My garden always dies

Asked July 25, 2017, 9:48 AM EDT

Hello, I have a problem in that every time I plant a garden, about halfway through the growing season the leaves start to yellow, then turn brown, shrivel up, and die. I water like crazy, fertilize with bunny poop, and have a ton of old trees in my yard. The plants get sun, though I do have clay in my soil I'm told. Our pumpkin vines were beautiful with a ton of flowers on them, now they are all bleached looking and dead. Sometimes there are yellow spots, though I never see any bugs or black dots on the plants. Happens in each location I pick in the yard, so I never garden in the same place twice. Why is this? My peach and apple trees get holes in the leaves, too. They are 3 years old. Thank you for all advise you have!

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

First, don't give up! Many vegetables are easily grown in Maryland, but planning and preparation are essential for a good gardening experience. This sounds like cultural and environmental problems that you may be dealing with. Some reasons include overwatering, underwatering, fertilizer burn, normal aging of older leaves, too much shade, etc. You mentioned that you use rabbit manure to fertilize. If not well composted, this can cause yellowing/browning. If there are a lot of trees, you will not be successful growing vegetables in the shade. Most fruiting plants require a minimum of 6 hours of sun and 8-10 to be productive.
Take notes and monitor your plants weekly or sooner so you can get an idea of when problems occur.

See our Vegetable Profiles regarding planting and Profiles on Common Problems, for example, yellowing leaves
See our profile for information on growing pumpkins

For step by step information on food gardening look at our Best Practices for a Vegetable Garden and 5 Steps To A Vegetable Garden. Begin with a soil test for pH, liming, and nutrient deficiencies. See the steps below for fertilization, watering, and mulching.

Fruit trees - It is not easy to grow fruit tress as they can be susceptible to disease and insect issues. They eventually require a spray schedule for control.
You will have to familiarize yourself with care and common problems of these trees. Send us photos when you notice symptoms so we can see what you may be dealing with.
Here is the spray schedule from Va Tech