We do not live in a perfect world,* as we all know. Dams break. Earthquakes shake. You plant a seed and it does not grow. Such is life.
I am a gardener. I've been doing this for many years. Just the other day I was buying seed at my hometown nursery and the young woman taking my money was quite concern that I was purchasing lettuce seed. She instructed me to be sure to plant in a cool area (as if there is a cool area where I live right about now). Perhaps she meant shady? Whatever.
When she did this, I took a real good look at her. Maybe 19 years old, I surmised. ~whippersnapper~ I thought. I've been gardening since before you were born. But I caught myself because lately I've been around a few 80 somethings, and the things that come out of their mouths. Honestly! Just because you made it to 8 decades does not mean you can be mean, rude, and insensitive. But I digress.
My garden is a work in progress. Which is a nice way of saying if the plant dies, I rip it out and plant something else. But why does it die? Sometimes that is a good thing to know. Because if gophers are pulling down every dadgum plant, re-planting is like kicking yourself in the head. Believe me, I know.
This is why I use Raised Beds (RB). Four by six feet in size using one inch thick, one foot wide redwood planks with hardware cloth stapled to the bottom. Hardware cloth is thicker wire and closer together than chicken wire. Chicken wire rots too fast too.
Sometimes the varmint is an overland creature like a squirrel. If so I feel your pain. And short of shooting them dead with a rifle (and even that doesn't work because more move in) the only method that I've found to work is to build a cage around the entire raised bed. Plans for such can be found at my Flickr site at JudysNotebook blog.
This year I bought two six packs of pepper, a four pack of eggplant, six pack of tomatoes, blah blah blah. Below is a RB with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
The tomatoes went gang busters, the peppers are practically the same size as when I bought them, and the eggplants grew and blossomed and got chomped by bunnies. Cute little bunnies! Actually some of these cottontails are huge. My guess is they're eating for ten, if ya know what I mean.
Eggplant is their fave and I'm done with it. The plants were amazing withstanding sporadic attacks and put out new growth. But now they've been chewed to the stalk. I bet tomorrow all I'll see is bare ground.
That's fine because I'm pulling up both the peppers and the remaining eggplants, amending the soil, and planting something different.
*Originally I left out the "not" in this sentence.