The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Galpal

Indiana, United States

My garden vegetables are baffling me. Some are thriving, and others are wilted, whitish, and stunted, mainly the cucumbers. I see no beetles and the white color is in a thin layer on the stems. I admit I am a newbie to gardening, but I just planted about 3 - 4 weeks ago, and I really want to succeed. I have sprayed for fungus, but it does not seem to help. The plants aren't dying, but as tiny and crummy as they look, they might as well. Meanwhile, most of the other plants are doing pretty good, with a few showing some slight wilt, even though the soil has moisture. I have clay soil, but I have aerated, fertilized, and last year the plants did great. Any clue what I am doing wrong? What should I be looking for?



Quite possibly over watered!

Check the stem of your cucumbers at soil level to see if there is any rot present.

Cucumbers are susceptible to ' neck rot'

You should try and avoid wetting any of the plant when watering.

Some people form a hillock around the base of the plant so water runs off, others ( like me ) fit a plastic sleeve around the stem to do the same job!

5 Jun, 2012


I'm not terribly well informed about the kind of climate you have in Indiana, but the general principle with vegetable gardening is that you need a deeply cultivated and enriched soil. You can achieve this by digging in well rotted compost each year, or instead, putting a good deep mulch of organic matter around your plants. Vegetables don't like being moved abruptly from warm cosy conditions in a greenhouse or polytunnel into the cold clay soil and the white stems and dying foliage might be due to that.
Don't give up but persevere, and in my twenty years of experience of growing veg. on hard clay soil, I'd recommend that you try to adopt the 'deep mulch' method where you cover the soil with whatever organic matter you can get hold of and plant through it. After a couple of years your soil will be vastly improved and your plants will grow far better. Avoid walking or using machinery on the cultivated area and stick to narrow paths either side.

5 Jun, 2012


When growing cucumbers outside, i don't rely on the natural soil. I take out a hole a foot in diameter, by a foot deep. I dig a little well rotted manure in to the bottom, then the soil i've taken out is mixed half/half with hanging basket compost...peat based if you can still get it over there. Bit more difficult with clay soil but if you crumble it down first should be OK. This is then used to fill the hole.
Reason I do it is I have a very light free draining soil which isn't a lot of use for cucumbers, but it should help with clay soils as well.

5 Jun, 2012


Thanks to everyone who responded. I know that I should develop a compost pile. But is it possible to throw vegetable peelings, etc. in the garden while plants are in there? I do not really have a lot of extra space for an additional composting area. Or should I wait until just before winter after the plants are gone?

10 Jun, 2012


Don't put raw veg around your plants,apart from looking untidy you might attract pests and / or disease.

Another thing is the rotting process would draw nitrogen from your soil that otherwise would have been used by your plants!

Do you have a space for a forty gallon (200 litre) drum?

In the UK we can get purpose made compost bins!

See here;

Click on the picture to enlarge.

These barrels are bottomless so that excess moisture can get out,and worms can get in.

I empty them once a year,although emptying is down to how soon the rotting process takes place and how much you make!

10 Jun, 2012

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