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RIP Tomatoes: How to Bounce Back from a Gardening Setback

By May 11, 2010May 12th, 2010Gardening

Our tomatoes after the first rainstorm

So we’ve finally decided to cut our losses with our seeded tomatoes. They were doing really well in the first half of April. Temperatures were unseasonably warm, so much so that I made my first batch of sun tea and we pined that we might have blossoms by June. In the third week however the weather returned to almost March-like temperatures, and after a soggy storm the third week, the tomatoes never recovered because they lacked heat and sunny days to keep them growing. They’ve languished, completely blight-ridden as the weather remains cool and soggy.

The weeds and grass seem to be having few issues with all this rain

This can happen to the most experienced gardeners, and it’s important not to beat yourself up when things like this happen. Weather varies from year to year, and what works effortlessly one year may test your patience the next. Here are a few things you can do to rebound your enthusiasm after a setback:

  1. 1. Plant something new: Whether it’s store-bought or you try your luck at seeding again, give your garden another go and don’t stay mad. I recommend trying something easy: a potted herb, beans or a lettuce container. That way you can get excited knowing that barring a real natural disaster you’ll have success.
  2. 2. Compost your seedlings: Turn a negative into a positive and compost your seedlings back into your garden bed or compost pile. They’ll make good soil additive and maybe even rebound in your compost pile, …as we learned last year.
  3. 3. Give your garden and yourself some TLC: Pull some weeds, dead-head your flowers, feed the birds and just spend time in the garden. Have a backyard bbq or throw a Frisbee around. Life is still good!

I think with the resurgent emphasis toward gardening, there is an underlying pressure to be perfect and grow everything in the garden. It’s just not realistic, and it’s important not to beat yourself up if you aren’t a super-gardener right away or if your garden gets a little weedy and your lawn isn’t perfectly mowed. It’s supposed to be fun, and a great way to add local foods to your diet. So keep having fun and learning more, and with every setback will come many more successes!