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What is happening to all my plants?! Please help!

Hi everyone,

this is my first year growing veg, fruit, and flowers, and frankly it's going terribly. I live up in the hills of North Wales so it has been stupid cold and awful weather until the first of June when suddenly it got really hot. I've sown everything from seed and needless to say, I'm actually pretty upset how badly this has all gone. What am I doing wrong? Our aim is to feed ourselves as best we can so I do need to get good at this lol. 

Not a single pea, eating or sweetpea plant, has matured, all are very short, stunted, gone pale, and look as if they've also now been nibbled. The stunted and pale happened first, none seem to grow past 8 inches, and most less than that. I've some pics below - any ideas?

My green sprouting broccoli (which I understood was one that grows quicker than the purple, all of my purple sb has died) looks like it's bolted, I think that's gone to flower, and they are only about 8inches tall. Eaten to bits as well - I'm guessing this may be caterpillars and therefore I need netting, but what about the awful stunted growth again? Too little water? Wrong earth? (planted in the ground with some manure that was added about three months ago as I've no garden compost).
aSomething appears to be eating my lavender - all the leaves are browning and have loads of holes in them, it looks dreadful unhealthy. I've watered it today due to the week of very warm weather and no rainfall - its been a few weeks since it was last watered - too little water an issue? 


My french beans, and my Zinnias, had been super green and growing well then all of a sudden turned yellow and unhealthy looking - half the beans seem to have just died.

Zinnia


French beans


Even my poor blueberry plant is taking a bad hit - looks half eaten as well as poorly otherwise, what is going on here? I'm growing it in a pot of ericaceous compost, is it underwatered, underfed?


Any help or advice greatly appreciated ! I'm at a loss now and don't want to keep making the same mistakes.

Cheers,
Goldy
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Posts

  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 1,448
    I was probably in a similar situation last year @Goldylookinfinch and, in my experience, it's very much trial and error. Your soil and weather conditions will be particular to your area, as will the contents of your garden pest-wise. This makes it harder to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. It's probably a combination of hungry pests and an extreme of weather/watering/growing medium.

    On the plus side, some of the photographs show plants that don't look that bad/should recover. Have you sown all your seeds (for each crop) at once. I found that doing them in batches meant that if something wiped a batch out, I had another chance.

    Experimenting with the same crop in different locations/growing mediums can have significantly different results. I've had french beans growing well in one spot but terribly in another (a matter of yards away).

    I've got more protection this year than last. Home-made cages/netting will prevent birds and nocturnal animals showing too much interest.

    I also spent a lot of time finding and removing slugs and caterpillars!
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 7,837
    I can't help with everything but l can give you my theory on a couple of them.
    The sweet peas in the first photo (l assume), don't look all that bad to me. Although the lower leaves are brown the new growth seems healthy enough. I know they haven't grown as much as you would hope, but the weather "down here" has been from one extreme to the other, so l would imagine it's even more so in North Wales. I've noticed that now the weather is warming up things are starting to move. It may be that in the space of a few days they will start to take off.

    The lavenders do look under stress, which variety are they ?

    The zinnias and French beans look starved. Have you given them any feed at all ? What type of compost are they in?

    It's unfortunate that you've been hit with so many problems all at once, l hope the forum can help with most if not all of them  :)
  • Biglad said:
    I was probably in a similar situation last year @Goldylookinfinch and, in my experience, it's very much trial and error. Your soil and weather conditions will be particular to your area, as will the contents of your garden pest-wise. This makes it harder to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. It's probably a combination of hungry pests and an extreme of weather/watering/growing medium.

    On the plus side, some of the photographs show plants that don't look that bad/should recover. Have you sown all your seeds (for each crop) at once. I found that doing them in batches meant that if something wiped a batch out, I had another chance.

    Experimenting with the same crop in different locations/growing mediums can have significantly different results. I've had french beans growing well in one spot but terribly in another (a matter of yards away).

    I've got more protection this year than last. Home-made cages/netting will prevent birds and nocturnal animals showing too much interest.

    I also spent a lot of time finding and removing slugs and caterpillars!
    Thanks @Biglad I do think there is major trial and error - e.g. I think I started sowing too early, the climate up here means ignore the seed packet and start a month late regardless. The extreme weather must be an issue - the temp swings I think did for the peas, they are utterly stunted and most I sowed died, I did them in batches and every sowing failed once it got to six inches. I clearly under estimated the protection need: the flowers I've been hardening off are on a table outside till I've space  in the ground but they've been eaten anyway, slugs and snails clearly don't mind a good climb.

    I always start out in compost (have always used peat free), but by the time they are going out they just all seem to fail. I wonder if the manure was too much. Eurgh, so much to learn! 
  • cats_and_dogscats_and_dogs SurreyPosts: 71
    edited 7 June
    The zinnia and french beans are turning yellow because the pots are too small and it's a sign of lack of nutrients, they need to be planted out or into bigger pots. Did you give the bluebell fresh compost this year? I find that anything growing in pots needs a compost change each year to give them the nutrients they need.
    I've never had any luck growing broccoli, mine has also always bolted no matter what method I try. 
    Peas grow really long deep roots, so your peas are probably just concentrating on root growth before they start the top growth. 
    Your lavender damage could be caused by rosemary beetle, they also eat lavender and thyme. 

    You also mention that you used manure, this could have burned the young plants delicate roots. Young plants roots can't cope with fertiliser, so I would water well to flush off the impact of the fertiliser.
  • AnniD said:
    I can't help with everything but l can give you my theory on a couple of them.
    The sweet peas in the first photo (l assume), don't look all that bad to me. Although the lower leaves are brown the new growth seems healthy enough. I know they haven't grown as much as you would hope, but the weather "down here" has been from one extreme to the other, so l would imagine it's even more so in North Wales. I've noticed that now the weather is warming up things are starting to move. It may be that in the space of a few days they will start to take off.

    The lavenders do look under stress, which variety are they ?

    The zinnias and French beans look starved. Have you given them any feed at all ? What type of compost are they in?

    It's unfortunate that you've been hit with so many problems all at once, l hope the forum can help with most if not all of them  :)
    Hi @AnniD I think with the peas the photos don't show how bad they are - I've sown several batches and every one has failed, died outright or just shrivelled. They stopped growing about two weeks ago and there has been no progress despite the more warm weather. Same for the sweet pea, not a single one past 6-8 inches and then just shrivelling. I'll try again though, I'm going to plant the next batch out in a pot wigwam instead of the ground and see what happens!

    The lavenders are all hidcote and munstead I think. Any ideas what may the issue here? I just can't figure it out, wondered if it was a lavender beetle?

    Ah ok now the zinnias and beans I didn't know needed food till they started flowing, no i haven't fed them - I will try that with the tomato feed I have see if it helps. At what point should I be starting to feed things? With strawberries I didn't till they started flowers and they've gone fairly well, not a bumper crop or anything but some and they aren't dead lol.

    Ach it is a bit stressful with so many issues at once, but I have to learn what I'm getting wrong. I do think slug snail and caterpillar protection is a must now - half the zinnias actually got eaten I assume by slugs and snails, they stalks just disappeared but I know it wasn't the rabbits. Yeah we've rabbits to contend with too but I've rabbit proofed the veg beds ;) 
  • The zinnia and french beans are turning yellow because the pots are too small and it's a sign of lack of nutrients, they need to be planted out or into bigger pots. Did you give the bluebell fresh compost this year? I find that anything growing in pots needs a compost change each year to give them the nutrients they need.
    I've never had any luck growing broccoli, mine has also always bolted no matter what method I try. 
    Peas grow really long deep roots, so your peas are probably just concentrating on root growth before they start the top growth. 
    Your lavender damage could be caused by rosemary beetle, they also eat lavender and thyme. 

    You also mention that you used manure, this could have burned the young plants delicate roots. Young plants roots can't cope with fertiliser, so I would water well to flush off the impact of the fertiliser.
    Thats really helpful @[email protected]_and_dogs, I really didn't know about feeding at that stage - any advice on at what point I should be starting feed? 
    Is there anything I can do about the lavender beetle? I've rosemary and thyme too so don't want it all eaten!
    The blueberry is new this year so it's fresh eric-compost. I am guessing this also must have needed more food and water and have therefore watered and fed with tomato feed this morning. 

    The manure burning roots makes total sense - everything i read said I needed to enrich the ground before planting, so I did, guessing maybe it wasn't in there long enough to break down, maybe next year it will be better. The only thing I used plain topsoil for was the carrots and parsnips. Carrots have been super slow to germinate.

    That makes sense about the peas, I'll leave this lot in as while they look not great they aren't actually withered and dead like the last lot, though they've been in the ground weeks with little to no growth. 
    Shame about the broccoli for you, what a pain! I will try again, have to be next year now. Super disappointed as its my fave veg!

    I will pot on the zinnias and beans - I had only just potted on the zinnias very recently and they haven't filled their new pots yet but I wonder if I potted them on from the last pot too late? I will also feed them all, poor plants :(


  • Desi_in_LondonDesi_in_London LondonPosts: 336
    edited 7 June
    I hesitate to stick my oar in on zinnias as I have struggled to get them to survive transplanting when growing from seed ( i have read they do not like root disturbance, no idea if this is an urban myth ) - I've sowed two lots so far which both died after being transplanted into 3 inch pots -- another batch on the go which I germinated on a paper towel and put straight into a 3 inch pot per plant. So far so surviving, but we arent at real leaves stage yet. If you have the appropriate space , and since they apparently grow quickly ( if one can get them to grow!) might be worth sowing direct where they are to flower. Longwinded preamble to saying might not be the best idea to re-pot them again if you have only just repotted zinnias. No idea re beans.

    I do have a couple of kinds of lavender and some beetle damage but i don't spray them , pick them off if i see them. Cannot tell how big your plants are , but mine (  2 plus years old) seem to survive the odd attack ok . RHS advice here : https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=555. I cannot tell if you are growing these from seed and so these are v small plants or if your photo is a close up of the top of one or two plants - if the former seems quite dense planting although could be camera angle?

    Separately - are you/were you growing  under glass? With the strong sun i wonder whether the big changes in day and night temp if unheated greenhouse may have caused some shock ( speculation) .
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • I hesitate to stick my oar in on zinnias as I have struggled to get them to survive transplanting when growing from seed ( i have read they do not like root disturbance, no idea if this is an urban myth ) - I've sowed two lots so far which both died after being transplanted into 3 inch pots -- another batch on the go which I germinated on a paper towel and put straight into a 3 inch pot per plant. So far so surviving, but we arent at real leaves stage yet. If you have the appropriate space , and since they apparently grow quickly ( if one can get them to grow!) might be worth sowing direct where they are to flower. Longwinded preamble to saying might not be the best idea to re-pot them again if you have only just repotted zinnias. No idea re beans.

    I do have a couple of kinds of lavender and some beetle damage but i don't spray them , pick them off if i see them. Cannot tell how big your plants are , but mine (  2 plus years old) seem to survive the odd attack ok . RHS advice here : https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=555. I cannot tell if you are growing these from seed and so these are v small plants or if your photo is a close up of the top of one or two plants - if the former seems quite dense planting although could be camera angle?

    Separately - are you/were you growing  under glass? With the strong sun i wonder whether the big changes in day and night temp if unheated greenhouse may have caused some shock ( speculation) .
    Hi @[email protected]_in_London! I have read about Zinnia root disturbance also, though they survived and thrived after first being potted - another person has said they look starved - I seem to have underfed! I couldn't sow direct unfortunately, but will try another go.

    The lavender is one of the few things not sown from seed - those were pots bought. The large is in its second year with me. It does appear it may be beetle - I will have a good look at that RHS thread you posted, thank you!

    I was growing everything in my conservatory while the greenhouse is still being built (at this rate it won't be ready till next season :-/ ) but I keep the windows open in the day and the door if really warm. I think the extreme temp shifts did cause issues in April and May, it was so bad here!
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 7,837
    Re the French beans, if the roots have filled the pots l would plant them out.
    https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Resources/Info-Sheet/French-bean-Crop-Sheet
    (I know the above is for schools gardening,  but we're all learning :) ).
    I haven't grown veg for a few years, but l think one of the best books available is "Grow your own veg" by Carole Klein. 

  • AnniD said:
    Re the French beans, if the roots have filled the pots l would plant them out.
    https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Resources/Info-Sheet/French-bean-Crop-Sheet
    (I know the above is for schools gardening,  but we're all learning :) ).
    I haven't grown veg for a few years, but l think one of the best books available is "Grow your own veg" by Carole Klein. 

    Thanks @AnniD :) The issue I'm having is I've nowhere left to plant them out with protection, so I'm going to buy more larger pots (eurgh so expensive!) and try pot on again. All the garden construction of beds and green house hasn't been finished in time but hopefully next year will be better.

    I've got Monty Don's Complete Gardener which I find brill, but another source would be super, I'll try the Carol Klein, thanks :D and the school resource, I'm starting from zero so it all helps :)
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