I think I over fertilized my raised vegetable garden. A few days after I fertilized, the leaves are starting to go limp and point downwards. Is this what it looks like? And if so, is there any recovering from this? How can I help my garden get better? enter image description here enter image description here

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    How much fertilizer did you apply per plant or per square foot? When did you apply it? Did you fertilize up to the stem or did you spread it a few inches away. Did you water it in? Is the soil moist? Plants look like they might need water. What has the temperature been? What was the temperature when you fertilized? It's pretty hard to overfertilizer with organic fertilizers but I've never used Jobes. Also can you post a higher resolution photo of the side of the bag? Hard to read. – OrganicLawnDIY May 31 '16 at 17:29
  • I sprinkled a teaspoon amount around the base of each plant. I gently mixed the top of the soil, then watered thoroughly. That was about 5 days ago. It is hot and dry here, the high has been 75 to 90 degrees F. When I fertilized them it was probably around 72F. I've been watering once a day. I'll see if I can post a better image of the bag. – Sharon T May 31 '16 at 17:49
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    1 teaspoon per plant doesn't seem like a lot. What does the bag say? Did you check the soil to see if it's dry? Or maybe too wet? Is that an EarthBox? What type of soil are you using? – OrganicLawnDIY May 31 '16 at 18:22
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    Bag says 1 1/2 teaspoons for a 4" diameter pot for container gardening. The soil definitely seemed too dry today when I checked. It could be that I'm under watering since the temp has been very hot and very windy lately. I've been thinking about attempting some kind of shade because of the hot arid conditions. I'm inland, in northern california, so it's drought conditions and desert like climate. This is not an earth box. I bought it at Lowes, I believe it's cedar. I'm using some store bought soil that indicated it was for potted plants and vegetables. – Sharon T May 31 '16 at 18:31
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    It looks like some of the top leaves are wrinkly. That could be a sign of insects or maybe disease, root damage, or issues with weather or nutrients. Hot, dry days could cause it. I'd look into if it needed water first and foremost. Check for signs of small insects and if you see any spray with neem in the early morning before the sun gets too hot. – OrganicLawnDIY May 31 '16 at 18:37

From all the comments and your responses, this is most likely due to lack of sufficient water. We get occasional heat waves where temperatures are high and the vegetable plants in the raised bed are not able to deal with it. I have experienced similar problems and watering the plants during those hot days seems to revive them back to normal. A better approach is to be proactive and water them longer the day before the heat wave hits.


I'm confident that you did not over-fertilize, based on what you gave them and how much you gave them.

I believe you're right about the heat, wind and aridity being key factors here, but I think sun is also a factor. I would recommend putting the plants in partial shade, making sure they have enough soil, and watering them sufficiently (at least once every two days, depending on how fast it dries).

If improving your watering doesn't help, you may have a nutrient imbalance in your soil. Super hot soil is said to have a different profile of available nutrients than cooler soil (e.g. hot soil tends to have less available potassium and magnesium and more available phosphorus). There's probably a different set of microbes in the soil, too. In my climate, potting soil works a lot better indoors. I don't use it outdoors, because it historically has killed most plants (oregano survived, though). However, given the right additions to your soil, it may be workable.

I'm guessing your soil gets quite hot due to the sun both on the soil and on the container. The porosity of most potting soil is high, which may allow it to dry out faster than regular garden soil in an arid climate. Increasing moisture retention and decreasing soil temperature may help. Adding organic matter (e.g. compost) may help with the moisture and nutrients. Mulch might help. Painting the container with something that reflects infrared light may help to keep the soil cooler, although I'm not sure how expensive or easy-to-find that would be (and that would make it cooler when you want it warmer).

Anyway, I'd start with compost (for organic matter), watering sufficiently, and partial shade. The way the leaves are curling and turning upside down is a sign that the plant is trying to lessen the amount of light it gets on those particular leaves. This could indicate something bad about the health of your roots, though. Plants with disturbed or insufficient roots tend to be more sensitive to strong light.

Again, make sure you have enough soil. I recommend at least 5-gallons per plant. I like to use 10-gallon moving totes for my containers (especially for peppers; I can put two peppers in one tote, although I'm testing out how just one plant works, this year).


I agree with the other answers, not too much fertilizer , need more water. As a reference point; I use mostly "starter" - 9 -45 -15 , About 1/4 cup around per one inch diameter shrub ( in a 2 foot circle,).

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