Plant at the wrong time, plant too close together, don't prepare the soil well enough, don't water adequately, plant in conditions that don't suit the plant, don't keep watch and control bug activities, don't protect from predators/ frost/ rain/ blazing sun etc etc and you get problems. Problems you could have avoided and therefore are responsible for. Problems all of which I have experienced personally and kicked myself for.
But this year for the first time we were hit by a problem I feel is incredibly unfair. We were hit by a problem that stemmed from doing too good a job!
The problem was the delightfully named seedcorn maggot. (Don't click on that while eating.) The damage from the seedcorn maggot was complete annihilation of the soy bean, runner bean, snake bean and adzuki bean crops. (Funnily enough the corn is fine!) We planted the beans in two areas. A big field with 100+ plants for drying and using to make miso anduse in soups and stews and a couple of rows in the veggie garden for eating fresh. Luckily it was only the smaller veggie garden crop that was got but it was got good. We planted three times in all and got one solitary, sickly looking bean plant out of it.
Looking up the causes of the seedcorn maggot infestation it seems it's a combination of things. A cold Spring is part of it. Check, had that. The other two factors? Too much ploughing and too rich a soil. Darn it. We add fermented chicken manure and rice bran every Spring. And we plough. This year we bought a new plough (a smaller one that I can use) and it is so much fun I ploughed and ploughed and ploughed. All that fresh turned soil and sweet smelling (no really!) fermented manure is paradise for the greedy seedcorn maggot who lays her eggs in the soil and the maggots eat the seeds completely before maturing.
Darn it, darn it, darn it! And I personally think that is the suckiest bug there is. The bug who punishes good behaviour!
One of the beans from the neglected big field. Lucky to be neglected as it turns out!