book2 600x120 2

(Cincinnati, OH)


I have had a very successful container garden for the past few years. I built garden beds and this year my plants seem to be sick. The photos are, in order: squash, cucumber, bell pepper. There seems to be sand in spots on the soil. Some under the sick plants, some not.

Comments for Sick Veggies

Jun 23, 2020

Oh Boy…
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

That’s a tough one. Sand? Are you sure it’s not cast off aphid skins? They are pale, and in the first few instars, very small. Check on the undersides of the leaves with a magnifying glass – that’s the only way you’ll see the the insect itself.

Other than that, these crops all are known as heavy feeders, and if they don’t have an ongoing supply of nutrients in the soil, this is the time of the season that they’ll be starting to show it. Get some compost on the top of the soil, to give them a little feed each time you water.

This will help with any pests too, as plants already in trouble nutrient-wise will be attractive to pests. Encourage plant pest predators by planting some dill, or other flowering plants. The predatory insects rely on pollen to survive, after they clean up all the pests.

By the way, I don’t think your problem is due to changing the way you’re gardening, except possibly if you re-used soil from the containers which might have pathogens in it, ready to attack your plants this year. Growing in beds as opposed to containers could be a steep learning curve!