or whatever. Cucumbers just hate me, though.
 
pollinator
Posts: 259
Location: Gulgong, NSW, Australia (Cold Zone 9B, Hot Zone 6) UTC +10
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Kate Muller wrote:Mint. I'm serious.
After 9 years of trying I finally got mint to winter over.    I can grow 30 different veggies and I struggled with mint till this year.  I have planted at least 7 different kinds of mint in several different locations in at least 4 different years.  I finally have lemon balm, peppermint, and spearmint trying to take over.  I will finally get to drink my own mint tea this winter.


I say this with all the love Kate, that is hilarious.  I've never heard of anyone that couldn't grow mint.  I can plant one sprig of it and the next year, I might have an acre  It fascinates me how different things grow like gang-busters for some people, and struggle and die for others.  



I am hearing Kate loud and clear.  Our mint freezes in winter and then the very hot dry summer wind sucks every bit of moisture out of what survived.  Even died when under the water tank and in the shade. If we could grow everything, our land would be as big as the world. 🌏🌎🌍
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 2629
Location: Gulf of Mexico cajun zone 8
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Carrots. Probably because I've always lived in hot areas that don't have loose sandy soil. My gardens have always started from rock or from heavy clay. Tried growing them in an old cast iron bathtub with nice soil one year. They started out looking good but once the heat arrived they all fried. Might try again in containers this fall. That has given me the best results so far.
 
Kate Muller
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: New Hampshire
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I other failures I have had over the years.  

I have yet to get Sea Kale past sprouting size. I will keep trying but the seeds are hard to find and a little pricey

Sea Buckthorn. It is supposed to thrive in New England but I can't get it to get any bigger than a foot tall before it dies.  

Plumes and apricots.  I can grow peaches but not plumes or apricots.

We failed spectacularly in trying to grow Christmas trees.  Spruce and Douglas Furs.  

This year I am trying broccoli again. The spring planted broccoli planted next to the pond did well with no cabbage moth problems.  We will see how the fall crop does in the brand new greenhouse that we just got the plastic on yesterday.   I transplanted them a month ago and I am hoping to get a good floret and some side shoots before things get to cold and dark.  

Sweet potatoes.  Growing them in our hugel beds was a disaster due to our pour soil conditions and the amazing rodent habitat that hugel beds built in loose sandy soil create.
I gave up after 3 years of trying.  We are trying again this year now that we have better soil and no hugel beds.  The other major contributing factor to try growing sweet potatoes again is our tiny garden panther Frank.  He is our house cat and he loves hunting in the garden which has significantly reduced our garden losses to various types of rodents.  It is a little to early to tell how well the sweet potatoes did but it can't be worse than the last 3 times we tried growing them.

 
Paul Fookes
pollinator
Posts: 259
Location: Gulgong, NSW, Australia (Cold Zone 9B, Hot Zone 6) UTC +10
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Carrots, beetroot, and other root crops do well under the cover of taller greens.  They get burned off here when they are planted in rows but we mixed all the seed in a jar. added sand and then shook.  After giving away 1/2 of the jar's contents the rest was spread on a bed.  Lo and behold we are getting root veges between the English spinach and marigolds and the weeds - Just did something like Sepp Holzer did.  No dig, just loosened the dirt a but with a Gundaroo tiller.  Sweet potato and rats are not a good combination.  Try growing your sp in an elevated garden.  put guards around the posts so the rats, mice and other critters cannot get to them.  A raised garden with stainless steel mesh under the bottom and an electric wire or 2 50 mm 2" out will slow their progress  have the first wire at 75 mm 3" and another at 150 mm 6" they will not like it.  An earth wire will be required at 100 mm 4".  Once it is there and taught the veges should be as safe as houses.  Other option - get a few more cats or encourage snakes.  They live to eat rats and mice. 🤣  Or should that be love?
 
Kate Muller
pollinator
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Location: New Hampshire
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Paul Fookes wrote:  Sweet potato and rats are not a good combination.  Try growing your sp in an elevated garden.  put guards around the posts so the rats, mice and other critters cannot get to them.  A raised garden with stainless steel mesh under the bottom and an electric wire or 2 50 mm 2" out will slow their progress  have the first wire at 75 mm 3" and another at 150 mm 6" they will not like it.  An earth wire will be required at 100 mm 4".  Once it is there and taught the veges should be as safe as houses.  Other option - get a few more cats or encourage snakes.  They live to eat rats and mice. 🤣  Or should that be love?



We planted some of the sweet potatoes in large bottom watering containers and the rest in raised beds in the garden to see which one does better.  Voles are the nibblers of our root crops and I tend to over plant to compensate.      Frank our cat (aka the tiny garden panther) does a surprising good job of reducing critter damage.  He does not do well with other cats so we will not be getting more cats to help him out.  He  catches and brings little snakes into our garden all the time.  He brings them to me because he thinks they are dead but they are generally playing dead so I get him to release them and I take the cat inside so the snake can escape to the rock walls and other hiding places we have in the garden.   We also  have a resident black snake that startles us once and a while.  The snake is harmless to us but it is unsettling to stumble across it since it is a good size and likes to hang out under our tarps.

 
echo minarosa
pollinator
Posts: 215
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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When we lost all of the cukes last year, the one saving grace was cucamelons. The pests never touched them. They kept us in cuke-like fruit all year until frost. That's why they're growing this year as well!
 
pollinator
Posts: 633
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My cucumbers always succumb to wilt; some years I harvest enough before the wilt to make it worthwhile, other years not.

I have the same problems others noted with zucchini and summer squash, but acorn squash do just fine, they re-root and shrug off damage from pests.

I don't bother with carrots the ones that grow at all are stringy and soapy tasting, store-bought are better.
 
Posts: 287
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To be honest, I didn't have many expectations since I'm too bad with plants, but I have read that beans are easy as eating pie. I've tried round beans, lentils and peas, all dried or burned. Will try again in better soil and better season.
 
Jan White
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echo minarosa wrote:When we lost all of the cukes last year, the one saving grace was cucamelons. The pests never touched them. They kept us in cuke-like fruit all year until frost. That's why they're growing this year as well!



I grew cucamelons this year, too. They grew all right, but nothing seems to pollinate them :(
 
Jan White
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Abraham Palma wrote:To be honest, I didn't have many expectations since I'm too bad with plants, but I have read that beans are easy as eating pie. I've tried round beans, lentils and peas, all dried or burned. Will try again in better soil and better season.



Where I live now I've had a very hard time getting beans to grow, as well. Like yours, they just fry in the heat. When they are able to get big enough before the heat kicks in, they don't produce seed. This year I tried tepary beans and am seriously impressed. They were planted in moist soil, but never got watered all summer. We had a month long stretch of 38-45° weather and they didn't start flowering until after that. But they didn't need water or shade! Because they started flowering so late, I won't get much seed off them, unfortunately.
 
Abraham Palma
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You employed a native species for your land. Natives for drylands here are chickpeas and lentils, so it's either I poured too much manure or I didn't plant at the right moment. Or maybe my seeds were not heritage, they might have been seeds coming from Argentina.
 
pollinator
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Hmmm... I think the question is: What do they get from the Kunekunes that they do not get from you? I should think either manure or a better exposure to sun, rain?... Don't take it personally. My honey bees don't seem to like the clear water I have in the shade of them on hot days. Instead, they go in the puddles the chickens leave behind after a rain.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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I'm noticing a lot of vegetables, but how about trees? for me, the hardest is plum trees. They grow a year or two then get sick and die. Wild cherries, also in the prunus group grow like crazy here, but I've planted maybe a dozen plum trees in sandy Central WI. [zone 4b] and I have yet to get a good crop. Some will throw 4-5 plums [out of pity, I think] then up and die. It is frustrating.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Cecile,

How can I not take it personally.  I politely asked the Kunekunes how they grew the corn, and they laughed at me.   I mean they laughed so hard they were snorting.  I threatened to not feed them any more grain, and they told me they could grow their own .... unlike some people. Do you have any advice on smoking corn fed bacon?
 
Abraham Palma
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Man, this was hilarious, especially when I thought the Kunekunes were your farmer neighbours or something like that. It's still a nice joke after I read what a kunekune is.
 
pollinator
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Carrots, definitely carrots. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, they are very cheap but it bugs me that I can't grow them very well.

Getting large heads on broccoli seems like a common problem, so this year I'm trying 3 different varieties. One is Calabrese which is a pretty standard variety. One is a very quick growing broccoli that is supposed to reach maturity in 37 days. And the last is an overwintering variety that matures in about 120 days. Only the first one is supposed to produce a large head, but if the others give me lots of small shoots I'm fine with that.
 
Jan White
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Abraham Palma wrote:You employed a native species for your land.



Well, I suppose so - if you're going by continent. Although the BC Interior, where I live, is to northern Mexico as Scotland is to Málaga 😄  

If I only grew edibles native to my area I'd be a pretty unhappy diner😁

Reading other people's entries, I realized I've only managed to grow carrots once. They were beautiful, huge, foot long carrots that lasted us all winter.  Interestingly, I've always had sandy soil, except for the one time they grew. That was in heavy clay 🙄
 
Mk Neal
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Cecile, I have the same issue with plums!  I planted native varieties from Michigan, so they should be well-adapted to Chicago.  I get plenty of flowers, but only a few tiny fruit that the curculios ruin.
 
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Christopher Weeks wrote:Carrots. Something like one in ten seeds throws up some greens and then they disappear once they're two inches tall. I'm only on year two with them, but it's disappointing. (Zucchini grows like gangbusters.)



Are slugs possibly attacking the carrots?
 
pollinator
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I have noticed over the last few years that weather plays a huge role in cherries and plums.

If it is stormy (windy or raining) for the bulk of the flower/pollination period, the crop is drastically affected.

My suspicion is either they do not get pollinated (too miserable for the pollinaters) OR the storm decimates the pollen.

What do the roots of the dead trees look like?  
 
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Blueberries!  I live in blueberry country.  I've planted multiple times in multiple locations, use acidifying agents and fertilizer.  They never get bigger than when i planted them and they dwindle and die in 2-3 years.  I might get a handful of berries occasionally.  I'm lucky to have a blueberry pick-your-own nearby so its no big deal.  But, its just so humiliating.  
I've been gardening in the same location for 23 years and no 2 years are the same.  Something grows well and something does poorly and I can't usually blame it on anything in particular except weather patterns and growing in zone 4 US.
 
master steward
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Kathy Vargo wrote:Blueberries!


Ha...go figure Kathy!  Any theories?
 
Abraham Palma
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Probably a repeated mistake from a wrong theory.
I've heard that some plants you have to plant them with a bag of the soil where they usually grow. If she's a seasoned gardener, surely the plant is not missing sun or macronutrients, so it should be some micronutrients that only the right microbiota can provide in the right proportions.
 
Kathy Vargo
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My guess is the soil is perma-basic.  It was a sheep then dairy then hay farm and many many decades of lime where used.  What few soil tests I have recently are macro nutrients only and yep it'd dead neutral at pH 7.14 or there abouts.
Speaking of which, where can you get a really thurough soil analysis?  Who should I send it to?
 
pollinator
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I'm another one failing at blueberries.

I think I'd do okay if I could just decide where to put them and get them into the bare ground instead of pots... But so far in two years I've gotten six blueberries from four bushes...

Edited typo
 
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