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How Are Your Gardens Fairing

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How Are Your Gardens Fairing

Post  cin18868 on 6/22/2011, 1:15 pm

Hello from Wichita Falls, TX. Need input on what you think. Used Mel's Mix.
I put 4 beds in February for potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, crookneck squash, beets and green peppers.
- Tomato plants are 5 feet tall with hardly any blooms or tomatoes. Leaves are curled
but plentiful.
- Beets did great. Put up 6 pints of pickled beets early.
- Lettuce did great. Gave to neighbors.
- Green beans have great leaves but beans are few and far between and never get
very long
- squash plants are large; look great, blossoms are plentiful, but squash may come
out light green and only 2-3" long and under developed. Very few squash bugs.
- Okra plants are coming along, got in late, only 2ft. tall
- Green peppers; only one pepper out of 4 plants. Blooms are there but not setting.
- Potatoes made but were small with largest about 3" dia. Tried hilling with dirt in first 8"
and then second 10" I used straw. Plants grew 2ft. beyond the straw extension and
were healthy. Potatoes were found only in the first 8" of soil layer(??) I thought they
would have grown off of the stalk and into the straw also. Please explain this.
Nursery said I wasn't using right fertilizer, so I bought Ferti-Lome Gardeners Special time release. Put out 3 weeks ago and then yesterday. Have seen bees on squash blossoms only and they just sit head down in the blossoms. Have seen several drowned in the bird baths(??)

We have been getting 100-110 degree days with hard hot winds. We got 100 degrees days in April-May this year. Water now every morning and sometimes evening. Have used straw mulch around all large open areas and under tomatoes, squash peppers.

Are the problems from the hot dry wind and 110 deg. days?

cin18868

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Re: How Are Your Gardens Fairing

Post  Furbalsmom on 6/22/2011, 4:30 pm

Tomato plants are 5 feet tall with hardly any blooms or tomatoes. Leaves are curled
but plentiful
Sounds like too much fertilizer when you get tall plants and lots of leaves but few blooms, and then with your hot hot hot weather, those flowers probably are not setting fruit due to the heat.

squash plants are large; look great, blossoms are plentiful, but squash may come
out light green and only 2-3" long and under developed. Very few squash bugs
If the squash are shriveling at that small size, maybe the female blossoms are not getting pollinated.

Green peppers; only one pepper out of 4 plants. Blooms are there but not setting.
Again, the heat can prevent fruit set.

Potatoes were found only in the first 8" of soil layer(??) I thought they
would have grown off of the stalk and into the straw also. Please explain this
Have the potatoes flowered and died down, that is when you usually harvest for full grown potatoes. I have read, but there has been conflicting information, that early season potatoes will not set potatoes growing off the stalk like a later season potato. Whether this is related to the straw I don't know. All my potatoes have been in Mel's Mix, no straw and except for some yukon gold's that putzed on me, the others are still growing and not ready for harvest.
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Furbalsmom

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Re: How Are Your Gardens Fairing

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/22/2011, 4:37 pm

Any google search will tell you that 100+ heat is brutal on a garden. I would say that's your biggest culprit.

I water my garden every other day it doesn't rain if temps are below 80. Once above 80, I water every day. Once over 90, I water twice a day. If I saw temps over 100 consistently, I would be watering twice at a minimum and probably more. Another thing I would do is wet the leaves in afternoon heat (probably at least twice). The wetting of the leaves takes mere seconds to accomplish. The evaporation acts to cool the plants down a bit. (Reasoning: working for golf courses and protecting $40k greens all summer long)

The wetting of the leaves will make most of you freak out because of fungal problems. Yes, you need to be prepared for the possibility. But, the leaves don't stay wet long in that heat. And, you have to pick your battles. It's a lose/lose situation. Moisture leads to fungus, but heat kills. Pick your poison.

Good luck and welcome aboard.
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BackyardBirdGardner

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How Are Your Gardens Fairing

Post  sherryeo on 6/22/2011, 10:40 pm

cin18868 said:

Nursery said I wasn't using right fertilizer, so I bought Ferti-Lome Gardeners Special time release.

You're going to find that most nurseries, garden centers, etc., really have no knowledge of the sfg techniques. I believe they are probably honestly trying to help, but just don't know how to help us sfgardeners and, frankly, they're trying to make a sale. I personally don't want to use any chemical fertilizers or chemical pesticides in my garden - don't want the chemicals in the food my family eats. There are some sfgardeners who don't feel that way, so it is a personal decision. But if you decide you really want to do it more organically, don't let the nursery or garden center people convince you to back down from that. Their opinions and recommendations are based on traditional gardening. They just don't "get" sfg.

Most of us who sfg believe Mel's assertions that with Mel's Mix, properly mixed with 5 different composts, you really don't need to add fertilizer. If you build the MM correctly, there should be plenty of nutrients for your plants without adding chemical fertilizers. It sometimes happens that someone might get a "bad" compost that doesn't really supply the nutrients our plants need. If you haven't seen it yet, there's a great post here http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7451-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone that has great information. I believe everyone who does sfg should read it!
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sherryeo

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Potatoes & Watering

Post  cin18868 on 6/23/2011, 10:55 pm

I put the potatoes in March 7 and the tops which actually got up about 4ft before starting to yellow and die down the first of June. By last week the tops were down and dead. All the potatoes were good just not real large - little new ones and a few medium size. I went down to the farmers market and looked at theirs. We have an area up around Charlie, TX (close to OK TX state line) that have orchards, crops to pick and such. I didn't feel so bad because theirs looked like mine only they had more of them. We had some for dinner tonight and they were good tasting, so I guess I'll just plant more of them.

I did start watering morning and late afternoon for the crook neck squash and green beans. The market farmers said it was just the heat and hot wind. It's suppose to be back up 100+ next week. That's OK I am learning. My compost pile is cooking. Is there a point at which you quit adding more to it and start another pile? Thanks for you input.

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