Dwarf Garden issues

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New Member
This is my third year gardening, using the same spot. It is in direct morning sunlight but gets afternoon to evening shade. Prior to planting, I fertilized the soil, and we tilled it 3 separate times. I planted in "jiffy pots" indoors with the kids and except for a few stray seeds knew exactly what was what in my pots.

We transplanted them to the garden spot late May (which might have been a little late but it stays hot around here through October)

By the end of July my corn stopped growing in height. It stopped between 2-3 ft. The ears of corn were at best 3 inches long. Of course this disappointed me, but eh, stuff happens.

We have gotten around 20 cucumbers which about half wound up round and yellow to orange in color, I had 3 green ones (there are still more developing out there not sure what's gonna happen there)

Carrots. Looked wonderful from above ground, when I pulled 2-3 out yesterday, I found them to have grown about 3 inches and quit. Some got fat, others looked twisted and were tiny.

My acorn squash are just now starting to develop, and look extremely small.

We got 5 watermelons that started to grow, they made it to about apple size and have stopped growing.

The pumpkins get flowers that molded and fell off, with no pumpkin developing behind the flower. The same thing happened with my cantaloupe, and my zucchini squash.

My iceburg lettuce which started out so beautiful, never got heads of lettuce and grew up to look like the top of a tobacco plant that needed topped. (this was my first attempt at lettuce so I may be missing a crucial piece of growing them)

My cherry tomatoes look wonderful, as do my big boy's.

The deer got the beans, so nothing left there.

I can go out and take pictures of stuff if it would help you help me :)

Kya D

Active Member
Hi Snootyhen and Welcome to the place. I'm glad you found us.
I am sorry that this gardening experience has been so bad this year.
I plant lemon cukes that are round and yellow, I really like em.
My corn has good sized ears but some of em the deer have taken a bite off the top.
But the deer are wreaking havoc with my young trees. Dirty beasts
I don't really know what happened. Sorry


Super Moderator
Staff member
I think a soil test would be helpful to see how the fertilizer stood up. It will be helpful to know where you are though. Carrots lile a loose soil for development and clay soil doesn't work well. It can be amended though and turned into good stuff.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi Snootyhen,
Welcome! Knowing where you are located and what type of soil you are dealing with would help. The carrot issue sounds like nematodes. Corn sounds like what happens in Florida when you have exceptionally dry hot weather. You mentioned the heat, Acorn squash is a fall / winter crop in hot temperate to subtropical zones. Pumpkins in the south are best planted in July or August from seeds as it is just too hot for them as producing plants that time of the year. My pumpkins produced and died by July 4th. I have replanted for a fall crop. You may see winter squashes really take off as the weather cools;) The cukes sound like a soil issue.
Is there a reason you tilled 3 times prior to planting? Over tilling breaks down the soil and will cause your soil to not hold nutrients and destroys beneficial bacteria. After several years of having a garden in the same location you should try to keep tilling to a minimum only at the beginning of each season especially if you have a weak soil base such as sand. Clay on the other hand would be one you need to till more often to keep if broken up.
I hope this will help you figure out what is going on. Let us know what kind of soil you have and what area you are in.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Seems you also have sunlight! issue.
Most of the veggies need a minimum of 6 hours of full sun, more is better!
Overworking the soil is another problem, as already mentioned!
Crop rotation is another problem. You should never plant the same species in the same spot each year. Knowing the size of your garden will help!
As mentioned: we need to know the soil type you have, and which zone you live in, in order to fine tune what we can suggest in order to help you for next year!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Just from things you've said.. I take it that you're close, if not located ..in my state of SC! The thing about the "tobacco plant that need topped"..was a dead give away..LOL. Staying hot thru Oct was another.
The variety of corn you grew could have something to do with the stalk and ear size. In latter days a person could go into the local seed store and order a few ounces of sweet corn, no special brand, just sweet corn and that was that..now adays, you have a million varieties to chose from. The same applies to all veggies. My ears and stalks were short this season, due to the variety I planted.
What type of fertilizer and how much do you use? Sounds like things like carrots and watermelons used up all the nutrients, you may need to check the soil for PH levels. I have to add lime to my soil. If the leaves don't have a healthy green coloring, a little more fertilizer maybe neccessary. You can side dress vegetables once they start growing if you think they need a little extra boost of fertilizer.
Give us a little more info and maybe we can help more.


New Member
Im on the TN/KY border. This is a soil report from USDA for my area

ZaB—​Zanesville silt loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting

* Elevation: 410 to 790 feet
* Mean annual precipitation: 42 to 58 inches
* Mean annual air temperature: 45 to 68 degrees F
* Frost-​free period: 172 to 210 days

Map Unit Composition

* Zanesville and similar soils: 90 percent
* Minor components: 10 percent

Description of Zanesville

* Landform: Ridges
* Landform position (two-​dimensional): Backslope
* Landform position (three-​dimensional): Interfluve
* Down-​slope shape: Linear
* Across-​slope shape: Linear
* Parent material: Thin fine-​silty noncalcareous loess over loamy residuum weathered from sandstone and siltstone and/or shale

Properties and qualities

* Slope: 2 to 6 percent
* Depth to restrictive feature: 25 to 32 inches to fragipan
* Drainage class: Moderately well drained
* Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately low to moderately high (0.06 to 0.60 in/hr)
* Depth to water table: About 24 to 31 inches
* Frequency of flooding: None
* Frequency of ponding: None
* Available water capacity: Low (about 5.7 inches)

Interpretive groups

* Land capability (nonirrigated): 2e

Typical profile

* 0 to 8 inches: Silt loam
* 8 to 28 inches: Silt loam
* 28 to 37 inches: Silty clay loam
* 37 to 72 inches: Silty clay

Minor Components

* Percent of map unit: 4 percent


* Percent of map unit: 2 percent


* Percent of map unit: 2 percent

Other soils

* Percent of map unit: 2 percent

Though I believe from the feel there and consistency of the mud pies the kids make that we have more clay than is stated by the survey.

The garden itself is 15 ft wide and 40 ft long. with 18 inches between rows. We have rotated crop placement the past 3 yrs in the garden spot (like we do in the tobacco/soybean/corn field)

So nothing has been in the same spot 2 yrs in a row, with the exception of some tomato plants that the seeds got mixed by a 3 yr old who won't be named ;)

I can say however that my squash, both acorn and zucchini have taken off this past week and I am not getting the molded flowers dropping off with no veggie growing behind it now. YAY... I also have ONE cantaloupe that has decided to grow as well. I pulled the corn yesterday, its dying and its hopeless.

For next year, is there a site that anyone recommends for ordering seeds? I did just buy from the feed store the past 3 yrs, but with this years disappointment, Id like to avoid a repeat!











Super Moderator
Staff member
OMGoodness!! Snooty, I don't know what to say about your crop..it sure looks bad! I'm kinda in shock looking at the pictures. They actually look as if they didn't have enough water. Have you checked the PH of your soil? That soil report doesn't say anything about the acidity. I purchased a soil tester at Home depot for a few bucks, it was well worth it and so simple to use.


Super Moderator
Staff member
I'm at a lose for words!
Feed store seeds!
That could very well be a problem!
Have a look at www.ParkSeed.com! Their prices are good, and they do have a very good reputation! Even I order seeds from them without any complaint, and I live north of the border!
Look for tried and true hybrid seeds.
They even have heirloom varieties!
Look for disease resistant stains!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Corn looks like poor pollination and lack of feeding. When my corn starts to flower I shake the stalks to help with pollination.
On the moldy flowers are you watering from the top and if so what time of day. It looks a lot like a heat/wet issue, such as, you are watering in the heat of the day or at night when the water sits on the blossoms over night. Best time to water is in the morning before the sun hits the plants.
Watermelon & cukes look like not enough water. Now the cukes could be the small ones and they are just left on the vine too long. Do you remember what type you planted?
What type of "fertilizer " are you using if any?

I do see what you mean about the clay also as you can actually see it in the picture.
I had melon issues this year as well and when the temps dropped in to the high 80's my melons took off. Yours looks like the baby sweets which means they won't get like giant melons. They stay about the size of a volleyball at the biggest but are super sweet.


New Member
Ive been (and continue to water with a soaker hose turning it on around 6am when I get the kids up for school. The one problem we had a lot of this year was afternoon thundershowers (severe) that might last 10-30 minutes, then scorching sunlight (my lawn was burned up for about a month there). We used cow crap (which is what we have done in the past) when we tilled and I used Earth Juice as well.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Ive been (and continue to water with a soaker hose turning it on around 6am when I get the kids up for school.
Now you gave us all something to talk about that covers most, if not all, your veggie gardens problems!
Too much watering can wash nutrients out of the soil!
Too much watering sets fungi, and bacteria into high gear!
I'd cut the daily watering down to once a week!
One good soaking does more good then daily watering!
Do you mulch between the rows?
If not, you should!
Mulching will keep the weed seeds from germinating and will also keep the soil cooler and retain soil moisture!
It also keeps the soil from splashing up onto the foliage, which is a good thing to help prevent fungal, and bacterial problems from developing!


Super Moderator
Staff member
AMEN Ron. The water is what I was getting at it looks as though the flowers just stayed too damp.

A couple weeks ago I accidently left my water running for 3 days. My entire garden died with the exception of a a few peppers and some beans along the high side.:(
Do you bag your grass clippings? If you do this makes a great mulch , especailly when you lay it over newspaper. It will also help build your soil back. I have a neighbor who "bucket gardens" along with ground and raised bed gardening. We were just talking about how the need for daily watering has caused her to need to fertilize at least 2 times a week due to the water flushing out the soil. She is even talking about every other day because she has had some of the same issues.
Here's wishing you luck on less watering. I once had a little Asisn man who grows orchids tell me I "love them to death" because I over watered;) Sometikes too much care is bad.

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