Monday, April 6, 2015

Fruitless Attempts in the Garden

Many gardeners repeatedly fail when attempting a vegetable garden and other plantings. One solution is to build raised beds, and in some instances, this may be the best approach. But before building an expensive raised bed, a little investigation and a few changes may produce the desired bountiful garden.

First, efforts need to be directed toward modifying the soil.  Here are some important considerations: 1. The pH could be too low for good growth, a common occurrence in Hawaii. In this case, an application of lime will rectify the situation.  If the pH is too high, common in many areas, sulfur or sulfur products would be advisable. 

 2. Soil nutrient levels may be deficient; common elements that may be lacking include nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and magnesium.  These can be corrected with the addition of the proper fertilizer. Both pH imbalances and nutrient deficiencies can and should be diagnosed with a soil analysis. 

3. The soil may be contaminated by plant pathogenic fungi.In this situation, planting resistant varieties to the disease is most important. Crop rotation is another approach. See the article, "Replanted Vegetables Continue to Die" at this website.
Additional inquiries should include learning the proper planting dates.  Failures in the garden are occasionally caused by planting cool season vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and cabbage in the summer, or warm season crops such as peppers and tomatoes in the winter. Moreover, the wrong varieties are often planted. Reading the publications available on the CTAHR website,, will reveal which varieties do well in Hawaii. In other areas, check the local University Cooperative Extension offices or website.

These are a handful of factors that may assist you in developing a green thumb and a lush garden.  Don’t give up! First obtain a soil analysis, then educate yourself: read about the plants you want to grow. Take gardening classes. Use the CTAHR and other Extension websites along with