Ask a Question forum: Need help with many many things!

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Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 6:34 PM CST
HI!
I'm new here and have many issues with my plants.(Fruit and veggie)
OK so these include:
Blackberry
Keylime tree
Strawberry
Raspberry
Tomato
And
Ants!

So here's the issue (s)..
My blackberry bush/vine is seem to be dieing, if not what's happening? The edges of the leaves are browning!

My strawberry plants keep producing squishy strawberries! Dark red spots, and getting squishy before theyou even turn fully red!

My keylime tree is seem to be doing okay, but when spring came, many flowers came in. I thought, Yay! Keylime!
Nope! They all fell off, and I didn't get 1 keylime..


Raspberry plant has the same issue as the blackberry, it's just a small plant though.

Tomatoes get squishy very fast aswell! I pick then early, and even then they're squishy!

And,
Ants!
I was pulling grass, (in the garden box)
and came across many many ants, everywhere! What can I do about it? I want no pesticides, because I don't want to harm the plants.

Thanks for any help!!!
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 3, 2017 8:13 PM CST
Wow, I think you have overwhelmed the experts. My only thought is that your key lime may have suffered from a late freeze as several of my citrus trees did. There is still a chance that it will set another set of blooms.
Porkpal
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 8:17 PM CST
Have I?
Oops, sorry!
Hope they get answered though..
I need help.. it may have happened, but in Texas, towards the spring, we started with semi high tempratures..
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 8:18 PM CST
Problably why not many people are answering..
Thanks for the reply!
Hurray!
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RickM
Jun 3, 2017 8:23 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome!

My guess is that everyone is scratching their heads. Plus, it is the week-end and everyone is out playing in the dirt!

I'm sure you'll be getting some answers soon. (I don't have enough sun to grow anything you're having problems with.)

Best of luck!
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 8:46 PM CST
Olay thanks for the reply, rick!
I myself have been in the dirt alot too..
I'll list what I got..
Tomato (2)
Black cherry tomato
Grape tomato
Habanero pepper
Thai hot pepper
Bannana pepper (sweet)
Blackberry
Raspberry
Strawberry
Jumbo jalapeño
Onion
Carrots
I think thats it, but we got another garden bed comming soon.
[Last edited by PlantsWillDance - Jun 3, 2017 8:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 3, 2017 9:01 PM CST
HI and welcome, PlantsWillDance. Lots more questions need answers from you before we can attempt to help - first of all, what part of Texas are you in? It's a big place with a lot of different climate conditions. Just at least give us your city, please?

Second, have you been fertilizing? What and how much have you used?

Third, what about watering? It would help a lot if you could post pictures of the whole plants, not just a few leaves on each one. A small plant just getting going will make squishy fruit that doesn't mature. A big lusty, healthy plant making squishy fruit is a whole other ball game.

Are your plants in full sun? All day?? How's your soil? I see a pot in one picture, so are some of these plants growing in pots? Did you amend the soil with any goodies before you planted? Tell us all your secrets! Big Grin

The ants aren't usually any big problem, unless they're fire ants. Just a nuisance.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 9:49 PM CST
Okay ! Here it goes.
1.Dallas TX
2 .Yes , I've fertilized, it's an organic veggie and plant fertilizer . I sprinkle a bit at the bottom of where I'll plant the plant, mix it in, and leave a bit on top.
3.I water about every midday . The plants are fairly big
4.Full sun. All day, don't test my soil.. sorry if I offended anyone.. Confused
5.Only the keylime tree was in a pot. All of the others are in a raised bed, and a semi raised bed on the ground.
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 9:53 PM CST
I'll post full pictures in the morning. If it's messy, it's because the onion tops have been trampled by a few birds . (Problem solved)
and grass is comming in (I'm working on it)
Not to mention carrots. *Blush*
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 3, 2017 10:01 PM CST
Ok, thanks for the answers. Post some pictures of the whole bed, and each plant tomorrow, maybe? How long since you planted all these plants?

As far as the fertilizer goes, how much is "a bit"?? Is it a long term, timed release fertilizer -
look at the package, does it says "feeds for 3 months"? If not, you need to give your plants a good couple of tablespoons every couple of weeks. Maybe more for the berry plants.

Another question, do you know what your water is like? Is it "soft" or "hard" ? If hard, you should test it, too. Find a friend who has a swimming pool or an aquarium and ask them if you can test your water with their kit. Or take a water sample to a pool store - a ziploc bag full of water is what they need - and they'll test it for you. The pH of some tap water can be very high and that can block your plants from being able to use the nutrients in the soil. Watering should always be done early in the day. It reduces evaporation, gives the plants a good drink before the temperature rises, and also reduces the chances of fungal infections on the leaves which can happen if your plants go through the night with water on their leaves. Water drops on the leaves can also act like little magnifiers and the sun can burn the leaves - that might explain some of the marks on your berry leaves.

You can do a soil test yourself with a little test kit from the garden center that costs about $3. It might be worth the investment for you, but wait until we see what your plants look like.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 3, 2017 10:29 PM CST
I planted in February this year.
I use about 1/4 a cup in the dirt before planting.
I think it's time to feed again though. Didnot relized it said to feed monthly .
I just saw it lasted a long time!
Can I feed tomorrow?
Also, I'll start to water in the morning.
Thanks for your help so far!
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 4, 2017 9:38 AM CST
Yep, so your plants have been pretty hungry for a couple of months. Don't forget that a bigger plant needs more fertilizer than a small one, so what you gave them in February might have been quite a lot for a new transplant, but would be maybe not enough for your large mature plants now.

Same with water - as the plants get bigger and the weather gets hot, they need more water. At our school garden here in Florida, we water our veggie plants for half an hour every morning with micro sprinklers while they're small and the weather is in the 70's and 80's. After the first month we increase to 45min. every morning, and by late April when the plants are big and we start to see 90's we're watering for an hour or more each morning. Deep watering is necessary. If you can put your water system on a simple timer attached to the hose bib, then they dependably get the right amount of water every day so you don't have to remember. A drip or micro system is best for water efficiency.

Also through the summer, a mulch around the bases of your plants is a huge benefit. It helps keep down weeds, keeps the soil cooler and retains moisture in the soil. Also helps prevent soil erosion if you get heavy rains (don't we all, in summer storms?) We just use hay or straw about 3in. thick around the plants and out about a foot or two from the plant bases.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 4, 2017 9:50 AM CST
I'll post more pictures in a bit,
Any idea on the squishy strawberries and tomato?
Is it just the lack of fertilizer?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 4, 2017 9:56 AM CST
Might be, but I'll wait to give you an opinion until I see the plants.

Oh, could you also post a pic of the front of your fertilizer package? Just curious what exactly you're using.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Jun 4, 2017 9:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 4, 2017 12:31 PM CST
Here's the main problem plants.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 4, 2017 3:26 PM CST
Sorry, I just saw this post for the first time.

The tomato close-up looks like it has a brown spot at the very bottom of the tomato. Two things can cause that, sitting on the damp ground or a calcium deficiency. Adding calcium to the soil won't necessarily fix a calcium deficiency as you have been fertilizing. But for some reason, the calcium is not available to the plants. This can be a few things but most likely the Ph of your soil.

The second, more easily fixed problem could be that the tomatoes are too close to the ground so rotting before they ripen.

Strawberries get squishy on plants that are being overwatered or when the berries touch the ground.

Did your keylime have a recent shock? Forgot to water? Moved to new location? Did you see any bees while your keylime was blooming? What kind of pot and how big is the pot?

Blackberries can get dry edges for a million reasons: too much water or not enough, too much fertilizer.......
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Alayna
Texas
PlantsWillDance
Jun 4, 2017 3:58 PM CST
How can I fix the tomato and strawberries touching the ground?
I have a cage for the tomato I'm using, but the plant grew outward for so long, it's not working. Should I prune it?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 4, 2017 4:22 PM CST
On the pictures of your whole bed, I think maybe your plants are suffering from not enough soil depth. Did you till up the soil there, before you put in your raised bed? Soil that's been under grass for years is usually pretty compacted, and also nutrient deficient.

Then, it looks like your soil has subsided a lot since you filled up the bed, since there are inches of wood frame showing inside the bed there. So, your plants maybe surviving on about 4inches of good soil. Add that to the fact that you only fertilized once, back in February, they're surely starving.

The strawberry and tomato plants aren't too bad, but still are pretty small for having been in there for over 3 months. The berry bushes really aren't putting on nearly enough growth. I'd get busy and source out a truck load of compost, and fill that bed right up to the brim again. The tomato plant you can fill soil up around its stem and it will grow roots from the stem. The other plants you'll have to carefully lift them, fill a pile of soil under them and settle them in again.

Our landfill here makes excellent compost and it's free for the taking. Lots of other places have composting programs too, maybe check with your County Extension service to see where you can get some.

That Epsoma fertilizer is fine for regular garden use, but for veggies the analysis 3-4-4 is very low. You probably need to use about twice as much as the package recommends. Also in summer the fert disperses or is used up much faster. Hot weather, big plants, lots of watering all contribute to the faster use of fertilizer. So I'd be putting some of that around my plants about every 2 weeks from now until the weather cools off. When you go to buy some more, get a vegetable fert with a higher analysis, like 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. It's going to cost a bit more but you'll use less of it, so it's totally worth it.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 4, 2017 4:33 PM CST
Oh, also on keeping the tomatoes and strawberries up off the ground - after you get some more soil into that bed, you need to mulch around all the plants with some hay or straw.

The reason strawberries are called that is because they traditionally are grown with straw under the leaves to hold the berries up off the ground.

The straw (or whatever you use for mulch) does a much more important job in your hot summer weather though. It shades the soil from the direct sun, which keeps it cooler and prevents evaporation to a large extent. So your plants get more of the water you're giving them. It also will help to keep down weeds and protect the soil from erosion and compaction by heavy rain. For the winter, you can just dig the leftover mulch into the soil to add good organic material for next year.

You didn't post a picture of your key lime tree yet. Let's have a look? I'm inclined to think maybe it was just a cold snap that may have zapped all your blooms, but again I'd like to see a picture.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 4, 2017 5:37 PM CST
She did post a picture of the tree, but it looked all right to me. Could probably improve with deeper soil and fert.

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