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#366181 Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:28 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
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I hate to come here asking for help but the season is upon us and I can't seem to find answers to my problems.

For 3 years now, me and my 3 daughters have been trying to establish a small back-yard garden. Each year we get mixed results. This past year, was the worst across the board. My wife has been begging me to grow some pumpkins for our kids and nieces. Each year we try and might get one or two pumpkins.

Some background- Our garden is 9 feet (north to south) and 30 feet (east to west). We are on a dirt/clay mix. Clay is more prevalent the deep you dig. I used soil conditioner along with 4 yards of quality top soil. The soft bedding ranges from 6-12+ inches deep. I add manure and a compost/top soil mix every season. I had a soil test done last season. I was low on calcium and nitrogen (i think they were the 2 things). I added the recommended supplements and went on my way.

My plants and their results-

Tomatoes- Ok. As season went on, I noticed brown spots (like freckles) and small holes in the plants. They never seem to reach their size potential. My tomatoes range from the size of an egg to the size of an smaller orange.

Green Beans- 50/50 results here. Usually one crop and done. Of that crop, half are what I would consider eating. brown spots, some pieces are shriveled.

Broccoli and Cauliflower- Planted and never got more than a foot tall. Some flowering but no crops. I do start planting a little earlier than most. I dont think the warm weather had an affect.

peppers (green and jalapeno) Very small green peppers. Most of which had large brown spots. Jalapenos were Ok.

Cucumbers- My kids favorite. Looked like shriveled crooked/twisted up, yellow blobs.

Squash- Did Ok as it does every year.

Watermelons and cantaloupe- Small fruits, usually ends up rotting before full growth.

Pumpkins- The start of GREAT. As the pumpkins form, we notice the vine starts to die off from one end (usually the root end) and out of 5-6 plants, we get 1 or 2 pumpkins. We start these around late April hoping we will have time to plant more if the others fail.


I have a pretty good feeling that my yard is diseased. Im not sure if this makes a difference with the garden. There has been plenty of new dirt added over the past few years. I usually till it 2-3 times before planting in hopes to bust up as much weeds as possible. The order in which I listed the crops above, is the order in which we plant the crops going east to west. All crops are planted in rows running north to south. Each row being roughly 9 feet long. I space everything out as described in the planting directions.

I was entertaining the idea of making some changes. Possibly building an elevated bed filling with brand new soil (on top of the existing) and putting tomatoes in large pots and growing them separately. My garden is in a position to get sun pretty much all day. If anything, the western end (pumpkins) dont get 100% full sun shining down all day. They get a little shading from a willow tree and trampoline.

I know this is a lot of info but Im desperately trying to make this garden turn out well this year.

Thanks in advance for any help!!!!!!!!!

Joined: Oct 2005
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Hot Rod
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Hot Rod
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First off I know tomatoes dislike manur e ground.. Grows lots of leaves an no fruit.
Also there has been a blight last few years on tomatoes.
Clay soil is tough to do.

Compost helps lots.
LIme can be a great help.
Fertilizer.


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PS... My horse isn't here, this is my Nitemare..
Joined: Mar 2013
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Dont know where you are, or if you have access to get this, but here in Mississippi, we have a good bit of sand and clay. My hubby gets trailer loads of Cotton Gin "Millins", which is the left over pile of stuff after they gin the cotton. He scatters it on the garden and cuts it in with the tractor in the fall. Using leaves does well too, but again, it needs to be done in the fall of the year. Both are free.
Some people here are growing tomato plants in the square hay bales. I've never tried it, but they have told me it works great.
Good Luck.


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