It’s the hardest thing to nourish your plants from seed only to have them turn strange on you. Should you kill it?
Maybe some of the leaves are turning yellow.
Maybe your plants are looking a little worse for wear.
Perhaps your peas have been producing for over a month and you’re not sure when you pull up the plant.
Understanding when is the right time to remove your crops, just as much as sowing your crops, makes for a successful garden. Often sowing some fast growing crops is a better way to get more from your garden, instead of trying to keep a dying plant alive and little (to no) harvests.
Reasons why your crops are failing and might need pulling up
- Older plants are more susceptible to pests and disease than younger ones so if they’ve been in the ground and producing (beans or peas for example) for a couple of months you might be better pulling them up. They’ll try harder and harder to go to seed so the crop quality and flavor decreases (example tender spring peas versus tougher peas mid-summer).
- You can troubleshoot nutrient deficiencies and help give them a boost but sometimes there isn’t enough time left in the gardening season to make it worth your while. Sometimes you’re better to pull up the plants, add some compost and sow new fast growing crops.
- If your crops (like leafy greens or radishes) start producing a flower stalk and start to taste bitter than means your plants are bolting. This will happen with summer heat or plant stress (cold to warmer temps). Pull up the plants and sow new crops for fall. You can also leave some of them to flower for the bees or save the seeds for sprouts and micro greens (you likely had too much cross pollination to grow them into a ‘true’ plant next season. Many brassicas for example will cross pollinate with each other and you also often need at least 30 plants for genetic diversity.
- Rogue funky looking plants? You might have old seed, seeds that weren’t pollinated properly (squash and pumpkins are bad for that) or maybe you tried saving seeds yourself and the varieties cross-pollinated with a crop in the same family. If that’s the case, pull up the plants and sow something else.
- Lack of pollination & flowers aren’t making fruit. Certain crops like peas or beans are self-pollinating and the vegetables will grow from the flower. Others require pollination, and if you lack pollinators in your area then your fruit might not set. Look into attracting beneficial insects and pollinators and increasing biodiversity in your backyard.
Sometimes your crops just need a ‘boost’ because your soil doesn’t have the required nutrients to help your plants grow & thrive.
Take a look at how much time left you have in the season for those crops to grow. If it’s the end of summer and your tomatoes or squash are doing terrible, chances are it’s too late to help them produce adequate harvests for the season. If however it’s the beginning of the summer or you have a long season you might still have time.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Although we work hard in the garden to keep plants alive, plants that are too old or that are failing aren’t worth keeping around. Remember a great back up is to sow a fall or winter garden.