Vegetable Garden Fail

The next time I try to plant a vegetable garden somebody stop me. Strap me down, hold me back, tie me up—whatever it takes. The fact of the matter is that even the sunniest spot in our shady, tree-filled yard doesn’t get enough sunshine to grow vegetables. Sigh. Here are the results of my vegetable garden (queue the sad violin music).

vegetable garden fail
That banana pepper better be good.


  1. Meghan

    For tomatoes, you’ll need an equal mix of Phosphorus and Nitrogen in the fertilizer for it to bloom (and fruit) in regular time. That’ll really help!

    1. wit & whistle Post author

      Maybe next year I’ll try again. I definitely didn’t do any fertilizing this year! I’ll bet that would help. Have you ever tried those upside down tomato planters? I wonder if they work…

  2. Ciera

    Sad, but also so funny because the same thing happens to me. I just can’t keep anything alive. At least you got some cute photos out of it…

  3. leigh

    No, don’t stop gardening. Try something else. Try root vegetables and salad – they love shade. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are sunny plants, and maybe you will have to buy them on farmers market instead. But you can have nice radishes and beets and salads and cabbages. Or try woodland plants that love shade – currants and hazelnuts for example. Gardening is all about learning what works for your microclimate.

  4. leigh

    Btw. perhaps sun is not your problem – if there are roots from big established trees all around you, they will take nutrients from the soil and push into your beds.

    1. wit & whistle Post author

      Thanks for all the tips Leigh! Maybe I will try some containers next year. I do enjoy a good radish. :) Those raised beds would look great in our woodsy yard, and the aged wood beams are gorgeous!

    2. Danielle

      You shouldn’t use railway wood for veggies; they’re soaked in chemicals like tar to make them last longer. Same with old telephone poles. It’s just not worth that stuff leaching into your soul, and getting concentrated in your plants.

  5. jenny cain

    You can also research heirloom vegetable varieties that are more shade tolerant. Here in (very) sunny & hot Tucson, AZ I buy from a local seed company that specializes in heirloom varieties for this climate. I found them at the farmers market. Also visiting a local nursery can be very informative, and the staff there will most likely be very helpful to talk to.
    Here are some links for general shade tolerant veggies (which were already mentioned above)

    Gardening takes a lot of patience. I’ve had many disappointments over the past couple of years. I always swear I’m going to give it up, but…. somehow I never do! I must enjoy the challenge. So don’t take the lack of production personally. It all boils down to 3 things – sun, soil, water. Research to know what the plants needs are in those 3 areas and you are good to go!

  6. Jenny Pope

    great post! I have had a heck of a time with deer eating everything in our garden. So glad some gardeners stepped in with some wonderful links! We all should plant little gardens in our yards :)

  7. Beth Hawks

    If you try it again, I highly recommend getting a copy of “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew. I did a garden of 6 boxes each 4′ x 4′ this year according to his methods. Despite being one of the worst summers in Ohio for growing things, we have a bunch of stuff to harvest. Also check out free local resources such as a master gardener hotline (usually run by a university) you can call in for tips or free soil testing at an agriculture store (if you live in a rural area)which will tell you what you need to make it just right for growing.

I love your comments more than I love chocolate (almost).

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *