Problems with new vegatable garden - Knowledgebase Question

Ft. Myers, FL
Question by jerryoz1
November 19, 2010
I built a 15x3 vegatable planter inside my lanai cage over concrete pad. I planted zucchini, tomato , cubanella peppers, green beans, leaks, cuccumbers, chives. Zucchinis blossomed even started a few zucchinis then they all started dying. White bloches on leaves, rotting stems and etc. My tomatoes (big boy and better boy) grew but leaves turned curly and no tomatoes. Received good amount beans and the leaves started to turn spotty and fall off. Cuccumbers grew nicely and there are some cuccumbers (gerkins) but not enough from 4 plants. Ph of the soil tested proper. The only thought I have is the soil draining properly. I only drilled 3-4 holes in concrete for drainage. Please help as to why my garden is not healthy. Tx.


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Answer from NGA
November 19, 2010

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Good drainage is really important, as is the depth of the soil. The plants you're growing need plenty of space for roots - 18 inches is minimum so be sure to measure the depth of the soil and build your planter up if it isn't that deep. Overcrowding can contribute to disease problems (white blotches on leaves or brown or yellow spots on leaves). I know you'd like to get the largest harvest possible, but each plant should have adequate air circulation all around. Keeping water off the leaves (water the soil, not the plants) will also help avoid disease problems. Sounds like the zucchini flowers were poorly pollinated (aborted fruit) but what you describe might be blossom end rot if the fruits began to form and then develop rotting areas on the blossom end. Blossom end rot can develop because of inconsistent soil moisture. Lots of sunshine will ensure lots of flowering and lots of fruit so make sure your garden bed gets adequate sunshine and maintains a consistent soil moisture content. As for drainage - you can improve the drainage by adding a perforated pipe at the bottom of the bed so the excess water can drain out of the bed. I'd try again. Work some compost into the bed, make sure the drainage is adequate, and space the plants a little further apart to promote healthy new growth. Best wishes with your garden!

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