The Q&A Archives: Garden not thriving

Question: For the second year in a row, our garden is not lush and thriving even though we water it several times a week. We planted squash, tomatoes, and green beans. Last year we didn't get much yield after the first picking. Any suggestions?

Answer: Sometimes weather can be a factor, or the timing of your planting, but it might also be that your soil is depleted. If you haven't amended the soil with organic matter over the past few years, make a note to do so before planting next spring. You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start by spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure, shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden.

Most vegetables should be planted in March or April in your gardening region so they can mature before the hottest weather arrives. And, if you keep the vegetables picked before they become overmature, the plants will continue to produce new veggies. If you delay your harvesting, the plants may stop producing. For even more information, you can download the following publication from the Alabama cooperative extension:

It outlines the best planting times for your region. Hope you have a great harvest!

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