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Posted: 7/22/2013 9:17:44 AM EST
So the first 2 seasons I had my garden, my plants exploded. Huge zucchinis, jalapenos, corn, broccoli, strawberries, more tomatoes than i could have ever imagined. this lasted for one spring and fall season. I tilled in organic fertilizer, and started the next years garden. the entire year i was plagued with nut/crab grass, little worms eating my zucchini leaves, bore beetles, pill bugs, heat, stunted growth, and a slew of other problems. this went on for 2 seasons straight. so i pulled everything from the garden, and solarized it for a month. i then tilled in a ton of organic fertilizer, released a bunch of earth worms (left over from a fishing trip, was just good timing), and let them go back to work at doing what they do. so then i started my most recent garden, after my garden had some time to come back to life from the solarization....and i am seeing the same exact thing as before. none of the vegetables want to grow, much less produce any fruit.

what the hell am i doing wrong...
Link Posted: 7/22/2013 9:49:42 AM EST
Sounds like something is wrong with your organic fertilizer.
Link Posted: 7/22/2013 11:53:42 AM EST
Get a soil test and find out what nutrients you actually need. Might be dumping way too much of one component in there.
Link Posted: 7/22/2013 2:22:27 PM EST
ph maybe? need lime?

get a soil test should be about 15 bucks

could be overwatering as well
Link Posted: 7/22/2013 5:01:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/22/2013 5:07:23 PM EST by TheRedGoat]
What part of Texas?

I've had roaring success and abject failure all in the same time frame. Maybe you can give us some pics and we can work backwards.

Currently, my garden is not even close to what I had 'planned' in March. Some things were killed by frosts, others stunted by cool soil, some failed to germinate, some volunteered, some exploded with more produce than I can handle, others wilted and were eaten by worms.

Late frosts, cold soil, early drought, 100 degrees temps, week of heavy rain, ... you name it... the garden and I keep plugging along.

Something I am learning to do is re-plant, re-plant, re-plant. I seem to always be putting out more seeds. Corn, okra, cantaloupes, mustard, watermelon, squash.

It's Texas. If something is not growing in a week, put something else in the ground.

Link Posted: 7/23/2013 1:47:47 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By dfrea:
Get a soil test and find out what nutrients you actually need. Might be dumping way too much of one component in there.
View Quote

What he said.........

Plus if I remember correctly solarization takes pretty much an entire summer to do right.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 4:59:16 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 4:02:14 PM EST
This year we'll be lucky to get 200# of tomatos off of 150+ plants. Normally we'll get 400-500#. Canning will be easy this year

These are the times when you learn to can everything that you can get your hands on every year. You never know when something will wipe out your current crop (rain, hail, wind, drought and on and on) and leave you hanging.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 5:02:12 PM EST
What kind of organic fertilizer are you tilling in?

If I were in your shoes, I'd look around the area for someone selling some good topsoil by the ton. Mix it in with what you have and let it sit for a month. Then take dirt samples to your local university or ag extension office and have them do a test of it. Then add what you need from there. One season sucks, two seasons is a real pain in the ass.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 5:08:52 PM EST
It's that Hippie fertilizer.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 3:42:13 AM EST
My wife insisted on hippy gardening..seeds, soil and fertilizer all organic. "If the farmers can do it, so can we." After buying the premium priced products year after year and destroying the grass I was capable of growing...I'd had enough.

This year we are doing a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and the yield is far greater than anything I could have imagined to grow. And for hippy organic, the CSA works out to be less $$ (not to mention I get my weekends back and we don't need to ask neighbors to water while we're upta camp).
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 4:03:10 AM EST
the reason there are bugs is that organic fertilizer is usually either bone meal or the like, or shit. either attracts pests. Plant some freaking legumes next to your other plants and call it good.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 5:26:25 PM EST
The bugs are a fact of life no matter what you do. Plan on spending time in your garden early and pick off as many as you can before they lay eggs (pick those off too when you see them). There are a lot of natural sprays you can make at home that will control specific bugs or a broad range of bugs depending on circumstances. There is also a lot of information on the net or in old gardening books on what vegetables, herbs or flowers to plant with other vegetables to help control the bugs.

I'm still in the experimenting stage with regards to bugs, but I have managed to control potato beetles, squash bugs (which lay the worms that destroys the squash stalks) and horned worms by picking them off.

I'm of the mindset that while gardening for now is more of a hobby that puts fresh food on our plates and in our pantry (we can and dehydrate) it could become a real necessity at any point and the more I learn now the better off we'll be. There is so much information that has been lost that we need to get back.

[stepping off soapbox]

OP - Are you planting the same brands of vegetables and are they heirloom or hybrid? Are they designed for the Texas heat or for the northern states?

What was the weather like between the good seasons and bad? Any changes in watering?

Also are there currently any earthworms when you dig?

Finally, I echo the others in doing a soil test. I do mine late growing season and prepare the soil late fall. Come spring I just loosen it up a little with a broad fork and plant with good success so far.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 5:57:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/25/2013 6:15:43 PM EST by zhick]
I'm betting a pH problem. Definitely get a soil test done.

Also remember when plants are lacking nutrients it makes them much more susceptible to pests and disease.

Pure Organic gardening is highly over rated and makes time (think cost) effective yields much harder.

I use sevin spray in my garden (sparingly) just like my 90+ yo grandparents did when they were alive. Without it my tomatoes and green beans would already have been a complete failure this year as they would have more often than not.

Dawn dish soap mixed in water is also worth a try for insects in the garden all though not as effective since they removed the phosphorous. ( Not as effective for washing and cleaning either [://)

A good productive garden is too much work and too time consuming for a fully employed person to let fail over a couple of shots of non organic remedies a year. [://

ETA: Do you cover crop it in the fall and winter? I find this helps break up the disease/insect cycle as well as recycle nutrients and maintain balance in the soil. I have used hairy vetch, wheat and cereal rye as well as a winter pea variety I also fallow and sew to a legume ( clover for a full years fallow or even late summer soybeans work for a fall legume and frost will kill it and it makes a good cover for winter) when I think an area needs some rest. I have "farmed a garden spot out" before and it won't take long to get out of balance and ruin your tilth and fertility if you are not careful. It takes more than fertilizer commercial OR organic manure to keep a garden productive.
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