Vegetables not growing?

sheldon_in_austinMay 19, 2011

I bought some baby plants at Home Depot (Tomato, Peppers, Strawberry) and planted them in a raised bed I made in Feb.

Now it's May and they are still the same size. I'm worried because my friends who also planted are saying their tomato plant is like 4 feet tall?!

I water almost every day (I haven't been able to once and awhile) and gave the bed a fertilizer in the beginning of May. I know they're getting direct full sun from 12 pm to 6 pm.

Any ideas?

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This is only my second season growing vegetables but I can tell you the two big mistakes I made at first were not watering enough, and not making sure the water actually was absorbed by the soil.

When you water you want that water getting down to the roots, that depth will depend on the plant. The way I check is to water how I normally do, then dig into the soil(take care not to harm roots) and see how deep that moisture went. You don't want to see just the top couple of inches actually got wet.

If that happens, then either you aren't watering enough or your soil is not absorbing or both.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Sheldon I live in Pflugerville. When did you plant your plants? February was still rather cold if I remember I couldn't put anything outside until March.

Tomatoes are rather cold sensitive but that may be moot point since it survived.

What kind of soil are you using in your raised garden bed and what are you fertilizing it with?

Also how deep is your raised garden bed?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:42PM
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Thanks noobgardener2010 - I am new at this as well and it's always nice to hear others stories!

lnewport, let me see if I can answer these:
Date planted: I looked at my journal and it's actually March 6th

Soil and Fertilizer: I just bought the 'organic' 'use for vegetable' stuff from Home Depot. Maybe that's my problem?

Bed depth: 6 inches, but not filled to the top, so maybe 4 or 5 above the regular dirt.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Hey Sheldon,

What kind of soil is below that 6 inches? 6 inches isn't that deep but if the soil below is good then I wouldn't know why it would be a problem.

Out here in Pflugerville I have heavy clay soil and my raised garden is 12 inches deep.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:53PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I can tell you that last year I planted my tomatoes into cool soil and they just sat there for weeks doing nothing. Not dying, but not growing. I finally pulled them out and re-planted fresh plants when the soil was thoroughly warmed, and they took right off (same soil, same fertilizer, same everything). If you planted Tomatoes and Peppers in February (both cold sensitive), that's my guess.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Sheldon in Austin, hey neighbor I'm north in Cedar Park. I started veggie gardening 4 years ago and did not get the hang of it until last year. I now have 11 raised beds and my tomatoes are at least 4 to 5 feet tall and the cucumbers are 8 or nine feet long just starting the cucumbers, the strawberries have already given the main crop and the peppers are bushed out and 2 to 3 feet tall I have already harvested 2 dozen peppers. Here in this area the clay soil is really hard on the plants trying to get roots in hard soil. I had to build my raised beds 16 inches tall and fill full of organic compost but before that I had to dig the earth up 6 inches and mix it with more organic compost and black cow composted manure. But one thing you posted is they get sun from 12 pm to 6 pm. That really isn't enough sun for the tomatoes and peppers you can get away with that for the strawberries but they may not produce as many or as sweet a berry. You also don't say how many of each plant you have. If you can do a test. Take one of the plants and carfully don't hurt the root system and transplant it in a large container (big holes in the bottom) with better draining soiless mix You will have to water everyday with our heat. Leave it in the same area of sun light if it grows then its your bed, if it stays little like the rest it the sun exposure. But there are so many unknown factors to us you will have to test out different methods. But don't give up, I was going to but things are starting to work for me. Keep reading everyones post on their problems and the more knowledgeable peoples advice. Happy growing. Deanna

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:21PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

6 hours of Texas sun is enough for tomato and pepper plants. In fact when July and August comes around you will probably get more tomato production than others with more sun. Less light also doesn't make for small plants. Quite the opposite IME. They grow taller reaching for more light.
I think your problem is the soil depth. You may be able to make it work by driving a rock bar or something similar deep into the ground around your plants to loosen the soil beneath the bed and if that doesn't work then you need to fertilize.
You will also need good support having slightly leggy tomato plants.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 6:44AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

This is a very common question on these boards.

Fertilize. And if the raised bed soil is touching the native soil, you must mix the two for drainage.

These are the most common problems with raised beds on this board.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 7:57AM
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Thanks all, you've given me plenty of things to try.

I appreciate the help!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:54PM
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