The Biggest Gardening Fails We Found on The Internet

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these cautionary tales will provide valuable lessons and perhaps a bit of comfort knowing that you’re not alone in your gardening journey.

Gardening can be a rewarding and relaxing hobby, but it often comes with its fair share of challenges and setbacks.

Even the most experienced gardeners face difficulties, and beginners can find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge required to cultivate a thriving garden. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the gardening fails shared by gardeners from various online communities and blogs.

From a composting disaster to dealing with unexpected pests, these stories highlight the trials and tribulations that come with nurturing plants. 

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these cautionary tales will provide valuable lessons and perhaps a bit of comfort knowing that you’re not alone in your gardening journey.

Misjudging Light and Warmth Needs

“Trying to start tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, and spaghetti squash plants on my kitchen table. Severely underestimated the amount of light and warmth they need and the lettuce, pumpkins, and squash just became leggy and died. The tomatoes just became tomato stubble and never did hardly anything. I bought tomato transplants that year.”

olipocket16 – Reddit

Too Much Too Fast

“Hundreds of raspberry plants, strawberry plants, many apple trees, pear trees, peach trees, a fig tree, and blueberries. I knew that many of the fruit plants would take years to mature so I wanted to make sure we got them planted the first year.”

“While technically between my family and I we were able to get things done, we didn’t have time to handle everything well.”

“Berry beds were planted but soon were covered with weeds because we didn’t have time to mulch, the fencing around the orchard I planned for didn’t happen, and we got way behind on building chicken coops in time for the chickens to go in them.”

Becky – The Seasonal homestead

Underestimating Aphids

“I put in a garden for the first time this past autumn. Leafy greens and root vegetables to overwinter. Noticed some aphids on my turnips. Did not worry about them because it was going to get below freezing about a week later. Turns out aphids don’t freeze at 0°C. They took out all but 4 out of 20 something turnips before I was able to get rid of them. I now know their bodies contain naturally occurring glycol, a substance used in car antifreeze.”

Nightshadie – Reddit

Not Properly Anchoring a Greenhouse

“Not properly anchoring my greenhouse. It’s a cheap pipe and tent thing. The little hooks it came with are crap. It blew all the way across the yard one windy day.”

CriticalErrorka – Reddit

Composting Disaster

“Determined to go green, I decided to make my own compost. I diligently collected kitchen scraps, leaves, and grass clippings, mixing them into a designated compost bin. I envisioned rich, dark compost that would nourish my plants and reduce waste. What I got instead was a smelly, slimy mess that attracted flies and made my garden stink so bad the neighbours complained… I still haven’t dared to try again.“


Mislabelled Seeds

“I threw some seeds in this pot and it’s doing quite well. But I forgot to mark them. I think it’s radishes 😂😂”

Independent_Trust588 – Reddit

Dog Ate the Tomatoes

“Never teach your dog how delicious vine-ripened tomatoes are. He completely cleared my 2 tomato vines in one afternoon. I also found out that tomato poisoning is a thing for dogs. (He was fine, he didn’t eat nearly enough, but still…)”

VividFiddlesticks – Reddit

Overenthusiastic Spring Planting

“In the spring, powered by the boundless energy and optimism that warm weather brings, I built the garden beds, filled them with soil, and seeded them with leafy greens, nutritious roots, and fruiting plants. By May, the garden was a perfect picture of the potential the garden had to offer, a real point of pride and possibility.”

“By midsummer however, my garden was a disaster. Stagnant tomato plants stunted by dry soil eked out just a few cherry tomatoes. All of the beet, cucumber, and zucchini leaves were devastated by a groundhog. Newly-sown seeds yielded only empty squares where a bounty of greens and herbs should have been.”

Chris Mattingly – the Shuttle

Sunflower Shadowing

“I had this brilliant idea to plant sunflowers next to my tomatoes. I pictured a vibrant, cheerful garden with towering sunflowers swaying above juicy, ripe tomatoes. The sunflowers, with their rapid growth and enormous leaves, quickly overshadowed the tomatoes. They stole every bit of sunlight, leaving my tomatoes struggling in the shade.“


Confusing Beets and Swiss Chard

“I also planted Swiss chard next to the beets. I like chard. I do not like beets. Do you know how hard it is to tell a beet green from a chard leaf?!”

port_of_indecision – Reddit

Transplanting Mistakes

“Trying to transplant things that don’t care for transplanting. Especially carrots, which I started in peat pucks and then just buried the whole puck. Carrots don’t like that. They need room to stretch. I ended up with beautiful bunches of carrot greens but my biggest carrot was half the size of my pinky finger.”

CriticalErrorka – Reddit

Overcrowding Plants

“Making 2 plants share a medium pot because I couldn’t bring myself to kill one. They both almost yielded nothing.”

Thenuggetlover – Reddit

Pumpkin Problems

“Pumpkins… The vine took over half my yard but despite my best efforts to assist with pollination, I never had even a micro pumpkin make it off the vines alive. Trying again this year, but I invested in a bush variety because eff them pumpkin vines.”

CriticalErrorka – Reddit

Beginner’s Bad Luck

“This was my first year trying to grow anything… The vegetable seeds never germinated, the flowers grew pretty well as far as my morning glories turning into a vine up my balcony railing but never bloomed, and tonight I went outside to water what used to be my tomato sprouts (now two very tall and leafy plants which grew flowers but never tomatoes) only to realise that they were all wilted and probably dead.”

Thepackwantsthed – Reddit

Photo of author

Linda Jones

Based in sunny Brisbane, Linda has a keen interest in ornamental plants. She firmly believes that gardens are as much about aesthetics as they are about functionality. Despite being a life-long gardener, she still enjoys learning about new plants and gardening techniques and sharing her discoveries with the Ultimate Backyard community. When she's not immersed in her garden, Linda loves reading and walking.


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