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Frustration

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Frustration

Post  TejasTerry on 3/23/2012, 4:29 pm

I'm pretty frustrated. As I've mentioned before, this is my first garden. I'm in the Texas Hill Country where we traditionally have hot, dry weather.

I have several boxes with tomatoes, squash, peppers...etc. 5 days ago we got 3 inches of rain, and it came down really hard. In the last couple of days, I see curled up leaves on squash/tomato plants, etc, and from my research, I see it can be anything from too much , water, compost too rich or hot, mildew, fungus, bugs... . the list goes on and on.

I know SFG says you can't over water with MM....but my husband says after that much rain, we need to let everything "dry" out... Because I'm new at this, when I push a finger into the soil, it seems moist...not wet, but a little moist. But after digging up a little in an empty square, it seems dry. Could it really be that dry, 5 days after getting a 3 inch rain?

At this point, I don't know why my plants are starting to look like crap. I don't know if I'm over-watering, under-watering, or some fungus is taking over....

Oh and here's another thing.... Yesterday morning we woke up and several pepper plants had been chomped on, down to the soil. We've been using Bonide Pyrethrin Insect Spray, which is supposed to be organic, or so I'm told, because a week or so ago, I found spider mites on the plants.

How do I know what the problem is? I look at the leaves, try to identify the issue, and go online to research, and there are a million answer to why my leaves are curling up? What a Face
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Re: Frustration

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/23/2012, 4:34 pm

Hi Terry!

I'm so sorry you've had such problems with your plants! Sad I'm a total newbie to any type of gardening (just started last year) and I've had good experience with the forum gardening experts by posting a picture of what the plants look like. If you can, could you post a picture of the plants so they can see?

You can find directions in this thread:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t129-how-to-post-a-picture-located-on-your-computer

thanks

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Re: Frustration

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/23/2012, 4:51 pm

Last year we got a heavy rain shortly after I planted my garden and my little transplants really took a beating. They eventually came back and grew just fine. Last weekend I planted everything for my summer garden and then Tuesday we were supposed to get heavy rains. Luckily I already had my trellis already set up so I used that and tied an old bed sheet over the top of my new plants. Look at it this way at least nest year you will not suffer from the same things that you suffered from this year. Get some BT (bacillus thuringiensis) to take care of the caterpillars. A single caterpillar can kill a small plant in only one night.
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Re: Frustration

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/23/2012, 5:04 pm

Tejas Terry wrote: know SFG says you can't over water with MM....but my husband says after that much rain, we need to let everything "dry" out... Because I'm new at this, when I push a finger into the soil, it seems moist...not wet, but a little moist. But after digging up a little in an empty square, it seems dry. Could it really be that dry, 5 days after getting a 3 inch rain?

If your square is dry, it needs water. Perhaps the MM did not get thoroughly moistened when you originally mixed it. If it was not really damp all the way through in the beginning, that 3 inch rain may have run off instead of soaking in. It is so hard to moisten MM all the way the first time. Once moist, it will absorb water well.

At this point, I don't know why my plants are starting to look like crap. I don't know if I'm over-watering, under-watering, or some fungus is taking over....

Oh and here's another thing.... Yesterday morning we woke up and several pepper plants had been chomped on, down to the soil. We've been using Bonide Pyrethrin Insect Spray, which is supposed to be organic, or so I'm told, because a week or so ago, I found spider mites on the plants.

I would not use any pest control product, organic or not, unless I had determined what the pest is and what it responds to best. Sometimes, a hard spray with plain water can remive certain pests and there is no need for pesticide at all.

How do I know what the problem is? I look at the leaves, try to identify the issue, and go online to research, and there are a million answer to why my leaves are curling up?

One of your best resources is the Master Gardeners from your State University Extension Service. They can verify if you have pests, and what type they are. Look them up on line, then call them. In our area, the Master Gardeners have a tent at the Farmer's Market, plus one is available twice a week at our community garden.
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Re: Frustration

Post  TejasTerry on 3/23/2012, 5:20 pm

When I added the MM to the boxes, I'd add an inch or 2 of MM, water until it was soaked, then added another layer, watered, etc. I'm not sure what else I could do. I followed the book to the T. 5 composts, coarse V and fluffed peat moss. Here are some pics...the first 2 are of my measly little squash leaves curling up, and the others are of tomato plants. One thing I have noticed is that the one tomato plant that I bought at Lowe's is doing very well. My others I started from seedlings, up potted to MM, 2 inches under grow lights until they were about 6 inches, hardened off, etc. These plants are the ones having problems. But that Lowe's tomato plant is going strong, even has 3 blooms on it.







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Re: Frustration

Post  floyd1440 on 3/23/2012, 8:44 pm

Each part of the country is different and perhaps your best source for your problems are community gardens or some from of state farm or agway to answer your question.

Mel's book is a good guide but one must temper it with your conditions

Like your pictures and maybe someone can spot something to help you,
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Re: Frustration

Post  snibb on 3/23/2012, 11:08 pm

I certainly cant tell what that is but I can tell you one thing-you have something eating your stuff! I'm no expert on bugs and critters. If you look at that second picture something just took a huge bit out of the leaves. If it were me I would start by making sure Im not watering at night. Then, I would go out at night with a flashlight and see if you have snails or slugs. Your neighbors might think something's wrong with you but that's ok. They think that about me all the time! If you find snails and slugs, break out the salt shaker. A little shake will do it...I don't know if that's the dreaded squash bug-it seems a little early for that based on the size of the plant. But maybe someone else could chime in on that one...good luck though-I hope you catch 'em
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Re: Frustration

Post  camprn on 3/23/2012, 11:18 pm

Are you watering at soil level or showering the plants? Have you had hail recently? I would guess these little guys will bounce back.

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Re: Frustration

Post  shannon1 on 3/24/2012, 4:39 am

I noticed the rabbit poo what other composts are you useing in your mix? Adding a layer of worm castings on top and watering it well in could only help. i do that some times for a pick me up with my perenial vegies as I can never mix in more compost right into the MM. I pick the leaves out of my boxes too as oak leaves well any leaves really can harbor insects and dieseases. You may want to remove them too.
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Re: Frustration

Post  floyd1440 on 3/24/2012, 7:17 am

shannon1 wrote:I noticed the rabbit poo what other composts are you useing in your mix? Adding a layer of worm castings on top and watering it well in could only help. i do that some times for a pick me up with my perenial vegies as I can never mix in more compost right into the MM. I pick the leaves out of my boxes too as oak leaves well any leaves really can harbor insects and dieseases. You may want to remove them too.



Were do you purchase worm casings?

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Re: Frustration

Post  llama momma on 3/24/2012, 7:39 am

Floyd

I have seen worm casts for sale in my local nursery. You can buy online too. So far I have seen it from 1.30 a pound to $5.00 a pound. I would try a worm farmer nearby as this article suggests. It also talks a little about pricing rip-offs.

http://buywormcastings.com/worm-farm-bin-how-to-buy-worm-castings/where-to-find-prices-red-wiggler-earthworm-composting-buy-investment-benefits.html
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Re: Frustration

Post  TejasTerry on 3/24/2012, 8:00 am

We did not have hail damage, but that 3 inch rain came down really hard. I knew it would be hard on the plants.


I have rabbit poo, llama poo, composted cow manure (Black Kow), composted chicken and turkey manure from Lady Bug, cotton burr compost, and mushroom compost, with some worm castings thrown in here and there for good measure. From what I understand, none of these are too hot.

I am hand watering and trying to keep the water off the leaves, but that doesn't always work when trying to water around 1 square to get to another.

Late last evening we mixed up some neem oil with a few drops of dish soap, and sprayed everything down. Tonight I will go out in the dark and "hunt me some snails"...

I sent my pics to a friend here who grew up on a farm, and seems to think I am over-watering and I am having a fungus problem too. If that is so, then the neem oil should help.

I've spent so much money on this garden, I really need to find out what I'm doing wrong. The whole watering thing has me stumped, because from what I've read, plants tend to look the same if you are over-watering or under-watering...so I have no clue. I just assumed since it was "Mels Mix" you couldn't over-water, and here in Texas, things dry out really fast. Mad
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Re: Frustration

Post  camprn on 3/24/2012, 8:06 am

Terry, can you post a wider view of the garden, there may be some other clues that we could pick up on. As far as watering, one of these may be very helpful. At least I find them to be. It gets the water where you want it and they usually have a flow regulating valve on the stem.

watering wand

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Re: Frustration

Post  TejasTerry on 3/24/2012, 8:18 am

That is exactly what I am using to hand water. I try to set it where it doesn't splash too much.

I will post a wider pic of the garden this evening. We are out all day today, so won't have time till later.

Thanks for your help everyone!
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Re: Frustration

Post  walshevak on 3/24/2012, 10:41 am

Maybe it's time to invest in a moisture meter. Got mine at one of the box stores because we were not sure the "pond" beds were wicking properly. It was funny to note the moisture level at the various depths.

Kay

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Re: Frustration

Post  curio on 3/24/2012, 10:54 am

I don't think this is slug or snail damage. They normally leave quite a "rounded" damage area, and not the small ragged holes like you have (unless you have a group of baby slugs doing the damage) It does look like something is munching on the plants though.
What we use for slug control is a mixture of ammonia and water in a 50:50 ratio. We spray the slugs/snails and the ammonia acts like the salt, but without leaving salt residue in the soil. The ammonia residue breaks down to nitrogen in the soil. If you have shaded areas, like boards or rocks/bricks around the beds, lift them to check for slugs/snails and pill bugs (look like armadillos). All three will damage plants, particularly young leaves.
If you DO have a slug issue, the easiest thing to do is to install a continuous strip of copper tape around the edge of the box. Snails won't cross it, as it gives them a shock. If you do this, just make sure there are no leaves or other item that they can use as a bridge across the barrier.
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Re: Frustration

Post  camprn on 3/24/2012, 11:27 am

The copper tape is a myth, unless you electrify it.

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Re: Frustration

Post  TejasTerry on 3/24/2012, 9:07 pm

A moisture meter is an excellent idea. I will look into that this week...
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Re: Frustration

Post  shannon1 on 3/25/2012, 12:32 am

copper tape may be a myth but I discovered last year they won't cross the prickly side of hook and latch(zelcro).Twisted Evil
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Re: Frustration

Post  camprn on 3/25/2012, 7:14 am

ooooooooooooh good one! Very Happy

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Re: Frustration

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/25/2012, 8:01 am

shannon1 wrote:copper tape may be a myth but I discovered last year they won't cross the prickly side of hook and latch(zelcro).


This opens up a whole new realm of how to get a poly cover open and resealed. Thanks Shannon! I love dual purpose.
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Re: Frustration

Post  camprn on 3/25/2012, 8:05 am

Lavender Debs wrote:
shannon1 wrote:copper tape may be a myth but I discovered last year they won't cross the prickly side of hook and latch(zelcro).


This opens up a whole new realm of how to get a poly cover open and resealed. Thanks Shannon! I love dual purpose.
OMG! DEB good thinking so early in the morning!

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Re: Frustration

Post  snibb on 3/25/2012, 10:53 am

camprn...great picture-you're totally correct about that-it doesn't work. I know, I was one who spent a lot of money lining all my boxes with the stuff a few years ago and it was a complete waste. I don't know how this myth got started but it's been around for a while...


Last edited by snibb on 3/25/2012, 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : mispell)
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Re: Frustration

Post  Chopper on 3/25/2012, 2:28 pm

shannon1 wrote:copper tape may be a myth but I discovered last year they won't cross the prickly side of hook and latch(zelcro).Twisted Evil

Are you sure? I am not doubting, just wondering of you have witnessed this. They do come with glue backs I know, although for outside I think some staples or nails may be in order.

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Re: Frustration

Post  shannon1 on 3/25/2012, 11:56 pm

Lavender Debs wrote:
shannon1 wrote:copper tape may be a myth but I discovered last year they won't cross the prickly side of hook and latch(zelcro).


This opens up a whole new realm of how to get a poly cover open and resealed. Thanks Shannon! I love dual purpose.
That was just how I made the discovery. I used the hook and latch tape but sadly it did not stick well to the box or insect barrier but it did keep the snails out after I nailed it to the box.
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Re: Frustration

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