Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong?


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I love gardening. But I am HORRIBLE at it. I feel like I am letting my Grandpa's incredible garden legacy down. I worked SO hard this year to keep a happy, healthy garden... and failed miserably.

I just went outside to check on things and found more dead plants, my basil covered in white flies, and my ONE BIG ALMOST ripe tomato eaten by a doggone chipmunk!

Generally I plant my garden in the spring and we go on vacation in July and my hubby ends up killing it by either overwatering it or under watering it. We may get a few fruits and veggies out of it, but never much.

This year, however, I have been home all summer. It has been plagued by 1 thing after another. Chipmunks, vine borers, white flies, and other stuff... I have NO IDEA what! I am attaching some pictures. Can anyone tell me what may be causing the issues? I used neem oil, spinosad soap, blood meal, coffee grinds, eggshells, lyme. My husband and son built a sort of cage around the outdoor garden to keep higher critters out. But, NOTHING KEEPS THE BUGS or critters AWAY!

I have 2 sections for my garden. 1 is a greenhouse behind my deck. The other is a triangular shaped outdoor (attaching pics).

Is my garden placement bad? Do I need more soil? Note, I DO replace the soil yearly.

HELP!!!!!!!
 

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From a few pics it looks like most of this is in tiny to very small flower pots.

Things like the tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon need a lot of soil in the root zone. When you think about it there is roughly equal amounts of plant above ground as below. With so little soil and root ball the plants are starving which is setting yourself up for failure. A 5 gallon bucket for a single tomato plant is almost big enough. Hydroponics get by with smaller buckets because they're constantly cycling perfect nutrients over the root.

If you want to keep this as a container garden look at pots or boxes at least 24" x 24" and 18" deep.

Another thing to look into for next year is strawbale gardening.
 
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Thanks. This is the 1st year I have done a mix of in ground and pots. I thought putting some of the plants in pots would help keep some of the ground bugs away... clearly that didnt help & created other issues.
The majority of the plants are not in pots and the leaves have been chewed by something. What? I have NO IDEA! I have looked for beetles or grasshoppers... the leaves are like lace.... And I have never seen a bug!
Any suggestions for fall crops I could try?
 
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I'll take a stab at this but my diagnosis by slide show is generally poor. I suggest you look up each of these to verify if the symptoms match the rest of the plant:

1 - the watermelon looks like classic blossom end rot. Usually attributed to uneven watering or lack of calcium. Common in tomatoes. Thought is the lack of calcium causes the cells to collapse in the fast growing area of the fruit. Sorry to say but that piece of fruit is a loss, cut it off so the plant can send energy elsewhere.

2 - the eggplant looks just like mine this year and the previous 5 years I've grown them. The leafs are light green and get tiny spots, I've just accepted it.

3 - the cherry tomatoes are sad looking. I'd guess it is from the starvation due to lack of soil at the root zone. Tomatoes will set roots along the whole vine. Crazy idea but this may work to salvage the plant. Get a big pot or 5 gallon bucket (drill or cut several drainage holes in the bucket) lift the little pot up with the tomato vine in it and place it in the big pot - if the plant comes out of the little pot great if not, oh well, retrieve it later. Slowly and carefully fill the big pot with soil. Remove any leafs that would be covered with soil - if you bury them they will rot and cause problems. Water heavily for a few days - water, not fertilizer right now.

4 - how hot is it in that tiny green house mid day when baking in the sun? Small greenhouses are notoriously hard to control in the sun. It looks like what was in there has been baked.

5 - pic 181032, yeah, I'm at a loss. I can't even tell what it is.

------

For a pot size reference - I have a round molded plastic half barrel 12" deep and 20" in diameter next to my back door which I use for 3 basil plants and a small clump of garlic chives. Next to that I have a tiny galvanized stock tank looking thing 12" deep and 12" x 22" at the top growing a bunch of oregano and a rosemary. I would think that my 20" diameter barrel could hold one tomato plant but I would push it with planting 2 or 3 basil around it too.
 
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I love gardening. But I am HORRIBLE at it. I feel like I am letting my Grandpa's incredible garden legacy down. I worked SO hard this year to keep a happy, healthy garden... and failed miserably.

I just went outside to check on things and found more dead plants, my basil covered in white flies, and my ONE BIG ALMOST ripe tomato eaten by a doggone chipmunk!

Generally I plant my garden in the spring and we go on vacation in July and my hubby ends up killing it by either overwatering it or under watering it. We may get a few fruits and veggies out of it, but never much.

This year, however, I have been home all summer. It has been plagued by 1 thing after another. Chipmunks, vine borers, white flies, and other stuff... I have NO IDEA what! I am attaching some pictures. Can anyone tell me what may be causing the issues? I used neem oil, spinosad soap, blood meal, coffee grinds, eggshells, lyme. My husband and son built a sort of cage around the outdoor garden to keep higher critters out. But, NOTHING KEEPS THE BUGS or critters AWAY!

I have 2 sections for my garden. 1 is a greenhouse behind my deck. The other is a triangular shaped outdoor (attaching pics).

Is my garden placement bad? Do I need more soil? Note, I DO replace the soil yearly.

HELP!!!!!!!
You mentioned you change the soil every year. What are you using for soil? Top soil? Potting soil?I’m not aware of any soil in a bag that will adequately grow veggies without considerable amending. Baged top soil is pretty much dirt in a bag. Almost no nutrients. Needs amending with possibly several things. Composted organic matter, pet moss, composted manure and a good fertilizer. If your using potting soil to grow in its a poor growing soil also. It’s intended for starting plants, not growing plants to maturity. Your soil PH could be your problem. Some plants want a high PH while others want a low PH. In my garden the PH varies from 6.2 to 8.0 and all numbers in between. When laying out my garden I use PH to help me determine where to plant x,y or z. There are tons of YouTube videos that can lead you through the steps of mixing a good growing soil. Watch lots of videos devoted to growing tomatoes. Or growing eggplant. Or growing anything else. I have a 1/2 acre vegetable garden. In it I grow about 15 different crops. no 2 veggies take the exact same care. I try to add a couple new vegetables each year. But, I don’t just plant the new vegetable without learning how to grow the new plant. I read and I watch videos.
I use many different fertilizers because 1 plant may do best with 13-13-13 while the next plant wants high nitrogen while others like peas and beans need a small amount of a balanced fertilizer when planting seeds but should never be fertilized again. Over the winter do your homework. Study all you can about the veggies you want to grow.
You might consider purchasing Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond. It’s my garden bible.
good luck
 
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