My Big Fat Gardening Fails.

22 Aug

My Big Fat Gardening Fails by Renea Winchester 

It happened again. My grandiose dreams of a bountiful harvest have (again) been crushed by triple digit temps and neglect.

Yes, it’s honesty time. The last month of July, through the second week of August, I’ve either been too busy, or out of town. I haven’t even called my parents (and ya’ll know that isn’t good!).

“Real” gardeners know that one never leaves her vegies during the peak of the season. 

In an attempt to ease the anxiety of being a freshman in high school, my daughter and I traveled to the lovely home of Tommye Cashin. Here we were hidden away for a week, enjoying seafood, sand, and some extra snooze time. While we’re resting, my precious tomatoes wilted. I don’t even want to talk about the squash. 

Upon our return we shook off the sand, laundered the clothing and repacked for a trip to Charleston SC to bunk with the Moeller family. Truly, life-long friends are such a blessing.

After all, one can only spend so much time in the garden. I can’t “make” the tomatoes ripen…right? 

Prior to my departure, I pulled weeds, watered well and snaked a pipe which would feed the heat-pump condensation into the garden. Certainly that would provide enough moisture…right? And it would have, were it not for some sort of Possum, Coon, Cat or Coyote that dislodged the hose. Then there were, of course, consecutive days of centennial temperatures. 

Last year at this time the food dehydrator hummed with figs being preserved for the winter and tomatoes drying. This year, the only “fruits of my labor” are J-shaped cucumbers. 

J-shaped cukes

Those vines were, of course, dead upon my return. And as hard as I’ve tried to convince myself that they are only vines, I am reminded of the deliciousness of cucumber sammies. 

So as we enter the “dry season” of fall my heart still longs for fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I may be an eternal optimist, but once again, I’m going to chunk a few cucumber seeds in the ground and hope for the best. I’ve taken cuttings from the remaining tomato plants. I will push the growing season to her limits. Perhaps this time I can be a real gardener and give the plants the attention they deserve. 

How has your garden grown this year? Let me know, and remember…keep those hands dirty. 

Renea Winchester is the author of In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. The book is availablein bookstores everywhere and is now available via Kindle and Nook. She may be reached at


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