If you've ever felt like giving up gardening when faced with yet another inexplicable crop failure or devastating pest infestation, take heart and look to Thomas Jefferson's gardens at Monticello for inspiration. After Jefferson left the White House in 1809 and moved to Monticello, he grew 170 varieties of fruits and 330 varieties of vegetables and herbs, until his death in 1826. Were all those varieties successful? Definitely not. According to The New York Times, he had a ton of failure, but he always believed that "the failure of one thing is repaired by the success of another."
Jefferson was known for gathering seeds and cuttings from around the world and gave them to friends and neighboring farmers for them to grow, even when he failed to grow them in his own garden. His eagerness to give away seeds and plants was "a great lesson about sharing stuff." His garden journals meticulously record all the drought, insects and disease that afflicted his garden between 1766 and 1824, in addition to every single seed that was sown, when it sprouted, flowered and came to table or died.
For more on Jefferson's gardens and his overwhelming perseverance, as well as tricks of the trade garnered from his journals, read the whole article at The New York Times.
(Image: Flickr member Fristle licensed for use under Creative Commons)