New Gardener, very discouraged.

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by nandmsmom, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. nandmsmom

    nandmsmom Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is my second year gardening. Last year I lost my squash to powdery mildew. I read up a lot and fixed that problem. This year we got record rains. I live in MA. With all the rain, it seems the bugs have gone crazy. I have squash vine borers. I cut them out and seem to have lost about half my plants, the rest look sickly, but I think they'll survive. I also have cucumber beetles. I'm not sure what to do with those. I'm not too keen on using sevin if I can help it. Something is eating all my potato plants.as well. The one thing that seems to be doing well are my tomatoes. Of course that being said, I'm sure I'll go out and find hornworms now.

    So is this just part of the whole gardening thing? It's so frustrating to put so much work in and get so excited, just to have nature come and bite you in the butt.

    Oh, one other thing I found. My pepper plants are flowering, but then either something is eating the buds, or they just aren't producing. I found this funny looking white, fuzzy, tiny thing that jumped all over the place on one of them. Any idea what it was, and whether it is guilty of eating my peppers?

    Thanks,

    Heather :help:
     
  2. commomsense

    commomsense Beef,Its whats for dinner

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    Welcome to wonderful world of gardening!!!!!!! Yes, That is part of the whole gardening thing.Just don't give up. I've had gardens wiped out by Bug,birds,too much rain,not enough rain,hail storms, etc,etc.

    Put lime on the plants. This will not only keep bugs away but will also help the ground.
    Also every year rotate your crops. This will help some.
     

  3. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    It brought me to the point of tears, but I went ahead and used the Sevin this morning. I didn't want to do it, I won't do it again if I don't have to, but I weighed the costs/benefits and went with what made the most sense to me.

    I'm not giving up on gardening as organically as possible, but you're right: This is an incredibly bad year for cuc beetles. They were eating EVERYTHING in my garden, not just the cucs: potatoes, zucchini, corn, peppers, even the BASIL for cryin' out loud!

    But you're right -- the tomatoes seem to be fine as frog's hair split three ways. So there's something, anyhow.

    Keep trying. It gets better every year. And when you have a really great year, remember to stock up big time to hold you over in case you have another year like this one.

    Pony!
     
  4. nandmsmom

    nandmsmom Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks commomsense and Pony. My garden is still pretty small. I rotated from last year, and plan to continue to rotate the crops and enlarge my garden. I'm using the Square Foot method, so I have 6 4x4 beds. I was really looking forward to putting up lots of pickles this year, so I'll try the lime and if that doesn't work, I'll use the sevin.

    At least I'll have lots of tomatoes!

    Heather
     
  5. tweety

    tweety Tweety

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    Gardening is an exercise in patience and resilience. One year the deer eat nearly everything, the next year its the groundhogs. Or the beetles, or the birds, or the weather spoils it all. But we keep planting and hoping for the best. And along the way we learn how to garden better, or smarter, and we harvest enough wonderful stuff to make the struggle worth while.
    After many years I have learned what does well in my garden, and what to buy in the farmer's market because there's no way I can get it to grow. And what plants flower beautifully for me and which ones are temperamental prima donnas that only give me headaches.
    The thing is, I had a wonderful time all along the way! So keep on gardening and learning, and enjoy every success.
     
  6. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Gardening alwyas involves a struggle or two - maybe that's why the victories are so glorious!

    It's extra hard when you're new at it, or when you're gardening in a new location. Have faith. Look how much better you're already doing this year over last year.

    Dont' worry too much about the potato plants. I had flea beetles going nuts on mine, and they're riddled with tiny holes... but the potatoes are doing great underground! I just kind of viewed my potatoes as a flea beetle trap crop this year, with the bonus of giving me some harvest :)
     
  7. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    Like Tweety says it's often a different set of issues each year. Variations in weather conditions and pest life cycles cause some of the issues other times it's likely to be nothing more than your own ignorance of a particular issue.

    I sympathise with your discouragement because I don't enjoy losing or "wasting" (I even hate to say the word) time and money and effort. On the other hand, the taste of a fresh ripe tomato you grew, the feeling of satisfaction from putting a meal on the table that's mostly from your garden or farm or the feeling of sharing the bounty of a successful crop with friends usually makes it worth the dissapointing times for me. I don't feel wealthy too often but having more of a crop than I can use and being able to share it with an appreciative friend gives me that feeling. I'll never be the Bill Gates of Microsoft but every once in a while I get to be the The neighborhood Bill Gates of Zucchinni or Tomatos and it feels satisfying to me.

    If you meet a gardening challenge or two each year and find a way to deal with it like you did with the powdery mildew remind yourself how smart you'll be after five or ten years.

    On the potato bugs. I've had potato leaves get pretty lacy and still have a decent crop.

    I've never done anything about hornworms. Usually in the fall I'll see one or two that are covered with parasitic wasp eggs. I let them go because the wasps kill the hornworm and then there are more wasps to kill more hornworms. Sometimes things look scary and turn out to be less harmful than you imagine without too much intervention. Sometimes not.

    Best Wishes
     
  8. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    Brand new gardens are always tough. Soil that hasn't been treated/amended. Bugs that are out of control....
    This year is the first year at our new place and I've lost every tomato plant I had. Vine borers have me down to one cucumber vine. I figure I just have a lot of work getting raised beds in, compost made and soil balanced.
    I will use a bit of Sevin now and again even though I hate using chemicals. I hate not having veggies more. After a few years the garden gets right and pests aren't quite as bad.
    Hang in there!