Vegetable plants fully grown but no Vegetables!

Perth, Australia


About 4 months ago I planted a variety of vegetables. From memory, broccoli, red cabbage, corn, peas, zucchini, watermelon, rockmelon, celery, carrots, beetroot, cauliflower, roma tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cucumber, capsicum.
My peas grew quite well, but went yellow and died fast. I didnt end up getting much from them. My broccoli has grown large and leafy but still no brocolli. Why would this be? Its been 4 months and they havent grown any bigger for at least a month now. They are quite larger plants then what I have normaly seen in my mums own vegi garden. The red cabbage plants look good too but no cabbage.
All the other vegetables/fruit I planted havent grown well. They get plenty of water, sun and fertiliser. The corn grew only 1/3 of the hight it says it should be, its starting to die now but is also just started to produce some piddly looking corn cobs. The watermelon plant is smaller then my fist yet has a watermelon the size of half a tic tac but isnt changing. The brussel sprouts plants are only half a hand in hight and are now going yellow, no brussle sprouts growing either. My cucumbers and rockmelon grew to a hand size and then just died randomly.
The cauliflower and celery never even made it to sprouting.
My zucchini plants managed to flower and I only got one decent zucchini from the plant, but had a least 4 grow to a thumb size and then just died.
My capsicum, which look like a bonzi tree (which not many branches) are now starting to flower, they are way too small to even be producing anything.
Also the beetroot and carrots popped up when they should have and look really good with the leaves and what not, except there is no actual carrot or beetroot growing.

What am I doing wrong? The plants dont seem to get to the size they should be (other then the broccoli) and then when they do start growing the vegetable bit (if they do!!) they seem to be undersized, unedable and then just die.

I have planted them in the ground randomly around the house in garden beds. The ground here is a red/brown sandy and hard. Of course i made it all lose when i planted but overtime the ground has gone hard again, my partner tried losening the ground up without touching the plants or the roots, but it doesnt seem to have helped (although the carrots leafy bits are looking more healthier).

Hope that is enough information. Unfortunatly i have no photos, but i can get some

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Tell us more about your watering and fertilizing process. Sand tends to not maintain fertility very well. If it's something that tends to turn to concrete that will also severely stunt plants. Adding organic material will help both problems.

I think its a soil problem because some of the plants you list like it hot and some like it cool.
Have you had the soils ph tested. If it's to alkaline then the plants can't take up nutrients and the same if it is too acid.

Perth, Australia

Hey thanks for getting back to me. At first I was watering at least twice a day as it was hot and they were just growing, i did that for quite a while until they got quite large and it got colder and then watered for only once a day, but i gave them quite a lot of water. I would fertilize them at least once a month with a liquid form. I havent tested the soil as I have no idea about that kind of things. The kind of soil we have here is good for your wheat and grains and what not. Not sure if that helps much?

Standish, MI

It sounds more like you have a clay soil. Sandy soils tend to stay loose and when you water the water seeps down rather fast.

If it is clay soil you may not be fertilizing enough. But with that said to much nitrogen gives you lots of green and very little fruit. But I would think you need to be adding things to your soil that will give it more organic material. With organic material you will find that your soil stays looser.

When you water does it stand around for a while or does it penetrate the soil quickly?

One more question, what is the temperature there through the day and are the nights warm or do they cool down?

Perth, Australia

I havent mixed anything with the groung yet and not sure if its too late to do that? I dont want to desterb the roots too much.

Also weeds grow like crazy compaired to the vegetables, not sure if that says anthing?

With the water it depends, if it is very dry, it goes quite fast. But when it is already damp/wet it sits ontop for a little but not for long, like i will "flood" a garden bed (just till there is a bit of water sitting ontop) and move to another garden bed, by the time that one has water sitting ontop the other one already has water gone, but I find if I dig a bit of the wet stuff, its only a centermeter or 2 deep, so i tend to go back and do it a few times in one session to make sure it gets deep enough.

Although the following is going off a website with its own records for our area, they arent quite accurate. In the last few weeks it has been cold during the day and night (cold enough to have a fire going and snug up), but before that its been quite hot even at night, we also had quite a few high 30's and 40's for a while with it being unusually dry the last month.

It has been 7 min 18 max for this month and at the end of last month 10min - 22max (celcius), but in the last week it has been a constant wind (2 of my corn plants bent over and wont stay up and the broccoli are all on a slight angle from the roots now). When they were first planted, the soil was looser and the water went through better, but I had dug quite deep before planting to loosen all the soil, but over time it just slowly got compacted again, no one walks on it either. A month after i planted Our min temp was 18 and 34 max. By this time they were decent sprouts (or just starting to sprout), and the next month pretty close to it, 3 months after plantation it went to min 10 max 22. Its a dry hot place (although the coldness has only just stepped in a few weeks ago and the last 7 days we have had 40mm of rain yay for rain finaly), but it doesnt get humid at all.

Perth, Australia

I do find when the soil is wet, it becomes more softer, squishy, plyable? sorry hard to explain.

here are some photos attached of the vegies currently growing. please excuse any weeds in the background lol (i was weeding all the time, but am starting to give up.)

Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes
Perth, Australia

and the last of em.

the zucchini, half the plant has died off, this grew well though and had plenty of flowers, but only grew one decent zucchini, the rest of the zucchinis that started to grow, only got as long as 1 1/2 inches and very thin, then just went yellow and died. i have 3 zucchini plants, 2 male and 1 that grew male & female flowers

Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes Thumbnail by rkrowzes
Standish, MI

From the pictures and how you describe the soil and how it reacts to the water I would agree with you that it is not clay but more towards a sandy soil. Even sandy soil will form a crust when left untilled at times.

It's best not to disturb the plants this year but as soon as the garden is done you can start to work in organic matter. This will need to be turned into the soil so you cannot work iy in yet. From your pictures it would appear that nutrition would be a problem but without a soil test and being so far away it is hard to really say. I would concentrate on adding organic matter to the soil. We garden on a sandy loam and have been building it up by adding organic material each year. Every year before I plant and after tilling the soil once I broadcast a 12-12-12 granular fertilizer and till it into the soil a second time. Of course this is not organic gardening but it gives a good source of nutrition to start the season. Then we water in a liquid fertilizer once a week during the growing season. This is after the plants are growing. If the soil nutrition is correct you can grow plants in most any type of growing medium.

I would think that you need to fertilize more often, but again for this year it may not be of much benefit. Its often hard to grow in a warm dry climate unless the conditions are correct for good plant growth. Even though you water as you do I wonder if you might not be soaking the ground enough so that the root system grows down into the soil far enough. If the top of the soil is kept wet but the water is not soaking down the roots will seek where the moisture is and they will stay shallow. And in a dry climate this may not be giving the plant enough to draw upon in between waterings. A good sturdy root system is needed for the plant to process the ground nutrients correctly. This may not be the correct direction that you need to pursue but I would go this way at first and experiment. I hope you hear from others to help give you additional ideas.

Also a good thing to do is to mulch you garden and I'm not sure it would help this year because of the maturity of your plants. For the next growing season I would strongly consider mulching though.

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

Its usually best to start with l vegetable. Plant & get it to fruit. After you have mastered it, you will have learned what kind of soil it likes, what kind of weather it likes, cool or hot. Since every vegetable needs a different care, you can work your way up. Certain vegetables will only produce in cool weather, or cold, & others will only produce in warm or hot weather. Before planting, check with someone & find out when to plant.

Perth, Australia

thanks gardenworm2 thats a heap of help :) ashame I cant do much now, but at least I know what to do better next time!

behillman i just went by what the back of the packet went, most of the things I planted (other then the peas, carrots and beetroots), required to be planted in warm weather, so i would say now with it getting cold, it wont be much help, but it was 4 months ago i planted them all

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

I'm trying to get a handle on your climate and weather. How humid is it there? Does it ever freeze there in the winter? How much rain do you get and when.

Here's what I think is happening:
You have a soil fertility problem. It appears to me that your soil is fairly well drained. With the amount of watering you do there it quickly washes the nutrients away. I THINK once a month fertilizing wasn't enough. You need a soil test to know where you are at. In the USA most states have some type of Co-operative extension that does things like soil tests for farmers and gardeners at a reasonable price. I did a quick Internet search and came up with this. If I have the wrong area it gives you a place to start.

This means that you need to find ways to incorporate organic material into you soil. Things like compost and manure. What you use depends on what is locally available.

I also think your timing is off as far as when to plant stuff. Where I am Peas and Peppers would go in the ground 2 or so apart months, Broccoli whould be somewhere in between.
You are planting in the equivalent of mid August in somewhere California. I can't help you much with timing as I live in a much colder area.

As for this year I don't know if the broccoli and Brussel sprouts will do anything this year now that it has gotten cooler, if you fertilized them some. They might.

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