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Why don't they grow?

josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

Sometimes I sow seeds, they germinate, and when I judge them big enough, I plant them out.  And there they sit all summer long, looking healthy enough, but never getting any bigger.  Last year this happened with sweet corn, this year with Swiss chard.  If conditions are right, why don't they grow?  If wrong, why don't they die?


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,268

    I can only guess that conditions aren't right for whatever reason.
    It sounds like they're not getting enough food to make them grow.
    Have you tried a good layer of rotted manure dug in during autumn? It works wonders.

    If they're getting good light and your soil is good, there's no reason why they shouldn't grow.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    Many plants are also very sensitive to temperature and light. If it is too hot or too cold for them, they won't thrive. If they like shade but are in sun, or like sun and are in shade, they may not grow normally. If the soil is too wet or too dry.... Each plant has its own needs and you have to match those with the conditions you can provide. Sometimes you plant things out and get a sudden cold snap and they never fully recover. And then, of course, we all have plants that flourish in places we KNOW are completely wrong for them.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    I agree with Posy and many plants can suffer from being what is known as 'checked' which happens if they are planted out too early and suffer from a cold period, lack of sunlight or drought/too much rain while they are young.  Some of them recover but others never really get going again.  If in doubt, keep them in modules/pots for another couple of weeks before planting out, or even make two sowings a couple of weeks apart if you have the space so that you can replace affected plants.  Some of the most sensitive to this effect are capsicum, sweetcorn and beans but many veg can be affected.  Successional sowing are your best defence but it does seem like a waste if you have a good year and nothing gets checked.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,822

    I think low light levels  are often more of a problem with slow growth than we sometimes realise.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,886

    Have you tested your soil, if you are trying to grow anything from the Brassica family they will not grow for you in acid soil, I have to lime mine in the autumn. 

    Try Runner beans, easiest thing and seem tolerant to any soil, mine are fantastic in the acid soil. Others grow them well in alkaline. 

    The secret is to find out what your plants need and act accordingly. There are some very good books, but I always use this book, may be old fashioned but what's changed? ? L

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    We're on limestone, I haven't tested the pH but a neighbour who has tested his said it's just the alkaline side of neutral. I won't be growing any more veg in that part of the garden, next year's will be in my new raised beds.  I think it's likely I was too early planting them out.  Thanks everyone for your advice.

  • Do you acclimatise them before planting them out? Not doing so can stunt them. I use a coldframe and try adn remember to open the lid in the day.   My kohlrabi was devoured by slugs, and the one remaining plant was that shell shocked it's not done much. I tend to plan several sowings of anything in case one doesn't work. Where are you located? Here in York I don't usually sow 'til late march and give them a good start indoors before planting out. 

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    I'm in Llandudno, we only get frost in the depths of winter as we have sea on both sides.  I have a cold frame and one of those silly little plastic greenhouses and as you say, I open it during the day for a while, then leave it open day and night before planting out.  I'll try keeping them under cover a while longer.  They'll get more sun in the new beds.  Thanks for taking the trouble to respond.

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