Ask a Question forum: Problems with veggies

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Name: Richard Jasztal
Hudson, FL 34667 (Zone 9b)
You can't be right if your not.
Vegetable Grower
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Jaszman
Jun 1, 2018 9:09 PM CST
I have no experience with gardening, and this is my 1st try at it. I noticed the leaves on my tomatoes were turning brown and wrinkling up. They are not dry and the soil around them are cool and damp, not wet.

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Then this morning I noticed my bean sprouts were wilted and dying.

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The ones right next to them are still fine

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This evening I noticed my peppers were starting to get shiny surfaces on the leaves and wrinkling up.

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Not all leaves are this way, it just started

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It would seem I am getting wiped out in one week with my 1st vegetable garden.
To give some background I am planting in Garden Patch grow boxes. I have used Nature's Care organic potting mix with Miracle Grow already in it. I mixed 1 lb of organic garden lime in the soil and put 1 lb of 6-6-6 fertilizer in a shallow row across the box, either in between or behind the rows depending on how I planted the box. Each box has a water reservoir that is full, but all plants were lightly watered for the 1st week until they took root.

I am not using any kind of a grow light. The boxes sit in front of windows that are north facing (Florida rooms are all windows) I open the windows during the day and let the breeze come thru. The temperature outside in zone 9-b is 72 to 82 degrees right now and I have closed off Heat/AC in order to leave the windows open.

The only other thing I have noticed is there are some kind of very, very small gnats flying around the room during the day. They are so small that they can fly thru the screens over the windows. I have seen them land on the plants, but they don't stay on them long and don't seem to be harming them. I think they are coming from the St Augustine grass in the back yard. I don't know what to spray on them around plants and I would only make it worse guessing.

All was transplanted from healthy plants or seeds. All seemed healthy for 2 - 3 weeks, until this last week.

I think I have messed this up about as bad as I can so any help you guys can give would be appreciated as I am almost to the point of ripping them out and starting over again, and if I do I don't want to repeat the same mistakes. Thanks, Rich
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jun 1, 2018 9:39 PM CST
Welcome!

I don't think I have ever seen anything like your set-up. What is it? Something you invented? Or something you bought? Confused You used organic potting mix (which I suspect includes some sort of fertilizer), plus Miracle Gro (another fertilizer), plus some garden lime (some sort of fertilizer - but why lime??) , and then just in case you missed something, some fertilizer.

I just don't know even what to say... except you can't grow plants with a gentle breeze or copious amounts of fertilizer. Get them into the sun, quit with the fertilizer and don't over water. Whatever those white things are that are covering the soil are attracting gnats and who knows what else. Get rid of it too. Sighing!

Sorry for the harsh response. Maybe I'm too tired for this website tonight.



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Name: Richard Jasztal
Hudson, FL 34667 (Zone 9b)
You can't be right if your not.
Vegetable Grower
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Jaszman
Jun 2, 2018 12:22 AM CST
Daisyl, I tried to post an answer to your questions, but apparently I didn't post it right. Anyway the grow boxes I am using are sold on line. The potting mix I used contained miracle grow in it when I bought it. The manufacturer who makes the grow box recommended I mix about 2 cups of organic garden lime in with potting mix in the tomato box only. The manufacture also recommends that you add about 2 cups of 6-6-6, 7-7-7, malorganite, or some other organic fertilizer in a shallow trench, in between or behind the rows of plants, depending on how you plant the box. The wooden boxes underneath were built by me to raise the height of the box to where I can reach it from a wheel chair. The support webbing above the box is built out of PVC and netting to a height of 4' so that I would be to reach the top from a wheel chair. It's also nice to have the little spaces in the platforms for storage (tools, fertilizer, seed baskets, etc) The boxes sit in front of my north facing windows in my Florida room, I don't think I will be able to put them out in the direct sun because 1. I have no legs and am in a wheelchair, 2. I live in the center townhouse in a row of 5 townhouses. It's a long way from the back of my place to the east or west side of the buildings.

I was thinking that if/and when I replant I would follow your recommendations and remove the 2 cups of 6-6-6 I put on top of the soil because your right there is miracle grow already in the soil, remove the plastic covers from the tops and leave the soil exposed, I don't want any more of those Gnats in my florida room. I thought if the daylight from the north windows was a problem I would look into grow lights, and have my buddy George the electrician put some in. I would appreciate any guidance you could give me as to how many and where. I was even thinking of adding lights to the tops of the PVC plant support frames ? See pictures below, what do you think? In the end I thank you for your honest answers and recommendations, any help I get is much appreciated. I guess the biggest problem my plants are having is me. In the end I am just looking to come up with a way for a dumb cripple to start a new hobby by gardening in grow boxes in my florida room. Thanks for all your help now and in the future. Rich


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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 2, 2018 8:21 AM CST
My suggestion is to start over. These seedlings will take too long to recover IF they can recover.

Just use regular potting soil, not bags of garden soil. Everything that seedlings need is in there. No need to add anything!!!!
Moisten the soil first. Then poke a hole with a pencil, plant the seed, push soil back in over the top of the seed. Just mist slightly as needed until seeds sprout.
Once they sprout, they need good strong light directly over them, perhaps 6-8". Growing them on a windowsill is not proper. Too little light intensity causes the seedling to grow thin, tall and leggy. Water now just to keep them moist. Repost with pictures when you get that far.
β€œThe only stupid question is the one that is never asked!”
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
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MindiHammerstone
Jun 2, 2018 11:40 AM CST
I would start over as well. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are new at this and just had bad advice previously.

Welcome!!! Welcome!

This really is a nice place with lots to do and very knowledgeable people. Lots of things to look at.

Good luck, πŸ€

πŸ˜€

Mindi
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
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Zencat
Jun 2, 2018 12:44 PM CST
I'm just going to add, that's a nice little setup you've got there. It must be great to get your hands dirty with the feel of growing things nearby.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
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plantmanager
Jun 2, 2018 12:55 PM CST
I grow in Earth Boxes, which are pretty much the same as your type. I got rid of the fabric covering the soil. I think it does attract bugs and the extra reflected light isn't needed. Try again, but no fertilizer til they are growing really well. I've noticed these boxes keep some plants too moist. I had sempervivums rot in mine. Veggies should be fine.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jun 2, 2018 2:23 PM CST
Yes to everything said above. And Yes, have your friend install lights. They will have to be lowered and raised, depending upon height and kinds of plants you are growing. You could do that with a pulley system from your ceiling.

Plants in containers need less fertilizer than plants in the ground. Use potting soil that has fertilizer in it but then don't add anything else. You might have to fertilize again before the end of summer but choose a commerically produced balanced fertilizer that also contains micro--nutrients. Use it at half the recommended strength.

Lime is used to raise the pH of garden soil that is too acidic. Bagged potting soil will have everything your plants need.
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: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Jun 2, 2018 3:42 PM CST
Really sorry the grow boxes seemed to come with some bad advice. Dittoing to the suggestions so far.
Agreed- You may have to remove some soil, or where you think most of the fertilizer is.
The gnats mean wet soil. Being inside, I'd suggest you not fill the water reservoir thing unless the plants have gotten really big and need watering more often than you can easily do..
Good luck Crossing Fingers! Thumbs up I hope the next time goes better!
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Name: Richard Jasztal
Hudson, FL 34667 (Zone 9b)
You can't be right if your not.
Vegetable Grower
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Jaszman
Jun 2, 2018 4:44 PM CST
Thank you all for your help and advice. Like I said before I was looking for container growing that would take alot of the mistakes out of my hands. I guess there is no way around it, gardening takes work, and knowledge. The 1st part I don't mind providing, the second part I will learn from all of you. Thanks again, Rich
Name: Richard Jasztal
Hudson, FL 34667 (Zone 9b)
You can't be right if your not.
Vegetable Grower
Image
Jaszman
Jun 2, 2018 4:52 PM CST
Oh By the way, does anyone know how to kill and control these stupid gnats without harming plants or hurting the soil with regular bug sprays.
Name: Richard Jasztal
Hudson, FL 34667 (Zone 9b)
You can't be right if your not.
Vegetable Grower
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Jaszman
Jun 2, 2018 5:00 PM CST
Kind of ironic, but I just saw this paid advertisement on the main page of our forum.


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This is the ad I saw when I bought them, again as I said more my mistakes than the fault of the manufacture.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
Jun 2, 2018 5:00 PM CST
Watering less helps. You could also get some yellow sticky tape to capture them.
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Jun 2, 2018 7:05 PM CST
Yeah those gnats love damp or more than damp conditions. So annoying!!

πŸ˜€

Mindi
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 2, 2018 7:26 PM CST
The sticky traps will take care of the gnats, but the larva lives in the wet soil, so the best method is to let your soil dry out to a couple of inches deep. I know those self watering containers sometimes stay wet to long, so check with your finger or a freshly sharpened pencil for moisture before watering again. It's a learning process.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 3, 2018 7:20 AM CST
Being inside, plastic on top is a perfect breeding grounds for the fungus gnats. Lose it, to be never seen again.

Next breeding ground is the water catch trays. They need to be drained after every watering ! Or ! Breeding grounds.
First thing I do with those kind of pots is, pull bottoms off and dismantle the pegs that lock tray and pot together, then 20 minutes after watering, from top, I can dump excess water out.

If gnats are really bad, or plants are to small to let top two inches of soil dry out. You can mix up some neem oil, and give "ALL" your pots at same time a good drink, till water comes out of bottom. Then, dust/sprinkle top of soil with diatomaceous earth.
I doubt that you'll have to repeat.

Neem oil, and diatomaceous earth are natural, and suppose to be harmless to humans.

Good day, my friend ! πŸ˜€ I tip my hat to you.
😎😎😎

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Richard Jasztal
Hudson, FL 34667 (Zone 9b)
You can't be right if your not.
Vegetable Grower
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Jaszman
Jun 3, 2018 7:30 PM CST
Philipwonel, Thank you so much for your expertise in handling my problems. I will get some "Neem Oil" and spray all plants, dirt, surface areas until the gnats disappear, then I will empty the grow boxes and dry out the potting mix to where it is the same moisture as when it came out of the bag. I will use the box covers for shower caps and never put them over the soil again. LOL

I think after looking closer at the set up of the boxes I might be able to control how much water the soil wicks up by how high I keep the water. If it is 1/2 full that would expose the bottom ten 3/8" holes to wick water to the soil mound. If I fill it the entire twenty 3/8" holes will wick water to the entire mound . I just need to experiment till I get the moisture content right (thanks for the tip) The only questions I have is would it help to put Neem Oil in the watering bay, and do I just sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on the surface of the soil after it is dried out, and how much do I put? Thank you so much, Rich
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Jun 3, 2018 7:35 PM CST
An easy way to check if it's watering time is to use your finger. Stick it into the soil. If it's wet, wait until it's just lightly damp inside before you water. I have to do that with my Gardenia in a pot outside. It seems happy!!

Again, good luck and have fun!!!

πŸ˜€

Mindi
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
Sempervivums Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
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plantmanager
Jun 3, 2018 7:36 PM CST
Another way to get rid of the gnats is to topdress the soil with some chicken grit, pumice, pea gravel, etc. They need the easy access to the wet soil, and these things make it much harder. I've had big problems in the past with the gnats, but when I started using the top dressing plus sticky traps, they died out.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 4, 2018 6:56 AM CST
Richard : I tip my hat to you.
It will probably be best for you to do as Karen @plantmanager suggested. Just above.

Please ! Please ! don't go spraying neem oil all over your place, it's going to do no good that way. Just overdose, you and your plants.

Fungus gnats don't do any damage, there only function is to breed, lay eggs, then die. There larva/magots, live in soil, eating the roots of your plants.

I would like to see you top watering and draining excess water from the catch trays.
I'm afraid water left standing in catch trays is going to cause you problems, like roots can't breathe, root rot, stagnated water (mosquitoes), AND D'Oh! encourage fungus gnats !!!

Personally.... I believe who ever came up with those self-watering things ? Humm ?πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”??? To put it nicely !!!...... Should be givin a good spanking.

It sounds like your starting over ?
If you are, throw that soil away. The gnat eggs will survive going dry, they just go dormant.

Wash and sterile your pots, including catch trays. Catch trays snap on and off.

For soil, you'll want something sterile, that won't have any gnat eggs in it.
Use equal parts of, vermiculite, sphagnum moss, and perlite. πŸ‘πŸ‘

OK, there Buddy ! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜€
Ta Ta.
😎😎😎



Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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