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My garden looks horrible.

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My garden looks horrible.

Post  tazman7 on 5/31/2011, 12:24 pm

So far I am not doing so well with my gardening. This is my first garden and I made the Mel's Mix exactly like he stated in his book. I planted most of my seeds 3-4 weeks ago and the only thing that seems to be growing decently is the pole beans, and not they have something eating them..

Here is a picture of my tomato plant that isnt doing well at all..(actually none of them are)






And here is a picture of my pole beans.






I also have lettuce planted and it has barely poke through the dirt and has stayed the same size for almost a week. We have had plenty of rain and sun and dont see why my stuff isnt growing...I drive through the local garden and their stuff is growing like crazy and its a block from my house.

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  pelujilla on 5/31/2011, 7:25 pm

If it is any consolation...my peppers did not grow for about a month and finally they are showing life...my tomatoes looked like they were going to die but now seem to be coming back, and I had the toughest time getting my cukes off the ground and up the vine. Don't give up, ignore your garden for a day or two and when you go back you just might be pleasantly surprised...something about watching water boil...
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/31/2011, 8:13 pm

Can I ask a couple of questions? Just because you used Mel's Mix doesn't mean the challenge is over. I hate to see the MM get the blame without doing a little investigation first. Too many people can post too great of results for things to ever be exclusively the MM.

1.. How long ago did you plant? (I know you said 3-4 weeks ago) With a frost date around last week of April to the first week of May, they haven't been in the ground that long. And, beans and tomatoes are WARM season plants. They need heat. Lettuce should be fine. But, Mel's book says to wait 7 weeks to harvest...you are at 4. With the slow start to summer heat, tomatoes across the country are off to slow starts if exposed to the elements, especially at night. Mine sat for weeks before starting to zoom skyward. So, weather could be a concern of yours.

2.. Did you plant the tomatoes super deep, or horizontally? Your Mel's Mix looks to have settled, to me, if we are starting with 6 inches. You look like you are at about 4. Not a big deal if you took steps to plant the tomatoes correctly. If you just dropped them in the ground, they don't have much room to develop a root system yet. And, that goes back to how long they've been in the ground again. They may just be developing their root systems first before focusing on greens.



Honestly, neither looks that bad to me. I would stress patience, especially if this is your first garden. Mel's Mix is not a super soil in that it makes everything grow ten times faster than regular soil. You have a couple days this week that will be hot from the looks of it. But, you have a few that are in the lower 70s, too. Keep us up to date, and let's see what happens by the beginning of next week?
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  Old Hippie on 5/31/2011, 8:33 pm

It looks to me like your tomato plant has a slight purple tinge to the leaves. A purple tinge on the leaves of many plants, indicates that they are a bit too cold. Tomatoes love heat and when they get too cold, even if they don't freeze, they slow right down and don't do much. Three weeks isn't that long. Hang in there. Sometimes things take a while to get their root systems established before there is much visible signs of growth.

The other thing I would ask is how your compost mix was. Sometimes when we have too many types that are similar, our gardens aren't getting adequate nutrients. It wouldn't hurt to get them some worm castings or perhaps give them a shot of compost tea and see if that would help.

I always have a few leaves of various plants in my garden that get holes or signs of chewing on them. It is part of gardening as far as I am concerned. As long as the birds and bugs and diseases are not over the top destroying everything, I don't worry about it much. When they strip the leaves off a plant, then I get mad and the battle is on. Spraying your plants, especially the undersides of the leaves, with water containing a few drops of dish soap helps keeps the bugs down. Sometimes if the infestation is bad, you have to use other stuff but it is amazing how much good a bit of soap does. I always put a couple of drops in every jug of water I water with.

Don't get discouraged and keep us posted on how things go.

Best of luck.

Gwynn
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  dizzygardener on 5/31/2011, 9:50 pm

To add to what Old Hippie said, the purple tinge in your tomato is a phosphorus deficiency. When the tomatoes are too cold they cannot absorb enough phosphorous (nitrogen too). Once it warms up they will be ok. In the mean time you can try supplementing with a phosphorous rich fertilizer and put down some black plastic to try to heat up the soil a bit (leave room to water your plants).

Beans also require heat. With it still being a little chilly they are stressed, and stressed plants are more prone to insect damage than healthy plants. Also, beans need a bit of nitrogen until they can start producing their own, and nitrogen uptake is going to be diminished by the cold. You can try supplementing with nitrogen fertilizer.

Your warm weather plant really do need warm weather. They are happiest with 75°F+ during the day and 50°F+ at night.
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  tazman7 on 6/7/2011, 7:35 pm

Ok I took everybody's advise and waiting it out for the heat to come. After a week and a half of temps in the 80's-100 with a low of 70 at night the tomatoes are still doing horrible, as well as the herbs and lettuce. I just bought the herbs today in containers from the nursery so I will replant them tonight, but my main concern now is the tomato plants. The purplish tinge on the one tomato plant had lightened but it is still not growing at all.

Is there a tomato plant food or fertilizer you would recommend me get for the garden? I know things are supposed to be "organic" but if its not growing with sun, heat and water obviously something else needs to help it..

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  unmadecastle on 6/7/2011, 8:45 pm

My tomatoes were purple because of the cold weather. Mine were planted about 3 weeks ago but they are looking good now. I have one tomato planted in a bucket in MM and it is still purple. It has been planted for about a week and a-half. My peppers havn't grown much at all and my lettuce is really slow. I am sure it is because of the cold weather we have been having.
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  westie42 on 6/8/2011, 10:55 am

Like most of us upstarts there is a good chance the compost we buy is sub par. That is always iffy when store bought. My remedy is to brew some compost tea using a fish tank pump and air stones. That brew really makes my plants indoors or out perk up. Look over google and youtube real good and give it a try if you think you like what you find. I brew and feed about once a month. I now Mel does not stress compost tea but he also under stresses the reality of poor compost quality being a frequent reality especially if Big K, some dollar store and Wally World are the only places you can find compost. I love Mel but after all he is selling books and a concept in his product line. And yes the support is very good in the forums. Now I will duck....

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/8/2011, 1:28 pm

westie42 wrote:Like most of us upstarts there is a good chance the compost we buy is sub par. That is always iffy when store bought. My remedy is to brew some compost tea using a fish tank pump and air stones. That brew really makes my plants indoors or out perk up. Look over google and youtube real good and give it a try if you think you like what you find. I brew and feed about once a month. I now Mel does not stress compost tea but he also under stresses the reality of poor compost quality being a frequent reality especially if Big K, some dollar store and Wally World are the only places you can find compost. I love Mel but after all he is selling books and a concept in his product line. And yes the support is very good in the forums. Now I will duck....

I don't see why you feel the need to duck. Nothing to complain about in your opinion....in MY opinion. Wink
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  shannon1 on 6/9/2011, 1:24 am

westie42 wrote:Like most of us upstarts there is a good chance the compost we buy is sub par. That is always iffy when store bought. My remedy is to brew some compost tea using a fish tank pump and air stones. That brew really makes my plants indoors or out perk up. Look over google and youtube real good and give it a try if you think you like what you find. I brew and feed about once a month. I now Mel does not stress compost tea but he also under stresses the reality of poor compost quality being a frequent reality especially if Big K, some dollar store and Wally World are the only places you can find compost. I love Mel but after all he is selling books and a concept in his product line. And yes the support is very good in the forums. Now I will duck....
In Mel's first SFG book is where I first learned about manure tea. I think in the second book he stressed having your own compost pile more. Since I am not able to have a compost pile as such I will let the do the work per Josh's worm tube method.
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  kiwirose on 6/9/2011, 5:21 am

I don't see why you feel the need to duck. Nothing to complain about in your opinion....in MY opinion. Wink[/quote]

I agree. This sfg journey has been a great learning experience of trial and error and refinement. Every day I learn something or make a change that will improve my successes is a good day. I have about a bazillion more veges this year than last - and I was pretty happy with last years crops. But that isn't to say that all my crops did well. Some years will just be a bust on certain things.

This year I am going to test the soil in all my beds (I have 10 of them I think now or is it 11?) because particularly last year I think that I got some poor quality compost (and it didn't help that I used too much peat in a couple of beds before I learned that 4cuft bags in the store is really 8 cuft fluffed up).

Good luck and keep persevering. You might find a quick soil test will help you out at this point, or perhaps try some fertilizer and see what happens?

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  tazman7 on 6/14/2011, 2:37 pm

Another update on the tomatoes. They arent growing.. I tried giving them a little bit of Miracle Grow about six days ago and they still arent growing. We have had lots of heat and rain and they are still around 8" tall.
The purplish-tint has gone away on the one plant but it still hasnt grown an inch. Its actually not even to the bottom of my trellis yet..

Any other ideas??

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  westie42 on 6/14/2011, 3:55 pm

It's my first season at SFG after over 50 years of other garden success. I first built 2 boxes that are 12" long. The first box was filled very carefully by the book from the best components I could find and buy. There were 5 different types of compost and more brands of some of them. I thought all would be well and planted it up before starting on filling the second 12' box. Both are 10" deep and each took 43+ cft of MM. Something told me the MM in the first box did not look dark and rich enough certainly compared to the fine garden soil it is sitting on. So I decided to use a little extra compost in the second box about 1/3 more is what made it look richer and satisfied me. Now that I am eating salads from them it is clear the second richer box is doing just fine. The first box done by the book Is a mess, nothing is growing well and like yours just sits there in a pigmy state. Most plants in it are pale and some yellow none are growing nearly as expected if at all. Since all else is equal except the compost quantity and I did find and add chicken compost to the second box it has to be POOR QUALITY commercial compost. I thought I was careful and put a lot of time and miles into finding my composts but that was not good enough. I do have a few cft of hopefully good home grown compost that sat around in a bin for 4-5 years. I am going to dress the first box with a couple inches of it and a bit in the better box too. I now have my bin loaded and will keep pouring stuff into it as fast as I can and turn it daily if at all possible. I have had my fill of unreliable commercial compost. I really shouldn't have to be making tea for my MM if the component quality was up to par. I have seen enough other similar complaints to be convinced many other new boxes have the same major problem that is leading to a lot of disappointments for newbies like me.

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  tazman7 on 6/14/2011, 9:13 pm

Yeah i'm not impressed with the mix at all. I wish I would have just got out the rototiller at this point and turned up the ground. It seems my neighbors gardens are booming and that is all they have done..

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  petals1973 on 6/14/2011, 9:33 pm

tazman7 wrote:Another update on the tomatoes. They arent growing.. I tried giving them a little bit of Miracle Grow about six days ago and they still arent growing. We have had lots of heat and rain and they are still around 8" tall.
The purplish-tint has gone away on the one plant but it still hasnt grown an inch. Its actually not even to the bottom of my trellis yet..

Any other ideas??

You may have already posted this but I'm just to lazy to look for the answer. How much sun are the tomatoes getting? I have tomatoes in 3 sections and one of the sections is not getting enough sun and they were purple for a while and they are staying the same size. The rest of my tomatoes are 3-4 feet tall.
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  tazman7 on 6/14/2011, 11:16 pm

They are in full sun. Still standing at a whopping 8" tall for the past month.

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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  petals1973 on 6/14/2011, 11:43 pm

I'm going to say it is time to fertilize. I've bee using John's recipe by ladybug natural brand. If it is not available in your area there is a recipe. http://www.naturalgardeneraustin.com/information/recipes/Johnsrecipe.html

Also you may try miracle grow. I planted some tomatoes in their potting mix about a month after I planted my original tomatoes and they are almost the same size as my original 8. The ones that are not growing are not in the miracle grow potting mix.
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Re: My garden looks horrible.

Post  busygirl on 6/15/2011, 12:14 am

tazman7 wrote:They are in full sun. Still standing at a whopping 8" tall for the past month.

Other than lack of growth, do they look healthy?

I am not an expert, but as a reference, I put out 24 tomato plants. I started them from seed, gave them the same attention, nutrition, etc., and transplanted them into sfgs on the same day. I know the history of these guys has been identical, but some of them are only half as tall as others of the same variety. I have 4 plants of each variety, but so far only one of each has any blossoms.

My peppers are the same way. Most were started the same day as the tomatoes, some two weeks later. I have younger plants that are taller than the older plants (different varieties of bell pepper, but still...). My tallest habanero is only about 8 inches, but one gorgeous little dude is literally 4 inches tall. He's all bushy and green, but hasn't had a bit of vertical growth since I put him out on May 16.

I honestly think the weather hasn't been consistent enough for things to develop on the linear track we expect. Even with warm days, the nights here have been cool, mostly in the 50s even though one or two stayed in the 70s over night. The last two days have only been in the low 70s for highs, and many of the warm days in the 80s were overcast and didn't have any sunshine to go with the warm temps.

I usually check my garden out as soon as it is light enough in the morning before I go to work (when it is still close to the over night low temp), and almost every morning my tomato leaves are all curled up. By the time I get home in the evening, they are fine. If the problems you noted earlier have cleared up and the plants look healthy, I wouldn't get too worried about it.

Did you read boffer's post on growing degree days?

Growing Degree Days
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