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:
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:
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:
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.
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
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.
My name is Naomi and this is my tiny little farm in the heart of the rapidly growing city of Beit Shemesh, Israel. I enjoy growing, making and processing as much of my family's food and household essentials as possible, while nurturing a biodiverse ecosystem filled with beauty and life.