Jeffross1968
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Did I overwater? Over fertilize? Can they be saved?

Plants were transplanted starters from wal-mart put into the garden around 4/11. They include tomatoes, green bell peppers, banana peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. Land was grass when we moved in the beginning of March. when I took this area, turned it over and covered it with black plastic for a month, turning it over once a week during that time and picking out grass and anything green. Before planting, I added a few bags of manure and some cheap top soil, turned it in a bit, and then built the raised rows you see in the pictures. Everything was planted same day, and I hit everything with one of those sprayer bottles of miracle grow (but didn't use it all, still lots left) that you connect to a hose.

As of this morning, everything seemed to be moving slowly, but ok. I purchased some cheap Pennington 9-12-12 veggie/tomato fertilizer, and followed instructions, which was to sprinkle 2 tablespoons around each plant, and water thoroughly. 5 hours later, several plants including a couple tomato plants have fallen to the ground. Did I overwater? Over fertilize? Can they be saved or are they finished? Can I pull them and replant before it's too late in the season?

Ugh..heartbroken...here are the pics....

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3703.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3704.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3705.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3706.jpg[/img]

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SPierce
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Re: Oh boy, what have I done....

Jeffross1968 wrote:Plants were transplanted starters from wal-mart put into the garden around 4/11. They include tomatoes, green bell peppers, banana peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. Land was grass when we moved in the beginning of March. when I took this area, turned it over and covered it with black plastic for a month, turning it over once a week during that time and picking out grass and anything green. Before planting, I added a few bags of manure and some cheap top soil, turned it in a bit, and then built the raised rows you see in the pictures. Everything was planted same day, and I hit everything with one of those sprayer bottles of miracle grow (but didn't use it all, still lots left) that you connect to a hose.

As of this morning, everything seemed to be moving slowly, but ok. I purchased some cheap Pennington 9-12-12 veggie/tomato fertilizer, and followed instructions, which was to sprinkle 2 tablespoons around each plant, and water thoroughly. 5 hours later, several plants including a couple tomato plants have fallen to the ground. Did I overwater? Over fertilize? Can they be saved or are they finished? Can I pull them and replant before it's too late in the season?

Ugh..heartbroken...here are the pics....

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3703.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3704.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3705.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j439/Jeffross1968/102_3706.jpg[/img]
First off, it's never too late to buy starts from the local nursery (would avoid wal mart and miracle gro stuffs, in my opinion-tried out the miracle gro soils last year, and they did nada! If you have to pick up a brand of soil of somesort, i'd recommend fafrad.). It sounds like you may have overfetilized. Paitence :)

Where are you located?

Otherwise, i would highly recommend picking up some compost from a local farm, new plants and laying down several inches of compost on top of your current soil, and starting new from there. It looks like they're pretty far gone IMHO. It sounds like it could also be lack of nurtrients, too, but a more expert gardener can give better advice on that...

Jeffross1968
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This all literally happened today. Those plants were standing up straight at 8am this morning. Can over fertilization show that quick?

Jeffross1968
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Oh, and I'm in western North Carolina, at about 3k feet. The soil is heavy on clay, so it might be holding the water better than I realized, and today's watering was too much? I don't know...

gumbo2176
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Jeff, from the pics it looks like you put the plants in the ground in those peat pots. I never do that even though the manufacturer says it's OK. I'd rather have the roots free from the get-go to establish in the new home. Also, with tomato plants, I like to bury them just about up to the new growth near the top of the plant. That way, the entire stem will set out new roots.

Like mentioned already, your soil looks kind of packed. Organic matter is your friend. Compost is the way to go. Don't just fertilize for the sake of doing so. Get a soil test to see if anything is needed first.

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SPierce
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Jeffross1968 wrote:Oh, and I'm in western North Carolina, at about 3k feet. The soil is heavy on clay, so it might be holding the water better than I realized, and today's watering was too much? I don't know...
Hmm, that is really quick. Normally it takes a day or so to show up; did the temps drop more than normal? Any weird weather changes? I'm honestly not sure.. maybe a more experienced gardener can help out as to what happens to your poor plants :(

Also, if you can't help these out and they do pass on- i do believe you will have time to replant. Not from seed, but starts from a local nursery :D

gumbo2176
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Jeffross1968 wrote:Oh, and I'm in western North Carolina, at about 3k feet. The soil is heavy on clay, so it might be holding the water better than I realized, and today's watering was too much? I don't know...

Just looked at the pics again and realized you put a ton of fertilizer almost directly on top of the plants. When the directions state put 2 tbs. around the plant, they mean just that, around the plant, not directly on top of the plant. If you're going to use that stuff, sprinkle it in about a 18" radius around the plant. I'd still get a soil test done first before using any commercial fertilizer. Your county agent or a local ag. school can likely do that or direct you to some place that does soil tests.

Jeffross1968
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gumbo2176 wrote:Jeff, from the pics it looks like you put the plants in the ground in those peat pots. I never do that even though the manufacturer says it's OK. I'd rather have the roots free from the get-go to establish in the new home. Also, with tomato plants, I like to bury them just about up to the new growth near the top of the plant. That way, the entire stem will set out new roots.

Like mentioned already, your soil looks kind of packed. Organic matter is your friend. Compost is the way to go. Don't just fertilize for the sake of doing so. Get a soil test to see if anything is needed first.
I actually ripped off the bottom 2/3 of the peat pot. Maybe I should have removed them completely. That being said, all these plants were fine this morning. I plan on starting to compost soon, but was unable to do so for this year. We just moved into this house in March. Also, compost is no cheap thing to buy around here, and I really had to go cheap. The ground is pretty packed.

I tested the soil back in late March, and it tested pretty low on everything. Added some lime before planting and turned it into the soil as best as possible. Other than that, the original shot of miracle grow fertilizer 3 weeks ago, and what I put on it this morning, I've done nothing else. Everything really was doing ok, but being a newbie, I figured some fertilizer would help. I certainly didn't think watering in some granules would cause this a few hours later. Really confused.

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kimbledawn
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I am not an expert nor do I use fertilizers, but the first thing that I noticed was the peat pots being buried with the plant. Is it possible, experts, that because the plants were buried in the pots, the fertilizer was trapped in the pot, over-fertilizing the plants, instead of spreading throughout the soil. Maybe that explains why it happened so fast.
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toskye
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My plants look like that if I haven't hardened them off. Meaning, if they were covered with a tarp, and then suddenly exposed to the sun: the direct sunlight will shock them and send them wilting away. Did you harden them off before letting the sun get to them?

To harden off is to let them be outside (keeping them in the shade for a few days), and then slowly let sunlight access them for short periods of time, slowly increasing the time incraments as the plant seems able to handle it (preferably starting with morning or evening light, not noon day sun).

I don't know about the fertilizer stuff.

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applestar
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I agree with gumbo. Chemical fertilizer salts like that should never be placed in contact with the plants. Or be so close. I think the concentration sucked the water molecules right out of the plants, especially if it was sunny. Kimbledawn has a good point too.

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jal_ut
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I think you over fertilized. What happens when you put too much fertilizer on an area, the solution in the soil becomes more concentrated than the solution in the plant tissues, so the water migrates from the plants to the soil, and the plant wilts. It is nature's balancing act.

The Fertilizer Salts are more dangerous than manure and compost. They can be easily overdone.

Compost, manure, and all chemical fertilizers are just that, fertilizer, and should be used with wisdom and caution. "If a little is good, more is better", does not work here.

I don't know that you can save those plants. I would till the area and water it deeply to help reduce the concentration of nutrients, then replant. Please, no more fertilizer this season.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Jeffross1968
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jal_ut wrote: I don't know that you can save those plants. I would till the area and water it deeply to help reduce the concentration of nutrients, then replant. Please, no more fertilizer this season.
That is exactly what I had to do, unfortunately. About 1/4 of the garden lived. Everything else either died, or is on death watch. Everything that was completely dead was watered heavily, mixed with neutral soil and peat, and replanted. Luckily, we are still 1.5 weeks away from the "official plant date" for our area, so while I lost time, money, and some serious sweat, the season is not lost...yet.

This is my first garden. I have lots of lessons to learn. This was a biggie, and really frustrating, but ever onward. At the end of the growing season, I'm going to put all of our fallen leaves on the garden and till it in. Sometime over the summer, I'm going to start composting on a limited scale. Maybe get a drum or something, and till that in next year, and my soil should end up being something I'm not worried about. I overreacted to soil that is lacking in nutrients, and went to far with the fert. I've obviously got a lot more reading to do...

Thank you very much for all the help! I'll update in a few weeks to let everyone know how things progressed from here :shock:

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SPierce
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Jeffross1968 wrote:
jal_ut wrote: I don't know that you can save those plants. I would till the area and water it deeply to help reduce the concentration of nutrients, then replant. Please, no more fertilizer this season.
That is exactly what I had to do, unfortunately. About 1/4 of the garden lived. Everything else either died, or is on death watch. Everything that was completely dead was watered heavily, mixed with neutral soil and peat, and replanted. Luckily, we are still 1.5 weeks away from the "official plant date" for our area, so while I lost time, money, and some serious sweat, the season is not lost...yet.

This is my first garden. I have lots of lessons to learn. This was a biggie, and really frustrating, but ever onward. At the end of the growing season, I'm going to put all of our fallen leaves on the garden and till it in. Sometime over the summer, I'm going to start composting on a limited scale. Maybe get a drum or something, and till that in next year, and my soil should end up being something I'm not worried about. I overreacted to soil that is lacking in nutrients, and went to far with the fert. I've obviously got a lot more reading to do...

Thank you very much for all the help! I'll update in a few weeks to let everyone know how things progressed from here :shock:
I'm sorry you have to start over again :(

But good news is, it's not too late!

I will also pass on some advice I learned myself last year... the best place to get plants from, is a local nursery as opposed to big box stores, such as wal-mart and home depot. Your local place will not only be friendlier and more knowledgeable, they'll take care better care of their starter plants too :D

Black River
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I use 13-13-13 fertilizer granules like that, also, but i always wait until my plants are well established before fertilizing. And never put it directly on the plant, like the others said. I use the triple 13 because that's what my grandad and dad used, on everything from potatoes to corn. And, like the others said, you have to harden them off before exposing to sunlight and wind.

What i did this year with tomato, squash, and cucumber seedlings was put a fan blowing on low for a half hour to hour a day, and then in the late afternoon i'd give them a little sun, gradually increasing the amount of sun over the course of a week. When the monsoon finally stopped, and i actually got to plant, the plants took right off without even drooping.

You live and you learn, i'd buy some plants locally and set them out, give them a couple of weeks and then fertilize lightly, at least a foot away from the plant. This is just the way i do it where i live, find what works for you and stick with it! Good luck!

Jeffross1968
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Most of the replacement plants I bought this time were purchased from a local grower who had hardened off them already. Everything is in (except for about 4 plants currently on death watch. All in all, I saved about 10 plants. Maybe 1/6 of the entire garden.

Black River
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That's better than nothing! We all learn from our mistakes, Lord knows i've made many, next year will be better!

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The gardener's mantra! "Next year will be better!" We always say that and it is often even true! :)
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cynthia_h
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No one becomes an experienced gardener without some plant casualties.

In my case, the most unexpected two were 1) a philodendron which bit the dust way back in Atlanta--supposed to be "unkillable," and 2) a flourishing zucchini plant in Berkeley--we left the house on Saturday morning and the plant was very happy, trying to take over what little real estate we had. We came back Sunday afternoon and it was a scraggly little black thing. No idea what happened, since there was no property-line question involved. No rain. (Berkeley, in August? No.) No automatic watering. We had soaked its roots on Friday evening. Still a mystery.

Your future plants will benefit because *now* you know: 1) no peat pots and 2) careful--to the point of prob. not using any--with fertilizer on little plants.

Cynthia H.
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