Help My Garden dies overnight!

bandit_2009July 12, 2009

This is my first post and if I am in the wrong place, I am sorry. My garden is 24' X 40' raised bed, 4 ft beds with 2' walkways. Plenty of cow/horse manure is added between season and a heavy mulch of hay is on all the beds to cut out weeds. Soil is very loose and rich. I have been gardening for about 25 years and this garden has been established since 2000. I have three plantings of black-eyed peas, eggplants, tomatos, peppers, soybeans, onions(for green onions) okra, basil, rosemary, and a few other odds and ends. I inspect and pick daily. Went out the other day and pulled a bunch of veggies out and everything looked fine. A few squash bugs that I picked and disposed of, but overall everything looked great. The next day we had about two inches of rain. When the rain cleared I went to the garden for my daily inspection. There was no standing water in the garden itself but was on the permeter of the garden. Half the garden was dead! Tomatoes, peppers, okra, one basil plant and many others were dead. Looked like lack of water, which I know was not the case. Eggplant, black-eyed peas and soybeans were fine. And one basil, planted in a different part of the garden was fine. The rosemary, that has been there for like four years also died. Any ideas on what happened? I have since pulled most of the tomatoes, and all the peppers. I pruned two of the tomatoes and the one basil that got hit and they have actually come back or so it seems. Any ideas on what happened. Can a garden get too much water? There was no standing water in the garden, just the grass walkway around the perimiter. I accidently stepped on one of the beds, which I never walk on, and sank about six inches. Any ideas on what happened in less then a 24 hour period?

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Well yes the garden can get too much water. Had it been raining alot lately or you had watered a good watering lately? And then with the 2 inches of rain, the cumulative effect suffocated the roots?
The other idea is could there have been runoff from a neighboring yard or some way that a big dose of grass fertilizer or herbicide was in the water runoff?
Sorry for your loss. That sucks.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:31PM
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happy_girl(Z9 st. cloud)

Bandit, you might find the Florida Gardening forum will be more helpful, since you are in SW Florida. Take a look & decide.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 11:34AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Raised beds don't lend themselves to plant drownings and certainly not from a 2" rainfall softened by hay and mulch over the root areas tended by a gardener who has 25 years experience.
If you're in Florida..happy girl's right. Check with the Florida gardening forum. I should think that this is something toxic in the rainfall for plants to react this way so rapidly. Might have picked up a cloud of herbicide,too much salt/ocean evaporation. Who knows, might even have been toxic space shuttle exhaust (I know..stupid guess). For plants to not only shut down growth or wilt but to be 'dead' so quickly is odd in the absence of a herbicide application.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 3:59PM
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The only time I have seen anything remotely similar to this is related to my dumbest gardening mistake of all time. Everyone is entitled to ONE. Several years ago, I had just finished planting all my tomatoes, eggplants, and chili peppers. Nicely lining everything up in rows looking to start the season off right, I unintentionally proceeded to fertilize my little vegetable patch with a bag of weed & seed. I didn't realize the mistake until the next day when everything went limp. I got rid of everything and let the bed lay fallow for the year--fearing the residue of the toxic chemicals. (I have not used herbicides anywhere in the yard since this experience.) Is it possible that your garden was unintentionally subject to herbicides (maybe a neighbor's)?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 6:34PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Is it possible you could have had a lightning strike?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 9:09PM
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treelover(z8b SoCtrlTX)

Even if those plants did receive too much water, I wouldn't think they'd die immediately. When you say it looked like they died from lack of water, do you mean that the leaves were crispy and brown?

Very strange. . . I suggest contacting your county extension agent.

I'd also document all this with photographs.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:06PM
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