Return to the Texas Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Posted by maxlife92 san antonio (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 15, 12 at 13:02

New gardener here-desperately wanting some vegtables, and some advice.

Here is the post I have posted on three different forums, all giving me a variety of responses:

I planted starter plants (tomato, cucumber, and yellow squash) as well as seeds (Kabocha winter squash and carrots) around April 20th. I have no produced one single fruit! I have been watering with soaker hoses and just started with the sprinkler. I usually watered an hour soaker hose a day. But temperatures are reaching mid 90's now. Here are some pictures. Please let me know if you see what the issue is!
I was looking forward to having some veggies at this point:(

This is where the garden is placed ( now how soil,plants, and fence)
garden

Summer squash (only two have flowers)
IMG_9870

IMG_3353

IMG_2708

Summer squash stem..is that normal?
IMG_3374

Tallest tomato plant ( none have flowers!)
IMG_8527

While some tomatoes are still only yay tall...
IMG_8412

Cucumbers(some leaves below) are flowering though...is it an infestation?
IMG_9146

IMG_4181

Kabocha (C Maxima Winter Squash).. still tiny sprouts!!?
IMG_5459

Upclose kabocha..each sprout has a few discolored bottom leaves?
IMG_0000

Some other important info:
-There is 3 layers of cardboard underneath 11 inches of the organic bagged soil/compost/casting mix.
these are the products that make up the mix:

soil:
http://www.ladybugbrand.com/products/Hill-Country-Garden-Soil.asp

The compost:
http://www.ladybugbrand.com/products/Revitalizer-Compost.asp

As well as the worm castings:
http://www.ladybugbrand.com/products/Earth-Worm-Castings.asp

SO....
I have narrowed my conclusions down to this: (yeah,not very narrow)

potential problems:
-sun exposure with tree
-no room for roots to grow
-lack of nutrients in soil
-soil not getting moist deep enough
-soil needs rock
-water once a wk vs everyday
-drowning plants and giving nutrients to lawn
-air bubbles/root balls?
Texas
-soaker hose does not reach entire root zone
vegtable
-drainage
-hard soil under cardboard
-nitrogen depletion
-tree roots sucking nutrients
-too hot when planted
-soil needs to establish itself

fixes:
-remove carboard
-move away from tree
-proper nutrients in soil
-wait for soil to develop
-water where the roots are
-mix soil with existing soil
-shovel and turn over soil and breakcardboard
-move beds and do not lay down cardboard but

turn grass over
-test plants in pots in different area
-test one bed with no cardboard in full sun
-stab the bed
-dig up plants and check roots
Texas
-water tomatoes more
-fertilizer once a week
-jerry parsons plant answers website
-mulching to protect soil (moisture and keep cool)
-test soil and give it what it needs
-compost for fall
-liquid fertilizer (ironite)
-be patient


To help me narrow it down a tad, what do YOU think? what would YOU do?

(again, I am a 19 year old girl, working, college student living off of a college budget, so, I am limited in my resources!)

Thank you all so much


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

I would find an experienced gardener to come to my place and look things over. There's nothing like hands on examination to pin down the best approach from here on out.

My first thought when I saw it before is that perhaps you just got started a little late with some things, but it looks like a pretty good set up to me. Hang in there.


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Roselee has a good suggestion.

As for things you can do NOW: make sure the gardens all get at least 8 hours of sunlight a day. cover the beds with 3" of mulch (dead leaves, shredded hardwood/trees, even shredded newspaper although you'll have to work with that to keep it from blowing away) (HD has shredded cypress on sale for 5 bags for $10, probably not the BEST option, but better than nothing). make sure the water goes to the roots when you water.

For the latter, I have soaker hoses looped around all of the plants, at least one complete circle around each one, then covered with mulch. And I was always told to barely turn the water on with a soaker hose, you want it to essentially seep the water onto the soil. It takes a while to water that way, and if you're like me, you'll need to set a timer to remind you to turn the water off, but by the time the water reaches the edges/bottom of the bed, the entire area has been soaked. Also, you want to water deeply then let the top inch or so of soil (not mulch!) dry out before watering again.

Considering the date, it couldn't hurt to dig up a couple of the plants to see what the roots are doing. If the plants were rootbound when they went in the garden, they may have stayed that way and that'll keep the plant from growing. If you pull a transplant out of the pot and the roots are forming a solid mass around the edge, you need to break that up by cutting into the root ball. I typically cut down on four sides and connect the cuts on the bottom. If you pull the plants out and there are roots circling around the bottom, fluff them out before planting. If this is redundant information, I apologize!

Lastly, the soil mix you used sounds/looks good. I'd still add an organic fertilizer when you plant and a couple weeks later, and possibly a couple weeks after that. I've found that it's helped with my vegetables this year.

Good luck and keep trying, it's how we learn!


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

You have gotten great advice. I would take my finger and stick it down below a plant and see if the water is getting to the roots. You can dig down with a troel if you don't want dirt under your nails. BUT, you want to feel to see if the soils is moist. I would do this after you water to see how deeply you are watering. Veggies need more water than you might think.

I take the restrictors out of my soaker hoses because I have a lot of seeds and plants in the same bed. And, I forget to turn it off. That works best for me.

keep going!
c


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

When planning your sun and shade, note that in just a few days (June 21) is summer solstice. The sun will rise and set at its furthest point to the north. After June 21, each day the sun will rise and set a little farther to the south. At March 21 and September 23, the sun will rise due east and set due west. So it is important to realize that today's sun and shade will not be in the same place next month or the month after.

A website that does a great job of explaining this with really great diagrams is linked below. Scroll down to the green circles.

Carol in Jacksonville

Here is a link that might be useful: Motion of the Sun


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Here is another good site.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Changing Sun Positions in the Sky


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Okay, so- I had a neighbor gardener who actually built the beds for me come out and take a look. He was a little bit stumped until I told him about the three layers of cardboard. And then he reached down 11in into the soil-pure slop.

He said that the plants were trapped and had no oxygen because there was no drainage.

Our game plan:
-Take out plants and put them into temporary pots.
-Get a yard worker to come out and push over the soil, section by section, and remove the cardboard. And put the soil back in place.
-Replant my stunted plants with some sort of "rock" supplement.I forget the name.
-Build a well around each plant
-Hand water every morning
-Supplement every 2-4wks with "Hasta Gro Plant Food"

Sound good?


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Why not take a long transplant spade and cut through the cardboard? Wriggle it back and forth to make sure you have a slot. It could be like holes in a big pot. That way you would still have some of the water saving benefit but with a way to drain until the cardboard rots.

Cheaper than a yard guy right? I am the yard guy so I am assuming that is the case...grins. I


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

I second Cynthia's advice. Partly because you do want to keep some sort of weed barrier in place to kill anything you put the gardens on top of. If you don't have a long transplant spade and don't want to purchase one, get a 4' length of rebar at HD/L, it'll be a bit over $2 at most. It should go through the cardboard with minimal trouble, just use a hammer to force it if you need to.


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Maxlife, your neighbor's advice sounds good, except I'd just poke a some holes in the cardboard for drainage and keep the water saving qualities it affords as suggested above instead of removing it. And yes, little wells around each plant works great. When the roots of the plants extend out a ways as they mature you might go back to the soaker hose. Plus use any kind of organic matter as mulch.


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Okay, so- I had a neighbor gardener who actually built the beds for me come out and take a look. He was a little bit stumped until I told him about the three layers of cardboard. And then he reached down 11in into the soil-pure slop.

He said that the plants were trapped and had no oxygen because there was no drainage.

Our game plan:
-Take out plants and put them into temporary pots.
-Get a yard worker to come out and push over the soil, section by section, and remove the cardboard. And put the soil back in place.
-Replant my stunted plants with some sort of "rock" supplement.I forget the name.
-Build a well around each plant
-Hand water every morning
-Supplement every 2-4wks with "Hasta Gro Plant Food"

Sound good?


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Don't know what you put this garden over, but if it is Bermuda grass, you will be very sorry you removed the cardboard. Poking holes would have worked as well as removing it, and you would have still had a barrier against whatever is under it. Just my two cents worth.


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

*chuckles* ... "yard worker"???
when was it declared non-PC to call Mexicans, Mexicans?

Oh, I get it. You must be one of the fabled "job creators" that is mentioned so often in the evening brainwash sessions 'round these parts.
pardon my engrish.

Gardeners are yard workers, and gardening is yard work. Gardening is universal in this earth and feeds both rich and poor. It don't matter who you think you are really. You should heed the advice given by others more subtle than moi and get your little paws dirty and dig down the dirt and determine how much moisture is reaching out to the roots of the plant. It should feel moist, not wet.
Yeah, dirt and compost is smelly and yucky, but that is what plants use to make food.
Even with my multiple health problems and crippling back pain I look forward to get down and dirty with my yard work and tend to my plants my self.

If you'd rather keep your hands clean and manicured, then heed the advice of the yard worker and check for those weeds down there. I think it's the American thing to do that European-Americans pay yard workers for work that you refuse to do.
Or you can round up a couple of yard workers and put them in a shack in the back 40 and feed them some food, and have them pick cotton for you from sunrise to sunset. Healthcare would be optional, of course.
Just like the olden days when European settlers 'worked' the land back in, oh 1850's? At least old-time Euros were not squeamish about dirt.
How's your royalty checks coming along these days? Grandpapi sure was nice giving you that piece of land down south fertilized with oil. Must be nice.
Back to reality, gardening can be frustrating, but when you finally see those veggies on your table, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and connection to the earth like no other thing you can buy.

I do not think the cardboard was an issue. Maybe you should have poked some small holes in it like another gardener suggested. But if your yard 'workar' mentioned to you that there was something still alive back there, you should follow his advise and pay to have the raised beds moved to a weed free area or replace the card board bottom. One layer should be good to go.


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Hey Yardworker, welcome and thanks for joining the Texas Forum with the rest of us 'yardworkers' :-) We can use your experience here. Please continue to offer it. Heading out right now to play in the mud (thank goodness for the rain) with my old taped together shoes, torn clothes that I don't mind getting dirty, my back brace (that I call my corset), and get a few things done while it is still relatively cool. My neighbors hardly recognize me when I clean up. One told me I 'cleaned up real good' ... hahaha!


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

LOL yardworkerformaxlife! You sure made me laugh! Gardeners are yard workers and as we age and get sore and stiff, we just find another way to accomplish our goals!

I fully agree with all of the advice to perforate the cardboard. I wouldn't even call 3 layers too much if you are planting over bermuda :-)

Pam


 o
RE: To move the garden, or not to move the garden?

Some of we "yardworkers" even use support to keep us from falling into the flower bed, but hey, whatever works to keep on GARDENING !!!!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Texas Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here