Vegetable Garden Deterioration - Knowledgebase Question

Aiea, Ha
Question by lkn_50
September 22, 2010
I live in Hawaii about 5 miles from the ocean. I have a dry sandy type of soil. After some soil preparation, everything I try to plant in my garden does not do well. Herbs & vegetables just deteriorate after a few weeks. Could it be the warm


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Answer from NGA
September 22, 2010

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Lots of gardeners in Hawaii grow successful vegetable gardens so I don't think the sea air has anything to do with the problem. Sandy soils drain extremely fast which is good in a natural setting considering how much annual rain fall you have, but not so good for a vegetable garden because both veggies and herbs need a moisture retentive soil. You can help your veggies out by amending your sandy soil with organic matter which will help hold moisture, and will help provide some nutrients to the roots of your plants, as well. Remove all vegetation from the bed and then spread 4-5 inches of compost, aged manure, dried shredded leaves or any other organic matter readily available in your area. Dig the organic matter into the soil about 8 inches deep, then level the soil, plant your transplants or seeds and then cover over the bare soil between the plants with an additional 2-3 inches of organic matter. This mulch will help suppress weeds, slow water evaporation and help moderate soil temperatures. At the end of the gardening season dig this mulch material into the soil. If you repeat this process on an annual basis you'll end up with rich, loose garden soil.

When an eggplant has flowers but no fruit, this is due to one of two issues. The first thing that can cause eggplant flowers to fall off is a lack of water and the other is a lack of pollination.

When an eggplant plant is stressed, its blossoms will dry up and drop off without producing fruit. The most common reason a eggplant gets stressed is due to a lack of water. Your eggplant needs at least 2? of water a week, more in very hot weather. The majority of that water should be gotten in one watering so that the water goes deeper into the ground and is less likely to evaporate quickly. Deep watering also encourages the eggplant to grow deep roots, which helps it to find water deeper in the ground and even out its water needs so it will be less likely to drop a single eggplant flower.

An eggplant flower is normally wind pollinated, meaning it does not rely on insects like bees and moths to pollinate it. A pollination problem can occur when the weather conditions are very wet or very humid or are very hot. When the air is very humid, this causes the pollen eggplant flower to become very sticky and it cannot fall down onto the pistil to pollinate the flower. When the weather is very hot, the pollen becomes inactive because the plant thinks that it cannot support the stress of an additional fruit along with the hot weather. In a sense, the plant aborts the blossom so as not to stress itself further.

If you suspect your eggplant flowers fall off due to a lack of pollination, then you can hand pollinate. All you need to do is take a small, clean paintbrush and move this around the inside of the eggplant flowers.

Hope this information is helpful.

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