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Myacre
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Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:21 am
Location: Houston, TX

Texas is killing my plants

Sorry for the loud subject =)
You just have to love Texas (Katy/Houston) so much to be able to not lose your mind over the weather.
Just two weeks ago we had a huge storm (thankfully, one that did NOT bring in floods,
but it did bring in tornadoes in certain areas), and last night we had another weather twist.
The cold front came in second time in two weeks and my extensive garden looks pathetic.
I could weep right now, I put so much effort in nursing those plants from seeds, I put together
large raised beds because the soil here is crap. Well, it's worse actually, it's pure clay. I bet if it was
actual crap the tomatoes and everything else would thrive. Sorry)))))
Anyways. We were jumping all over the garden last night in our underwear trying to cover what we can with tarp, because there was hail in the forecast. And when it never came, we repeated the exercises taking the tarp off while having a very chilly shower. This morning I wouldn't let the dog out if I had one it was so cold outside. Now my plants (tomatoes, recently germinated cucumbers, cantaloupes, okra, and peppers) look wilty and yellowing. Is this a result of the cold fronts or is it me who's killing them?
I grew everything from seed (with the help of this forum). I transplanted to beds 4-5 weeks ago after acclimating the seedlings for a couple of weeks. All seedlings grew in small pots first, transplanted into 24oz cups when needed, and into the garden at last. The beds are in the sunniest location, 4'x8'x1' in size, filled with mix of bulk garden soil, compost, and composted cow manure. 3 weeks after transplanting I sprinkled Tomato and Vegetable Food 7-22-8 around the plants and covered with 1-2" of mulch. I water every night under plants when it's hot, and very other night when it's fair. Yet, this damn garden is on the decline!!!!!!! Please, somebody, tell me what's going on??? :evil:

gumbo2176
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Re: Texas is killing my plants

Tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, peppers are all warm/hot weather plants and don't fare well in cold weather. I live in New Orleans and have had my cucumber seeds in the ground for weeks now and even though they sprouted in a decent time frame, they just sat there with little to no growth and it's only been in the past week or so that they have taken off a bit, but are far behind the pole beans and Japanese Yard Longs I planted at the same time.

My okra just broke ground a few weeks ago and are also not doing much as far as growing as they are waiting for the warmer weather to come.

I see you mentioned starting everything from seed and transplanting. I've found some plants do much better just sown directly in the soil. Things like beans, cucumbers, okra tend to sprout and grow much better if not transplanted. You say they are all in raised beds, so I don't think too much water is the culprit since the only raised bed I use for root crops drains very well.

I say give them a bit more time to see if they recover and if not, sow some seeds directly in the soil and start over. If too many come up, simply thin them to the desired distance and go from there. You still have plenty time to have a nice healthy garden before the heat and humidity take their toll.

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Myacre
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Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:21 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Texas is killing my plants

gumbo2176 wrote:Tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, peppers are all warm/hot weather plants and don't fare well in cold weather. I live in New Orleans and have had my cucumber seeds in the ground for weeks now and even though they sprouted in a decent time frame, they just sat there with little to no growth and it's only been in the past week or so that they have taken off a bit, but are far behind the pole beans and Japanese Yard Longs I planted at the same time.

My okra just broke ground a few weeks ago and are also not doing much as far as growing as they are waiting for the warmer weather to come.

I see you mentioned starting everything from seed and transplanting. I've found some plants do much better just sown directly in the soil. Things like beans, cucumbers, okra tend to sprout and grow much better if not transplanted. You say they are all in raised beds, so I don't think too much water is the culprit since the only raised bed I use for root crops drains very well.

I say give them a bit more time to see if they recover and if not, sow some seeds directly in the soil and start over. If too many come up, simply thin them to the desired distance and go from there. You still have plenty time to have a nice healthy garden before the heat and humidity take their toll.
I should have been more precise about the description of what I did here, my bad. I only transplanted tomato, peppers, and cantaloupe, everything else mentioned here was sown into the ground. Yeah, my okra and cucumbers are sitting there doing nothing as well as yours. I'd say sitting ducks for squirrels, who lovelovelove munching on the newly sprouted greens. I just got a pest sprinkler, but I can't quite decide where to put it: on corn beds, on strawberries, or veggie beds? Might as well just get used to sitting there all day with a shoe in my hand and give it to any critter that decided to snack on my garden.

gumbo2176
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Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: Texas is killing my plants

Then just give them some time to get to the warm weather and see how they progress. I no longer have a squirrel issue since Hurricane Katrina took out my neighbors 40 ft. pecan tree and eliminated their food source. But I was lucky because they didn't really mess with my garden with all those pecans to save up and eat.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Texas is killing my plants

Yellowing doesn't really sound like a response to cold though.

Plants that have been through too much cold tend to look like this:

Image

very wilted, flattened, limp. If they got frozen, they may have blackened areas.

If it is not fierce cold, but is chilly and very windy, you can get wind burn on the plants that looks a lot like sun burn on plants:

Image
thin, pale, crispy areas

Off the top of my head, yellowing sounds like over-watering. Over watered plants will be droopy and yellowing:
Image

pictures of a couple of yours would help.
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imafan26
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Re: Texas is killing my plants

Well you don't have to be from Texas to have to deal with finicky weather. It has been raining for days and today it was hot and muggy. Now the fungal diseases are starting to show black spot on the roses, bacterial spots on the peppers. Mildew on kale. I will have to cull a lot of my seedlings and start over. The basil got pelted by the rain and only a few survived.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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feldon30
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Re: Texas is killing my plants

I gardened in Houston for 4 years. It is, in some ways, like gardening up North. You put the plants in the ground and 4 1/2 months later they're dead except instead of frost, it's mid-July heat that has done the job.

If you want a good crop of tomatoes in Houston, you must plant ridiculously early (1st week of March the soil is warm and ready to go) and then protect plants through 1-2 frost events in April. This is just the reality of gardening in S.E. Texas.

As you discovered, the caliche clay (sticky play doh) is useless, so I built up raised beds and brought in all new soil from a soil yard. Expensive the first year but after that I add a couple bags of Black Kow every year.

If I had stayed in Houston a 5th year, I would have installed brackets inside my garden beds, made an A frame over the bed with PVC pipes, and covered with plastic through all of March and early April. Trying to go out there with sheets and blankets is very stressful.
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