New to gardening, a few questions

doomahxJune 21, 2012

hi,

I recently started setting up a container garden after finally moving to an apartment with outdoor space. So far I am growing grape tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, pole beans, a kumquat tree and various herbs. Everything seems to be growing very nicely but I have noticed two issue with the kumquat tree and pole beans and i'm not really sure what's causing it.

I bought the kumquat tree about 2 weeks ago and followed the instructions the person at the gardening store gave me. Transplanted into a 1 gallon pot with cactus mix, I read a lot about transplanting and was very careful about it. Right now it looks like it has not grown at all and the leaves are starting to curl up. Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this? What should i do?

My other issue are the pole beans, they are growing wonderfully but some of the leaves are starting to get holes and get discolored. I noticed tiny little green bugs jump around when I disturb the leaves, i looked this up on google and my guess is that i have leafhoppers. Is that likely what's causing this? I don't want to use pesticides and have read that ladybugs are a good remedy, should I buy some?

If you need any other information let me know.

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doomahx

Here is a picture of the beans

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 6:40AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Not too sure regarding the leaf curl/drop on the kumquat. Your mix may be retaining too much water which can cause lots of issues. What type of soil did you use, and what are your watering and fertilizing habits like?

Re leafhoppers... It sounds like that may be what thy are, ladybugs will only help inthe larval and nymph stages, not once thy are hopping ba@!ards... Squishing them works well if you can catch them, and insecticidal soaps an work if you can manage to spray them, but they are super quick. Diatomaceous earth might be an option, but doesn't last long so you will have to reapply often...

Wath out too, those little buggers deliver a nice little pinch if they happen to get on you, so I would recommend loves when attempting to squish.

Good luck, hopefully more will post with additional ideas and troubleshooting advice for your issues. More info on what you are growing in, sun exposure, water,and fertilizing habits would be greatly helpful.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:33PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

In general, Cactus mix is not only inappropriate for Citrus...it's inappropriate for Cacti as well! :-)
The problem, primarily, is the small particle size, which leads to excess moisture retention and soil collapse.

Let me ask you: how did you re-pot? You said you were careful, but can you describe the actual process?
Did you bare-root the Kumquat to remove all of the old soil and alleviate congested, misshapen, or bound
roots? Did you do any root-pruning? When you re-potted, did you work the new mix into every space between
the roots? Did you place the newly repotted tree in a shady location protected from sun and wind for 2 weeks?

If you put the tree right back into the sun, you should expect some adverse reaction.

Josh

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:08PM
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doomahx

For the kumquat I am using hoffman cactus soil as the vendor suggested, for the beans it's fafard pro potting mix, no fertilizing yet. I water it until I see drainage, i generally rewater when I put a finger in the soil and don't feel much moisture. Now that I am doing a bit of reading here I get the feeling my soil probably isn't helping.

I tried a soap solution but it didn't seem to do much, will try it again and try to hit them a little better.

Everything is being grown in those brown/orange plastic containers. My fruit and vegetables are setup so they get around 7 hours of direct sun, they also get tons of light reflecting off of the huge white walls in building across the alley for around 11 hours. Not sure if that does anything.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:12PM
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doomahx

@josh

What a great soil for them to suggest, i love it when i shop at stores where they don't know anything :)

I submerged the roots in a bit of water and all of the soil came off easily, the horizontal 0roots weren't growing out very far as it's a young plant, the vertical root was pretty long and thick. The soil fell neatly around it as there weren't any tangled roots. I put it in a shady location but not for that long, only 3 days, it does get some wind.

I guess i will never be shopping there again, all of the advice they gave me turned out to be wrong!

What can i do to rescue this little guy?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:19PM
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doomahx

@josh

What a great soil for them to suggest, i love it when i shop at stores where they don't know anything :)

I submerged the roots in a bit of water and all of the soil came off easily, the horizontal 0roots weren't growing out very far as it's a young plant, the vertical root was pretty long and thick. The soil fell neatly around it as there weren't any tangled roots. I put it in a shady location but not for that long, only 3 days, it does get some wind.

I guess i will never be shopping there again, all of the advice they gave me turned out to be wrong!

What can i do to rescue this little guy?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:23PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Don't feel too bad...that same advice is given across the Nation, and probably around the World :-)

What you can do is put the tree back into a shady/wind-free location until it recuperates and shows
signs of new growth, increased green in the leaves, et cetera.

There are methods to dealing with a heavy, water-retentive soil, but the ultimate goal should be the construction
of a superior potting mix that offers drainage, aeration, durability, and proper moisture retention.

The main method of working with this mix will be adding a "wick" to the drainhole. A rayon mop-strand works
well, as would an old shoe-lace. Poke the strand up through the drainhole, then elevate the container so
that the wick dangles 2 - 3 inches below the pot. This will help excess water in the lower layers to dry.

Also, use a wooden kabob skewer or dowel, stick it deep into the pot, and then use this to measure how
moist the soil is at the bottom. If wet, don't water.

Josh

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:29PM
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doomahx

Thanks for the advice. I have read a ton about the gritty here, i may try to get the components to make that. Unfortunately I am a true new yorker and don't drive though so that complicates things. Hopefully I can find someone locally that has some premade to buy!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 5:34AM
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calistoga_al

Considering your location you may have luck finding a specialty grower/supply for the Bonsai enthusiast which would have a mix pretty close to your needs. Al

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:15AM
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doomahx

Good idea, i'm sure there are plenty bonsai clubs i can contact. Will give that a try this afternoon.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:51AM
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doomahx

I did some research and I was able to find a bonsai supply store in brooklyn, it looks like he sells turface and some other ingredients but I'm not sure if they are interchangeable with the grit that is called for in the gritty mix. He has pumice and Gravel #2 and #3.

http://www.bonsaiofbrooklyn.com/products/supplies/soilstuff.html

I shot him an email with the gritty mix ingredients to see if he has everything that is specified. Who knows, maybe he can even make it for me. Crossing my fingers!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:13PM
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steven1032

he has a psycological leaf roll from too much water. i have the same issue and am going to try the 5-1-1 mix with my pepper plants but i am having an issue with finding the pine bark.
can i get the pine bark fines at home depot? or is it too course. has anyone tried this, and if so your input would greatly be appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:51PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Psycological leaf roll?!?!... LMFAO

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

physiological, perhaps ;-)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:02PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Yes perhaps lol...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:14PM
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steven1032

oops typo. doing two things at once.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:10AM
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doomahx

I was wondering! I thought maybe i needed to go talk to the plant more or hire a shrink for it.

I moved it into the shade and out of the wind yesterday. I am going to make some gritty mix next weekend and transplant into that. Should I wait until the plant recovers fully before transplanting again or just get it out of that cactus soil asap?

It looks like the leafhoppers got really bad yesterday, there was a rainstorm and after it seemed like there were tons! Almost on every plant I have now. I went and sprayed the soapy mixture everywhere I saw them, hopefuly that will help. I am going to buy some Diatomaceous earth just in case.

I'm starting to get the feeling that those little bastards will be the bane of my existence.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 5:14AM
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doomahx

Leafhoppers don't seem to be going anywhere using the soap solution. I manage to get rid of them in the morning but they come back at night. I tried buying DE but it wound up having additives in it.

Going to get some ladybugs and yellow sticky traps for backup. My wife likes ladybugs so it will also score some points with her :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:27AM
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