Patrick4
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Location: Clearwater, FL

Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Hello My name is Patrick. My girlfriend and I have been working hard at trying to get a veggie garden to grow. These are our first true gardens and we are trying to show our little kiddos the importance of growing our own veggies. Plus it is fun for the family! Anyway, we have 4 big raise beds that are off the ground and one small raised bed (Pictures below). Problem is we are having issues with bugs and also leaves from the cucumber, cantaloupe and watermelon plants shriveling up (Pictures below). Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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These were all planted about 2 weeks ago and what you see below is the problems we are having.
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Again any help would greatly be appreciated, since we are very new to this green thumb endeavor!

Thanks Patrick :)

imafan26
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Hi Patrick

It looks like you have slugs and snails munching on the seedlings.

Your beds are nice, and they look like they are in full sun, but would be better moved away from the fence. It provides better air circulation, easier maintenance, you won't get shadows cast by the fence on the garden, and you won't have a place for the bugs to hide between the fence and the beds.

The beds are very deep which is good and bad. Good for deep rooted plants, not so good if it retains too much water and does not have adequate drainage holes.

Your yellowing plants could be from being watered too much and the soil volume is so large that the top may look dry when the soil a couple of inches down is still very wet, too much compost in the mix which retains water, but can still suck up some nitrogen especially if you can still make out wood fibers.

Plant spacing looks o.k. I would check the soil moisture and do side dressings on the peppers. They are looking a bit yellow which can be from being over watered and they are starting to make peppers so they usually need a side dressing around now.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Patrick4
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Location: Clearwater, FL

Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Hey there! Thanks for the fast response!!! I will reply under each of your statements in red. Thanks for all your help!!
imafan26 wrote:Hi Patrick

It looks like you have slugs and snails munching on the seedlings.
Ok, can you recommend what we can use to get rid of this problem?

Your beds are nice, and they look like they are in full sun, but would be better moved away from the fence. It provides better air circulation, easier maintenance, you won't get shadows cast by the fence on the garden, and you won't have a place for the bugs to hide between the fence and the beds.
There is no shadowing at all because it is in the direction of east and west. If I was to put it anywhere else then there would be shadowing. The containers are about 3" away from the vinyl fencing, is that still too close? I hate to say it, but moving them is not an option. My GF and I moved them once already and now they are filled with 20" of potting soil, very heavy lol.

The beds are very deep which is good and bad. Good for deep rooted plants, not so good if it retains too much water and does not have adequate drainage holes.
I was wondering if we have been watering them too much. These containers are 48" long x 36" wide x 22" approx. I have (5) 3/4" holes in the bottom. Please tell me if that is not enough so I can drill more.

Your yellowing plants could be from being watered too much and the soil volume is so large that the top may look dry when the soil a couple of inches down is still very wet, too much compost in the mix which retains water, but can still suck up some nitrogen especially if you can still make out wood fibers.
You are right! We also think because the top is dry that everything is dry. Can you give us advise on a rule of thumb how much water is needed and when it is needed? I know that sounds weird, but again we are very new.

Plant spacing looks o.k. I would check the soil moisture and do side dressings on the peppers. They are looking a bit yellow which can be from being over watered and they are starting to make peppers so they usually need a side dressing around now.
When you say dressings, do you mean something that supports them to stand up right?

imafan26
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Actually, I would put more holes than that, and I put holes on the sides as well. If the planter sits on the ground, the holes in the bottom sometimes get blocked.

Besides the heat and reflected light (more heat), a solid fence blocks air circulation which can cause problems for things that get fungal issues like tomatoes.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Francis Barnswallow
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Also when it comes to the tomatoes, check the leaves. If they look grayish, flip them over to see the underside of the leaves and you might see hundreds of tiny worms. They are baby army worms and if they are not found or ignored, within about 2 weeks they'll destroy your garden. They imo are the worst pests for Florida gardens. Look up army worms for further info.

I also get hornworms, crawling cutworms, and fruitworms but they're easier to control. Once you find fresh cuts in the leaves (and their poop on the leaves), most of the time they're underneath the leaf or very close to the damaged leaves.

Be aware that the summer months here in Florida make the pest population go nuts, especially at night after a typical Florida sea breeze thunderstorm. Check the garden before you go to bed during these months. After years of pest frustration during the relentless hot/humid summer months, I now wait until October to plant tomato seedlings again. They do have "heat resistant" tomato species but they too drop their blossoms due to the heat.

Although I do grow bell peppers and cukes during the summer months.

imafan26
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Southern Florida and Hawaii are about the same. Nearly year round growing season. Year round pests. Hot and humid summers. We can grow nearly the same things. Your nights are cooler than mine.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

imafan26
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Southern Florida and Hawaii are about the same. Nearly year round growing season. Year round pests. Hot and humid summers. We can grow nearly the same things. Your nights are cooler than mine. But I don't have any gators or snakes. At least there aren't supposed to be any.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Patrick4
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Marlingardener wrote:Hi Patrick, I'm not Imafan, one of our best gardeners, but I am in the south of the USA and face some of the same problems you have. For slugs and snails there is a product called Sluggo that is easily available, and effective. You can also put out shallow containers of beer and let the little gastropods drown happily. Any cheap beer will do, no need to waste the good stuff.
Here in Texas we don't put many plants up against a white fence--reflected light and heat problems. As you said, those beds are ultra heavy, and not moveable. If you can shade the beds from about 2 p.m. on, it may help. Shade cloth, old umbrellas (sometimes my garden looks like Mary Poppins landed multiple times!), whatever you can rig up.
Five drainage holes in gardens that size aren't enough. Drill at least five more. Also, the rule of thumb for watering is your thumb. If you stick your thumb into the soil and it comes up dry, water. If not, don't. Infrequent, deep waterings are better than frequent shallow waterings. Roots go deeper to get moisture, which is good. If the soil is dry for the top 4" to 5", give the bed a nice slow deep drink.
Side dressing is applying fertilizer along the sides or perimeter of a plant. I usually side dress when the vegetable first starts to flower (peppers, tomatoes, squash, etc.) and in the case of non-flowering vegetables like lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, when the plants are about 6" tall, and again when the cabbage or broccoli starts to head. Lettuce is so short season for us that one application of a relatively high-nitrogen fertilizer (we have chickens, and their composted manure is great!) is sufficient.
Good for you, teaching the little ones that food doesn't come flash frozen or canned. Let the children plant some radishes--easy to grow, fast, and they love to pull up food from the soil!
MarlinGardener, thanks for all your help! I really appreciate it :-) I will get the CHEAP beer after work to get the slugs and snails under control if that is what it is. Also can you please recommend a dressing for the garden?

Patrick4
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Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

imafan26 wrote:Actually, I would put more holes than that, and I put holes on the sides as well. If the planter sits on the ground, the holes in the bottom sometimes get blocked.

Besides the heat and reflected light (more heat), a solid fence blocks air circulation which can cause problems for things that get fungal issues like tomatoes.
imafan26, thanks for the recommendation of more holes. My girlfriend suggested that as well, so that is what we will do :-D

Patrick4
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Location: Clearwater, FL

Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

Francis Barnswallow wrote:Also when it comes to the tomatoes, check the leaves. If they look grayish, flip them over to see the underside of the leaves and you might see hundreds of tiny worms. They are baby army worms and if they are not found or ignored, within about 2 weeks they'll destroy your garden. They imo are the worst pests for Florida gardens. Look up army worms for further info.

I also get hornworms, crawling cutworms, and fruitworms but they're easier to control. Once you find fresh cuts in the leaves (and their poop on the leaves), most of the time they're underneath the leaf or very close to the damaged leaves.

Be aware that the summer months here in Florida make the pest population go nuts, especially at night after a typical Florida sea breeze thunderstorm. Check the garden before you go to bed during these months. After years of pest frustration during the relentless hot/humid summer months, I now wait until October to plant tomato seedlings again. They do have "heat resistant" tomato species but they too drop their blossoms due to the heat.

Although I do grow bell peppers and cukes during the summer months.
Francis, thanks for the insight about planting tomatoes in the summer months. I will take that all into consideration and plant them in October as well.

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Gardening Problems, needing advice :)

I grow Tasty Green and Suyo long (English/Japanese type) cucumbers and General Lee regular cucumbers. They can take heat up to 90 degrees with adequate water. Try Armenian cucumber. It is really a melon but tastes like a cucumber and takes more heat. It is also called snake gourd. It likes to grow in a coil but if it is trellised, it will grow straight.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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