I’ve posted a bunch of successful projects and people are starting to talk like I’m some sort of farming wunderkind, unlike them, who are “untalented” or have “a brown thumb.”

So let me know clarify: I have failures ALL THE TIME. I kill plants, I waste money, I make things that no one in my family wants to eat – not even me.

Here are five recent flops:

1. Preserved Lemons:

Anyone want some?

My Sephardic friends rave about these, so this year I made two different batches from my homegrown lemons. But now I can’t figure out what to do with them. I’ve tried put them with sandwiches, salads and fish. The flavor is overwhelmingly lemony and not particularly appealing to my Anglo-Hungarian taste buds. Anyone want some jars of preserved lemons?

2. Israeli heirloom vegetable seeds:

This germination rate is nothing to be proud of. The ones on the top right are weeds!

I bought these old varieties of cucumber, melon and watermelon from a specialty seed trader, thinking that I’ll help bring them back into vogue. After months of trying, I’m having a lot of difficulty getting them to even sprout. I regret I didn’t just buy regular hybrid seedlings. I’d probably be munching on cukes by now!

3. New Zealand Spinach:

New Zealand spinach. I’m not digging it.

As a permaculture enthusiast, I had to try growing this much touted heat-resistant spinach substitute. But they never really thrived and I don’t love the lemony flavor or succulent texture of the fresh leaves. The main advantage is that bugs seem to feel the same way, so the leaves are a breeze to check! It’s not so bad cooked.

4. My bee colony – of blessed memory.

My bee swarm on its last legs. The only babies are boys – a sure sign of doom!

It didn’t make it through the winter. Then a bunch of our equipment got stolen. This is very sad for me. I loved my bee-bees and they cost me serious money.

5. My treif lime tree

My illicit lime tree, still languishing in a plastic bag.

I’ve wanted a lime tree for so long that I bought this on a whim at a nursery without checking the graft. Oops! After I brought it home, a simple inquiry clarified that it’s grafted onto Volka lemon stock, and I therefore can’t plant it. According to the Torah, it’s forbidden to graft a fruit tree onto a different species. There are some leniencies with regards to citrus trees but we haven’t yet gotten a ruling applying to this case. Meanwhile, I wasted a bunch of money and have to watch this beautiful blooming tree languish in limbo.

These failures have certainly been disappointing. At times I feel discouraged.

Years ago, I might have given up.

These days I realize that farming is too essential to my vitality to stop trying.

5 Responses

  1. This is great. You’re hysterical. The fact that you even attempted bee farming is enough to raise you up to farming wunderkind levels in my eyes!!

  2. I agree with Susannah – if you can deal with bees, the next we’ll be reading about is how to milk a goat…

    1. I have of, course, considered that as my next big adventure and even taken steps to make it happen :)… maybe after Corona is history…

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