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Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

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Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  cf314 on 7/7/2015, 9:31 am

I live in Missouri and started my 1st SFG this year.  I knew nothing about gardening so I followed the SFG book exactly.  I did everything he said with the soil, watering, and sunlight.  My sugar snap peas, green beans, and lettuce are growing and producing.  But my beets, radishes, and carrots all grew green tops, but NO vegetables.  I got a few tiny radishes and that was it.  When I pulled them out of the ground, there was nothing but a long root on the end.  I'm so disappointed.  After all the money we spent building the garden, I don't want to give up.  I'd love to try again in the fall. Any suggestions please?!

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  littlejo on 7/7/2015, 10:07 am

Sounds to me like you have too much nitrogen. Peas will grow in any soil, lettuce loves nitrogen, same with beans. Radishes sometimes do ok if all nutrients are available. But carrots, beets, most that grow below the soil require bone meal (phosphorus) It is usually organic, and should be in the compost, but sometimes its not.

Just sprinkle some on soil and work in a bit. Then re-plant. In Missouri you should be able to get a good crop if you do it now. Heat should not matter if you can keep it watered til they sprout.

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  boffer on 7/7/2015, 10:18 am

Welcome to the forum.

In past years, I've done everything right and gotten poor harvests, and I've done everything wrong and gotten bountiful harvests.  That's the nature of gardening: we like to think we're in total control, but we're not.

Let's double check your Mel's Mix.  What are your 5 compost sources?  Homemade or store bought?

Radishes are fickle.  Sometimes they'll bulb up; sometimes they won't. This time of year in your climate, it's probably too hot for them.  They prefer cooler weather.

In my experience, carrots always take longer to mature than what the seed package suggests.  When did you plant them?

Enjoy your success with peas, beans, and lettuce-you grew something!  Not everyone is able to do that their first year.

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  sanderson on 7/7/2015, 10:45 am

@boffer wrote:Welcome to the forum.

In past years, I've done everything right and gotten poor harvests, and I've done everything wrong and gotten bountiful harvests.  That's the nature of gardening: we like to think we're in total control, but we're not.

Let's double check your Mel's Mix.  What are your 5 compost sources?  Homemade or store bought?
CF, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here Boffer is correct. Gardening reminds us that Nature is really the one in control. Some years are great, or only great for some things. Each year you will get to know your growing climate and which varieties so the best.

Going back to Boffer's question: What are your 5 compost sources? Also, did you fluff the peat moss before you measured. We are here to help.

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/7/2015, 12:52 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if it were an excess of nitrogen, as littlejo suggests. Especially since even when we have good soil, it's human nature to fiddle about and add more fertilizer than we need. And manufacturers want to sell more fertilizer, so their package directions may suggest heavy usage.

Your first year sounds about normal for someone just getting acquainted with their own very individual soil mix. Even planter to planter and container to container, it can vary a lot. Now that you've got the book knowledge down, the learning process continues plant by plant, planter by planter, year by year. Even if we gardeners come to believe we've got it all down cold, something will always pop up to complicate things and humble us.

Don't feel too frustrated if nothing seems quite settled yet. That's pretty much just the nature of gardening. We might as well embrace it and learn to love learning, and re-learning, and learning again.




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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/8/2015, 6:20 pm

Welcome, CF!  I am back to SFGing after a 20+ year hiatus into traditional gardening, and it is so much better, even with the hinky stuff that happens!  My radishes, which were planted 5/15, Burpee White, about 1/2 globed, and half just turned into white rooted things.  No idea. Well, I think I got them in too late for one thing, but that was when my boxes were ready.  Will try again soon!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 7/8/2015, 6:23 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  cf314 on 7/9/2015, 9:00 am

Thank you for taking the time to respond!  We got our compost from "St. Louis Composting."  Several people I know with SFGs said that is the best place to go.  I know the compost came from different sources but I don't know exactly what the 5 sources are. 
So this is a rookie question, but how do I know if I have too much nitrogen?  And if I do, should I just add some bone meal as someone suggested?
Thank you so much for your help!

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  plantoid on 7/9/2015, 9:22 am

All the top leafy stuff will grow like mad and the roots won't .. a little  too much watering can also give this effect ......... just like has happened to you.

You could buy a soil test kit and run a test on your MM but it's not really worth it.


 Get your own compost heaps up & running and only use them to revitalize your beds .

So long as you follow the general outlines that Mel gives to make it you won't go far wrong .
This time next year the high nitrogen should have subsided a lot and you'll be able to grow all manner of things then in the year after that when your beds can " stand alone 2 with just your home made compost  you'll be getting a decent set of crops .

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/9/2015, 12:26 pm

I agree with plantoid. Sometimes if you get really good fertilizer, it's may be a little too rich the first year. Especially in nitrogen. It can grow big plants, maybe even prolific plants, but it may grow weak plants. The next year, mellowed out and just topped off with some new compost, it may grow plants better.

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  sanderson on 7/9/2015, 2:17 pm

CF, Call the place and ask them what goes into making their wonderful compost. (flatter them!) Then, we can help you with what other compost would help round it out, if it even needs rounding out.

I have a local source for bulk compost at a cheap price. It is made from green waste, wood chips and chicken manure for sure. But I am doing a little grow test first (with peas in pots) to make sure it doesn't have too much weed herbicide to stunt or kill my veggies. I make my own compost but I just want to test this stuff in case I can't make compost anymore.

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  cf314 on 7/9/2015, 4:28 pm

Thanks.  We have had record amounts of rain in MO this spring and summer.  So maybe that is a factor also.

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/9/2015, 6:22 pm

@cf314 wrote:Thanks.  We have had record amounts of rain in MO this spring and summer.  So maybe that is a factor also.
Same here.  In fact it is raining now......

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Re: Tops grew but no vegetables, need help!

Post  landarch on 7/9/2015, 11:16 pm

try again...work in some bonemeal or hardwood ash (from a fireplace) into carrot and beet areas.  Even if you do everything right it may still be a crap-shoot...that's why I seed plenty of these types of veggies to increase my chances.  Sometimes even within the same square (same soil, sun, water, etc.) one beet root will be full and gorgeous and the adjacent one will be all tops with no root. 

We've had tons of rain here in KC as well so I made sure to keep topping boxes off with additional compost as well as a balanced organic fertilizer like Chickity Doo Doo. 

That said, I've had a really good harvest of beets, carrots, beans, onions, snap peas, etc...about ready to post a pic from this evening in a new thread.

P.S...check with your local extension office on the best time to seed for another try (fall crop)...fall gardening can be better with some veggies.  Here in the KC area beet and carrot seeds can go in again in late July - early August.

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