Troubleshooting in Your Garden

When it comes to troubleshooting in the garden, it’s easy to keep things simple. Go back to the basics: plants need nutrients, light, air, and water. Most of your problems are going to be because the plants are getting too much or too little of one or the other. Here are some questions you can ask when you need to troubleshoot in the garden.


Do Your Plants Get Enough Sunlight?

Here are some of the problems that can be caused by a lack of sun:

  • Stretched out stems
  • Brown edges on the leaves
  • Yellow leaves
  • Faded or drooping leaves
  • Small, thin leaves
  • Slowed growth

To make sure your plants are getting enough sun, watch your yard at various points throughout the day and take notes of the times of day when your plants get a lot of sunlight. Then figure out the total amount of hours of sun your plants get each day.

Try planting flowers and other plants in spaces that get a lot of sun throughout the day.


Do Your Plants Get Too Much Sun?

This is particularly essential to consider if you follow the “full sun” label that is on a transplant. Depending on where you are in the country, “full sun” can mean vastly different things. You will want your plants to get more morning sun and less of the afternoon sun as it can be too harsh. If your plants are getting too much sun, you will be able to tell by the discoloration of the leaves or the brown edges of the leaves.

If you do notice that your plants are getting too much sun, you may want to use a garden umbrella or a shade cloth. You can also move any potted plants into the shade around the sunniest parts of the day.

Are Your Plants Getting Enough Nutrients?

It can be difficult to tell the correct amount of nutrients that should be given to your plants. I’m always concerned about overfeeding them. And yet if they don’t get enough nutrients, there can be real problems.

Here are some problems that can be caused by a lack of nutrients:

  • Leaf tips will turn pale green or yellow
  • Poor fruiting or flowering
  • Leaf curl
  • Green leaves that have bronze spots
  • Weak stems
  • Stunted growth

You can also get your soil tested to see if your plants are getting the right nutrients. There are kits that will even allow you to test it yourself.


Are Your Plants Getting Too Much Nutrients?

There’s a very fine line between overfeeding and underfeeding your plants. I like to ere on the side of underfeeding. I can always add more nutrients if I need to, but I can’t take them away.

Here are some of the problems that can be caused from too much nutrients:

  • Mites and insects are more attracted to plants with higher nutrients
  • Wilting plants
  • Spindly growth of plants

Just as you can get your soil tested to see if your plants aren’t getting enough nutrients, you can also test your soil to make sure they aren’t getting too many nutrients.

Is There Enough Room for Air Circulation Around Your Plants?

When your plants don’t have enough room to breathe, they will take longer to dry out after watering or rain. High humidity can actually lead to disease. Mildew can be a sign that your plants need more air flow.

Here are a few ways you can make sure your plants get more air circulation:

  • Space plants properly when planted
  • Prune your plants when needed
  • Thin plants
  • Provide a trellis for any climbing plants
  • Use vents or fans in greenhouses

Are Your Plants Getting Enough Water?

Based on the changing seasons and your geographical location, the amount of water your plants will need will vary. In the winter, for example, I may go months and not water my plants whereas in the summer, I may water them every other day.

Here are a few of the problems that can be caused by too little water:

  • Shriveled fruit or stems
  • Small roots
  • Wilting plants
  • Dry and/or cracked soil
  • Fruit that is misshapen
  • Tough or dry leaves
  • A bitter or sharp flavor

Here are a few ways you can make sure your plant is getting enough water:

  • Buy a moisture meter to check the level of water in the soil for you
  • Dig down about six inches into the soil to check if the soil is dry – if it is, your plants likely need water
  • Install an irrigation system that has a timer so you can set it to water the ideal amount throughout the day
Overwatering Plants

Are Your Plants Getting Too Much Water?

Overwatering can lead to disease, which can cause pests to run rampant in your yard. Here are some of the problems that can be caused if your plants are getting too much water:

  • The roots are rotten
  • There is mold or moss on the surface of the soil
  • Soil is soaking wet or soggy
  • A potted plant is wilting
  • There is limp or floppy foilage
  • The stems are mushy or soft
  • The lower leaves have turned yellow and dropped off the plant

Here are some suggestions for ways to make sure your plants don’t get too much water:

  • Install an irrigation system with a timer so it only waters at certain times of the day
  • Dig down about six inches and feel the soil – if it’s soggy, you may be overwatering
  • Give the wet soil a drainage system
  • Don’t water your plants after a heavy rain

These are just some of the ways you can troubleshoot in your garden and make sure your plants are getting the exact right amount of sun, nutrients, air, and water. The main point is that you want to really pay attention to your garden so that you can observe any of the problems that come up before they are real problems.

Author Bio:

Sara Crawford is an author and blogger from Atlanta, Georgia. She occasionally writes for The Turfgrass Group. She has written novels, produced her own plays, and performed as a singer/songwriter. She is passionate about the act of creation, and she adores the written word.

Troubleshooting in Your Garden
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Tina Martino

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.

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