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First Gardener Questions

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First Gardener Questions

Post  jtuck2 on 8/24/2011, 4:57 am

Just did my very first garden this summer...SFG that is, and it turned out wonderful! My husband and I (and my neighbors) were amazed. Our relatives in NY were green with envy (they can't help it their season is so short!)

I am wondering if my soil (I bought pre-packaged Mel's Mix) needs more of the middle nutrient in the N-P-K mix....does it need more phosphorus if I have a lot more green than fruit?

For example, I planted 2 watermelon plants and only have 5 melons. The only 1 out of 4 tomato plants that are producing many tomatoes is the one that has little yellow pear-shaped tomatos. I didn't start my green and red peppers from seed....I got one batch of peppers and no more grew. My zucchinis....about 6 of them (!) gave me ONE batch of about 6 huge zucchinis when the weather got in the 100s one week. Other than that they're sprawling everywhere, overtaking the other plants, and some of them just get either soggy or shriveled up and they die. The green stuff never quits. They do flower nicely, but the "fruit" is disappointing.

I got great results on the greens: chard, some of the lettuce (even though hot), all my spices were awesome, great carrots, corn did very well, radishes good.

I'd like to do better with garden #2!!!! thanks for all suggestions!!:?:

jtuck2

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Re: First Gardener Questions

Post  Chopper on 8/25/2011, 10:12 pm

Well adding more compost at the end of the year will help. I decided I am only giving zucchini their own edge or 2X2 box. Do not be afraid to cut off some leaves if they are crowding their neighbors and next time plant them so they have room to sprawl - like maybe out of the box a bit.

Five melons for two plants is about par for the course. I love melons of all sorts but they are not big producers for all the vine they put out.

The tomatoes maybe having trouble with the heat and as it cools a bit you may see them take off. Give them a chance. If you are of the impatient sort (and a gardener? No way!) you could always throw in a little tomato food but I would trust the MM has all the nutrients it needs and that the growth is more weather than soil. If you planted your tomatoes in March I would expect more by now but if you planted in June no worries.

The shrivel up and dying of the zucchinis is likely a lack of pollination. I am guessing this is why most books recommend hills of several plants so that there is a better liklihood of having both male and female flowers present at the same time. My guess is you will get more - assuming there is not a 100 pounder camouflaged by leaves out there now.

Same with the peppers. They may have stopped with the heat and will produce more yet. Mine did that last year.

What spices did you plant? I would be very interested in that. I can only think of cilantro/coriander and dill seed (not really a spice). Do tell. And remember - add compost to each square as you empty it - you do not have to dig it in - just top dress.

Chopper

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Re: First Gardener Questions

Post  shannon1 on 8/26/2011, 2:02 am

@Chopper wrote:Well adding more compost at the end of the year will help. I decided I am only giving zucchini their own edge or 2X2 box. Do not be afraid to cut off some leaves if they are crowding their neighbors and next time plant them so they have room to sprawl - like maybe out of the box a bit.

Five melons for two plants is about par for the course. I love melons of all sorts but they are not big producers for all the vine they put out.

The tomatoes maybe having trouble with the heat and as it cools a bit you may see them take off. Give them a chance. If you are of the impatient sort (and a gardener? No way!) you could always throw in a little tomato food but I would trust the MM has all the nutrients it needs and that the growth is more weather than soil. If you planted your tomatoes in March I would expect more by now but if you planted in June no worries.

The shrivel up and dying of the zucchinis is likely a lack of pollination. I am guessing this is why most books recommend hills of several plants so that there is a better liklihood of having both male and female flowers present at the same time. My guess is you will get more - assuming there is not a 100 pounder camouflaged by leaves out there now.

Same with the peppers. They may have stopped with the heat and will produce more yet. Mine did that last year.

What spices did you plant? I would be very interested in that. I can only think of cilantro/coriander and dill seed (not really a spice). Do tell. And remember - add compost to each square as you empty it - you do not have to dig it in - just top dress.
There have been mixed reports about how good the pre-packaged Mel's Mix is though so if things do not improve as it cools down you may want to get the mix tested before adding anything other than compost (a mix of 5 or your own).

shannon1

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Re: First Gardener Questions

Post  jtuck2 on 9/3/2011, 7:22 pm

@Chopper wrote:Well adding more compost at the end of the year will help. I decided I am only giving zucchini their own edge or 2X2 box. Do not be afraid to cut off some leaves if they are crowding their neighbors and next time plant them so they have room to sprawl - like maybe out of the box a bit.

Five melons for two plants is about par for the course. I love melons of all sorts but they are not big producers for all the vine they put out.

The tomatoes maybe having trouble with the heat and as it cools a bit you may see them take off. Give them a chance. If you are of the impatient sort (and a gardener? No way!) you could always throw in a little tomato food but I would trust the MM has all the nutrients it needs and that the growth is more weather than soil. If you planted your tomatoes in March I would expect more by now but if you planted in June no worries.

The shrivel up and dying of the zucchinis is likely a lack of pollination. I am guessing this is why most books recommend hills of several plants so that there is a better liklihood of having both male and female flowers present at the same time. My guess is you will get more - assuming there is not a 100 pounder camouflaged by leaves out there now.

Same with the peppers. They may have stopped with the heat and will produce more yet. Mine did that last year.

What spices did you plant? I would be very interested in that. I can only think of cilantro/coriander and dill seed (not really a spice). Do tell. And remember - add compost to each square as you empty it - you do not have to dig it in - just top dress.
Yeah...I got kind of ticked off at the zucchinis. It would be one thing if they would produce more, but they didn't and killed a few of my other plants. I thought about getting a triangular or tent trellis and letting them grow up one side and down the other next time. I dunno about the pollinating...I had 3 plants in one box and 2 in the other, next to each other.....

That last tomato plant finally DID start to produce, and boy are those tomatoes good...still a skimpy yield, though. I think I planted seedlings in April or something (too lazy to look!).

Yes, I remember now peppers don't like too much heat.

Oh, the spices (guess I should have said herbs)!! Smile I started to dry some of them and got pretty little glass spice jars at World Market...having so much fun!!! Best friend came for lunch yesterday and I let her smell all the spices...her eyes got really big and with each one, she said...."OH! Is that what tarragon is supposed to smell like?..OH! is that what basil is supposed to smell like!!!!) lol

I planted mint (in a container outside the garden), oregano, basil, lemon balm (mostly for tea), parsley, tarragon, tri-color sage, and chives (last 2 were killed by the zucchini before I tried them). Literally all of them did extremely well. I did have to bring in some ladybugs to handle aphids on the parsley, but it thrived after I did that....couldn't believe the size of it. I have cut my basil back about 3 times and it's still growing. Made some wonderful pesto with it and olive oil, garlic, and walnuts instead of pine nuts at something like $18/lb! Smile

jtuck2

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Re: First Gardener Questions

Post  jtuck2 on 9/3/2011, 7:30 pm

@shannon1 wrote: There have been mixed reports about how good the pre-packaged Mel's Mix is though so if things do not improve as it cools down you may want to get the mix tested before adding anything other than compost (a mix of 5 of your own).

Shannon1, great to know about the prepackaged mix! I will definitely look into that!

Also remembered something...about herbs.....it's way too hot here for cilantro. I tried 2 plants from seed and it bolted on me right away. Did that in pots here, too. I used to have great cilantro in pots when I lived north of LA in Ventura County.

jtuck2

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Re: First Gardener Questions

Post  Chopper on 9/3/2011, 8:34 pm

@jtuck2 wrote:
Also remembered something...about herbs.....it's way too hot here for cilantro. I tried 2 plants from seed and it bolted on me right away. Did that in pots here, too. I used to have great cilantro in pots when I lived north of LA in Ventura County.

Plant cilantro NOW. I grew it last summer and winter. The summer stuff I was constantly pinching back but it was a real treat to have. The winter did not bolt as fast and had a milder flavor. But there is no reason not to have cilantro in the summer. Seed often and pinch back often.

Chopper

Female Posts : 2467
Join date : 2010-05-05
Age : 61
Location : Warner Springs, CA USDA Zone 8a, Sunset Zone 7 (I think)

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Re: First Gardener Questions

Post  jtuck2 on 9/4/2011, 8:53 pm

[quote="Chopper]

Plant cilantro NOW. I grew it last summer and winter. The summer stuff I was constantly pinching back but it was a real treat to have. The winter did not bolt as fast and had a milder flavor. But there is no reason not to have cilantro in the summer. Seed often and pinch back often.[/quote]

YAY!! All things are possible...it's all in the timing! bounce

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Re: First Gardener Questions

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