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Aida
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Why Vegetable Leaves Yellow, Chewed & Poor Growth?

Hey all,

Something is wrong with my garden. :(
I'm in Florida, level 9, and this garden is in an area that gets sun but not too much. Lately it has been cold, but no frost. The veggies are radishes(worst condition..., only ones yellowing), chives, lettuce(really packed by my mistake, and isn't growing at all... should I thin now?), one red hot chili pepper thast I got from the store(2 of 4 flowers fell off and overall it isnt looking good), and spinach which is just looking terrible. :oops: :(

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I was thinking too little nitrogen, so I spread some coffee grounds and eggshells, but I know that will take weeks...
I really don't want to use fertilizer though...

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shadylane
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Hello Aida.. Coffee and eggshell have very little nitrogen. Eggshell takes a season just to breakdown into the soil. Very good try although. You may want to think about blood meal or fish emulsion giving the soil a quick start to nitrogen fix.

Chivesare a perennial and like a rich coarse soil. Thin them out when they sprout. And into six shoots per clump. They multiply rapidly.

Radish there are three types, early, midseason, and late. You may want to check the type of seed you have sown. Their roots are small and are surface feeders. Late or winter radishes grow well for your area all winter. Winter types are "white Chinese" and "Black Luxury" that I know of. They like cool moist fertile soil.
Holes in leaves or dropping of leaves could be the result of slugs or cut worm. Just a thought for I don't know your area temps. nor insect cycles, this you would know best.

Lettuce can benefit from a thin layer of sand or wood ash. This can help to stop the start of lettuce rot which begin on the lower leaves.

Spinach Prefers a Ph of 6-7 and require a abundance of nitrogen. Yellowing and dropping of leaves is a first sight of spinach blight and halts growth. Spinach blight is a virus which is transmitted from plant to plant by insects.

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applestar
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Spinach Prefers a Ph of 6-7
Interesting you said that. I was thinking from plant list and looking at pictures that maybe adding lime would help. Just a vague feeling and not sure if there are any visual clues. Calcareous lime or dolomitic lime if more magnesium is also needed, but I suppose a quick pH test wouldn't hurt.
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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Thanks shadylane, I'll go pick up some fish emulsion or blood meal stuff soon-- I really was sure that coffee grounds have a ton of nitrogen, lots of people say/write that.... :|

I never ever see slugs or snails around not just my garden, but on our property and in the neighborhood in general. Honestly, the last time I saw a mollusk was last summer in Europe... wow, crazy. As for cutworms, I haven't seen any cut stems-- the cut ones are my thinning-- only those holes in the leaves.
I remember I had similar holes in my radish leaves last year, but the radishes grew just fine anyways so I didn't bother with it. I read that spraying with a tea made from garlic/onion skin peels repels insects, so I will try that.
Another problem with the radishes, I planted them Nov. 11th, so 21 days ago, and the roots are still not bulbing at all. They are just thin and long. I know, because I can see that they are just stems, and also I ripped out a few of the ones that were looking the worst today-- perfect long, red stem that goes down deep with nice roots at the end, but absolutely no actual "radish". :roll:
It is so weird, because last year(not even a full year actually, two seasons ago) my radishes grew so very well. ALL of them were nice and firm and fat. My tomatoes, strawberries, and sunflowers also did very well, and this time around everything is doing bad.

Funny thing, I have lettuce growing in a container right next to the garden and it is growing very, very well- so I think it is a soil-nutrient issue, and not a sun/water/pest/disease problem. Same type of lettuce, same planting day.

As for the spinach, I'm not sure. It seems pretty OK, it just seems as though it has stopped growing. It has been at that height for days now, with no changes, I'm not sure why. It is very frustrating, I really hope all of this work won't go to waste....

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

I agree, soil nutrient issue. The yellowing is from lack of nutrients. The problem is aggravated, because all your little plants are way, way too crowded and competing with each other for what little nutrients are there. Radishes won't bulb unless there is at least an inch of space around each plant in all directions, maybe more like 1.5 inches.

I would do some aggressive thinning, like pulling at least two out of every three plants. I know it is heart breaking to throw away plants that sprouted from seeds you planted. But would you rather have 10 healthy successful plants or 30 that fail and do nothing? After you have thinned, stir the soil some with a trowel or mini-fork to loosen it up and mix in some good organic fertilizer with micro-nutrients, beneficial microbes, microrrhizae. That would be something like dr. earth.
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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Yes, I agree. I did thin them some, but I guess not enough. :(

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Unfortunately, not nearly enough.

I thought it would be a good thing to have the very nice quote in your signature line attributed as to where it came from. When I went looking for it, I realized why you don't give a credit - no one really knows!

It is most commonly attributed either to William Penn or to Stephen Grellet, a Quaker minister contemporary with Penn. But it has at various times been credited to a number of other people:

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Stephen_Grellet
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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Yes, I found it on a poster, but couldn't get a clear answer when I tried to find the origin- other wise I would attach it, of course.

And ok, I will thin everything tonight and post more pictures. I definitely won't plant so close next time either, I didn't expect everything to sprout.

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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

The blight that was mentioned that affects lettuce, spinach and a lot of other things is aster yellow and it is transmitted by leaf hoppers. Row covers or netting will help with that. But I also think it is either nutritional or your soil may be too wet or a combination of factors.

The hot pepper and most hot weather crops like eggplant and tomatoes will slow down in cool weather. They like temps above 65 at night. You may also have to pay more attention to preventive spraying for fungal control on these plants in particular especially after rain. At this time of year you can use neem as an antifungal preventive. I still have get production, but I try not to start seeds of warm weather crops because they have more problems with dampening off and stunting in cool weather.
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shadylane
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Aida wrote:-- I really was sure that coffee grounds have a ton of nitrogen, lots of people say/write that....
Chemical analyses show that coffee grounds contain up to 2 percent nitrogen. And .0033 percent of phosphoric acid, and varying amounts of potash, minerals, and traces of carbohydrates, sugars, vitamins and lets not forget caffeine. :D They sour easily due to retaining moisture, which encourages acetic acid forming bacteria. Being acid they are good for such as Azalea's, Blueberries and other acid loving plants. Some claim that coffee grounds are great for worm food and worm beds when mix with lime.

Gardening can become a challenge, and the gardeners here are giving great advice. I have to give you a Green thumbs up :mrgreen: for winter gardening, which I could not even experience in.

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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Coffee grounds are very good for worms. They also like peanut shells. They don't eat the shells but they like to nest and lay eggs in them. Contrary to popular opinion coffee grounds are not all that acidic. Once the beans are used for brewing that pot of coffee, a lot of the acidity which is water soluble leaches out and ends up with a pH of 6.5-6.8 which would be where most plants like it anyway.

Most composts I come across are on the alkaline side. Especially if it was made with cabbage, kale, comfrey, eggshells, and other alkaline inputs. Composts that have more pine and oak might be more acidic. Initially compost piles start out acidic but as the pile ages the bacteria consume all of the greens and most of the nitrogen, the pile becomes progressively more alkaline. It is not unusual to find finished composts in the range of 7.5-8.5. (If you throw in raw chicken manure into a compost pile, the extra calcium in the manure will raise the pH by 0.5).
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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

OK!
I thinned the radishes a LOT today, and I also spread out 10tbs for 10sqft of 12% nitrogen blood meal. :)
I'm also going to cut down on the watering a bit- hopefully I get some progress and results soon, I hope it's not too late to save my wittle plants...

@imafan26,
The only things yellowing(thank god!) are the radishes, so hopefully I don't have that problem with my leafy veggies yet- but I will remember that netting tip in case it does happen.

As for the hot pepper, I got it already at this stage from a nursery as a last-minute sort of thought the other day, I know it's more summer. I'm glad to know that it will live till then, though, even in this cooler weather. O:)

Thanks for the tip about the peanut shells and worms, that is soooo cute.<3

@shadylane,
Ha ha, it's hardly winter gardening here, I haven't even experienced frost in years. :>
And I too, like imafan, read that coffee grounds aren't very acidic as long as they are already brewed.

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shadylane
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

You will have to excuse me for taking to much of your time...

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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Oh don't feel that way! You are always full of great information to learn from! :D
This:
They sour easily due to retaining moisture, which encourages acetic acid forming bacteria. Being acid they are good for such as Azalea's, Blueberries and other acid loving plants.
-- was really interesting to me. Another example of the soilfoodweb/microbes at work and the KEY here is that it's not the pH of the coffee grounds (UCG) which if tested on their own May not be acidic but the acid-forming bacteria which will LOWER the pH. They also host fungal growth which can create acidic environment.

I'll be putting more UCG on the container citrus during their winter indoor stay. And I'll utilize them more for the potatoes which need some acid to prevent the scab -- it will also go along with using them hopefully keeping away the wireworms (I can't remember if Eric ever formed a conclusion about their effectiveness....?) 8)

@Aida, good luck with your garden. :D
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Isn't coffee grounds also a repellent for slugs and snails? I thought I heard that somewhere. I know hair is.
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shadylane
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

You can create a slug and snail barrier from coffee grounds which are both abrasive and acidic, so a barrier of grounds placed near slug-prone plants may just save them from garden pests.

Found this and would like to share...I do play nice with others gardeners :D
Using Coffee Grounds ‘Straight up’ in the Garden

Q. I recently discovered several unused tins of coffee—some open, some still sealed—that have been sitting in my (dry) cupboard for years. Can they be used on plants and shrubs? (Specifically: azaleas, camellias, evergreens, hostas, day lilies, black-eyed Susan and garden pinks.) I know you typically advise adding such things to a compost pile; but would the coffee harm those plants if I just spread it around them?
... Thank you, Sylvia!

You are correct that I have, in the past, focused on incorporating coffee grounds into compost piles. That’s because coffee grounds can be very acidic, and I'm concerned that people will use them on inappropriate plants and make the soil more acid than those plants like.

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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

wow, that's some good, interesting information. Love the red cross jokes. :lol:

Is that an excerpt from your blog, or do you write for a magazine/newspaper?

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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

I think I've honestly decided to rip out most everything and start over. :/

I will keep the lettuce and of course the pepper, the green onions are also doing great, but the spinach is doing horrible still(it hasn't moved at all in weeks), and the radishes still aren't showing any signs of bulbing even after intense thinning. This is all about 10 days after the nitrogen additive. Everything has shot up, but the spinach-- I will spread a bit more around their row before planting new. I read it shouldn't be planted after Nov., but it's only mid-december and it's a very warm winter we're having.

Also, the nitrogen or spraying with onion peel juice has kept the bugs off almost completely. :()

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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

I always have trouble with spinach -- and after comparing with the members here who always say they have no trouble growing spinach, I really think for me the issue is soil pH. They generally have no problem with spinach, radish, beets, Swiss chard. I always do. They invariably say their soil is alkaline -- well mine has acid clay subsoil.

The limping seedlings are vulnerable to slugs and insect pests.

If I put what feels like too much lime in the bed, then these seem to do better but I still haven't seen fantastic. Next early spring planting of these cool weather crops, I'm going to try putting WAY too much lime in one bed. :wink:
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Aida
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Let me know how that goes! I will give the spinach one more go. If no luck,too bad, I like the process of gardening even more than the rewards. ;)

Your speedy reply is really helpful, as always. <3

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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

Interesting applestar! I don't think I had really made that connection. But I'm one of those with no trouble with spinach, chard, radishes (and presumably beets, though I don't grow them) AND I'm one of those with alkaline soil. And though other people disagree, IME it is very difficult to make any big permanent change in soil pH. Easier in raised beds/ containers, but in the soil whatever change you make is neutralized by all the surrounding soil. You have to constantly keep working at it and even so, things that don't like your native soil, may continue not to thrive. I think better to grow things that like the kind of soil you have. A lesson I learned the hard way, trying to grow acid loving woodland wildflowers in my alkaline soil. If I had to choose, I would much rather have acid soil, but not something you get to choose! :)

And yes, Aida, you really need to know the pH of your soil.
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Re: Please Help- Yellow and Chewed Leaves, overall crappy gr

rainbowgardener wrote: And yes, Aida, you really need to know the pH of your soil.
Use your most common weed as a Ph indicator. I have Curly Dock, Ox-eye daisy, Buttercup, Mullien etc... All indicators of acidic soil

https://homestead.org/DianaBarker/Lookto ... cators.htm


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rainbowgardener
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Re: Why Vegetable Leaves Yellow, Chewed & Poor Growth?

Well there's native and there's native. Everything I planted was Eastern woodlands native wildflowers. I'm in a transitional location, I think this would have been forested country not prairie, too wet to be prairie. But I'm at the western edge of eastern and clearly with different soil than applestar.

And then there's the fact that my SOIL may not be native. Apparently my hillside was used as a dump for at least the last 100 years - just throw stuff over the fence that was at the top to get rid of it. Whenever I dig to plant anything I pull all kinds of stuff out. And a lot of it is concrete. So perhaps the soil there is more alkaline than it would have been without a bunch of concrete and bricks buried in it.

But figuring out what would have been native to your specific location takes a lot of work and research. When I started this project I really didn't have that concept and would plant anything native to this half of the country. I'm trying to refine that now, plant more locally native and with more attention to things that would typically be found together. The hillside is anchored by a couple huge old hackberries, so I'm trying to figure out what would naturally be growing in the shade of a hackberry.

PS. This inspired me to do a little more looking up about hackberry and its associates. I found "hackberry is common on limestone soils and is considered and indicator of high pH." So since the hackberry has probably been there 100 years, I guess my soil has always been alkaline.

So off topic a bit, but the message for the OP is figure out what your soil is like and plant things that like that soil.
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Aida
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Re: Why Vegetable Leaves Yellow, Chewed & Poor Growth?

That's interesting Rainbow, and it makes a lot of sense. I think where I live azaleas are native, or at least they have been around for YEARS. Around my town, we have a billion parks, buildings, streets, and communities named azalea-something-- and lots of the pretty bushes around. My mom recently planted some, so I hope it works out for her like it seems to for everyone around us.

As for the PH, I'd be fine with getting a test kit and checking it out- it obviously makes sense. However, I have a raised bed, and I plan to have raised beds from now on- for my veggies at least. Wouldn't my PH change every new planting, then, since I am adding manure, etc. or making new raised beds with completely new, store-brought soil? :oops:

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Re: Why Vegetable Leaves Yellow, Chewed & Poor Growth?

As far as leaf vegetables go if your pH falls between 6.0 and 7.5 they will do fine as long as nitrogen levels are adequate or on the ample side. Cabbages tend to alkalinize the soil and they like the pH on the high side of 7. Cabbages also like calcium.

Root crops on the other hand do not like a very high nitrogen. If the nitrogen is too high then you will get lots of tops and no roots.

I know because I have these issues in my plots

I grow root vegetables beets, carrots, daikon in my alkaline garden pH 7.4 with low nitrogen but high organic matter.

If I try to grow them in my acidic (pH 6.4) plot that I tend to over fertilize anyway I get lots of greens and no roots.

If you look at the chart you will find that the major elements are available at pH range between 6.0-7.5 so it shouldn't matter. However micronutrients are greatly affected and become less available at the higher pH.

When I tested my soil the plot that has pH 6.4 and only greens has a phosphorus > 2000 ppm. the plot with the pH 7.4 had a phos of about 450. What was required on both plots was about 37 ppm. So, what is going on here there should be more than enough phosphorus to bulb in either plot right?

I think what is happening in my acidic plot is that something is binding the phosphorus so while my number is high most of it is insoluble and not getting to the plants. It is being bound up by either Aluminum or Iron at the lower pH. Phosphorus in alkaline soils will be bound by Ca. My Calcium levels are adequate and on the high end as well so I don't need to add more. The biggest difference between the two plots has been the amount of organic matter that was added.

The alkaline plot gets a lot more organic matter and I have used manures there in the past. The acidic plot has had some organic matter added but it was mostly acidic Big R and no manure was added. I have since changed from Big R to a different kind of compost and instead of adding one bag, now I add three. The compost is alkaline so it will raise the pH slowly and I have restrained from adding Nitrogen and phosphorus. The compost should help the soil organisms make the phosphorus more available to the plants over time. I tried blood meal as a slow release nitrogen, but I was not happy with the dwarfed plants so I still use my acidic sulfate of ammonia, I just use less. I don't think I need to add any more phosphorus for a few years, although some phosphorus gets added with the compost.

In the meantime I plant root crops and cabbages in my alkaline plot and Leaf crops, cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant in my acidic garden where they are more productive.
https://www.growing-life.com/shop/pH_and ... chart.html
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Aida
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Re: Why Vegetable Leaves Yellow, Chewed & Poor Growth?

Just a little update: My garden is doing a lot better now. :-()
The extra nitrogen definitely helped, but the radishes and spinach were so stunted already that I just decided to rip them all out and plant new ones after supplementing the soil with blood meal and some compost items. The new ones sprouted a while ago, and they are looking much stronger, and perfectly green- not even a single chew mark. The lettuce is also doing better, and I'm already eating the one that I planted in a container. All the herbs are growing like crazy, too.

In a few days, I will be planting my new seeds that came yesterday.

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Re: Why Vegetable Leaves Yellow, Chewed & Poor Growth?

Yay!!! Thanks for the update and glad to hear it is going better now. This is when the rewards come, when you are actually eating stuff out of your garden! :)
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