How to Suck at Gardening in 7 Simple Steps

Self-proclaimed gardening failure Pete Kennedy offers sage horticultural advice.

I consider myself something of an expert on creating a failed garden. In our front yard, I installed a raised bed that has yielded precisely two cherry tomatoes in three years and mainly serves as an eyesore to keep my wife from inviting people over. Below are a few secrets to my success. Consider it my contribution to helping you kick off your spring.

Step 1: Decide what you want to grow.

Visit your local garden center and locate a rack of seed packets. I recommend squeezing the packets to make sure you’re buying fat seeds. Some packets contain puny ones. The racks are separated into flowers, vegetables and fruits, with sections for organic. And, hey, the rack spins. How many times can you get it to go around with one push? It’s important to find fun where you can, because you’ll mostly be staring disappointedly at dirt from here on out.

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Step 2: Start your seeds in seed pots.

They look a bit like ice trays and can be purchased from most garden stores and websites. Fill the pots with dirt, sand or granulated sugar—it really doesn’t matter. Plant them about a half-inch deep. Water them precisely when you remember. Within a week or two, you’ll see little green seedlings start to poke up through the soil. Savor the moment—you’ve reached the summit, my friend.

Step 3: Plant the seedlings.

Pick a section of your yard that gets plenty of sun and is free of rabbits, squirrels, birds, deer and insects. Consider somwhere in the back and out of sight.

Step 4: Talk to people at your workplace about your little garden project.

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Say something like, “I just hope it’s not too rainy this season.” It’s important to lay the groundwork now.

Step 5: Pay careful attention to your garden.

Pull out anything that looks green and alive—these are weeds and invasive species.

Step 6: Closely observe as nothing grows.

I mean, it’s just been so rainy this season.

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Step 7: Buy some plants.

Head back to the garden center and pick out several full-grown healthy-looking options. Then head out to the grocery store for some fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ve earned it.

Pete Kennedy also recommends planting dollar bills instead of seeds. You’ll only be reducing your odds of success a tiny bit.

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