Thursday, October 22, 2009

And you said I couldn't kill a SFG. I'm proving you all wrong.

I'll admit to being uncharacteristically optimistic about the plants in our two SFG raised beds. I think we did pretty good at approximating Mel's Mix and the weather hasn't been extreme so I thought we might just get a nice Late Fall-Early Winter crop from this planting. But, as is always the case with anything we plant, it isn't going as planned. I'd appreciate it if you'd all act shocked and surprised please.

First we'll talk about the Kentucky Wonder Beans. Farmer B built an awesome trellis for these little buggers (more on that later) and they sprouted wonderfully, but they're fizzling out fast. I noticed that the edges of the leaves were turning white last week. Now this week the plants are curling up and dying.

I am seriously the Gardening Grim Reaper. Anything I touch expires rapidly. Farmer B said I should wear gloves so my death-touch doesn't affect any more plants. It's very depressing. Here is a photo of me pointing at my dying plants.

I figured that maybe the Kentucky Wonder beans just weren't meant to be, but then I noticed that the yellow bush beans in the other box are starting to do the same thing! What gives???

On a bright note the broccoli and the black-eyed peas seem to not be suffering under the wrath of my black thumb.

But oddly enough one of my bell peppers has completely died - it didn't survive the transplant torture I put it through. One of the other bell peppers always seems to have red ants on it when I look at it, although I can see none in the rest of the garden. And the center leaves are all dark and curly and stunted-looking. The other bell pepper seems to be without issue - so far.

I have two squares of Bok Choy and they just aren't as healthy as I hoped they would be. A couple look like they might just live if I don't make eye contact with them, but most look like the one you see in the photo below - sort of a bedraggled limp mess.

So I'm not sure what to do with everything. The SFG book says I shouldn't need to fertilize, but maybe that's what everything needs. I wonder if I should be watering more, but I assumed 2-3 times a week with a watering can was enough (especially since it's rained a couple of times). We did have some hot weather when the garden was first planted with heat indices around 100 degrees for almost two weeks, but then we got a super-cold front with lows in the chilly 50s for a few days. Was it the temperature variation?

Or is it just the sickle I seem to carry with me when I visit the garden?

Discouraged I am.

Surprised I am not.


Carole said...

I recognized you immediately in that photo!!!!!!! On a good note we ate the eggs you gave us today and they were very tasty. See, you can grow chickens!

Jeff Vandiver said...

Kate - love the costume! Those beans look like they have 2 problems - too much water, and not enough fertilizer.
When the outer edge of the leaves dry up like that, it's usually from excessive amounts of water. Squash will do the same thing...
Also, when the leaves are not a dark shade of green, it usually means more nitrogen is needed. However, too much water can also make them light colored....
I believe in you.

Lo said...

Kate- In my experience with the SFG you should be watering every single day that it does not rain. The boxes drain so you dont have to worry about water sitting in them.
P.S. I love the new look. It suites you well ;)

Ribbit said...

HA! I was wondering, myself, if we didn't need to move GBDD up a week. :)

I just think it's the time of year. My beans got all funky just like that as well. Start fresh in the spring.

Kate and Crew said...

EG - They haven't had that much water - Just a couple of times a week with a watering can. And the SFG book (and what I've read online) says that you can't overwater a SFG garden since the water drains out. And the flipping books says you don't need fertilizer. GAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! I just KNEW this wouldn't be as simple as everyone made it seem. Hmph.

Lo - too much water - not enough water - I'm sooo confused.

Ribbit - I think this is the best time of year to grow things down here because the hot weather is over, but that doesn't matter in my sick little world....sigh

Erin said...

I am starting to think you are on a "shock & awe" mission with us! I have NEVER fertilized a sq ft bed, and in my experience with the Master Gardener stuff, people often throw way too much stuff onto their plants, lol! I do love the Grim Reaper, just not pointing at your garden! You will get it... and give those lettuces a few days to recover, they often look like hell right after transplanting - we are all pulling for you to succeed! If you added manure it was aged, right? Since if not it can burn your plants right up...

Jeff Vandiver said...

Kate - have you considered taking a leaf to your local extension office? If that isn't an option, you'll just have to experiment with fertilizer/watering to see what it is. Contrary to what some believe, you must add fertilizer to supply all of the plants' needs. Compost just isn't enough.

I'll shut up now.

Kate and Crew said...

Gah EG! Don't shut up. Isn't it obvious that I need ALL the advice that I can get? Seriously - I appreciate every single ounce of advice on my garden!!!!!!

Stefaneener said...

Well, you have both temperature and day length to deal with. If it's warm but everything else about the plants says "Winter's coming!" then maybe the spring things won't do so well. Your bok choy looks like swiss chard to me.

I wish I had great advice, but hang in there.

Kelly said...

A little fish and seaweed emulsion is never a bad thing in my opinion. You could do a foliar spray or add directly to the soil. If you spray the leaves do it at a quarter strength. One of those $10 sprayers puts out a nice, fine mist.

The thing to remember about freshly mixed growing medium is that it has not had time to set up shop with all of the micro organisms that aid in nutrient uptake. Hang in there Kate, your Grim Reeper photo almost ended in me needing a new laptop due to the spewing of coffee.

Annie*s Granny said...

Kate, those pepper leaves look as though they could have some aphid damage, and that might explain the ants...they are eating the aphid. I've had mine look like that, but they survived (boy, did they ever survive)! I've also had bean leaves do just what yours did during 100 degree weather, and I agree with Kelly, give them some fish and/or seaweed emulsion for a gentle, non-burning feeding.

These word verifications really slay me. I am NOT an exfooker!

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