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Unmitigated Disaster

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Unmitigated Disaster

Post  Green(Horn)Thumb on 7/31/2012, 2:47 pm

Dont know where to start. This is my first SFG and it has been a disaster. My Peas were doing great and then I assume the heat killed them as they began to discolor, shriveled and died. Spinach has bolted everytime. The Broccoli has grown great but failed to develop a head, it has however attracted every leaf eating Caterpillar and aphid in the area. Lettuce is bitter. Rabbits eating the beans. Cantelope and watermelon are extremely slow to develop with my first mellon now being baseball size. My yellow zuchinnin was doing good then one day i went out there and it was dead, no signs just keeled over dead. It has been extremely hot here all summer, is this majority of my problem or should I be taking other steps. (obviously the heat is not the issue with pests)

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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  camprn on 7/31/2012, 3:24 pm

@Green(Horn)Thumb wrote:Dont know where to start. This is my first SFG and it has been a disaster. My Peas were doing great and then I assume the heat killed them as they began to discolor, shriveled and died. Spinach has bolted everytime. The Broccoli has grown great but failed to develop a head, it has however attracted every leaf eating Caterpillar and aphid in the area. Lettuce is bitter. Rabbits eating the beans. Cantelope and watermelon are extremely slow to develop with my first mellon now being baseball size. My yellow zuchinnin was doing good then one day i went out there and it was dead, no signs just keeled over dead. It has been extremely hot here all summer, is this majority of my problem or should I be taking other steps. (obviously the heat is not the issue with pests)
Oh Dear! Being a new gardener and having limited knowledge can be gut wrenching. As this is your first SFG, I suggest that this is a learning year. Peruse the forum for info about folks with similar circumstance. Don't give up. Next year will be better because you are learning so much...

Let's see if I can touch on a few things and give you some comfort... It won't bring back your losses, but you can mitigate future losses with knowledge.

Peas are a cool weather crop. I plant mine as early as late march or mid April. They are usually done producing and pulled from the garden before the middle of July.

Spinach is usually a one and done deal for me, they like it COOL.

Broccoli can be challenging, the like it cooler but will grow in summer, it can take a while (months) for the heads to form... As you noticed they are a cabbage worm magnet. I usually cover all of my brassica plants with tulle to prevent the adult females from laying eggs on the plant.

Lettuce is also a crop that does poorly in the heat, it will bolt and become bitter. Try planting another round in a week or two.

Bunnies are tough and fencing is probably in your future.

Ahhh, melons, yes they do take their time. Keep watering them and maybe give them a dose of compost tea at the roots. At least you still have some. All my watermelons died from wilt transmitted by striped cucumber beetles. Sad

The sudden collapse of summer squash is usually the result of the dreaded Squash Vine Borer.

Hang in there!


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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  songstriss on 7/31/2012, 6:57 pm

Wow Green(Horn)Thumb! I feel your frustration. As a matter of fact in June I put up a post entitled "Becoming Weary." It seems like you just recover from one thing and 5 more things happen. But I just decided to take the attitude that it's a learning experience. There have been some successes. There are some things that are out of our control and we learn along the way the things we can do something about. Still it is very frustrating to put so much of your time, energy, money and hopes into it only to feel like nothing is going right. Hang in there. It's really rewarding, not to mention tasty, when your efforts produce great tasting veggies!

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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  cheyannarach on 7/31/2012, 8:12 pm

Hang in there! I know it's frusterating but you're really not that bad, the peas, lettuce, and spinach gooses were cooked by the heat, I just pulled my peas yesterday, and my spinach a month ago. I have a zucchini that I planted in a bucket and forgot to drill drainage holes in the bottom of so I just transplanted it with hopes it may survive...

And I don't think we have squash vine borers here, it was just a blond moment, oops.
The deer have been eating five course dinners every night with there favorites being sunflowers, beans, and ripe tomatoes.

How are those for some sad sunflowers... How about the first ripe lemon boys of the season...

They did at least come back and finish it!
But to give you hope here are a picture of my softball sized sweet baby watermelons, just barely bigger than yours!

And my baseball sized canteloupe.


So hang in there, it'll get better and better. For those dreaded catepillars pick and squish, at least that's what plantoid would say, I would say pick them wearing gloves and throw them in a bucket of soapy water (I'm kinda scared of bugs).





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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  littlesapphire on 7/31/2012, 9:26 pm

Awww, how frustrating! I'm so sorry to hear that your garden isn't going as well as you'd hope, but I sure hope it doesn't stop you from trying again!

I agree with what Camp said; the first year is a learning year. Heck, I'm on my third year and I'm still learning! But it's gotten better since then. Just hang in there, ask lots of questions and keep a journal.

I will say that I've read a lot of people say that Mel's Mix is hard to grow in the first year if you make it with commercial compost. I guess it's almost free of beneficial microbes which help the plants. I'm not entirely sure how it works, but I will say that I've noticed this in my garden. The first year I did SFG, my plants didn't produce much. Then this year I added three new boxes and the new ones aren't producing as much as my older boxes.

I agree with what everyone said about the heat killing your plants. As for lettuce, this is the very first year I've had lettuce that wasn't bitter. I actually grew it in the shaded squares between my peas and my potatoes, and they were very sweet and tender! Since I've discovered they kind of like shade, I've decided to grow some on my shady porch as well. Another trick is to take bitter lettuce and soak it in cold water in the fridge for a few hours. Unless the lettuce is especially bitter,that usually works to make it edible.

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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  walshevak on 7/31/2012, 10:15 pm

I have had the exact opposite result. My new beds produced like crazy last spring and some kept going through winter with 5 blend topdressing. My new beds this year have produced well in the spring. Yet my second year beds have not done as well as they did last year. Only the strawberry bed did as well and I dumped a composting garbage can 1/2 full of my own composted kitchen scraps into it. The other beds; I put a very large scoop of commercial 5 blend into each square when replanting. Spring crops did ok, just not as lush as last year.

However, I'm also blaming the extremely weird weather we had this spring. Hot way too early, then a cold period followed by crazy hot again way too early.

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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  Green(Horn)Thumb on 7/31/2012, 10:38 pm

Yeah there is no give up in me, just a bit discouraged. The tomatoes and peppers are doing great. The cucumbers are going like gang busters. I got quite a bit of peas before the heat got them, I guess things arent as bad as I made it sound_ I just get a bit crazy sometimes expecting perfection. Thanks for the tips and encouragement

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Re: Unmitigated Disaster

Post  GWN on 7/31/2012, 10:45 pm

I would have to agree with CAMPRN.
My spinach is pretty much done, by the time the warm weather comes. Not sure what ZONE Wisconsin is in (not totally sure where it is), but I am guessing it is similar to where I am.
My peas have also shriveled and I am currently planting peas for the fall crop, as well as spinach. they both will do well in the fall.
Cantelope has only every gotten to the baseball size for me, it is a very long season crop and needs very hot weather for a long time. IN fact mine have only just started to get cantiloupes on them.

I find that squash is a hard crop to grow in a grew zone.... grey zone.... either you have WAYYY too many or none. SO I always plant way too much.

THe crops you have chosen are either cold season crops or very hot season crops.
Now you need to get some fall planting done, you do not want to wait all the way until next year........ cheers

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