First Year Garden Specific Issues

truckaduck(5)June 29, 2013

We are in Englewood, CO, and have been enjoying our first year of a large container garden in our back yard.

Any advice on the following issues?

1. We had our soil tested last fall which showed a high ph/high nitrogen combination. It is our understanding that this may be why our peas, for example, were all plant and not much pea. We would like to amend the soil correctly this fall and are seeking tips.

2. BUGS!! Aphids (bought ladybugs but they all died!) and what appears to be leaf miners. The leaf miners attacked our chard, and are now working on the beet and cucumber leaves. We've been removing the infected leaves but it's an ongoing battle. We're thinking they might be coming from the trees but aren't sure. The horseradish and raspberry leaves are also being eaten but it looks like maybe a different bug.

3. The beet and tomato leaves are curling. The plants are doing okay in general but we would love to see solid health. Looks like this is a virus (?), but is it related to the bugs? Not sure what to do.

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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Lots of compost and leaves this fall worked into the ground. That will be an ongoing process. We all face it and do it. :)

You can fight the aphids with soapy water or an insecticidal soap. I have an ongoing war with flea beetles. My weapon of choice for that is diatomaceous earth. They had quite a feast on my nasturtium early on, but I've salvaged most with DE. If the leaves look like they have tiny buckshot, it's flea beetles -- stinking little things that I love to murder.

I'd address the bugs with the tomatoes. I've had more of a problem with bugs on tomatoes than in the past. If at all possible, you could post a picture. That does help some of us to help you. Before you assume it is a disease, inspect the underside of the leaves and see. Again, some soapy water, insecticidal soap to get rid of the nasty critters.

Good luck and keep us posted! :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:23PM
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Thank you so much for your response. I am especially excited to learn about diatomaceous earth.

We will definitely put a bunch of leaves in the ground this fall... no manure for this problem, though, right?

I used soapy water, with onions and garlic in it too, on our green beans, but it was no match and we lost them all when they were small. We do have some of that buckshot, so flea beetles then... but the leaf miners (or at least that's what I think they are from the internet) are the bigger problem. I have attached a picture of an example of both leaf miner and leaf curl on a beet leaf. These two things don't necessarily occur on the same leaf, though, it's mostly one or the other.

The tomatoes are actually looking better now! A little bit of curl on the edges but not like before.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Here is a photo of some leaf browning/curling on our horseradish plant.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Spotty cucumber leaf....

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Buckshot on beet leaf...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Slight curl to tomato plant...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Suffering potato plant (the rest of the potatoes look healthy)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:03PM
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and some leaf deterioration on the zucchini plant (sorry for all the pix, there were quite a lot of issues to record!)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:06PM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

So sorry about your veggies! Especially after all the work you did trying to prepare.

The only way I have had any success is by making raised beds. I use about half compost and half peat moss.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:36PM
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david52 Zone 6

Truckaduck, from your photos, I'm not seeing anything I'd get too awful worried about.

Your first picture is either beets or swiss chard, but the damage isn't enough to bother the plant. Looks like grass hoppers nibbling the edges.

The horse radish looks sunburned.

The spots on the cucumber and buck shot holes in the beet leaves are nothing to worry about - I get that all the time.

As for the slight curl on the tomato plant, when they are in the really fast growing stage, they all do that. Peppers as well - the leaves eventually straighten out.

I dunno about the potato foliage. Not qualified to opine.

And the squash foliage seems ok to me as well.

A couple of thoughts - excess fertilizer makes the plants grow really fast, and all that new, succulent growth is a bug magnet. You're better off with a 'slow release' fertilizer program, particularly with nitrogen. Thats not hard to do if you garden organically, just use compost, aged manure, and mulch. If you're going the commercial fertilizer way, think Ozomcote.

Don't over-think a little bit of bug damage. It happens.
As long as its not bothering the growth of the plant, I just ignore it.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Thank you b2alicia... we really do have a lot of success though, and it is indeed a raised bed garden. Last year we didn't have the boxes and didn't get squat. :)

David52, thank you for your response, I appreciate it! Unfortunately, though, the bugs annihilated an entire crop of green beans. They didn't survive at all, which was sad.

Interesting about the horseradish, I'm going to go out and give it some shade right now! Although the raspberries look the same and they are quite protected. Hm...

The leaf miners really did destroy a large percentage of our chard crop so we do need to address them... but the beets are doing fine regardless of the damage.

Also interesting about the tomato plants, I didn't know that, thank you!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Also your comment about fast growing plants is something I never thought about. We will keep this advice in mind when fertilizing.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 2:57PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

truckaduck, those look pretty good, honestly. I agree with David. You will always have bugs munching, but it is only when they are devouring the foliage that you have a serious problem. I'm wondering if the potato isn't psyllids. Looks pretty familiar to me with the leaf curl and yellowing leaves. Look underneath the leaves to see if you see any eggs. I usually get them with some Bonide Eight Garden Dust on the underside of the leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: CSU fact sheet on psyllids

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 7:00PM
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We are learning a lot from all of your input. Glad to hear things are looking good! The zucchini is really gearing up, despite the munching. jailranchr, thank you for the psyllids information. I'm not seeing any eggs, but the issue is definitely spreading to the other plants.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:17PM
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You were all right. Our garden was incredibly fruitful this year. The potatoes weren't so great but that might have been overwatering. Still going to watch for psyllids next year, though. The cherry tomatoes also got diseased at the end, could have been the damp weather though. No matter... TONS of food. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 10:44AM
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