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Should I just give up this season?

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Should I just give up this season?

Post  Babygr33nthumb on 6/21/2014, 11:44 pm

SO I am in NC Zone 7b and am new to the SF gardening method.
I read the book, saved my money, bought the materials, mixed cow,mushroom,castings,bumper crop, and rabbit poo according to the book and transplanted from seed or direct seeded my pants ( with the exception of a store bought dill plant.) Got started a little late because of $ but got everything in by 5/3. Water at root level a inch or more ( or less if we have a heavy rain.) But growth is slow and it just doesn't seem to be thriving.

The peppers & watermelon are small to little the green beans seem to be small despite having a good transplant start. The cucumbers and zucchini seem to be the only ones that are growing well, BUT I am wondering if they will get to the fruiting stage. Needless to say I am frustrated because I had have high hopes for growing my own food. I recently re-fertilized to see if that would help with some kelp and molasses.

Should I give up at this point? Start over with Fall crops? If I do that gow cab I keep it from happening again? I also am feeling the pressure from friends & family that have bought all nursery plants that are thriving and look at my plantings and shake their head saying I won't get any or much of a harvest. It's really frustrating... Sad 

- Overall

- Cucumber

- Cherokee Tomato

- Small watermelon

Lake green Bean

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  sanderson on 6/22/2014, 1:54 am

If you started all these from seeds, then congrats are in order. Everyone else bought plants ready to set out and are therefore ahead of you. You also got a late start but don't worry.

From the individual photos I see one healthy, yellow flowering, summer squash plant, 1 healthy tomato plant, and under-planted bean squares. For each square foot of beans, plant 9 for bush beans and 8 for vining/pole beans. Bush beans do not need trellising. Peppers are planted one per square. Read the book again, especially the chapters on planting and different types of veggies. I can't tell you the Chapters because I am away from home.

I'm concerned you may be watering too much. If you have rain, you shouldn't have to water for a few days. If the top of the mix is dry, stick your finger in. If you feel moist mix a couple inches down, it still doesn't need water yet. Two things about heavy watering. One, compost slowly releases nutrients and you may be washing those nutrients out the bottom! Two, roots do not like to be soggy wet. There needs to be a little air in the mix along with water. Soggy = not good.

Don't start over. The plants are fine. Add more bean seeds to equal 8-9 bean plants per square foot. The lower leaves will naturally turn yellow as new upper leaves appear. Thin the peppers to one per square. The squash will send out female flowers in time. A few male flowers show up first.

Use the search box for specific topics. Hopefully someone in your area will also reply. AND, do not compare your new garden and plants with anyone else.

PS I am concerned that you will not be able to tend the back row of squares because the box is up against the fence. It is better to leave at least 2 feet (preferably 3 feet) free along all 4 sides.

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  camprn on 6/22/2014, 7:03 am

Everything actually looks great.  How many hours of sun does the garden get in a day? Don't give up yet.


43 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.

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: Should I just give up this season?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/22/2014, 8:49 am

BABY - STOP!!!!!!  Don't give up!!!!

I'm just south of you, near Lake Lanier.  It's only been in the last 2-3 weeks that things really started picking up here.  Now it's absolute madness!

It's coming, trust me!  In a month you'll be saying, "what was I thinking, giving up on all of this?"

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  mollyhespra on 6/22/2014, 9:37 am

I'll echo what everyone else is saying: DON'T give up!!!

My growing season is just about 3 months long.  My bean seeds are just now breaking ground, same with the squash.  If I can get some harvest out of my SFG, so can you.

Take pictures at one week intervals and you'll see the amazing growth.

It's like others have already said: your friends started from nursery-grown plants so they have a HUGE head-start from you (maybe--I think that transplanting sets some plants back, so you're at an advantage in that you direct-sowed, but that will take some time to reveal itself in the form of less-stressed plants and possibly greater resistance to disease and pests).

So hang in there and don't give up!!!

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  llama momma on 6/22/2014, 10:04 am

Babygthumb,  I think you're doing fine too.
I can see my neighbors green tomatoes from 200 feet away.  Those are nursery plants and the neighbor is worried about plant survival issues.  My sturdy little plants from seed started to blossom flowers just this past week.  Come harvest time it doesn't matter if things are a couple weeks faster or slower than someone else.  I think what matters is having healthy plants deliver the goods to your plate.  Wink Relax and enjoy your progress!  I agree with taking pictures too, it is really neat to see the difference in growth.
llama momma

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  quiltbea on 6/22/2014, 10:31 am

Don't give up.  Its your first year and you're a newbie.  You'll get used to how your plants will grow for you.  In the meantime, just keep them tended.  Water when needed.  Enjoy the fruits of your labors a couple months down the road.

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  jrfrommd on 6/22/2014, 5:24 pm

Baby..Im also a first year so I don't know much, but keep trying....the only thing i see/hear different from my beds is my local guy had me put down newspaper & straw(no seeds) to protect from splash etc...

I also planted from seed AND seedling to kinda cover my bases & have things coming in over a period of time( & for sheer gratification both way)....Keep it up!

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/23/2014, 1:53 am

I'll echo what everybody else is saying and especially what sanderson is saying about the over-watering -- don't do it. Supposedly over-watering is the number one mistake gardeners make. If you water too frequently, you can lose all your nutrients, but you can also encourage your plants to develop shallow root systems. If that happens, they won't be able to get as many nutrients from the soil, and they will also have most of their roots in the layer of soil most likely to get dried out should some really hot days come along. Plants being forced to search for water a little harder means they'll send out more roots and eventually become stronger plants -- stronger in resisting wind damage, better at getting nutrients, better at withstanding drought.

You said you transplanted beans. Beans are generally recommended to be direct-sown. They grow fast enough that doing so isn't usually a problem. You might want to direct-sow your beans in the future, or else if you transplant them, don't wait very long to do it.

Re your neighbors being ahead of you by buying transplants, that's what transplants are for. It's hard to compete with that; their plants should be ahead of yours unless you bought transplants too. That's what they paid for!

You might be surprised, though, to see many of your plants catching up as the summer progresses. Transplants that look miles ahead in the spring can look no further along than any other plant by mid- or late summer.

Keep your chin up! It's only your first year!

Don't over-fertilize. Don't over-water.

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Sorry this is a late response

Post  Babygr33nthumb on 6/29/2014, 1:15 am

I just wanted to say thank you to all for your kind words & encouragement. It's has made me decide to hang in there. We have had a rain that soaked in some of the fertilizer which seemed to stoke the cucurbits (the squash & cuke) The watermelon is still dragging but its a little bigger though. The peppers & borage are still not doing anything so I am a little befuddled by that so any thoughts on borage and slow growing peppers is greatly appreciated. So I am going to hang in there! And and also heed the watering advice.

I guess since we have humid hot summers with thunderstorms, it's hadr to know how much water to give. I don't water after a storm but usually water for a few minutes 3x a week (if it hasn't rained.) Is that too much? I can't afford a drip system yet. So I try and do the 1" water a week rule (whatever that really amounts to, it's hard to gauge that exactly.)

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  Kelejan on 6/29/2014, 2:43 am

Babygr, I still consider myself a learner in so many ways, but watering for a few minutes three times a week seems to me a bit wrong somehow. Watering correctly is something many of us need to learn; deep watering and less often is better for strong roots.
Keep on going, your plants look very healthy and with the corrections suggested you will do great. Give us more pics in a month and I bet we will not recognise your SFG bed.

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Give up?

Post  Rahab222 on 6/29/2014, 3:31 am

Never, ever, ever give up.  It's all a learning experience.  My peppers have been slow to produce this year, too.  So has the squash.  Right now, I'm just trying to see what will grow.  If it doesn't, I'll try something else.  I have had great success with tomatoes this year, and potatoes and cucumbers (I didn't get any cucumbers last year.  I planted the small, pickling cucumbers this year and it worked, whereas other varieties haven't.)

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  Popo on 6/29/2014, 8:44 am

Hang in there I am in lower south and planted from seeds also and it started out slow but has changed gears now and really kicked in now. This is my first square foot garden also and I was wondering if I was doing it right to.

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  shegardens on 6/29/2014, 10:50 am

my beans are barely off the ground and I put them over 6 weeks ago in brand new mel's mix....
don't give up!!!!  I am learning too that not everything grows like crazy, even when I want it too!!!

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  FeedMeSeeMore on 6/29/2014, 12:09 pm

I'm in your zone in Georgia and put my seedlings started indoors in March and the direct seeds in by 4/15 to 4/30. As a totally new gardener myself, here's what I have observed. Some things are really, really slow to take off.
Seems to me like once the root system gets better established they'll suddenly start to get bigger. That's just my newbie theory...experienced members corrections welcomed Smile
If you planted from seeds, then you have a LOT more time invested in the plants which makes everything seem doubly slow to grow. Keep taking care of them is the key. When you start from scratch without the "benefit(?)" of commercial grower techniques, you'll have the ability to grow things from seeds and that is extremely gratifying and a great skill to have.

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  herblover on 6/29/2014, 1:07 pm

You might want to get a rain guage; I found mine for $5 and it is mounted on my deck so that I can accurately monitor how much rain I get.

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Re: Should I just give up this season?

Post  lzalvis on 6/29/2014, 10:17 pm

I'm a newbie too, in Atlanta, and I'm trying not to give up also!!!  I'm a perfectionist and I wanted my newly-expanded-6-box garden to give me bumper crops of *everything* this summer.  ha!  My beans are underproducing, my carrots stopped growing and my cukes have a fungus.   Razz 
BUT thanks to this place, I'm learning to....learn!!  I'm accepting the challenge to see what could be wrong, learn to identify, control, and (next year) prevent!  I learned that my 'new' garden plot has more partial shade than I'd like.   I learned that preventing pest/fungus problems is better than treating them.  I learned that these centipede/millipede things are harmless.  I've learned my funny-shaped cukes still taste OK.  I've learned that I have a horrible bee population, so for anything needing pollination I will need to plant bee attractors next year.  

I've learned I"m great at worm composting, so I should start using it! 

Let's hang in there and see what we can learn!!

All that being said, I'm already planning for fall Smile


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Re: Should I just give up this season?

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