3 Reasons Your Garden Will Fail This Year

Posted on Apr 4 2012 - 1:00am by Mike Lieberman

Spring is here… getting lots of messages about starting your first container garden.

You are excited and nervous. And for good reason. You’ve lots to do in the next couple months!

Why your garden will fail

The 3 reasons your garden will fail this year.

  • 1. You want to grow a farmers market in your small space.

You want to grow tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, peppers, kale, onions, garlic, strawberries and a billion other things.

A lot of those veggies require a bit more time and energy to grow. I’m not saying it’s impossible to grow them, just that to grow all of them when you are starting out might not be the best idea. You get an A for the enthusiasm, but you are just starting out. Chill out a bit.

Start by buying sampler seed packs only $0.99 cents over at SeedsNow.com. They’re 100% NON-GMO.

Growing your own food is overwhelming to start. So why try to grow a farmers market on your balcony?

Growing your own food is overwhelming to start. So why try to grow a farmers market on your balcony? — Tweet This

Scale it down a bit.

  • 2. You read about companion planting

You read in a gardening book, magazine or on some site that you can increase your yield, protect against bugs and that companion planting was smart to do. Now you wanna cram hundreds of plants into one container.

Companion planting is a good practice to employ, but if you are new to the container gardening game, keep it simple. Why introduce other variables into the equation?

Get one crop in a container down first, then introduce others into the mix.

  • 3. You only get 4 hours of sun, but want to grow tomatoes –>

How did I know this? Because everyone wants to grow tomatoes.

If you want to grow tomatoes and don’t get enough sunlight, you will likely fail. This is why it’s so important to determine the amount of sunlight your space gets and grow what suits those conditions. If you get less than 5 hours, then grow some of these shade loving veggies.

3 sources to buy your vegetable seeds


Don’t set yourself up for failure

One of your big concerns in starting out is making sure that you are doing everything right because you are scared of failing.

That’s why I want you to minimize your failure and avoid those three mistakes. I’m not saying those ideas are and dumb and ridiculous, but to start out…they kind of are.

Your turn

I know that you were planning one of these mistakes to start this year. In the comments below, ‘fess up and let me know which one you had planned and will be avoiding.

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

  1. Mandy Malagón April 4, 2012 at 8:06 am -

    Farmers market totally! haha

  2. Sarahbethharris April 4, 2012 at 8:08 am -

    I always get over ambitious and plant more than I have time to tend. This year, I decided to do container gardening only, and am already guilty of #1. I have way too much jammed into my containers. Luckily, they are just seeds at this point and can be “thinned” if I can bring myself to rip out seedlings. 🙁

  3. Michellebennett April 4, 2012 at 8:11 am -

    Spot on! I did exactly what you said for my first garden last year and totally lost the love! Bugs, weather, mosquitoes the size of helicopters, weeds and growth from a 1st year garden, sunlight issues from trees I didn’t factor, grubs, moths, beetles… ugh. I spent $1200 on my garden last year and abandoned it half way through. This year, that $1200 will be better spent at my local farm markets and I’ll have a lot more time and enjoyment on my hands. All I’m growing this year are herbs since I had great success with them over the years. I’ll garden vicariously through you this year! 

    Tell it how it is! We newbies need to listen! lol

  4. Kit_Harrison April 4, 2012 at 8:16 am -

    Good advice Mike, but flipping your point about setting yourself up for failure I’d add that you should never, ever be afraid of making mistakes. 

    And when it comes to growing, the only non-newbie is Nature herself.

    Love from the UK x

  5. Kit_Harrison April 4, 2012 at 8:16 am -

    Good advice Mike, but flipping your point about setting yourself up for failure I’d add that you should never, ever be afraid of making mistakes. 

    And when it comes to growing, the only non-newbie is Nature herself.

    Love from the UK x

  6. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 8:36 am -


  7. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 8:37 am -

    Hahhaha. I hear you on that.

  8. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 8:37 am -

    Start small and work your way up.

  9. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 8:38 am -

    Mistakes are just learning opportunities.

  10. Julie April 4, 2012 at 8:50 am -

    Great reminders!  I love your articles. They’re always loaded with good tips and information about gardening, even for the not so green thumbed.  So, thank you!

  11. AH April 4, 2012 at 8:53 am -

    Great info. Definitely agree on starting small. As time has gone on, I’ve honed down how many different things I grow, rather than increasing. That way, what I am growing gets the room and attention it needs. There will be another year to try different things. 🙂 

  12. worfington April 4, 2012 at 8:55 am -

    Last year was my first, and I totally went farmers market. (40 buckets) I was lucky, though. I have a huge deck, (800 sq. ft.), lots of sun and I can hook up a hose to my washing machine. If you don’t have these advantages, (and not many apartment dwellers do), listen to Mike.
    This year I’m upping my game to 50 buckets, 3 potato bags and a vertical pallet garden for strawberries – wish me luck.

  13. Carolyne April 4, 2012 at 9:28 am -

    I’ve been growing heirloom tomatoes for almost twenty years, and gardening organically for fifteen. I have yard space, so everything is in the ground not in containers. Even I get over ambitious some years. But still, to all readers of your article who are taking this on, I say hurray for you. I have 20- and 30-something neighbors with big yards and no interest in growing anything themselves. And I saw one of them out this weekend, spraying a few weeds with RoundUp. That’s so last century. So, good for all you gardeners, first time mistake makers, overachievers, etc.!

  14. Jessica Donaldson April 4, 2012 at 9:59 am -

    I am good on the amount of sun I get, though I haven’t had many sunny days yet.

    The companion gardening is true for me, I need to rethink that approach at least for a few of my containers. Fitting 5 or 6 different plants won’t work but maybe 2 or 3 will work.

    I have a lot of things started but I don’t mind the challenge and if some fail that will just teach me a lesson I needed.

    Another thing that could cause us to fail is planting in the wrong season. I have a spinach starting but by the time it grows it will probably bolt right away.

  15. Tiffany April 4, 2012 at 10:16 am -

    Last year we pretty much only grew heirloom tomatoes (which grew to massive size) so I am all tomatoed out. Plus farmer’s markets always have good tomatoes so why bother? 😉 This year we are just doing carrots, radish, several varieties of lettuce, swiss chard, and broccoli. Herbs will be grown indoors too. If we keep it simple our garden does much better. Great article!

  16. Catlovers02 April 4, 2012 at 10:58 am -

    one tip a good friend passed on for those with lack of sun in one spot & using containers, put on wheels & follow the sun (an old red wagon) it does mean a bit more effort but if you really want a tomato it can help

  17. Tia Nishiyama April 4, 2012 at 11:13 am -

    I’m planning on growing everything but I’m also moving in the next couple months so…… I dont think I will get much of a garden this year but I was sure going to try… lol…. maybe I’ll wait to move before starting anymore seeds

  18. Mama Turtle April 4, 2012 at 11:15 am -

    I’ve had no trouble growing tomatoes in 4 to 5 hours of direct sun and several more of strong indirect, but I also live in SoCal where the tomatoes and peppers will burn if they get full sun. I garden almost exclusively in containers, and the best advice is to always use a pot that you think is too big. Those seedlings look tiny but will get large. I do use companion planting, but I also use planters that are hand built 4 – 5 ft long by 1 ft deep and thick. I do garlic and peppers or basil and peppers with tomatoes, lettuce with peas, green onions with turnips, oregano with eggplant, one squash with pole beans, things like that with random nasturtium or calendula interspersed, and I greatly utilize vertical space. My concern with this article is that it sends noobs the message that they shouldn’t try these things. I think they should. Screw something up. Find wild success where you least expect it. Experimentation is the only way to find what works for your garden. If I went by the books I couldn’t grow most vegetables because of too little full sun. Reality contradicts the books every day as I have a thriving garden despite having afternoon shade. Can’t grow summer peas in SoCal? Bah! Thanks to that shade I can! I only get three hours sun in winter yet I have chard and peas out my ears then too. You would be amazed at what will grow in bright shade. Just be sure to have white walls nearby… I’m convinced that’s why this works for me.

  19. just_kazari April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am -

    The mistake I made when first starting out was beating myself up if something died — even if everything else was fine. It’s just part of the learning process — figuring out what works in your climate and your lifestyle and what doesn’t.

    Fortunately although I did attempt the “farmer’s market” in my first year with a full garden space I was also unemployed so had plenty of time to devote…so it worked out pretty well! But beginners do underestimate just how much time having a thriving veg garden requires. Now that I’m working full time my garden is occupied with mostly self-reliant and drought-resistant flowering plants.

  20. Nannypoo April 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm -

    I live in the piedmont section of North Carolina.  I would like to use containers to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and sweet peppers.  Am I biting off too much for the first year.  I am somewhat knowledgeable about gardens since I grew up with parents who had 3 acres of garden space and used it all.

  21. Stephanie D April 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm -

    I am trying to grow a farmers market on my deck!  🙂  And still I want to add more!  Oh well, I will try to reign it in…

  22. LindaJean April 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm -

    It is okay if some plants don’t work out, but what if they do? If it fails I’ll plant greens, or more mint. Of course I want to try tomatoes, and so what if I have three different types.  Right now the potatoes are almost growing faster than I can keep up. The tomatoes are starting to bush out and I have my first peas. I saw my first honeybee in 3 years (in the parsley who would guess).  I sit out and watch the sunset in the middle of my little urban bucket garden and I am content. Growth comes from trying failing and trying again. It’s okay I heard the I told you so’s.

  23. Runandheel April 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm -

    I have smaked down by the veggie god’s enough now to stop trying to grow corn. But of course I going to replace it with growing Cantaloup in a container on my deck. Will I fail? Most likely…………..:)

  24. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm -

    Those are the people it’s targeted to.

  25. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm -

    hahahah. At least you have reasonable expectations 😉

  26. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm -

    That’s great that you are growing so much and have had success with it. This post is geared towards those that are first starting out and scared to fail, which has been stopping them from starting.

  27. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm -

    Hahhaha. When does the market open?

  28. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm -

    If you feel comfortable with it, by all means do it. There is no right and wrong way.

  29. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm -


  30. remabulous April 5, 2012 at 11:47 am -

    Totally want to grow a farmer’s market in my yard. But at least I really dislike raw tomatoes. So I must suggest you amend “everybody wants to grow tomatoes.” I only like them cooked and while I know the home grown tends to taste better, I am perfectly happy getting them at the FM if I need them. 

    Thanks for the tips!

  31. Mike Lieberman April 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm -

    Hhahaa. Yes everybody was a bit of an exaggeration.

  32. Brenna @ Almost All The Truth April 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm -

    I was just lamenting my brown thumb again! We luckily have a yard, but my husband is tasked with a lot of the work and he would likely never let me near his hops! I do want to get better and be able to take on more in our front yard too. We’ll see how it goes!

  33. Mike Lieberman April 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm -

    Keep it small. Get the wins and build up.

  34. Mary @ Bake Break April 7, 2012 at 9:23 am -

    Thanks for the tips! I just moved into a place (with a killer greenhouse!!) where I can garden, but I’ve never gardened… ever… I love your enthusiasm and helpful hints!

  35. Mike Lieberman April 7, 2012 at 11:11 am -

    Get it!

  36. Catherine April 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm -

    After failing to grow tomatoes for years, I verified with a SunCalc that my beautiful garden space with its lattice fence and finials is in partial shade.  So, shade-tolerant, early spring veggies will reside there.  I will get tomatoes from my CSA.

  37. Joyce Brisebois April 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm -

    Failure isn’t fatal so I don’t know why ppl are so afraid of it. :/  I
    guess I’m one of those fearless ones who just does stuff and if it
    doesn’t work out, then I know a way of how NOT to do something and I just keep going.

    I’m expecting some of my first time in-door container gardening to fail. If it doesn’t, then all the more sweeter it is. 😀

    not making mistakes, we’re making experiences.

  38. Vicki Schoenwald April 8, 2012 at 6:53 am -

    I have gardened for years, and container gardened for 8 yrs. I still have failures, and I just go on. Failures revolve around what kind of year is may or may not be, temp, and a whole lot of factors.  I just buy extra seeds, keep a log of what I did and learn.  I think beginners are frightened like the humans that we are, we do not want to fail.  Failure is part of being human and then learning from the experience and going on…
    All of my tomato starts failed, my peppers are thriving, I am starting new seeds, and doing something a little different. Am I upset…no, just pressing to learn more.

  39. Allinante April 8, 2012 at 9:13 am -

    I was trying to do too much! Yikes! Thanks for the short concise posts! I’m getting a very long list of gardening books and articles to read, so you have inspired me and kept me from trying too much on my first gardening attempt. Thanks!

  40. Bluseaia April 8, 2012 at 10:58 am -

    I live in the LA area, epic fail on tomatoes, too much sun & too dry, any suggestions ?

  41. Bluseaia April 8, 2012 at 11:00 am -

    I am there, SoCal resident, there must be a tomato secret. I am going to spray my a lot, Ithink humity is the problem,not enough!

  42. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am -


  43. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am -

    I hear you on that, but if people are scared…let’s make it as easy as possible for them.

  44. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am -

    Good for you. Keep on a learning.

  45. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am -

    Grow something else 😉

  46. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 11:58 am -

    Toss those books and articles away. Stick with me. I’m easier to understand ;-P

  47. Insanad April 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm -

    I’m avoiding broccoli because it will lead to the downfall of the nation. JUST KIDDING. I just hate broccoli but mostly hate to get it all nice and ready to pick and then come out and see it covered with aphids. I’m also avoiding cabbage. It takes up a ton of space and water and bolts so quickly. I can buy a head of cabbage much cheaper than I can grow them. I’m also avoiding corn this year. It’s a huge water drinker and requires a lot of fertilizers and I can purchase a bushel of corn for much cheaper than I can grow it. I can do the same with potatoes but I love potatoes and they grow so easily that I feel like the effort and space are worth it.

    I have had very bad luck with string beans in the past few years. It’s embarrassing to not be able to grow an abundance of something that usually grows so easily for others. This year I’m dedicating one whole large raised bed to them, no competition from other plants and lots of string and trellises to climb up. Even if I grow way more than I can use or freeze the plants will be good to add back to the soil and give it a break from the other crops that have taken a lot of nutrients over the years.

    I have had the hardest time growing ice cream. I planted two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Chunk Fudge last year and nothing came up. What am I doing wrong?

  48. Insanad April 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm -

    Never ever ever put mint or cat nip or other creepers in your compost after you’ve cut them back in the fall or spring. I made that mistake a couple of years ago and then used the compost in my other raised beds and now I have lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, and catnip in every single bin. The roots go on forever and are really tough to kill. They choke out everything else and get really dense in the raised beds. 

  49. guest April 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm -

    Yikes, Im pretty sure I have aphid larvae on my plants. Do you know of a good organic pesticide for them? I read about using tomato leaves soaked in water have you had any experience with it?

  50. Sabathiel April 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm -

    Yep, I’m one if those types that want to grow everything under the sun lol. I did good though, I settled on herbs and edible flowers plus lettuce/mesclun mix. I figured is plant what I use most in containers-i.e. spices.
    I got lucky though and have access to a family members yard. In my Aunts yard I have sweet and hot peppers and 7 types of tomato (mainly heirloom). I also planted peas, zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumber, watermelon and cantaloupe :D.
    Ok, so…yeah, I guess I still went a little far for my first edible garden (especially on the tomatoes he-he). Oh well, it’s fun to share and anyhow being outside to tend to everything has its own rewards as well.

  51. Sherri Cline April 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm -

     Take your used coffee grounds, put them in a milk jug, fill with water, pour water & coffee grounds through a strainer, and spray filtered coffee water on the aphids.They don’t like coffee.

    I also dust with D.E. (Diatomacious Earth) Put into a jelly bag and dust your trees and plants with it. Also good to use around the foundation of your home to get rid of sow bugs, earwigs and fleas. I also dust plants that are attacked by slugs and snails. You have to re-apply after it rains.

  52. Sheri Cline April 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm -

     Deep mulch.

  53. Samadhi Padah April 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm -

    I’ve been testing out my abilities, little by little. So far, I’ve sown seeds for nasturtiums and sunflowers and they both sprouted. Then I said to myself, let’s get courageous. So I bought a started grape tomato plant, and five strawberry plants. They are doing well. So now I am starting seeds for leafy greens: kale, chard and sweet basil.  If I keep watering them, I think they’ll all do well. Fingers crossed!

  54. Sheri Cline April 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm -

     ….”Green Cover”. Beats the heck out of weeds and think of all the money you can save “not” buying coffee but making your own fresh brewed teas.

     Also think “Chop & Drop” mulching.

     I use 2 sizes of garden soil screens and when things get a bit thick I just shovel the soil onto a screen sitting on the wheelbarrow, clean out all the roots and re-set the soil, sink a bottomless (I’ve cut it off) garden planter (this holds the herbs a bay) & plant my seed.

     Roots of any living plant only hold so much life giving force, if you are a constant gardener and constantly dig at the new green growth the roots will run out of energy eventually. Never allow it to go to seed.

    The bees will love you for leaving it!

  55. Katerina April 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm -

    We have been trying to grow corn for the last 3 summers.First summer was a disaster….second was a bit better..last year we actually had a few ears but nothing worthy of eating.This year I am trying again but taking advice and planting atleast 3 rows..we’ll see. I am quite stubborn when it comes to faliure.I am also doing more conatiner gardening this year and found awesome cameo print buckets at Home Depot…I think it will add more visual pizzaz to the porch

  56. Bamboolyn April 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm -

    Never saw this idea before – will try it!  I have 3 Cecile Brunner roses, climbers w/ tiny pick flowers & the aphids love them as much as I do. I’m always looking for an organic fix.

  57. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm -

    Good advice.

  58. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm -

    Nice. Get it!

  59. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm -

    Good job!

  60. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm -

    Nice. Good luck!

  61. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm -

    You can also use a product such as EndAll by Safer Brand.

  62. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm -

    Shade them and water them more.

  63. Edgillies3 April 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm -

    Thanks for the info mike. I just got my balcony green house and I’m gonna start with wheat grass and barley grass. We get about 4 hours of late sun. You thinks that’s enough?

    Chef Ed

  64. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm -

    Not sure on those. Give it a shot and see what happens.

  65. Archanakudtarkar April 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm -

    i wanted to grow 3-4 veggies in my small space. Thanks for guidance, I will stick to 2 veggies and see the results.

  66. Rebecca Stultz April 9, 2012 at 3:52 am -

    In the past, even though not limited to my patio, I have tried to grow too much at one time while switching to organic.  In the past couple of years I have been so discouraged (the joy of starting a garden isn’t much this year) because of bugs and critters.  I was working at home and had more time to go out on bug patrol, but now I’m working outside the home and am going to have to really scale down my garden in order to keep up with the bugs, etc. (plus I have had muskrat problems and this year I have a groundhog to get rid of).  Also don’t have time to haul water from the creek to water my garden anymore, and I don’t want to use city water. (chemicals and expense)  Not ready to give up gardening quite yet though. (but close)

  67. Clare Selina April 9, 2012 at 6:13 am -

    As a small child I used to think planting a tiny seed in the soil and watching it become a beautiful flower or yummy fruit or veggie was tantamount to magic. I still feel that way now I’m a mother myself and I would say to anybody starting a new garden this year to just get stuck in, grow something, anything and stop stressing about getting it perfect first time. Mistakes aren’t failures, they’re learning opportunities. Some of my most valuable lessons in gardening have come from the mistakes I’ve made. In fact if I stopped making mistakes and learning from them gardening wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to me and I’d get less pleasure from it than I do now. Above all, have fun with it, experiment a bit and don’t forget to step back from time to time and wonder at the magic you’ve created. 

  68. Mike Lieberman April 9, 2012 at 7:28 am -

    Keep it simple. 

  69. Mike Lieberman April 9, 2012 at 7:28 am -

    Don’t give up. Start really small. Get those few quick wins and that will help you to get your momentum. You got this!

  70. Mike Lieberman April 9, 2012 at 7:29 am -

    Well said and great perspective.

  71. Kate April 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm -

    I wish I had come here 2 years ago before my UBER-FAIL first garden. I made all of these mistakes 10 fold! Fellow readers: take his advice. Very good pointers!

  72. Mike Lieberman April 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm -

    All good. Appreciate.

  73. mollystingray April 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm -

    Companion planting was great for my two companion plants and terrible for the ones near it! They were so healthy and happy that they blocked the sun to all other plants near them. Fail. I won’t make that same mistake this year!

  74. Mike Lieberman April 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm -

    Hahhaha. Live and learn.

  75. Resistancediaryof1 April 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm -

    LOL just in time, Mike! I was so tempted to plant tomatoes in this one part of my apt building “abandoned” by other gardeners. Not enough sun, and the worst kind of shade- buildings instead of plants that let some amount through. Thanks for the heads-up!

  76. Mattk80 April 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm -

    I have made the self watering 5 gallon bucket containers. I have constructed 8 of them. Now I am hung up on what type of dirt to use . I have 6 bags of Scotts potting soil, also some lime. I need to get fertilizer. So now I am second guessing myself on my decisions. So the hardest part of starting my garden is the dirt!

  77. Mike Lieberman April 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm -

    Word. I’m good like that 😉

  78. David Kless April 17, 2012 at 6:50 am -

    I found your site before I was able to go to crazy buying seed packets.  I learned that Swiss Chard and Chives would be good to start out with, so that’s what I’m doing.  The Chives sprouted quickly!  I wouldn’t say that in the beginning I was planning on planting eggplant and pumpkin, but maybe I was thinking too big. 

  79. Mike Lieberman April 17, 2012 at 7:44 am -

    Good for you for getting started. Here’s my thoughts on Miracle-Gro https://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2011/07/is-miracle-gro-organic-who-cares/

    I’d recommend Fox Farms Ocean Forest. It comes loaded with all the fertilizer you’ll neeed to start.

  80. Mike Lieberman April 17, 2012 at 7:45 am -

    Chard and chives…that’s a good start.

  81. Mwill39209 April 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm -

    my first big mistake was buying $33.00 worth of seeds. and of course w/one plant box and a very small parcel of dirt. now what to do with all those seeds. smh

  82. Mike Lieberman April 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm -

    Hahhaah. Same here. Stick em in the freezer and they’ll be fine.

  83. Mark April 19, 2012 at 1:03 am -

    Mike, you are absolutely spot on with this post – trying to grow too much early on is a very easy pitfall. The good news is that you can grow all those amazing plants you list – even in a small space (as long as you have sun) – and the best way to get there is step by step, adding a few each year, letting your garden grow with you as you learn. 

  84. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2012 at 7:30 am -

    Great point and strategy Mark.

  85. John Aguilar April 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm -

    I’ve planted chilis but ants eat their leaves or the fruit. It’s great that there’s a multitude of people doing pot gardening. It helps our nature in the end. Hopefully, everyone takes part on this and we’ll see our collective efforts paying off soon.

  86. Mike Lieberman April 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm -

    Amen to that brother.

  87. Irina April 26, 2012 at 8:10 am -

     Hey Mike,  Thanks for recommending the soil, but do I need to add anything to it during season? Or should it be good for one season as is?

  88. Mike Lieberman April 26, 2012 at 10:28 am -

    Should be good for a bit. Worst case scenario you buy some compost or liquid fertilizer.

  89. Patrick April 26, 2012 at 10:41 am -

    Your website form for advertising does not work! The captcha is on a drug binge spree and I have typed it in dozens of times. I have waste my time trying to give my money to you. Get it fixed!

  90. Mike Lieberman April 26, 2012 at 10:49 am -

    Thanks for the heads-up Patrick. The for has been sent to rehab and fixed. I’ve also sent you a private message.

  91. Angie S. May 11, 2012 at 5:17 am -

    I used to live in an apartment that had only an east-facing balcony with a roof over it. I tried to grow herbs there without much success. I would have loved back then to know about shade-loving veggies!

  92. Angie S. May 11, 2012 at 5:27 am -

    I live in Utah. Not humid at all. I grow tomatoes all the time. Fertile soil is key, plus plenty of sun and consistent watering.

  93. Angie S. May 11, 2012 at 5:38 am -

    I am now fortunate to have a big garden area. My almost-fail this year has been wanting to be able to grow enough to SELL at the farmers market AND to have plenty to try cellaring, canning, drying, making sauerkraut, etc. It’s not gonna happen. Haha! 😀 I did go a little crazy at the nurseries, especially buying different varieties of pepper plants, but I decided to compromise: I will sell a little of what I grow, and I’ll buy fruit from other farmers to make jam instead of trying to preserve everything from this garden. 🙂

  94. Mike Lieberman May 11, 2012 at 7:38 am -

    You know now 😉

  95. John Aguilar May 13, 2012 at 1:31 am -

    Amen. Let us spread the word.

  96. SYLVIA May 17, 2012 at 5:01 am -


  97. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2012 at 8:59 am -

    What would be wrong about it?

  98. Pam July 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm -

    I have a twelve by twenty four deck. I have plenty of Sun. I’m growing cherry tomatoes and a few herbs. They are both doing fine. Thank you for the article and suggestions. Pam

  99. Keith Evans August 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm -

    Mike, I might add that beginning gardeners are wise to start in raised beds on legs, or bucket containers. Should they find that this is not what they signed on for, they won’t have dug up a big patch of their yard. If someone is reasonably handy, a cedar raised bed is no more than a weekend project, or there are many designs to be found with a quick Google search. They can have their tomatoes in buckets in the sun and lettuce in the cedar beds in the shade of the overhang on the patio. Their chances of success go up exponentially and their required commitment goes down.

  100. Tara Marnell March 14, 2013 at 11:15 am -

    Only thing causing my failure is my brother and sister’s dogs. They keep digging up everything I plant.

  101. Marlene McCullough March 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm -

    I have finished my first year of growing veggies and didn’t do to bad. I started out nervous, but managed to get some produce. I started with Yellow Squash (which got white powdered fungas toward the end, but be cause of how I watered, so learned not to do that), my Blue Bush Beans came out great, bad luck on carrots – did not prepare ground – this year will put in large container with better soil; did herbs (sage, basil and rosemary) and just finishing up my Kale, Kohlrabi and beets. Some would get those lovely little white aphids, but I would use the peppermint soap water on them and seemed to take care of the problem (but did have to keep on it though).

    Already started seeding zuccini, green beans and spinach – sprouting nicely. And have potted strawberry, chocolate mint and lettuce. I will be using more pots this year so I can move them around my yard for the sun. I have an area where I did my planting which only gets the four hours of sun and did ok.

    Going to lots of gardening classes and reading up on various plants I want to grow and making sure I do not overwhelm myself with the wrong types of plants in the area I have available. Also, it may be easier to purchase some of the veggies rather than grow them, but it is FUN learning to do them.

  102. Michelle Woolston March 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm -

    I did 4 tomato plants last year, got a few smallish fruits, but also my leaves spotted 🙁 So this year I restart with 4 plants again and see what I can do better this time around. I really wanted to add some different veges.

  103. Bee K March 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm -

    Spread the joy! Share them with your neighbors and friends, or find a seed swap.

  104. Bee K March 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm -

    My backyard garden is large and fairly well established. Though I do need to put more more effort into improving my soil quality, such as a planting a winter cover crop, and having a more well thought out crop rotation. I’d like to plant more perennials like rhubarb too. I am working toward a more permaculture type garden.

  105. Jen March 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm -

    Grew popcorn last year and it was completely worth it, growing twice as much this year. But on the other hand, will not be trying the cantaloupe again this year. I always grow zucchini so that will stay, but I want to try broccoli and cauliflower. I never have luck with beans or cukes, even thought every year I say, just one more time. This year, I’m not. I give. Here in western CO, everything just dries out so quickly. I am however changing up my tomatoes. I have always planted them in as much sun as possible, and they tend to not get very big and wither. Again, just too hot here with all day sun. So I am planting them this year against my east facing side of the house. They will get a good 5-6 hours of strong sunlight and then be protected from the high heat of the afternoon sun.

  106. Donna March 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm -

    Hi Mike we live in Ontario Canada and we have a huge problem with potato bugs if we don’t pick them every day they will eat our entire crop is there a organic way to get rid of them before they mature enough to pick. We even try to get all the eggs off the underside of the leaves but still get way too many adults.

  107. Herding Cats March 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm -

    My biggest advice is to make sure you have a watering system in place. I had a great container/raised bed garden last year, but hadn’t installed the drip irrigation yet. Planted a ton of stuff; and all was going great guns. Then in April I was diagnosed with cancer, and had two surgeries in early May which left me in enormous pain and unable to move around much at all. Thus, the garden failed miserably simply because I wasn’t able to get the water to it.

    Once I recovered, and over winter, I installed over 300 feet of drip watering. And, because I live in SoCa, I planted some of my garden in January…and am now eating peas, lettuces, spinach, tomatoes (tons of those), and various other things, all on drip irrigation. All I did for the garden this year was replant in the pots and raised beds (well, and added a bunch more…shoot, I had the water, why not? LOL).

    The only other thing I’d suggest is to remember that container gardens tend to deplete the soil fairly quickly. Fertilize with a good organic fertilizer (I use Dr. Earth Veggie garden, or Espoma Garden Tone) several times a month, and add some fish emulsion (“Fish n Poop”, “Neptune’s Harvest”) once a month as well.

    Then sit back and enjoy your food…grown by YOU. Straight from the garden to the table – the best tasting, healthiest veggies around.

  108. Carol Kristjansson April 14, 2013 at 6:02 am -

    Try cayenne pepper extract around the perimeter of your garden. When they get a whiff of it they will stay away but you will have to reapply it after heavy rains.

  109. anne July 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm -

    I live near Sacramento California. I have had very successful gardens in the past. This year the plants are either deformed, or put out a lot of vegetation but no fruit (ie: tomatoes) Not event green tomatoes. Even the squash are failing. Is anyone else noticing problems?

  110. Paul July 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm -

    I have grown a garden every year for the last 40 years.It’s becoming harder and harder to get good quality seeds. These seed companies are crooks! Most of the time the seeds won’t sprout.

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