Your plants should be large and lush throughout the peak of the vegetable garden season, with fruit and vegetables plentiful and flowers vibrant.
Once you have this, it means your garden’s optimum environment is in tip-top shape, allowing you to reap the enormous harvests and making growing food worth it for health and save money.
But why is my vegetable garden not growing as expected? If you are new to gardening, there are easy beginner gardening mistakes to make, although they can be easy to rectify.
You can find what’s wrong with my vegetable garden and what you can do to put it right in our guide. (Learn How to Grow Potatoes)
What Should You Not Do When Gardening?
Use Too Much Fertilizer
Fertilizers should only be used when the soil is deficient in nutrients. Plants only take up the nutrients they require, and the nutrients added will be wasted. For nitrogen, this is especially true.
Use Synthetic Fertilizers
Rather than use synthetic fertilizers, make your own organic compost to add to your garden soil using earthworm castings, fish and seaweed emulsions, and leaf mold. Any organic matter can be used, and you can reduce the need for fertilizers. Your vegetable garden will be more productive and healthier. (Find the Best Liquid Lawn Fertilizer)
Plant in Too Much Shade
Never grow in areas with too much shade. Some vegetables, such as lettuces and peas, can tolerate some shade, but most plants need six to eight hours of direct sunlight to grow.
If it is your first vegetable garden, monitor the sun throughout the season and see the areas getting the most sunlight. Check the sunlight in the spring, summer, and fall, as what’s sunny in the early spring could be shaded in the summer as trees grow leaves.
Use Broad Spectrum Pesticides
Pesticides kill pests and insects regardless of if they are bad or beneficial insects. First, identify the source of the problem and then devise a strategy for preventing or eliminating them from your garden. There is often an organic solution to a pest problem that is healthier for your garden and your family’s health.
Use Too Much Water
Many vegetable gardening mistakes come from too much watering. However, if your garden is in an area with standing water, it can quickly kill the roots and make it impossible to grow anything. . (Plan Your Garden Right With Landscape Design Software Free)
Most vegetable crops prefer to dry out between watering, while you’ll find certain vegetables, such as tomatoes and squash, dislike being too dry or over wet by their fruits.
It’s best to water your vegetables from the ground up. Never use a sprinkler to water your garden every day, as it can lead to further issues. Besides this, water early morning before the water can cause mold when temperatures drop at night.
Why Is My Garden Not Doing Well?
When plants are yellow, don’t grow, or won’t produce food, check a few things to determine whether you can find the source of the problem.
Is your garden getting enough sunlight hours? Plants need full sun for eight or more hours each day for your vegetables to thrive. If vegetables don’t grow to their full potential, it can be a lack of light. Move your garden to a full-sun area of your yard or focus on growing vegetables that require less sunlight.
Tomatoes, melons, peppers, and eggplant prefer as much sunlight as possible during the summer unless it gets too hot. Plant root vegetables such as carrots and beets, as well as leafy greens such as spinach, salad mix, cilantro, and kale.
For the success of your garden, you need sun and good soil. If you have enough sun to grow the vegetables you’ve planted in your garden, the next source of problems can be poor soil or lack of soil nutrients.
Most gardeners benefit by fertilizing plants with a balanced organic fertilizer each time they plant. Even when you have ordered healthy topsoil, the soil isn’t as healthy as it could be. Besides this, drainage can cause issues. Sandy soil will drain too fast, while soil with clay keeps too much water.
Raised beds can resolve many soil issues and are easier to work with once in position, though you can add manure to keep the soil healthy.
Vegetable plants in your area may grow in unusual ways because of local weather patterns. Cool nighttime temperatures below 60 degrees F and hot daytime temperatures above 85 degrees F, for example, might cause tomato and pepper plants to lose a flower from their tips sooner rather than later.
If the weather stays this way around the time these plants are supposed to flower and set fruit, you might end up with less than expected.
Some of your plants may be stressed when the weather has been hot and dry, and there is no rain. Ensure your plants get at least one inch of water every week and more if you have planted in sandy soil. (Learn How To Harvest Kale)
As a gardener, it is recommended to mulch your soil with organic matter; you can control moisture and help regulate soil temperatures, besides not letting weeds flower.
Is Vegetable Gardening Hard?
Growing great vegetables, like any gardening, takes practice. Although it isn’t difficult, plants can be unpredictable and uncooperative. Here are common blunders, with tips on how to avoid them.
Planting Too Early
We’re all eager to get the garden growing yet planting too early is the chief culprit for failure. One of the key things you need to know is the last frost date and, later in the year, your first frost date. It is only from the last frost; the soil can warm enough to plant your seeds.
Many gardeners grow seeds indoors, yet you could face issues inside your indoor nursery if you can’t transplant them. Space and light are vital at this stage, so you need to get them out of your house and into your garden at the key times, or you’ll be back at your local nursery for more seeds.
Picking the Wrong Spot
Working in your vegetable garden on a fresh spring or fall day is enjoyable. However, if your garden isn’t hardy, you can face many issues. Water and the sun are vital.
Other factors to consider include placing it near a supply of water and good sun for the best growth of your crops. Trees can impact the growing season as they can cast shade over your vegetable garden and slow the growth of your crops.
Many gardeners get cautious when to harvest. The concern of insufficient supply or they worry they will harm their plant. However, failing to harvest when vegetables are ready can cause your garden to slow down.
If your plant’s vines are full of cucumbers or tomatoes, they won’t produce more. In addition, harvesting herbs such as basil and cilantro regularly is beneficial, and cutting a plants’ tops can lead to stimulated growth. (Read White Spots on Tomato Leaves – What to Do)
Lack of Airflow
One common issue is that plants are grown too close together. As seedlings, it may appear there is enough space, yet as they grow, these spaces are eaten up. Once there is no gap, sun and air circulation are reduced to the lower leaves, as with tomatoes. It will lead to illness and decreased yields.
What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Plants?
There are a variety of problems that can arise in a vegetable garden for the ordinary gardener. Fortunately, there are simple solutions to such problems as well.
Not everything goes as planned for vegetable gardening. Troubleshoot your vegetable garden with these simple techniques, whether you prefer to garden in raised beds or the ground.
You’ve spent the first several weeks of spring planting vegetable garden seeds. Even if you think you’ve given your garden the correct amount of water and added compost, your vegetable garden isn’t producing as much as you’d want.
- Mistake 1: One of the most common vegetable garden problems is with the seeds themselves. Nothing is more frustrating than planting many seeds only to discover that none of them germinates or that the germination rate is extremely low.
- Mistake 2: You haven’t allowed them enough time. This one is simple; wait a while. Some seeds take a long time to germinate. Check your packages to discover how long germination usually takes.
- Mistake 3: The soil is too cold. Don’t plant your seeds too early. For most seeds to germinate, the soil must be warm. Indoors or in cold flats, some seeds can be started.
- Mistake 4: The seeds in the ground had dried out. Watering is critical in the initial stages of planting, so ensure the ground stays moist and your plants will thrive.
- Mistake 5: The soil is too wet. Overly wet soil affects germination in the same way that dried-out ground can. The seeds decay because of this.
- Mistake 6: Your seeds are past their prime. Most seeds will last for a long time, especially if kept in the refrigerator, but should your seeds be old; you may need to replace them!
- Mistake 7: The nutrients in your soil are severely depleted. You will experience germination problems if you plant in hard clay soil. Maintaining a compost pile close to your house and adding compost to your soil will boost seed germination rates.
- Many plants will flower, bolt, and go to seed. This is usually caused by temperatures that are higher than what the plant requires. The plant recognizes death is approaching, so it produces seeds for the following season.
- The taste of a plant after it has bolted is bitter. Plants that bolt quickly include lettuce, spinach, and broccoli.
- You can avoid this by making the plants in the ground as early as possible in the spring. Plants that bolt easily in the early summer are cool-loving plants. Planting them in a shadier location will also give them more time to grow.
- The best thing to do with bolted plants is to pull them out and replace them with heat-loving varieties. Then, as the season progresses and September approaches, you may plant another crop of cold-weather lovers.
Seedlings with tall stems
- This is a problem that many new gardeners face. Vegetable plants require a lot of sunlight to grow. Mostly, 6-8 hours a day is ideal.
- Other causes of spindly plants include wet soil and overcrowding of plants, which prevents them from growing properly. Over-fertilizing seedlings is another problem with plants that don’t grow properly. Wait until they’re a little older before fertilizing them.
Leaves are Yellow
- This is one of the most frequently asked about vegetable garden issues, especially among tomato growers. This isn’t a big problem if the lower leaves are yellow. This is a normal occurrence, and the plant will continue to produce.
- However, if all the leaves are turning yellow, something is wrong. There may be a problem with your soil. A lot of places will test your soil for you for free. Take advantage of this, and if you discover that the soil is lacking in nutrients, you’ll know what fertilizer to add.
- A deficiency of potassium is a typical cause of yellow leaves.
- Insufficient light is another cause of yellow leaves on plants. If this is the case, move or plant fresh plants in a sunnier location. (Read Yellow Spots On Cucumber Leaves)
Tomatoes with no Fruit
- Tomatoes will not produce well if you live in an area where the nights are cooler than 55 degrees (or warmer than 70 degrees).
- Too much humidity can reduce tomato yields by affecting pollen production and searing hot days for weeks on end may be too much for the tomatoes to handle.
- Too much nitrogen in your fertilizer is another cause your tomatoes aren’t producing. This causes the plant’s foliage to become overly active and grow at the expense of the fruit.
- Choose low-nitrogen fertilizers and tomato plants that mature quickly to harvest fruit before the weather gets too hot.
Blossom End Rot
- A calcium shortage is a cause of this widespread problem with tomatoes and peppers.
- Blossom end rot happens when the soil moisture is inconsistent or when too much nitrogen-containing fertilizer has been sprayed.
- Apply mulch and be careful with fertilizing. Mulch will help to keep the moisture in the ground more dispersed.
Holes in Cabbage Leaves
- Kale and broccoli are also susceptible to this problem in many gardens. Flea beetles could be the cause if your leaves have a lot of little holes in them.
- These pests can infect members of the mustard family (cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli) as well as members of the nightshade family (potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes)
- Growing plants in your gardens, such as radishes, solve the problem. Because flea beetles dislike hairy leaves, this style of planting will deter them.
- Growing your plants in a raised bed vegetable gardens also appears to help keep pests at bay. If they are elevated, those who crawl along the ground are less likely to have easy access to the plants.
- Powdery mildew is of gardens issues as leaves appear to have a white coating on them. When the weather is humid, often, yet the leaves of the plants are dry because they are spaced too close together, this fungus appears.
- Plants should be spaced widely apart to increase air circulation and control powdery mildew without chemicals.