Gardening

Problems may involve direct injury, abnormal growth, or both. There may or may not be a remedy. Some problems may affect all vegetables, others one crop, one variety, or sometimes one or two plants.

Some common problems with causes

Failure of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant to set fruit (blossom-drop): If the plants are growing well this is frequently due to adverse night temperatures below 60 degrees F and above 75 degrees F. Also heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer will cause blossom-drop especially when applied at or closely after flowering.

Blossom-end rot of tomatoes: Caused by insufficient calcium when fruits are forming, rot is characterized by a large dry brown to black and often depressed leathery area at the blossom end of fruit. Calcium deficiency usually results from improper soil pH, excessive nitrogen fertilization, rapid plant growth, and drastic fluctuations in moisture caused by heavy rainfall or drought.

Poor plant growth and/or small fruit size of tomatoes: Often a result of using old, large or overly-hardened transplants. Young transplants (5-6 weeks from seeding to planting in the garden) with 5-7 true leaves normally produce the best yields and fruit size.

Cucumber plants suddenly start wilting, leaves may show dead areas and fruit may be mottled: cucumber mosaic virus, a common disease problem in Georgia. Select mosaic-resistant varieties. Sudden rise in temperature or depleted soil moisture can cause wilting too, but plants will recover.

Poor or slow germination of seed: Can be several causes, like soil temperatures too low or too high, poor seeding techniques (too deep – lack of firming), maggots feeding on the seeds, birds, lack of moisture, too much moisture, soil surface becomes crusty, etc.

Generally slow or poor growth of all crops: low pH, low fertility, cool weather, lack of sunlight, poor drainage, too little/too much moisture, poor soil structure.

Lettuce and spinach going to seed: This is normal for these crops under warm temperatures and long days. Spring and fall planting and proper variety selections are remedies.

Onion bulbs fail to reach desirable size: Wrong planting date, non-adapted variety, crowding of plants or lack of moisture, especially early in growing season.

Irregular kernel development of sweet corn ears: May be due to inadequate pollination. Planting sweet corn in blocks of several short rows rather than in long single rows may help.

Sun-burning (greening) of potato tubers: Lack of covering over developing potatoes is a common cause. Hilling soil along row as a plant grows helps to keep tubers covered.

Garden peas cease flowering: A natural occurrence when summer temperatures arrive. Peas perform best when planted in the spring or fall.

Off-shaped cucumbers (crooked, nubbins, etc.): Often due to a shortage of soil moisture. Cool temperatures at time flowers are developing can be a cause. Poor pollination due to lack of bees or low number of male flowers is another possibility.

By RICKY ENSLEY Polk County Extension CoordinatorProblems may involve direct injury, abnormal growth, or both. There may or may not be a remedy. Some problems may affect all vegetables, others one crop, one variety, or sometimes one or two plants.

Some common problems with causesFailure of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant to set fruit (blossom-drop): If the plants are growing well this is frequently due to adverse night temperatures below 60 degrees F and above 75 degrees F. Also heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer will cause blossom-drop especially when applied at or closely after flowering. Blossom-end rot of tomatoes: Caused by insufficient calcium when fruits are forming, rot is characterized by a large dry brown to black and often depressed leathery area at the blossom end of fruit. Calcium deficiency usually results from improper soil pH, excessive nitrogen fertilization, rapid plant growth, and drastic fluctuations in moisture caused by heavy rainfall or drought. Poor plant growth and/or small fruit size of tomatoes: Often a result of using old, large or overly-hardened transplants. Young transplants (5-6 weeks from seeding to planting in the garden) with 5-7 true leaves normally produce the best yields and fruit size.Cucumber plants suddenly start wilting, leaves may show dead areas and fruit may be mottled: cucumber mosaic virus, a common disease problem in Georgia. Select mosaic-resistant varieties. Sudden rise in temperature or depleted soil moisture can cause wilting too, but plants will recover. Poor or slow germination of seed: Can be several causes, like soil temperatures too low or too high, poor seeding techniques (too deep – lack of firming), maggots feeding on the seeds, birds, lack of moisture, too much moisture, soil surface becomes crusty, etc.Generally slow or poor growth of all crops: low pH, low fertility, cool weather, lack of sunlight, poor drainage, too little/too much moisture, poor soil structure.Lettuce and spinach going to seed: This is normal for these crops under warm temperatures and long days. Spring and fall planting and proper variety selections are remedies. Onion bulbs fail to reach desirable size: Wrong planting date, non-adapted variety, crowding of plants or lack of moisture, especially early in growing season. Irregular kernel development of sweet corn ears: May be due to inadequate pollination. Planting sweet corn in blocks of several short rows rather than in long single rows may help.Sun-burning (greening) of potato tubers: Lack of covering over developing potatoes is a common cause. Hilling soil along row as a plant grows helps to keep tubers covered.Garden peas cease flowering: A natural occurrence when summer temperatures arrive. Peas perform best when planted in the spring or fall. Off-shaped cucumbers (crooked, nubbins, etc.): Often due to a shortage of soil moisture. Cool temperatures at time flowers are developing can be a cause. Poor pollination due to lack of bees or low number of male flowers is another possibility.