Author Topic: Black thumb wants to become green  (Read 1348 times)

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Offline TrueDat

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Black thumb wants to become green
« on: December 10, 2013, 11:16:29 AM »
For the past 3 seasons, I've tried gardening in a small plot.  I was hoping to learn enough to eventually start a large garden plot. I have had very little luck.  The tomato plants grow very well, flower and then the flowers die.  I got a few small peppers this year, but nothing of a reasonable size.  My onions sprouted and went no further.  Lettuce and spinach had a few plants which made it to about an inch and 1/2 max.  My cucumbers just plain died as did the squashes.  Green beans produced 3 beans and I also got about 6 pea pods.  So sad.

Okay -- I don't get it.  My father always had a lush and and productive garden.  I obviously did NOT inherit whatever he had going.  Is there anything foolproof that I can do? I DID have some success with container gardening herbs.  Any really good gardening for dummy websites that someone would like to recommend. 
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Offline Dori

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 11:20:23 AM »
Where is the garden located (sun exposure), what is your weather like and how good is your soil?
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Offline Celtic Rose

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 11:29:24 AM »
What sort of pollinating insects did you see in your yard.  If you had blossoms but no fruit that may be part of your issue.  Do you have other flowers around to help attract insects?  You may want to consider buying some mason bees to help if you didn't notice many native pollinators. 

Also, like Dori mentioned, look at your soil and sun exposure.  Look at the varieties you are planting, are they ideal for your location?  If you are in the north, look for shorter season variety plants, if you are in the south look for hot tolerant varieties. 

Offline TrueDat

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 02:14:17 PM »
Sun exposure may be my problem, then.  I have a small field (Virginia) but trees are on all 3 sides of it.  Our house is on the fourth side.  We have had a lot of butterflies and ladybugs this year (stink bugs too) but we are in one of the areas where bees are having real issues.  We have a lot of old growth oaks, hickories and other trees and this small field.  Could the oaks be a problem too?  I know that the acorns get buried in my flower garden which has been great for my azaleas, but might not be so good for other plants.  Maybe?  If so, is there a way to improve that soil even though the squirrels will bury more?
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Offline cmypay

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 02:43:38 PM »
I would get my soil tested. It really sounds to me like you might have some soil depletion issues, possibly from the old growth trees sucking up all the soil nutrients. If you call your local county extension agent they can usually direct you to someone who can do the testing for you, or they may offer it themselves (as they do here in NC). They will also be able to recommend what to use to get your soil in good growing condition.

We had a few growing issues this year because of when and how much it rained. My sweet potatoes grew in knots instead of long like normal. And like you said, the bee population was way down this year.

Offline JohnnyReb

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 02:57:21 PM »
You need about 6 hours of sunshine to grow. If peas won't grow, I would say you need a soil sample and possibly some lime.

You should be able to grow tomatoes about anywhere, start spraying plants with a calcium solution weekly....ask about that at your local garden store....and if you think you don't have any bees, they make a tiny (no joke) vibrator and 'condoms' for fertilizing the blooms on tomato plants....green houses use them.
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Offline Dori

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 04:22:37 PM »
Sun exposure may be my problem, then.

Some parts of my garden don't get enough sun.  I've learned that I can grow bell peppers, green beans and herbs in almost all shade.

If your garden spots get at least 8 hours of sun, even if some of it is partial, it should be enough.  If it's bad soil, like we had (ours was too sandy) we put in frames above the ground and had some good top soil delivered.

It's a little bit of an expense to get it started that way, but worth it.  Then you just have to work at it and find what you like to grow and what likes your area.

I haven't seen many creatures here for pollinating.  Tomatoes and corn are self pollinating with wind or breezes (or you can just give them a gentle shaking).  The squash and cuke blossoms seemed to have some kind of tiny fly crawling in and out of them and they pollinated fine too.

Some tomatoes aren't big producers.  But you can talk to your local nurseryman for the best types.  




 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 04:24:57 PM by Dori »
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Offline TrueDat

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Soil Test Kit at Lowes
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 09:19:18 AM »
I'm going to take all these suggestions to heart and try again in the spring.  I'll let you know how it progresses. Lowe's has a soil test kit.  Has anyone used it?
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Offline marv

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Re: Black thumb wants to become green
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2013, 09:49:23 AM »
...my flower garden which has been great for my azaleas, but might not be so good for other plants.

Azaleas love acid soil. Maybe some lime to neutralize the soil will help like JohnnyReb suggested. Be sure to get the soil tested.
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