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newbie with some problems

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newbie with some problems

Post  jeeperchk on 6/29/2012, 2:48 pm

Hi all,
I just built our SFGs and this is my first summer trying out the method. At first I had issues with animals (birds, squirrels, and rabbits), but with some cages, I have circumvented that problem . Now I am hoping for some help figuring out what is going on with the squash, beans, and peppers. I used Mels mix as directed. At the beginning i watered the garden with a hose overhead, but have since been watering with a watering can since I have read the overhand watering spreads disease. I'm hoping its not too late. We live in middle Tennessee and it has been very hot lately (as it has in most of the country). For the last few weeks the temps have been in the 90s and now low 100s. I've been watering every other day. When I started the garden, I used crushed eggshell water on peppers and tomatoes.This past week I sprinkled Job's organic vegetable and tomato granular fertilizer around the bases of the plants.

1) The summer squash look great in the morning and evening, but during the day they wilt like crazy . The winter squash have brown lower leaves, the flowers fall off quickly, and there is no fruit . There are also healthy leaves that look good in the morning, but they too wilt like crazy in the afternoon. I thought it might be bacterial wilt because my cucumber got this (I have since destroyed all of the cucumber plants), but there is no sticky goo when I break off a stem from either plant .

2) The lower leaves of the beans (planted from seed) are turning brown . They are also growing VERY slowly .

3) My pepper plants were off to a great start and tolerated transplant from the house with no problems. This past week the bases have gotten very weak and thin, the plants then fall over and die.

Thanks in advance. We have worked so hard, so it's extremely disappointing to watch the plants struggling.
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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  CharlesB on 6/29/2012, 3:17 pm

Over 100 is as hard on plants as it is on us. Take a wood skewer, like a BBQ one and stick it in the soil. After it is in there for a day you can pull it out and touch it to your hand. If it isn't dry you don't need to water yet. The pepper looks like the base got too much moisture. The beans having lower leaves brown like that isn't unusual. The lower leaves on my pole beans are starting to look a little rough from this heat as well (Pennsylvania).

Being that you have those really nice cages I would try and put some cheese cloth on them to give shade to your plants in the hottest part of the day. Especially the squash. Know what I mean? Where you'd let them get full sun in morning and night but in the middle of the day they would be in shade. In a pinch you could probably just fasten strips of cardboard to the top of the cages.

Good luck.
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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  csmith2009 on 6/29/2012, 3:24 pm

I have no answers for you, but I just thought you'd like to know you are not alone. I also live in Middle TN. I am a transplant from New England, and this is my first year gardening in this very different climate. I didn't think it was so terribly different (same hardiness zone as up north), but I have been through hell with this garden! Most of my plants are weak and leggy, I've endured plagues of just about every pest known to Man, and the thermometer just zoomed from 100.5 to 103.1 within the past half hour! The other day a deer came into the garden while I was at a neighbor's house and dined on my lettuce and parsley while my husband and dog napped near the window...that just about did me in!!

If anything, I hope you feel a little better now! Hang in there!
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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  camprn on 6/29/2012, 4:43 pm

The mid day heat is causing your plants to wilt like that as they try to conserve water. Its a good thing that they are bouncing back in the evening. I would water more in the evening to allow the plants to soak it up overnight.

The lower leaves of the squash and beans browning and drying out is quite normal. Those leaves have reached the end of their usefulness and will die off. The rest of the plant looks healthy.

The pepper plants look to me as if they are suffering from damping off, a fungal problem. There is no help for those that have died, but the ones that have survived I would try watering the soil, at soil level, around the stems and avoid watering the plant.
Hope this helps.

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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  southern gardener on 6/29/2012, 5:43 pm

with those beautiful cages you've made, can you drop some shade cloth over them, and use clothespins etc to secure it? boy, it's HOT there! hang in there, and let us know how you do.
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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  jeeperchk on 7/1/2012, 2:12 pm

Thank you all for the suggestions- I really do appreciate your insight. Yesterday I thoroughly watered in the morning, and I put up shade cloth over the cages. This morning I looked at the plant and they seem to be getting worse. The brown leaves on the beans are spreading, now nearly half of the leaves appear to be dying.

The squash leaves now have brown spots, some edges are curling up, and some leaves are yellowing as well.


I was reading other posts and noticed that tomato blight appears to be a huge problem. I thought that mine were doing fine, but under closer inspection see brown specks on the leaves. Is this normal or is something wrong with them too?


Thanks again for all of your responses. I think I'm becoming paranoid!
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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  camprn on 7/1/2012, 2:22 pm

Try watering every other day.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  jeeperchk on 7/1/2012, 2:31 pm

Camprn- did you say to water every other day because you think that I am watering too much?
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Re: newbie with some problems

Post  camprn on 7/1/2012, 3:32 pm

@jeeperchk wrote:Camprn- did you say to water every other day because you think that I am watering too much?
yup. could be Very Happy

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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