Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:20 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Can anyone help - why do I have miniature veggies?

Last year we converted our front yard to a raised bed garden, with 5 4 x 20ft beds. We purchased a compost/manure/soil mix from a local landscape company to fill the beds.
We planted a variety of vegetables and herbs over the season. Lettuce, arugula, beans, tomatoes, chard, spinach, purple-hulls, cukes and a variety of herbs. Pretty agressive for novices!

Everything grew. Herbs did exceptionally well. Sungold tomatoes were delicious, southern peas spectacular. But the leafy veggies, like the chard, although they seemed to be strong and healthy, had deep glossy growth and excellent taste, were miniature. :( The chard didnt get more than 6" tall; spinch barely 3".

I have planted some kale this spring but it looks like we have the same problem. Granted the kale is the Dwarf Curled variety but they are only reaching 3 "'s tall! Fordhook giant chard, is 4" at best.

:? Any thoughts? Why would I have this kind of issue?

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Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Atlanta Georgia, pretty warm area of the country.

I am in Arkansas and I have issues with the cool season veggies.

Have you considered growing them as a winter crop?

The chard can take the heat, and cold both. But, I have noticed when it is really hot and humid, it does not grow. So, the trick would be to plant early, get that chard up to a good size before the temps go up in the 70's and 80's... that way when you see the 100's you are in good shape.

You might also consider shading it... like you do at the beach, with an umbrella... rig a plant version. Keep the shade up high and don't restrict airflow to your plants.

Spinach and green peas are hopeless for me. Brussels grow well, but they are tough and woody. So... I am going to try Brussels as a fall crop, see if that helps. And I am trying a new spinach... It is called malabar, and is not a true spinach, but it is suppose to taste the same. But, it is heat tolerant. And I will simply raise field peas like Black-eyes etc... and buy english peas at the store. I may try snow peas as a winter crop.

In the heat belt, we have two seasons... before July and after July, ha ha. That summer heat will kill some crops just as dead as frost.

Try different planting dates, and seasons, rig some shade, look for heat tolerant varieties. Or simply grow a different crop!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2179
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:06 pm
Location: North Texas


Many of the plants you mentioned seem to be pretty zone sensitive. I think you and I are both in zone 7. I planted most of the plants you mentioned last fall as winter crops expecting to have lots of fresh greens as a winter harvest. I also planted purple top turnips and Romaine lettuce. The only crop that exceeded 3" in height were the turnips and they grew great. The spinich and chard and kale were a total flop. I finally turned them over to improve the soil. I'm letting the Romaine lettuce continue to grow until it either makes heads or dies from the heat of mid summer. I can't believe I have lettuce in the ground that is six months old, but only three inches tall. The only thing I can think of is the fact that the varieties I planted may not have been suitable for my zone.

I simply enjoy gardening!

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