I suppose it’s time to admit a few things.
The willow water, for instance, has not proved to be a success. I took two sets of mint cuttings, putting one set in water, and one set in willow water. After around five days the ones in willow water started to look a bit sickly. When I took them out, the bottom couple of inches had been eaten away. I’m going to say that my experiment indicates that standing in willow water doesn’t make mint cuttings sprout roots quicker. The ones in water were much healthier and hadn’t been eaten away at the bottom.
It might be too strong, as I’ve just seen someone recommending that it should be diluted to half strength. I’m going to try this when I take cuttings on Monday. This time I’ll use rosemary.
I’ve also managed to kill the kiwi berries and badly scorch the tea bushes; it’s just been too hot in the tunnels and I haven’t been active enough in shading things.
Finally (which isn’t the final confession – just the last one I feel like making at the moment) the accidental permaculture bed is having problems. You may recall that we improved half the bed by layering it with pig manure, wood chippings and used paper towels. The half that was treated has grown a massive crop of fat hen, which is now interfering with the beans. The half that wasn’t treated has grown a sparse crop of fat hen and allowed room for self-sown rocket. The beans? So far the runner beans have been uniformly poor due to a week of cold winds that coincided with them being planted out. We probably put them out too soon, but we wanted a good show for Open Farm Sunday.
Actually – more confessions while I’m in the mood – the New Zealand spinach I used to fill gaps all died in the cold wind and the four-year-old runner bean plant is looking sickly, as are the year one plants (see above comments on cold winds).
My experiment design skills are clearly leaving something to be desired.
However, it’s easy to be negative. And it’s easy to take the wrong attitude about failure.
I don’t want to get into pseudo-science here but I know people who are frightened of failure. To me it’s either of no consequence or it’s a step on the way to something else.
As Edison said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
He has so many quotes on persistence listed that I don’t know how he found time to invent things.
I have failed many times. The failures listed above don’t even begin to cover the mistakes I’ve made. Occasionally I have a night where I can’t sleep and all my failures come back to haunt me, many in painfully sharp detail. A few dead plants don’t even make it into my top thousand failures.
I learned a long time ago that it’s better to think about the future than the past. I’m going to plant beans later next year. I’m going to move the kiwi berries outside. I’m going to design a new willow water experiment.
Not only that, but I’m going to plant wild garlic this autumn, get some peach trees and train standard gooseberries.
I’m going to spread my wings and do a thousand things, including misquoting lyrics from musicals.
And I’m going to concentrate on remembering the things that went well. Like the good beans, or visitors who think we’re doing a good job.