Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
I decided that this year I am going to add celery to my garden. I am glad I researched it first, because I found out I needed to start celery early. I also discovered that celery seeds that are 2-3 years old work better than younger seeds, they are best put in the fridge for awhile then soaked before planting, and require lots of mulch.
Had I not studied up on it, this year's crop would have been a failure and I may not have attempted it again. So, research what you are planting. It will save you time, money, and frustration, and reward you with a better crop!
By mom-from-missouri from NW MO
The tops and root ends of many fresh vegetables can be sprouted in your kitchen, giving you fresh greens and leaves to use in cooking. This is a guide about growing food from waste.
This is a guide about harvesting common garden vegetables. Successful gardening includes soil preparation, planting, caring for your crops, and finally harvesting.
This is a guide about vegetables that taste better after frost. Some vegetables actually taste better after a touch of frost, a bitter flavor becomes more sweet.
This is a guide about growing drought tolerant vegetables. When you live where your soil tends to be dry, you want to find vegetables that will produce the best.
This is a guide about growing food in the fall and winter. When the summer growing season ends, it does not necessarily mean an end to your vegetable gardening.
This guide is about planning a vegetable garden. A well thought out plan will give you a head start on a successful garden.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I put 10 bags of topsoil and 5 bags of manure into my garden before I planted it. When my plants came up they did not grow past infancy. I have okra that is 5 inches high and trying to flower. Everything that I planted is the same way. I have watered every day and tried Miracle Gro every other day and still am not having any luck. What I do next?
I suspect either the soil or the manure threw the pH of your soil out of whack. If possible, have a soil test, and then you can correct for the acidity/alkalinity, whichever is the problem. Good luck.
Take a soil sample to your county extension agent, every county in the US has one, it is part of your state's agricultural university, and the US Dept of Agriculture. No telling what the soil's deficiency is without a soil test. And Miracle Grow every other day is not advisable, read the label.
Way too much manure.
Try digging up some of the soil and replace it before planting again next planting season. I come from michigan. I sprinkle manure on my garden area before the last snow of the season. This way the manure is not to "hot" for the seedlings at planting time. When it's time to go out to the garden, just turn over the dirt and start your planting. No need to fertilize again right away.
When starting a garden from scratch, you might also log on to "jerry baker" master gardener. His barnyard tea works for me and has for the past 20 years.
Sounds to me like you are over fertilizing and maybe even over watering.
You need to web search your County Agricultural Extension office or call them to learn about soil conditions.
Talk to your neighbors who garden. How do they prepare their soil? You may want a soil test. But stop pouring all that Miracle Grow on your plants. A little of that stuff goes a long way. I don't use it at all.
The only fertilizer I use is compost that I make myself and occasionally I use a little fish emulsion and liquid seaweed mix. Start yourself a compost pile.
I would like to hear from people in or around hardiness zone 7 (Maryland). What varieties of vegetables have you had good luck with? I'm fairly new to vegetable gardening.
I had a little luck this year, but also problems. I tried growing watermelon they started out as adorable miniature watermelons about the size of a golf ball, but then turned black and shriveled up. My tomatoes were okay, but did not get very big. What variety grows well here, and gets big? My cucumbers did well, but fizzled out kind of early I thought or maybe that is normal for them, I don't know. My green peppers never got very big either. I had lots of squash, and zucchini, but they have been finished for awhile (is that normal?).
I bought very good soil and tried to water consistently. I am trying to plan my garden now for next year, and hope to do better. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By RDLaure from North East, MD
One thing you will learn as a gardener no two years are ever the same. I have not had a very productive year in Mass. I don't know if your summer was as rainy and cloudy as ours. One thing is some plants require successive plantings as the first crop fades the next crop is getting ready for harvest. Gardening is an adventure and hopefully mother nature will cooperate more next year.
First, easy veggies:
I've had an easy time with cherry tomatoes and potatoes, both of which accept a lot of benign neglect. The next easy plant I am trying is garlic, which is apparently quite easy, many varieties overwinter well in zone 7.
There are three essentials which you do can under or overdo: sun, fertilizer, and water.
Sun - This does not sound like a sun overdose, though if the watermelon plants seemed dried out or scorched, I would consider it. However, the small fruits on your other plants could easily be a sign of too little sun. Were they in a shaded position? Did they have trellises they could climb to get more sun?
Fertilizer - This could easily be your problem, and there's an easy solution to consider now. Fall is a great time to start a compost heap for next year's plants.
Fertilizing chemicals are to soil like spices are to food. Too little, the results are bland and lackluster.. too much, and the plant won't react well.
Strong spices without lingering flavor can be a problem on both fronts... and soil sold by the fertilizer company is likely to have these issues. It's useful, better than no spice at all.. but if you do go with an artificial fertilizer next summer, either mix it 50/50 with a slow release organic, such as good compost, or try to add small doses several times in the season. Also, make sure it is for veggies, or you won't get good fruit.
Water - All your fruit is very water intensive, so a lack of steady supply could have thrown them off. Slow watering solutions, such as plant nanny stakes, aren't a bad idea. My mother's cheap solution is to cut the bottom off a soda bottle, take off the cap, and plant it spout down in the dirt near the a sensitive or extra thirsty plant. The water will slowly seep out into the dirt.
Third, the short fruiting season:
I would also suggest looking up the breed of the veggie you are planting next spring. Short 15 - 20 day fruiting seasons are perfectly normal for many vegetables. You can instead buy seeds for plants that have an extended fruiting season, or re-bear (such as re-bearing strawberries that produce a crop in early June and late July). Of course, if you don't normally start your garden late, you can just start a second batch of plants a week or two later than the first.
As a last note:
I didn't hear any mention of frosts, or infestations of bugs or mildew, but I would keep an eye out for attacks on your plants next year. Watermelons and tomatoes both have their weaknesses. Normally, I check davesgarden.com for information on a bug or discoloration I'm worried about.
Thank you for the feedback. I have the garden in a location that gets full sun most of the day, but part of the problem with the small fruit may have been overcrowding. I think I underestimated the amount of space needed and tried to have too many plants in too small a space. As for the watermelons, do they get blossom end rot like tomatoes?
Call your County Extension office. Ask them to send you info on gardening. It's free, good luck.
Do you think I can grow squash in this manner also? I've never heard it mentioned growing vegetables of the cucurbit family upside down. I've had frustrating seasons of fighting with squash bug (and cucumber and potato beetles, too) that the sound of another tactic of defense gives me hope. What is your experience with hanging upside down a cucurbit?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
By Kim from Westminster, MD
I think it would, my father planted his tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets like the upside down tomatoes for years. He just cut a hole about 3" around in the bottom. Put the plant up through the hole, layed a piece of 1'x2' 6" long along both sides of the stem and tied them together securing the plant. The boards held the plant in the bucket when he turned it unside down after filling it half way with soil. I fear your squash would be too heavy when it gets several squash on it but it might be worth a try.
I grow my squash in a big plastic tub. The kind nurseries get trees in. They have empty ones you can get for nothing usually. They have holes in the bottom for drainage. Good luck.
I planted my garden on May 25th. And its been cooler than average so far this year, especially in the evening. I believe my plants may have stunted because of this. They look very healthy but they're not getting any bigger. Is there anything I can do to kind of shock them out of this?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Cael35 from Erie, PA
With the cool weather we have had this spring and summer, this is a common problem all over the states, we have the same problem here. Most of us won't have much of a crop this year. So sad. I listen to a garden guy on the radio on Saturdays, he says there is nothing we can do. Farmers are having the same problems.
We planted a garden Mother's Day weekend so mid May, and we planted according to tag spacing guidelines etc. Some plants died, (most of the strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry plants). We lost 2 cucumbers due to bunnies, and the others are doing great getting big, etc. (squash, tomato, corn, peppers, and eggplant.) My question is the tomatoes are small and the others haven't produced yet. Is something wrong? I weed and water and even put Miracle Gro soil and plant food. The plum tomatoes are brown at the bottom; the only ones doing great are the cherry tomatoes and the Big Boy ones are the size of a Clementine. So what am I doing wrong? Any tips would be helpful.
Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.
In our garden we have corn in the back, Italian pole and bush beans growing on a trellis, green, red, orange, yellow, and hot peppers, cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, kale, romaine and iceberg lettuce, four kinds of cucumbers, squash (yellow and green, winter and summer), three kinds of tomatoes, kolhlrabi, radishes, beets, potatoes (sweet, red, white and purple), and asparagus on the right. There is also watermelon, cantaloupe, rhubarb, strawberries, gooseberries, blackberry's, grapes, and an apple tree. And I can't leave out the herbs; two kinds of basil, dill, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. I think I got everything, I love my garden.
Dickson City, PA
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
What success have you had with using the upside down garden method with vegetables other then tomatoes and peppers? Also what type of container did you use and what amount of soil is needed?
Hardiness Zone: 4b
By dduff from Plattsburgh, NY
I'm trying something this summer; I took 2 used hanging planters and opened the bottom so I could get the tomatoes in the bottom. I filled up the planter with planting soil and added 2 vincas to the top (for color). Then I planted 2 plants in traditional pots with something to tie them to later. I read on this site a number of ideas and while in my potting shed I came across the planters and thought "why not?" My d/h thinks I'm nuts, but it was only 4 tomato plants, not 400! I will check in on this question and let you know how I'm doing, OK? Wish me luck, as I do you. No pictures yet, maybe this weekend. (04/28/2009)
I'm using an old clothes line pole here with iron rebar inside for support. (05/20/2009)
You can cut a lot of grocery costs by growing your own vegetables! This photo was taken of my seasoning pepper plant.
By Vaughn from Raymond, AB
If you want to get the most out of your yard and save money on your grocery bill; we recommend growing a vegetable garden. Depending on where you live, you may be able to grow numerous tasty plants and, in our humble opinion, there are few things more enjoyable than eating food that you grew yourself.
Gardens are inexpensive as well. Sometimes you can find great sales on seeds this time of year. A garden is much less expensive than buying beauty bark and much more gratifying to look at.