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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
This is my garden that I started in late May. I purchased the plants, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant from a nearby farm. Some pumpkins are growing along the fence. They are from seed I had from my brother's garden a few years ago. The idea is for them to "climb the fence."
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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 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 Laure Sullivan 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.
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 Ron Turri 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.
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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
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