I'm going to do some more research on the system and how to actually not kill my garden plants, then give it another shot. Once Fred truly kicks the bucket, I'll go through the remains and see if there were any problems with my system. I do know it wasn't from lack of water - the soil was always damp when I tested it, even during the height of summer. There must just be some operator error that's getting in the way.
On the bright side, I have learned the best method of organic agriculture: