Monday, June 4, 2012

Why Aren't My Greens Growing?

I have been following several of the Harvest Monday posts by various gardening bloggers.  Each Monday, participating bloggers post about their harvests for the week.  I am so jealous of the stuff that people are harvesting.  It seems that people are growing huge amounts of greens, among other things.  I originally planted these greens (lettuce and swiss chard) back at the end of March.  On May 13, they looked like this:

Lettuce and Swiss Chard as of May 13
Today, they look like this:

Today
There are a few more leaves on the Rosalita lettuce (on the far right) and some of the other leaves are a bit bigger, but it looks pretty much the same.  I had a lot of issues with bugs eating these greens, so I moved the pot around a few times, sprayed them with organic insect repellant, and added some more mulch made of dead leaves.  I also read that the spiny "maces" that fall from Sweet Gum trees are a great for deterring slugs that attack lettuce, so I added those to my pot.  I also originally had it in the sunniest part of my garden, so I moved it to a slightly less sunny location, since I read that too much heat and sun isn't great for greens.

But still, I'm depressed about the results.  When I see the gorgeous greens that other bloggers are producing, I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.  I've been reading all kinds of advice about growing greens, but still don't know what I should do differently.

Hoping others will have some advice for me.

8 comments:

  1. The only thing I would suggest is only planting lettuce in your planter box and another separate box for the chard. Sow your seeds a little thicker, not much but a little and don't let the soil dry out for lettuce.

    Depending upon your temperatures (New Jersey has been cool and cloudy??) lettuce doesn't like it too hot. Once it starts getting hot move your boxes to partial sun.

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  2. Thanks Lisa. I will try your suggestions. It's mostly been unseasonably warm here, although every so often we have a cool day. I did plant some new seeds in a new container and did sow them a bit thicker. maybe that will help ... I will keep them in partial rather than full sun. I bought some covers to keep them a bit cooler and protected from the sun (and bugs). thanks again!

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  3. You may have to buy yourself some good potting mix. Not potting soil, potting MIX. Potting soil is too heavy for container plants and compacts to restrict the roots. Some mixes already have slow release fertilizer in them, but if not, get a bag of alfalfa pellets (rabbit food, available at any pet store or Walmart) and dig in a couple of handfuls into each container. It works great as an organic, non burning nitrogen for greens. Keep the potting mix damp, but not soggy. Never let it dry out completely. If it gets too hot, provide some shade. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Granny (not Annie, I know!) I am pretty sure I used potting mix, but who knows - i guess it's possible I made a mistake. I will take your advice and get the alfalfa pellets. Thanks!

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  4. Granny about covered it. My first thought would be the soil is not right for containers. Or if you used old potting mix (one that has been used before) sometimes the pH gets too low because they are mostly made from peat moss which is acidic. They put in lime to counter act that, but it washes out by the next year. And if there aren't enough nutrients in the soil, you need to fertilize. And if the water is too wet the roots rot, too low and they wilt. So basically what she said.

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    1. Thanks Daphne. Your harvests always look so amazing! I am jealous. I will try the fertilizer and see how it works!

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  5. Ditto what Daphne and Annie said. I would guess it is a soil issue. I also think those are a lot of plants for that size container. You also said you moved it out of full sun. This only helps to keep the plant from bolting in heat. If it is not too hot then perhaps try moving them back in the sun. Fish emulsion can also help boost the nitrogen content of your soil (be warned it stinks).

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    1. thanks for your response. I did add fish emulsion (yes, it stinks - lol). It has done better over the past few days perhaps because the days have been a bit cooler and cloudier. I was able to cut a few leaves and we are having our first home grown salad tonight!

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