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Weak harvest

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Weak harvest

Post  shauna9208 on 7/24/2010, 1:57 pm

We are in south central Kansas in zone 6. This is our first year of SFG. We absolutely LOVE the organized clean look of our garden and how easy it is to maintain but we haven't gotten hardly any harvest this year. By this time last year we were overflowing in tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

This year with the SFG we've had a few cherry tomatoes and a few jalepenos but that's it. We followed Mel's recipe for the MM and we water about every other day (due to the incredible heat wave). The tomato plants have grown well and are quite large and bushy but have not flowered much and have only a few fruits. We did not get any peas at all. The pole and bush beans produced a few flowers but then died. Our squash and zuchinni were producing well until squash bugs took over. The plants had to finally be pulled and tossed for fear the bugs would take over elsewhere. On the other hand, our basil plant has almost taken over and has to be cut back regularly and our strawberries have put out a few suckers that I put over into another square.

Is anyone else in our area having low harvests? Have we done something wrong. My hubby is starting to lose faith and says he wants to go back to row gardening next year.

shauna9208

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Location : South Central Kansas Zone 6

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Re: Weak harvest

Post  Megan on 7/24/2010, 5:24 pm

Hi Shauna,

This is my first year with SFG as well. I think it's been a weird year, overall, for growing things. I can't speak for the MM because I did not follow the formula exactly -- I have a topsoil mixed in, too -- but there's been a lot of discussion here about nutrient problems due to compost mix. The weather has been screwy, too.

My peas failed also. Cukes and squash are doing GREAT and I've had no problems with borers, knock on wood. My tomatoes and peppers seem healthy but are slow, as I started them from seed directly in the ground. They are just starting to really launch now. The pole beans are going nuts. Corn is immature but getting there, I have seen some silks hiding out in that jungle. My basil is big and healthy, but not nearly as big as a friend's is. Carrots seem to be doing well. My chard took FOREVER to get going this spring, but has kept going strong ever since without a single bobble and many, many cuttings. No clue about the potatoes, I have not gone digging yet and they are a late variety. My watermelon is not doing well.

All in all, I have had a wonderful time with SFG this year, and will do it again. I want to get my soil professionally tested sometime this fall and see what, if anything, I need to do for it....but I'd do that with a row garden also. I would be cautious to assign blame to a growing method. A pea is a pea... planting it in a square vs. a row is all about you, not about the pea. The pea doesn't know what it got planted in! Very Happy I have planted some things in higher density than I ever had before, yes... and they seem to be doing fine. I do have a nearly impenetrable jungle in my front box, it's survival of the fittest in there right now! Smile

Megan

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First year woes

Post  ander217 on 7/24/2010, 11:14 pm

Shauna, this is our first year with SFG too, and we decided to experiment. We planted some things in our standard row-garden, we made several SFG boxes with Mel's Mix, and we also made some beds using the techniques from Mel's first book. We planted English peas both in a box with Mel's Mix, and in the beds with soil.

It didn't make any difference. Neither way produced many peas, and I usually pick peas for a few weeks from my vines. It's just a crazy year here. Some things have done okay, other things are terrible. But my friends who row-garden only are having the same kinds of problems, so I don't think it's due to gardening method. Our early spring garden did well so I'm blaming the early heat wave and drought for many of our problems even though we watered regularly.

The farmers in our area have even had to plow under their corn because it didn't produce grain on the cobs, and what did produce got toxins in it.

Maybe your husband would agree to experiment as we did, and plant crops both ways next year to compare.

ander217

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Re: Weak harvest

Post  extremesoccermom on 7/25/2010, 2:49 pm

I am in St. Louis, MO 6a. I am also very disappointed in all of my gardening techniques this year. I have always had a great garden experience until last year. They started doing major road construction around our house which disturbed the sewer rats. They found my garden a perfect place. We used to have a fox around the neighborhood that kept the population under control pretty well but I have not seen him in over a year. I completely gave up last year.
I have since found out the city will provide me with rat poison so I have been using that all summer. It has helped alot but there are still more out there Twisted Evil . Any way my plants are doing very well in terms of growing they are all huge but so far the only thing I have harvested is a small handful of green beans, a few lima beans, and maybe 10 cherry tomatoes. The plants are green and lush just no fruit.
I have a number of different techniques including one 5X5 and a few containers of MM, one 5X5 lasagna garden, 3- 5X10 top soil + compost mix and my own dirt with years of composting mixed in.
We have also had a very hot, early summer but have had incredible storms every couple of days. The corn was looking ok until last nights storm wiped it out.

extremesoccermom

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RE: Weak harvest

Post  shauna9208 on 7/25/2010, 5:14 pm

I really appreciate everyone's responses. It sounds like it might just be a cruddy year all around. I stopped by a place that has a massive garden each year. They always sell a lot of their produce out of their driveway using the honor system. They were out working when I stopped so I asked them what they thought about this year. They said they have had very small and at odd shaped produce this year and that the overall production has been way down as well. They are only about 5 miles from me so that made me feel a little better as well. We'll keep plugging away and hopefully we'll maybe get some late season and fall luck.

shauna9208

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Join date : 2010-03-09
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Location : South Central Kansas Zone 6

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Re: Weak harvest

Post  happyfrog on 7/25/2010, 7:37 pm

my tomatoes are green - some are starting to ripen, FINALLY.

green squash was producing prolifically, and now is puny harvesting. . cukes horrible.

green beans - lots of growing and starting to flower. hope to see some veg soon.

green peppers are ok on harvest - but i also have 15 plants - seems like this year is just odd.

was so hot so fast that many plants are just not happy this year.

i bet we have a long drawn out fall, so in a few weeks i'll get serious about planting broccoli and other brassica for fall harvest, as well as spinach and carrots for all winter harvesting. (zone 5 but i want to embrace eliot coleman's book - 4 season harvest)

bettyann

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Tomato troubles

Post  leahray on 7/27/2010, 7:46 pm

I've had a really rough year in terms of tomatoes, tomatilloes, and squash. My tomatoes are very tall, and do get flowers--which then proceed to fall off without producing tomatoes. I have a 6' tall brandywine with one tomato growing on it. The green zebras and sweet millions are doing better, but not great. And the tomatillo? It's 12' tall, covered in flowers, forms the little balloons--but then those don't grow.

This is my first year doing SFG, so it's frustrating. My beans look good. Arugula and lettuce were great, and I have a bumper crop of basil. I've planted carrots, beets, broccoli. They're progressing ok, I think. I have two cucumber plants that have produced two cucumbers so far, but do have lots of flowers. I'm hoping they do better than the tomatoes!!

While I am loving gardening overall, I'm very curious about why I'm not getting tomatoes or tomatillos. I've read everything I can find, and guess it must be too hot/humid, or I somehow have too much nitrogen in my soil. That's the frustrating part, because I did make Mel's Mix exactly as ordered. Maybe next year will be better!

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Re: Weak harvest

Post  Megan on 7/27/2010, 7:57 pm

@leahray wrote:[snip]And the tomatillo? It's 12' tall, covered in flowers, forms the little balloons--but then those don't grow.

[snip]

While I am loving gardening overall, I'm very curious about why I'm not getting tomatoes or tomatillos. I've read everything I can find, and guess it must be too hot/humid, or I somehow have too much nitrogen in my soil. That's the frustrating part, because I did make Mel's Mix exactly as ordered. Maybe next year will be better!

Your tomatillo plant is 12 feet tall?!?! Great GRAVY!!!! Shocked And here I thought I was doing well enough with mine almost 3 feet. How many tomatillo plants did you put in? This is my first year for growing them. I read somewhere that it is best to have more than one plant so they can pollinate each other, so I went back and bought two more. The second two were very slow to bloom and I had fears I wouldn't get any, but I am seeing one tiny little lantern amidst all the blooms, so I am crossing my fingers I might get some. Though now you're saying the lanterns don't grow has got me worried again. Smile Good luck!

Megan

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Join date : 2010-04-27
Age : 49
Location : Manassas, VA - Zone 7a

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Re: Weak harvest

Post  Wyldflower on 7/27/2010, 10:48 pm

Leahray, have you grown tomatillos before? Where are you? With so much foliage and not much fruit, you may be right about too much nitrogen.

I've never grown them before, or even seen them growing, so I didn't know what to expect. My two tomatillo plants are about 3-4 feet tall, with lots of little lantern shaped husks, and still blooming. I gave some of the older lanterns a little squeeze, and it seems that little tomatillos are growing inside, half-filling some of the lantern-husks. I think the fruit will continue to grow and fill up the husk, and be ready to harvest when they start bursting through the husks.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Wyldflower

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Re: Weak harvest

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