Help! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I need a garden intervention, but most of all, I need your help! In the past 4 years I’ve had awesome success with my garden but last summer seemed a tad sad and this year’s garden is down right
Before you run away and say, “um, yah right, Kim”, I swear garden success has been achieved at Casa de Wilson before!
I grow over 20 banana trees every year….
I have gorgeous hydrangeas, that I adore and want to plant a thousand more of…
I have grown yummy, delish artichokes….
And I have Knock out Roses that stop traffic!
I must be doing something wrong though in this garden. It’s embarrassing I tell ya!
We have had a TON of rain, as in 4+ inches of rain in the past month. Our sprinkler system is rarely ever on which is very odd for our area. I’m wondering if the overly wet ground is the reason.
Take a look at my plants and tell me what you think. This is my yellow squash plants (I have 2). They have been covered in blossoms but no squash. ;( Do they have powdery mildew? Why do they blossom but not grow squash?
And these are my super sorry tomatoes. They just won’t grow! I planted them correctly (burying the plant 2/3rds, etc, etc). And I gave them a sprinkle of slow release tomato fertilizer that is supposed to last 3 months… it’s NOT working. By this time every year I’m overloaded with more tomatoes than I know what to do with!
The only thing that seems to be growing somewhat alright is my purple basil that I planted by my mailbox. After planting it, I realized that a mailbox was probably not the smartest location for edible plants….. the neighborhood dogs like to “water” it…. uhg. I just can’t win.
Ok, so there it is. I have a sorry, sad garden. If you have ANY tips, tricks, recommendations and advice on how to remedy the situation, then PLEASE give it!
I think this summer has been a tough one for gardens with all of the rain (and not a lot of hot temps here in O-H-I-O). Mine is really lagging this year too. It’s supposed to be in the 90’s all week, so I’m hoping that gives it a jolt. Although last summer, my zucchini plants looked much like yours – I got one good zucchini, and that was IT. Normally, I have more than I can handle. This year they’re looking better, but I still don’t have any zucchini to show for it. Crossing my fingers!
Kim Wilson says
Oh yah Jenny, last year I think all I ended up with was one zucchini also. Maybe a raised bed would do better? I’m not sure. Glad to know I’m not the only one having issues. 😉
Tricia M says
Might be a lost cause this year. Next year, amend your soil. Add lots of good compost or manure and watch those veggies grow like crazy!
Kim Wilson says
Hi Tricia! I added a ton of miracle-gro garden soil but maybe it needs more compost too. Good idea! Thanks 😉
Myra @ MyBlessedLife.net says
Same thing is happening here, my friend! TOO MUCH RAIN!!! I think the plants are getting root rot. 🙁
Kim Wilson says
That’s what I’m wondering too. I wonder how people with raised garden boxes are doing. Maybe a raised be would have better drainage. Hmmmm. Thanks Myra! ~KIM
Raised beds actually are better for drainage and holding moisture and heat in the beds (I have 14 organic) and that would be good for next year. This year I would recommend getting some epsom salts and putting this on the ground under the tomatoes watering it in or letting the rain do it. Lose the Miracle Grow stuff and make your own compost from kitchen scraps (green) and chopped leaves, dried grass etc.(brown) NO meat scraps. You can either buy one of those compost making bins or make your own if you live in the city and want to hide it. Good Luck!
I really think it’s all the rain, Kim. Plant roots need the rain to get their nourishment from the soil, but plants actually do the growing and flowering when the roots are somewhat dry. I guess we are all in good company. Oh, and be stingy with fertilizer,..too much can give you more leaves than veggies.
Kim Wilson says
Hi Jane! I have sooooo many blossoms but then they just fall off and never produce fruit. I’m stumped and frustrated for sure.
I am no gardening expert! but it’s looks as if some of your plants are getting a little too much water (indicated by the yellowing of the leaves). As far as your squash, I bet you are getting flowers but no squash because the female flowers are not being fertilized because we have been experiencing a lack of bees in the past several years. A few years ago my husband and I had to fertilize our zucchini plants manually. It’s easy to do and most likely will have you picking squash in no time. All you do is look for the flower that has a (penis like) thing coming up from the center, use a q-tip to rub some of the pollen off of it and then rub the same q-tip around the center of the flowers that have flat (female like) centers. Did you know that flowers are male and female? I didn’t either until we had to manually pollenate our own zucchini plants. Once we pollenated all the female flowers we started getting lots of zucchini. We googled how to do that and I would imagine that if you want more specific details you can google it too. Good luck!
Kim Wilson says
Thanks for the great tips. It has rained so much here and I’m not watering any extra. I did know about the male/female issue and wondered if that was my problem. The plants were loaded with blossoms but not anymore so I might have lost my window of opportunity. I’ll try pollinating the ones that are left today and keep my fingers crossed! Thanks! ~KIM
Wow Sheila. This is an awesome piece of advice! I’ve known about pawpaw trees needing cross-pollination, but it’s great to know about this too. If Kim’s up for it, she could always start a small bee hive. It’s just an amazing way of letting nature take a hand in our gardens – and we are helping our native bees survive extinction. Go Kim! 😀 Hx
First thing I would do is ask your friends and neighbors in your immediate area how their gardens are doing. If they are getting zucchini and their tomatoes are fine, it may be your soil.
You can have your soil tested at a garden center and amend it for next year.
I also agree that your zucchini flowers may not be getting pollinated.
Hang in there.
I think it’s too much water too Kim, my Mom is in Norfolk and same with her garden. We’ve gotten a lot of rain here in NC but my raised beds are doing much better than my in-ground plants, I’m assuming because of the additional drainage.
Kim Wilson says
My mom is in Norfolk too, but her plants are doing great! I think it’s because she has such sandy soil, so maybe drainage is a contributor also.
Kathleen K says
Check with your neighbors, local farmer’s market (assuming they sell their own produce), and local garden center (not the big box store, but LOCAL) and ask if your garden is similar to theirs. Here in north Texas, we had a relatively cool spring, and cooler-than-average summer. Everything is about 2 weeks behind “average”.
We use raised beds because in the event of too much rain (rare here in TX), the soil drains well. It also gives me more space to add more compost which seems more effective long term than chemical fertilizers.
Liking the organic thinking here! Hx 😀
Charisse @WHG says
Kim, This year in my area we have had record rains. By early June I usually need to water every day and this summer I have watered but four times. Too much water causes many plants to “wilt” and many plants need a certain amount of sunshine to bloom and or produce. We have had so much rain that many of my usual profuse bloomers have flowers that simply turn to mush. Now shrubs and many like hostas, if in well drained soil, are thriving. Humidity, excess rain and hot temperatures make disease much more likely. It is unfortunate, but weather has made gardening this year a bit of a challenge on many levels.
Someone else already mentioned this, but the squash plant produces two types of blooms, male and female. Bees are needed for pollenation and fertilization. If you are spraying any type of insect killer, be careful you aren’t killing the bees. As for the powdery residue, that’s often spread via wind pushed rain! Here’s a post about it http://www.growveg.com/growblogpost.aspx?id=242 The tomatoes are probably getting too much rain. We’ve had a lot of rain here too, but luckily my tomatoes are in containers, so I’ve been able to drag them under the garage eve when it’s been raining too much. As for the purple basil, I wouldn’t be too disappointed. Some people eat it, but it’s been known to have a bitter flavor. I have purple basil too, but it’s strictly ornamental for me. My guinea pigs won’t even eat it, LOL!
The same thing’s going on here. TOO MUCH RAIN! This is supposed to be our “dry” season, with minimal if any rainfall, yet we’ve been deluged since the beginning of the year! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is what they mean by “climate change”. I was listening to a scientist on the telly last month, and he claims this as the wettest “dry” season in the history of Queensland. He also says that there will be no going back to what we always considered “normal” weather. It’s two years since the terrible floods here in SE Qld, and it flooded again this January. He could be right! He maintains that the weather patterns of our childhood memories, will eventually be just that – memories. Such is the scale of what lies ahead of us if we don’t change the way we live. I’m beginning to think he’s right. I’ve had the same problem as you with my zucchini and eggplants this season – mold on the leaves, and soggy bases at ground level. The thing about these veggies and squash is that they don’t like getting their feet wet. Tomatoes don’t like too much wet either. I’m seriously considering building a pull-over tarp system to cover them during really wet times, something that I can wind back in when the sun is shining. Veggies essentially need six hours of sunshine per day to survive, so little wonder that they’re taking a hammering! Try lifting out your mulch and turning the soil each day, to air it. I’d apply fresh thick mulch too. My preferred choice is cane mulch. In drier climes always water tomatoes at the bottom, never over the plants. I think there is a mold spray that can be applied, but the problem with this is the weather. If it continues to rain, then it’s an ineffective treatment and waste of money. I think the best way forward is to cover! Make sure to ventilate every day, but cover during heavy rainfall. I’m not an expert, but this is what I’m going to try with my lot. Good luck, Kim! 😉 heather x
Linda Tindell says
You need to “amend” your soil. I can hook you up on aged horse manure. You can add it now as a top dressing and mix it in at the end of the season. Aged manure doesn’t stink and looks just fine IMHO. Unfortunately the stuff sprayed by Mosquito Control is killing our beneficial bugs. I plant more attractors (think zinnias, marigolds, vinca, bee balm) so that I get them all! Also, you need to rotate your plant locations, Don’t plant the same vegetable in the same place every year.
My corn and squash were looking just as sad as yours, so I called my dad (retired farmer). Yes, he said, the rain is a problem, but a consequence to so much rain is that rain depletes the nitrogen from the soil. Turns out nitrogen is an easily soluble nutrient. So I did buy some fertilizer at a feed and seed store here in Vermont and applied to the garden just a week ago. Everything looks a lot better. I know, I know, not organic, and yes I do compost and spread on garden in fall. Anyhow, thought it could be helpful to chime in.