The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves on Young Vegetable Plants

Question: The lowest leaves on my young vegetable plants in my garden are becoming yellow and the plants are very light green in colour. What could be causing this? The plants get all day sunshine but we have had several thunder storms with a lot of rainfall, and the organic soil I had trucked in seems very dense. Also, some plants are doing much better than others in patches in the garden. Thank you for helping.

Answer: It has been an incredibly rainy summer for a lot of us in the northeast, and it's made gardening in our short season even more...interesting than ususal! Your young plants sound like they aren't able to take up the nutrients they need to grow and be healthy, and waterlogged soil is certainly one of the things that can cause this problem. Ideally, soil is 25% air space, which allows roots to function normally and absorb water and dissolved nutrients. If moisture is taking up the air space, the plants can literally drown, or starve, as they are in your case. You can try foliar feeding them with seaweed/kelp liquid spritzed on the leaves to see if that helps. For next year, plant your garden in raised beds, which provides more drainage and room for extensive root growth. You may also want to have your soil tested to make sure it has adequate nutrients for your plants. Good luck!

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