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Melon Growing Problems

‘Little Baby’ Flower is super early and high yielding. (My kids love them!)
“Second year trying to grow melons. Can’t seem to get fruit, and if I get one it’s too late for the growing season. Is it a lack of pollination…I always plant them early. Thanks!” Question by Chris of Orange, Connecticut
Answer: It’s so frustrating when you get lots of vine and no fruit. Several factors […]

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Help! Tomato White Heart Disorder!

The right soil and irrigation water pH is essential for good tomato production.
“I am growing in raised beds and hydroponically in EarthBoxes. Nothing does very well and tomatoes are horrid with hard white cores. I recently found the water from our community well tests at 8.6 pH. I am wondering if your peat formula would buffer the high water pH. Right now I am using […]

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Spaghetti Squash Care

“I planted spaghetti squash and just got my first flowers! I have been told the first flowers are male. Do I need to do anything to ensure I get lots of squash?” Question from Deborah of Powder Springs, Georgia.
Answer: Yes! Male flowers appear first, followed by female flowers along the vine tips, once the vines get to a substantial size. You will recognize the female flowers immediately because they will have tiny immature fruits at the base of each flower.
To […]

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Tomato Containers Not Producing

“I have tomatoes in pots on my deck but they haven’t bloomed. The plants are beautiful. I water frequently. I used Miracle Grow potting soil. The tomatoes in the garden are fruiting. I live in Texas, it’s very hot this year.Where did I go wrong? Question from Donna of Cross Plains, Texas
Answer:  Tomato containers are always more demanding. These veggies are heavy feeders and drinkers, so they need large containers with plenty of space, everyday water and diligent feeding, which […]

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Three Sisters Garden

“I’ve heard a lot about the “three sisters” planting method. What exactly is this?” Question from John of Gatewood, Missouri
Answer: The Three Sisters Garden was a classic Native American planting method that included corn, beans, and squash; the staple crops for agrarian tribes. Basically, the squash and beans were planted at the base of the corn plants. As the corn grew, the stalks supported the twining beans and squash. Click here to read a great Black Gold article all about […]

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Tomato Blossom Drop

“I have a very healthy tomato plant that will only produce a few tomatoes.  The blossoms fall of rather than setting.  Thank you.” Question from Ron from Cashmere, Washington.
Answer: There are loads of reasons a seemingly healthy tomato might drop blossoms and most of them are either environmental or physiological. Here are some likely possibilities considering your Pacific Northwest location and the fact that your plant appears to be otherwise healthy.

Fertilizer regime: Excess nitrogen in the soil will result in […]

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Shriveled Squash

Male flowers have no little fruit at the base (top flowers) and female flowers do (bottom flower).
“Though I water and fertilize my squash plants well, a lot of the fruit seem to just shrivel up!  What can I do?” Question from Kyra of White Salmon, Washington
Answer: Sorry to hear your squash crop isn’t cooperating! I would love to hear what squash you are growing and […]

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Cucumbers Not Fruiting!

Female flowers have small fruits at the base (left) and male flowers don’t (right).
“Why do I get a lot of flowers on cucumbers plants but no cucumbers?” Question from Margaret of Dade City, Florida
Answer: How annoying for you! Nothing is worse than having “happy” plants that don’t produce good fruit. If your plants get enough sun, water, and good vegetable fertilizer for fruiting, and they […]

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Zucchini Not Fruiting!

This healthy zucchini is near a beehive, so it has plenty of bees to pollinate the squash. (Image by Jessie Keith)
“Last year, lots of blossoms but no zucchini so I planted in a different space. So far, not even blossoms. I’ve never seen this before. Zucchini usually grows like weeds.” Question from Sharon in Washington
Answer: That’s an interesting problem…tell me more. There are lots […]

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Yellow Blueberries


“My blueberry plants have yellow leaves. Why is this happening and what can I do?” -Question from Emily of Columbus, Ohio
ANSWER: Your blueberries have chlorosis. This is caused by a soil pH problem. Blueberries like acid soils between 4.5 and 5.5. When soils are too alkaline (have a higher pH) blueberry plants cannot access necessary nutrients, and their leaves start to turn yellow. Thankfully, […]

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