My Garden Ain’t Perfect, So What

Posted on Oct 25 2010 - 3:15am by Mike Lieberman

The thing that I think needs to be communicated more often is that my balcony garden ain’t perfect And you know what…who cares?

Everything that I plant, grow, sprout, whatever doesn’t look great and doesn’t always work. I’ve been having problems with my cucumber containers.

I think this needs to be said and said more often for a few reasons. The first, and most important, is that one of the biggest excuses that I hear from people is that they always fail when attempting to grow things. I have three containers right now that look like death.

The second reason is that when you look at most (not all) gardening websites everything is perfectly manicured and looks amazing. That ain’t life and for some people it’s not attainable, so why try?

Some of my latest failures are one cherry tomato container that is beyond sad looking, though I have been able to harvest a few tomatoes from. I have the remaining cucumber plant that the leaves are starting to turn brown and die. There is also another tomato plant that was transplanted recently that has browning and yellowing leaves.

I’ve been regularly adding compost and manure tea, but no luck. Lots of advice has been given to me to help remedy the leaves, but nothing has worked yet.

The fact that the balcony is east facing and gets direct sun until about 1030-11 am is likely a big factor. So I’ve decided to pull-up the plants and grow something that can survive without the direct sunlight.

I just wanted to express some of my failures to show that it’s not all perfect, but I learned my lesson and will continue. All good.


27 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Paperwhitetulip October 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm -

    I like your new look ~ Tks for posting a new video! I look forward to the next, video garden topic.

  2. Mike Lieberman October 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm -

    Thanks. I let it grow out every once in a while.

  3. Leah Stoltz October 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm -

    Good idea mike… people need to know that not all will look like the perfect pictures they see online/books. Gardening is trial and error.. My year on a 2000 sq. ft garden.. was so many mistakes… I call it my gardening university! Keep up the good work.

  4. Mike Lieberman October 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm -

    I’d enroll in Stoltz U

  5. Kenneth Moore October 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm -

    Amen! I’ve killed more things than I’d ever admit to, but you’re right, it should be communicated. Successes are great, and you learn a lot–but you learn a lot from failures, too!

    Tomatoes are definitely not as fruitful in low-light situations, but I have found that you get a few more cherry tomatoes, if you want to keep trying! (Still not as good as out-in-full-sun-not-in-a-container, but ya work with what ya got.)

  6. Mike Lieberman October 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm -

    I def think it should be communicate more. It doesn’t seem to be communicated at all. I got a few cherry tomatoes, but have now ripped them up for something that will do better in the given circumstances.

  7. Anonymous October 25, 2010 at 10:35 pm -

    ya you definitely need to learn what your area can support. it’s all trial and error. I’ve given up on tomatoes and peppers as without a greehouse it’s very hard to get good results in the pacific northwest. tomatoes sometimes, peppers rarely from my experience.

    you can over fertilize stuff which is much easier to do in pots and containers. gf added some of our worm compost directly to some plants in pots which burned them good.

  8. julia October 25, 2010 at 11:33 pm -

    i lust after the perfect garden….
    i grow mostly weeds and inedible green beans…

    i do have some seminole squash that put on three (what may be edible squash)
    and i can grow eggplant…but they don’t get bigger than my thumb


  9. Mike Lieberman October 26, 2010 at 12:25 am -

    Who needs perfect?

  10. Mike Lieberman October 26, 2010 at 12:25 am -

    Hahhaa. If anything my plants would be malnourished and not over nourished.

  11. Mark October 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm -

    Hey Mike, quite right about the fact that some veg must have sun and about sharing failures. You should have seen my sweetcorn – huge plants and almost NO cornsat all !!

    Keep up the great work.


  12. Mike Lieberman October 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm -

    Thanks Mark. Will check out.

  13. Alison Kerr October 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm -

    Quite right Mike. I make lots of gardening mistakes and my garden definitely looks nothing like something out of a magazine. It wasn’t until I realized that nature is not perfect, and neither am I, that I began to enjoy gardening. I think of it as an adventure, an experiment. Whatever comes out of my garden that is edible is a very nice bonus! I just keep trying and learning.

  14. Mike Lieberman October 30, 2010 at 8:43 pm -

    It’s a journey not a destination. I love that quote.

  15. steph April 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm -

    Thanks for that. What a tough spring it’s been for seedlings. Birds got my Kale. Squirrels got my peas. Weather got my beets.

  16. Mike Lieberman April 18, 2011 at 12:17 am -

    And you still got your health and desire. That’s what matters. This kind of stuff makes you appreciate food that much more when you eat eat. Keep me updated.

  17. Upholstery Cleaning Kendall April 18, 2011 at 4:13 am -

    Thanks for posting this! i really had good time reading this.

  18. Julianne Idleman May 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm -

     LOVE this idea. I try to think of the garden as a big experiment. Maybe it’ll be a delicious dinner, maybe it’ll attract a pollinator or two, or maybe I’ll learn something not to do next time. It’s all good. I try. I learn. Sometimes I eat the experiments too.

  19. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm -

    Just don’t eat the yellow snow, know what I mean? 

  20. large garden pots May 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm -

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  22. Plant grow August 30, 2011 at 6:03 am -

    When I first tried gardening it really made me frustrate at first but with the right techniques that most I’ve got from the internet, I’m now have a wonderful outdoor garden at my house and it really makes me feel proud.

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  25. Natalie Giles October 14, 2011 at 4:49 am -

    Outstanding work yet again! I am excited for your upcoming post!

  26. Mike Lieberman October 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm -


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