home vegetable garden
this year my garden did not prosper very well, at all. i have planted pole beans, that produced no beans. my squash plants are dying off, spaghetti squash, i did not get any produce, yellow squash only produced two vegetables, green peppers, cucumbers, corn, are all affected.
at first i thought perhaps it was something i may have done or not have done. in speaking with other fellow gardeners, i have learned i am not alone. is there something causing non-productive gardens - lack of bees to pollinate?, too humid?
any insight you are able to provide is greatly appreciated. thank you for your time.
St. Clair County Michigan vegetable gardening
Thank you for using the Ask an Expert service, provided in Michigan through MSU Extension. I'm going to basically pass on some thoughts from one of our MSU Extension Vegetable Educators, Ben Phillips, with some of my own edits. Thanks Ben for the help.
To answer one of your questions, Ben told me that pollination from bees has not been a problem this season. However, environmental conditions help determine the "fruit load" of fruiting plants.
You can help determine some of the environmental conditions in your vegetable garden. Have you had your garden soil tested recently? Did you fertilize this year? What are your watering practices? (Frequency? Quantity? Time of day? Delivery method?) Have you used pesticides? How weedy would you say the garden is?
Otherwise, it was a hot and dry-ish summer. This stresses plants in lots of ways, including blossom drop and fruit abortions. Bugs are a problem in dry years. Tiny colony forming bugs like thrips and spider mites that are hard to see. Now, it is wetter and diseases are showing up. Downy mildew in cantaloupe/cucumber, late blight in potato/tomato, and Phytophthora capsici kill plants fast. All have shown up in the last 3 weeks.
Weeds are tolerant to a wide variety of weather conditions and directly compete for water, sun, and nutrients. They indirectly compete by seeding the soil with more weeds and by blocking any occasional or emergency pesticide coverage from reaching its target (the bug or disease on the veggies). A good gardener should be a weed warrior every year.
Let me know if you have any further questions.