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Tomatos Dying, Peppers Stagnant. Help me Out?

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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 07:23 PM
Original message
Tomatos Dying, Peppers Stagnant. Help me Out?
So this Spring I built a raised 8'x4' planter out of lumber. It is not treated because I was worried that chemicals from the treatment would leech into the soil. In it I planted a few hot pepper plants and five types of tomatoes (one bush each). a few of the tomatoes died (because I had bad seedlings this year due to weather), so I re-panted a few starter plants.

My hot peppers have been in there about a month now and they're doing almost nothing. They don't appear to be dying, but they don't appear to be growing either. They've shed their first two leaves and have grown a few more, but they seem stuck right there.

The two tomato plants that survived the seeding kill off were a black Krim and a Cherries Jubilee. They both did well from the seedling stage, grew to be 3 to 4 inches tall and then they also seemed to stop growing. Over the next two weeks, the Cherries Jubilee started to yellow, starting with the bottom sets of leaves, which eventually shriveled and died. The Black Krim started to do the same. The three starters have also not thrived and area also now starting to get yellow leaves on the bottom layer. Meanwhile, two other tomato starters that I planted in my shallow bed are thriving and doing fine.

Any ideas? I initially filled the raised planter with (51) bags of standard top soil. It looked fine. It was about 2 dollars for a .75 cubic foot bag at Lowes. Is topsoil alone not enough? Today I added four bags of garden soil with fertilizer and watered it into to augment the topsoil.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-25-11 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm not an expert, but regular topsoil isn't that great
Edited on Wed May-25-11 02:07 PM by LiberalEsto
The kind of topsoil you get at the store doesn't have very much in the way of nutrients. It's filler. You need things like composted manure, leaf compost, peat moss, etc. to make good soil for growing vegetables. Tomatoes also need lime for calcium.

I've used the Square Foot Gardening mixture for several years and like it very much. This year I added some bone meal, kelp granules, and Epsom salts and it seems to be giving good results.

Here is a link to Square Foot Gardening that gives info about creating a soil mix for planter boxes like yours. http://www.squarefootgardening.org /


Mel's Mix is basically 1/3 diverse compost from many sources, 1/3 peat moss (buy Canadian so it's renewable), and 1/3 vermiculite. It's soft and fluffy, so plants can grow big, healthy roots. You should never step on the mix or compress it.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-11 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Thanks, It Looks Like This Is The Cause
I didn't realize that regular topsoil was nutrient-poor. I've augmented with some garden soil with fertilizer and things are doing a little better. It's too late this year but next year I will remove about two feet of the topsoil from the raised planter and replace with garden soil and as much compost as we can produce in a year.

I've wanted to try the square foot garden stuff before and have looked at the square foot site in the past. I may try to build my own box and create my own soil for it next year.
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-26-11 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yellow leaves on tomatoes. Not easy to determine the cause.
You don't say where you are (looks like MD) or what the weather has been so far this year. I know that in W PA, it has been too cold and wet for the garden to do well yet. If it has not warmed up much there yet, the pepper plants may just be waiting for that hot weather that they like so much. The same goes with tomatoes.

Yellow leaves can mean too little water, too much water, not enough nitrogen, or insects/disease/fungus. It just isn't that easy. If it is the lower leaves yellowing first, and the upper leaves looking fine, keep in mind that many plants that are not getting the right nutrients will rob the oldest leaves (lower) of those nutrients to use for newer growth.

It appears that you did not start the planter well with just top soil, which compacts too easily and will rob plants of air in the soil. It also does not have much nutrition for plants. For this year, don't give up yet, but do add compost and work it into the soil around the plants. I have also used rice hulls worked into the soil to allow for moisture to sink into the soil. Sadly, you may have to use a chemical fertilizer for this year to supply nutrients that are just not in that soil. If you make it through this year, make sure to really work organic matter into that soil before you plant again.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-11 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Local nursary suggested shrimp compost
I've used that at my community garden plot before and it seemed to work well. I'm going to try to work that in now that I've re-planted some of the bed and added garden soil with fertilizer. I'm also going to try a milk wash. Something's bound to work, hehe.

Yes, I'm in Baltimore and the weather has been similar to (southern) PA, which is to say, bad. We had a wet, cold spring for the most part and after about two weeks of actual spring weather it's shot into the mid to upper 90s for several days. We can't seem to catch a break.
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I don't know about shrimp compost, but each area has
composts that are easily accessible for that area. Remember to start your own compost pile for the future.

I am so sorry you did all that work, and now we are all telling you to do a lot more work. You will get there though, and just keep adding organic matter to your garden plot and you will have richer soil each year. Good luck.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-26-11 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. i would do miracle grow on a regular schedule.
wonder if it is possible to do some aerating. a simple rod of some sort even. should help a little.
you can work some peat in from top dressing, and some worms would help with that.
but i think easily available nutrients is the most important thing. and even watering.
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trud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. sounds like my garden
It's been a bad year for veggies here in RI. I am hoping that now we've had a couple of days with actual sun, things might be better. People are having to replant, etc.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-11 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
7. Stuff:
1) Dig out the plants .... w/ a big section around the roots ... place them in the shade ...... lay they down and put straw over their roots.

b) work into the ground a planting mix that has equal parts;

silica sand (play box sand), composted manure, vermiculite, and an organic container medium.

iiii) include about about 1 lbs espoma "plant tone per every 25 square foot

2) Replant the plants

ii) mulch the soil w/ about 1/2 inch clean wheat straw

c) Water the plants w/ an overhead sprinkler for 1/2 hour when the sun is not on the plants

****************


water plants every other day for 2 to 3 weeks .... do not water when the sun is on the leaves ....... if you have to water when the sun is out
do not get water on the leaves.

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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks!
I've mixed some garden vegetable soil with fertilizer into the soil and given them all a milk bath as recommended in one of the other threads. If that doesn't work, I'll do exactly as you've posted here. Thanks!
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trud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. let us know what happens, thanks. n/t
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-11 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Things are Improving
The plants in the raised planter are doing better. A few hot peppers have baby peppers and others are flowering. Some tomatoes are beginning to flower as well. I did give them all a milk bath as recommended in one of the other threads here in addition to the additon of garden soil with fertelizer. They're still behind a few tomato plants that went in my lower plantet which is basically just an in ground bed with a little garden soil packed into it.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-11 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. Feed them by side dressing with compost or drenching the soil with "compost tea"
I feed plants compost tea all year. I don't have an "aeration" system like some articles recommend. If you have not been making compost, you could buy some compost at the store.

http://compostguide.com/compost-tea/
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-11 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
13. I'm thinking nitrogen; but,
it could be ph balance.
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-12-11 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
14. sounds like therearen't enough nutrients
try feeding them with fish emulsion or heaping on the rabbit poop, something that will feed but not burn.
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TNLib Donating Member (683 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-13-11 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
15. You probably needed tomix in some compost. Try eggshells for tomatoes.
nt
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