I'm a newbie and I'm apparently making a lot of mistakes (although I've done so much research I promise) so if anyone feels like slogging through this description of my problems, I'd appreciate it. The amount of money I've invested in this is kind of a lot to our family, and I really don't want my vegetables to die. I would appreciate advice.
So, from the beginning:
-I built a 4' by 6' raised bed and am growing tomatoes, serranos, jalapenos, basil, parsely, and oregano. I filled the bed with generic "topsoil," mushroom compost, some vermiculite, pearlite, and some bags of good-quality garden ready soil mixed in. It was really the best I could afford and access with a small car. I used a little bit of fertilizer, but I was scared to add too much because I know it can burn the plants. Maybe I didn't add enough.
- I've been watering every 3-5 days and then watering about 15 gallons with a gallon jug (I calculated that this would equal "an inch" of rain in my 4' by 6' bed. Right?).
-It's humid where I live, but the temperatures are in the 80s, 90s, and sometimes 100s this month, and it also rarely rains in the summer.
-So, my tomato plants are growing quickly and seem happy, except (as you can see in the picture), the tips of the leaves are turning brown. I really want them to be okay. No fruit yet either. What should I do differently?
-My serrano peppers rotted on the plant (pictured also), and really none of my peppers seem all that happy.The guy at the garden center told me I was over-watering them based on the fact that they're rotting, but I really have been waiting quite a bit of time between waterings. I also let the soil dry out a bit (not bone-dry or anything, but dry) between watering.
-My parsley is growing right next to the rotting peppers, and while some of it is green and healthy, within the same plant some of it is turning bright yellow (also pictured). The guy at the garden center told me I was under-watering it, but it's growing right next to the peppers, which he told me I was over-watering. If I am under-watering, that's an easy fix, but I'm scared it has a disease or something.
- There are leaf-miners and also some other kind of bug (?) eating my basil (no picture). Today I bought some Captain Jack's deadbug powder, some Dynamite organic fertilizer (I was told my problems might be a nutrient/calcium problem), and I buried some cans of beer with the top cut off of them in the soil.
-I bought some straw and plan to mulch with that.
I know that's a lot to read, but I'm so anxious that I wasted my family's money on this whole gardening thing. I would love to be able to salvage what I can. All of my plants are still pretty small, as I got a late start this year.
Thanks so much! I want so badly to be good at this. I wish I had my own expert advice to give others on these forums and contribute, but I don't. Maybe in a few years...