garden · growing · Growing the Goods · harvesting · The Farm

The Possitive Side of Failing

It’s been far too long since I have been able to write a post. After nine months of living in a rual mountain town of 300, I finally have internet again. As challenging as it was, I did learn was how much I relied on technology even while homesteading.

I’m addicted to Google. I want to know everything and I want to know it as soon as I think of the question. Why does my plant look like that? Google it. Why is my chicken making that noise? Google it. Majority of my knowledge of growing a garden and raising animals came from Googling this and that. Since I only have a few years experience in the homesteading world, Google became my best friend.

When my family moved last October, that option became unavailable. Internet options are extremely limited where I live and we just rolled with not having it. I had no idea how to garden in a high altitude and short season environment so I set out to the library and read book after book. I took notes and started a journal and tried to learn as much as possible.

I was determined to start the growing season off strong so I preped all winter long to prepare for a whole new experience….if only everything was as easy in practice as in theory.

I started plants indoors with grow lights early in the late winter. A little early start couldn’t hurt right? Right. Except if you decide to get pregnant in the middle of it all and become too sick to get off the couch. Apparently I like to make life challenging by moving, adjusting to a new climate and getting pregnant all with in months of each other.

My pregnancy has been difficult from the beginning. Because of that, my poor plants got neglected. Half of my starts died from lack of water and the ones strong enough to make it to hardening off had their own challenge ahead.

Higher altitude means more intense sun. Add in the wind that blows everyday here and I lose another half of my plants due to sun and wind damage. Whole new experience for me.

Mother’s Day rolls around and my husband and I start on building a green house. By we I mean he as I just sit on the ground watching, trying to drown out my morning sickness with ginger ale and whininess.

Now back track to not having any internet. We had little to go off of when building a greenhouse, but I felt confident enough that what we did know would get us by. I was wrong.

For example, venting in a green house is important, which I knew was the case for Summer. However, even at 24 ° and snowing it is still very much needed. After losing even more of my plants because of this, I now know better.

So I’m at about 25% success rate from getting my seeds to plants, to the garden and growing. Luckily I grew WAY too many starts and ended up with your average size garden.

It has been an uphill battle. My garden isn’t flourishing like years before. My soil has too much clay and needs quite a bit of amendment. Birds are my new worst enemy, when before it was grass hoppers and squash bugs. I’ve also learned that no matter how ambitious you are certain things just can not do well in a shorter growing season.

In short, I have failed horribly this year. I used to walk through my garden and beam with happiness with my overflowing plants. This year it would just depress me. I don’t really handle failure well. Over and over again I got frustrated and upset, but then I realized failing is probably the best thing I could have done this year.

The one thing I never did was give up. When one thing wouldn’t work, I tried something else. I kept going and tried new things and fixed problems as they appeared. I have learned more from my mistakes and failures this one year then I would have ever read on the internet.

Even though it took me a growing season to learn these things, I feel very confident for next year. Failure, out of all else, has been the best learning experience.

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2 thoughts on “The Possitive Side of Failing

  1. Just a tip on seed starting, you want to make sure you have your light as close to the starts without touching them – that prevents them from getting leggy, like your tomato starts were looking. We pretty much jerry-rigged (sp?) the grow lights so that I can raise them as the starts get taller, but you can also put a few pieces of wood under the pots to raise them closer to the light. Also, I put a long plastic lid over my seed starting pots as an extra indoor-greenhouse effect and it also meant I didn’t have to water them as much as it kept them nice and humid in there.

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    1. Thank you for the advice! I realized about the light a little late and had to start a new batch of seeds. I believe the picture was from my “mistake” batch. It was my first year trying grow lights and I learned a lot to be more successful next year.

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