SFG won't grow!

dkh55June 20, 2010

I am new to vegetable gardening. I have had flower gardens for years. I planted a raised SFG this spring and had good initial growth and then everything just stopped growing. Nothing is more than about an inch tall - if that. Absolutely no growth for about 6 weeks. I believe I did the soil mix correctly (1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost with manure and 1/3 peat moss) and it has been getting plenty of rain. Does anyone know what would cause this? The plants look healthy, but seem to be scaled for a barbie doll - what's up? Please help.

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That seems to be a common problem the first year. Last year my garden wasn't growing either. Some members think the compost used in making the mix might not have been finished. They recommended adding some fertilizer. I used some high nitrogen bloodmeal. Plants started to grow and green up. This year things seem to be doing better. But I did use some fish emulsion and kelp meal. Some members believe you may need to add some fertilizer every year. Micronutrients might not be in the compost if made from plants with nutritional deficiencies. You could do a search on this forum for your topic and you should get some of those same questions answered. Yeah, I've been a flower gardener for years.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 7:41AM
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Dan Staley

Does anyone know what would cause this?

Yes, as keski states I am increasingly more convinced Mel's mix as is has inadequate nutrition in the first year. Supplemental fert must be added to provide nutrition.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 9:25AM
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Thank you for your responses
I fertilized this morning and we'll see what happens. Hopefully I'm not too late.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 11:30AM
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I started my SFG last season and it was great. The problem could have been that the peat moss wasn't thoroughly soaked before planting time. If not, it will wick water away from the new plant. I would suggest that anyone starting their SFG soak the peat moss before adding it to the bed, or water it well over several days before planting. It takes a lot of patience to get peat moss to absorb water.

Here is a link that might be useful: My SFGs and More

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 6:39PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

I agree that Mel's mix is nutritionally inadequate. Last year was year #1 for me and I had a heck of a time growing healthy plants.

This year I've added a lot of compost, and I also add organic fertilizer (Espoma) once or twice per week and things are thriving.

What I wish I did differently, and may change next year, is deeper beds. I did the 6" beds, and honestly in the hot weather (100+) we've been having my plants just bake. i think deeper beds would regulate soil temperature/moisture a lot better, so if I can figure out how, next year I am going to add another level and make them 12" deep.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 3:52PM
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When I first started doing raised beds I had similar problems but my situation was mostly because I did not dig the soil deeply enough for good root development. I have clay soil and after a good rain it seems to compact. When I plant perrenials it takes about 3 years for my plant roots to develop well before I see any noticable growth. A little extra compost or light nitrogen fertilizer would probably help a good deal with your garden. Add too much and all plant with no veggies. I've only been gardening a few years so I hope my advice helps.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:33PM
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I'm suspicious this might be my problem too! I admit, I only used 2 fertilizers, one of them bought from wal-mart :( Now I know better!

This picassa album has some pictures of my failing zucchini plants:


Strangely, our summer squash is doing wonderful. Beans are meh. Cabbage did great. Carrots are tasty, but a little small and slow growing. Everything, actually, seems to be behind schedule. Our tomato plants are huge and look healthy, but have only a handful of slowly developing green tomatoes, with a lot of dying buds (last pic in the album shows it)

I'm going to try to add the bloodmeal and high nitrogen, as suggested above, and see if it will turn things around. I hope it will!!!

(we water 3 times a week, with our sprinkler system, about 30 minutes. I need to start measuring how much water it's getting, but I suspect it isn't too much or too little (especially since mel says you can't over-water a SQFT garden))

Here is a link that might be useful: My sad zucchini

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:55PM
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