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Old 02-07-2017, 09:09 AM
 
16,552 posts, read 18,667,766 times
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The pests are much worse. Also, seeds don't germinate as well as they used to and I suspect that seed companies are repackaging old seeds in new packaging and selling them as fresh.

Where I am located, weather has been unreliable.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:22 AM
 
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I blame a lot of my troubles on the drought. Year-round watering with treated city water from the hose just doesn't seem to make anything grow well. In the last few years, I couldn't even grow tomatoes or zucchini with any success, and I have also had a terrible time getting seeds to germinate--even ones that used to be foolproof, like lettuce and green beans.

I don't think it's pollinators around here, as there are still lots of bees.

The last few months we've had rain, and I had great success with broccoli and cauliflower. It remains to be seen how the coming summer will be. I'm considering buying heirloom seeds from a catalog. Maybe they will germinate better than the ones from Lowe's or Home Depot.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:35 AM
 
1,716 posts, read 433,388 times
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Thank Monsanto for the pesticides killing the land. I tried to tell my neighbor that the Round-Up he was spraying in his yard (illegal in Europe) was not only bad for his land, but didn't actually stop at the border to my land and would leach into my yard, making it difficult for me to grow an organic vegetable garden. He said, basically, he didn't care; it was "his" yard and he could do anything he wanted to it. Yeah, except that it also gets into my yard. The same with the pesticide Atrazine (also illegal in Europe: turned all the fish in the Seine male); it's now in virtually all of our rivers and streams. Since Syngenta, the parent company, could no longer sell their poison on the European market, they came over here and, in a series of closed-door meetings with CEOs and the Bush administration, cut a deal, and it is now the most widely used pesticide in the U.S. Epidemiologists are particularly concerned about its effects on unborn children, and the possibility that it is causing the upswing in ADHD, autism, etc. I don't know why Americans so often just mindlessly believe marketing and assume that the federal government agencies are untainted by corruption. Do they think that all the scientists in European countries--from Denmark to Spain--are just stupid?
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:35 AM
 
613 posts, read 866,239 times
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Hey thanks to everyone for the respectful & intelligent replies.. please keep em coming!
I hate the fact that we even have to talk about this but am so relieved that I'm not the only one who's having these problems and doubts. I think they need to be talked about.

Here's another thing-- in recent years, I've been getting the distinct feeling that garden stores are just a massive RIP-OFF-- they are invested in selling an IDEA that it's so easy to have this beautiful successful garden and they are in total denial that people are seeing obvious changes and having a much lower success rate. I think there is a total disconnect between the stores/suppliers and their customers. But they make way too much money off selling an IDEA. Every Spring, people get all re-inspired that 'maybe this year will be better'.. or 'maybe if I just invest more money'..and it just doesn't work. For some of us, it just gets worse and worse. And I think it's time to talk openly about this and discuss WHY this might be occurring. I do believe there is something ominous and insidious that is happening.. I don't have answers, just a lot of questions and a few gut feelings.. based mostly on my own experience.

And of course there's too much confusion & disagreement about climate change to even know how to apply that to the issue. Also agricultural corporations keep the public in the dark about what they're really doing.. (and while it seems clear that their motives are based largely on capitalistic greed, I don't want to speculate too much without facts to back it up).. but at least if we can talk openly about it, we can get all our questions/doubts/fears out in the open and maybe find some answers.

I actually would like to discuss this with my local garden extension and see if I can find some real information as to what's going on. Any other ideas, about who to contact?
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:58 AM
 
Location: United States of Vinland
11,205 posts, read 12,977,404 times
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I think the main problems with home gardens that decline in productivity over the course of several years are:

Soil depletion/inadequate fertilizing

Lack of crop rotation and knowledge of the causes of plant diseases, especially those that are soil borne or plant-to-plant transmissible.

Basically, lack of planning and knowledge lead to decreased yields over time. You can't just say, "This is my tomato plot." Then do the same thing year after year and expect to get the same tomato yield in year 5 as you did in year 1 and 2.
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:26 AM
 
613 posts, read 866,239 times
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<Don't be fooled into thinking yesteryear was a paradise. The same holds true for gardeners of any previous generations....Irish Potato Famine, anyone?>

I hear what you're saying Nonchalance.. I know there's always been famines & crop failures, from not diversifying crops and droughts, bugs, soil depletion, and so on.. and the reality of food-growing was definitely not always an idyllic paradise. Humans worked harder than anything we can imagine to not starve.. but I still think things have gotten worse, more pests/disease/weeds than ever before. (Of course I'm only speaking for the U.S... not sure if those in other countries are having the same experience.)
Again, it could be just my bad luck, but that's why I'm posting these questions on here, to try & find out if it's something more. My many years of experience & observations are telling me that it is. The question is- is it man-made, and if so, why?

Here's another theory- that has to do with overpopulation of Earth in modern times:
It seems to me that since that people are so crowded together now, that the transmission of pests/ plant disease/fungus/ etc. is now traveling more rapidly between gardens and farmed areas than ever before. In the past when there was more space between human population clusters, and more space between actual properties, the plants could 'breathe' better i.e., it took longer for a pathogen, pest or weed (whether local or exotic) to travel in between. It also took longer for an exotic pest to travel from one country across the world to another. But now, everything sped up (thanks mostly to globalization) and there's more & more cross-contamination, producing devastating results overall.

Not to mention how scientists have tinkered with Mother Nature, re Monsanto & pesticides, as OrganicSmallHome mentioned, and how that ends up affecting EVERYONE...

Perhaps also the selling of cheap backyard grass seed on a mass scale...?? I wonder how much that has contributed to the spreading of invasive weeds? It's a hunch, but does anyone really know for sure? I have seen some kind of Uber-Franken-Weeds pop up almost overnight (it seems) and smother my entire garden like nothing I've ever seen. Extremely aggressive and invasive. Even after tilling the soil completely digging way down and removing every little root and everything.. adding new clean soil and so on. I do understand that weeding is part of gardening and takes a lot of work. But Jesus!! Are these natural weeds that have always been in the environment? Or have herbicides created a whole new generation of SuperWeeds?? Do they put evil weed seeds in commercial soil or fertilizer, just so you'll have to buy more of their products? WHAT is going on here...?!

So based on these theories, it makes sense to me that in the first few centuries of the U.S. when the country could still be referred to as an unspoiled continent- up until the middle of the 1900's- when modern chemical pesticides were starting to be used and mass-produced on a huge scale, and also marketed to the average homeowner; and when genetic manipulation really began in earnest (correct?), and the U.S. was still somewhat globally isolated (in terms of trade/goods).. it seems like the land was still somewhat pure and disease-free.. and therefore much easier for our ancestors to grow things. And thus the memories of Grandma and Grandpa smiling in their abundant backyard victory garden.
Here's another clue-- if veg gardening was as agonizingly frustrating as it is now, and required such backbreaking work- there's no way our elderly grandparents could have physically handled it. So it MUST have been easier! (just using some deductive logic here..)

Or as StageMomma said, were they just the first generation of toxic chemical-using gardeners, and THAT'S why they were so successful? (think of the ending scene in the Godfather here.) And that stuff worked much better in the early days, before it really created a chain reaction that just threw the whole ecological system off, so to speak. As in, pests/disease getting stronger to circumvent the chemicals.

And speaking of.. THAT may be really what this whole thing is about. Anyone know the scientific term for that phenomenon? (please excuse my ignorance..)
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
10,450 posts, read 5,338,467 times
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It's hit or miss in my garden. My eggplant was out of control with just 4 plants, while I only harvested about 3 nice zucchini on 4 plants last year. It was the same for my yellow squash. My tomatoes were horrible as well last year. I had tons of green beans and the broccoli was amazing. I used to grow huge pumpkins but the two that grew were about half the size or less last year. My garden is in the same spot and I do rotate the plants. I also cover it with black plastic and let the heat from the summer sun radiate on the soil all summer long every couple of years. It seems to help kill off some of the pests.
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:12 PM
 
1,202 posts, read 454,089 times
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There's just the two of us now and it's very difficult to not to over plant.
Weather has changed, longer seasons and either hotter or cooler.
Live in the MidValley Or. Not that many insects and use older pesticides, as needed (we use to farm commercially) Slugs are our #1 pest. Keeping soil sweet is necessary with mineral soils and rain.
2016 year for fruits & flavor is off. Vegetable yields seem to be down in 2016.
We basically plant just a few things.
Garlic, shallots, peas for leaf and pods, beans (pole, an early Kentucky wonder type, and 2-3 plantings of BlueLake), Romaine & leaf lettuce in 2 spring plantings, Zuchinni, Butternut squash and WinterMelon squash which we are still eating fresh, Tomatoes. Sugar beets which are still in the ground. We still give away a bunch of food.
Our #1 produce are fruits and 2016 was definitely not a banner year except for figs where early, large, and high leaf to fruit ratio for exceptionally sweet figs.
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:37 PM
 
Location: near a beach
13,469 posts, read 12,868,053 times
Reputation: 20801
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
I think the main problems with home gardens that decline in productivity over the course of several years are:

Soil depletion/inadequate fertilizing

Lack of crop rotation and knowledge of the causes of plant diseases, especially those that are soil borne or plant-to-plant transmissible.

Basically, lack of planning and knowledge lead to decreased yields over time. You can't just say, "This is my tomato plot." Then do the same thing year after year and expect to get the same tomato yield in year 5 as you did in year 1 and 2.
^^^Partly this. Crop rotation does't necessarily mean that you don't plant anything in that space. It could mean that you plant something ELSE there for a few years instead. Certain plants use up certain nutrients in the soil and other plants use up different nutrients. For instance, my beets grew in one place for a few years. Yes, I added bone meal and compost, but they started coming out scrawny.

So the next year I planted them in a different place and they did great. That year I used the old beet area to plant tomatoes in big pots. Had a huge parsley plant in the ground with the tomatoes.

My gardening breakthough of my life was back when I discovered how much the acidity of the soil affects the plants. The former owners had said, "Nothing will grow here." It took a while, but I learned that the soil (in the middle of the woods so it was affected by all the fallen oak leaves and pine needles) was very acidic. Too acidic for the plants to be able to absorb nutrients! I started adding either lime (takes a year to work but is cheap) or bone meal to the soil and it was like MAGIC. It neutralizes the acid. My yard was so beautiful that it was one of the selling points of the house when it came time to sell.

The previous generations used to empty the ash from their woodstoves. My grandfather had a huge container of ash that he would spread over the garden every year and probably every so often during the growing season. I also remember him talking about manure--either he bought it or it came from the chickens, I don't know. But he had a huge vegetable garden and that was in the days before chemicals. I think the ash neutralized the soil the way lime or bonemeal does.

If you have the right kind of soil that can get the nutrients into the plant, the plant should be healthy enough to withstand disease. Bad soil=sick plants that are susceptible to disease. Like a person who doesn't eat right and is always sick.

But another factor is the hot, dry weather that we never used to have. Plants are drying out faster than I can water them.

Both of our local garden centers favor organic gardening and are happy when I go in to buy a bag of bone meal, but they say that most people want the poisons instead.
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:45 PM
 
Location: British Columbia
3,593 posts, read 4,111,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalminor View Post

........ And that stuff worked much better in the early days, before it really created a chain reaction that just threw the whole ecological system off, so to speak. As in, pests/disease getting stronger to circumvent the chemicals.

And speaking of.. THAT may be really what this whole thing is about. Anyone know the scientific term for that phenomenon? (please excuse my ignorance..)
Adaptation. Evolution. ???

.
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