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Post  roc0772 on 11/19/2019, 6:50 pm

hey everyone
joined the forum in hope of getting some help .

i first noticed these white dots on my garden bed near the roots of my zucchini plant (which btw is not doing great as it flowers but after two/three days the flowers and fruit are totally rotten. leafs are light green and the don’t  seem to be  growing any bigger. however , there are lots and lots of fruits growing but after it flowers, is gone).
today i was having a further look in the garden and realised my whole garden is full of these white dots. also there are lots of mushrooms  growing everywhere!! do i worry there is some sort of fungus in my soil? or is that ok?
i had to get rid of two cucumber plants that rot and were totally over and brown.
eggplant doesn’t look very happy as its leafs are curled up and not growing and beans have a very light green colour !
cabbage , lettuces , spinach and tomatoes are looking ok, but could probably be healthier ? im in zone 10 NZ in a very exposed area with majority SW winds, could this be the reason why my garden is failing ?  we have been having very unstable weather since i put them on the ground.

help please as i’m a newbie with vg gardens!
cheers
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Post  Roseinarosecity on 11/20/2019, 10:47 pm

Welcome New Zealander!
I'm sorry to hear you are having such bad luck with your vegs.

I have no idea what those round white balls are; I would guess a type of fungus because I see a lot of carbon products and moisture, but it also looks like a type of insect egg.  Are you getting a lot of rain? Have you tried getting one and slicing it to see what's inside? Are your neighbors experiencing the same mysterious balls?

Also, are you using Mel's mix: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 vermiculite?

Sorry, I'm not help.  I hope the others here can help you or point you to a resource.
Don't give up and ask lots of questions around.

By the way, I'm in California, USA but, I loved the Lord of the Rings scenery.
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Post  sanderson on 11/21/2019, 3:25 am

Hi, New Z, Welcome to the forum from California. glad you\'re here

Regarding the mushrooms, they do grow if there is a lot of wood chips and moisture. Don't worry about them. The white dots are interesting. Have you smooshed one to see what happens? They could be insect eggs or related to fungal growth.

Can you provide a little more information?: Like what kind of wood chips are you using? If this is a wet/cool time of the year you may not need them right now. Wood ties up nitrogen for months while it breaks down. Are you using raised beds and what did you fill them with? There should be at least 2" of compost mixed in the top 6" for the microbes to break down and feed the plants nutrients in a usable form. The more info the better to help you.

Regarding the plants. Some plants "dampen off" (rot) if the soil is too wet and cold. Leaves may be pale if they don't have enough nutrients. Regarding the wind, is it strong and constant? Can you erect a burlap fence on the wind side to slow down the wind?

Looking forward to your reply.

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Post  roc0772 on 11/21/2019, 5:25 pm

Hey guys thanks so much for replying.

I did try to slice one of the dots but is really tiny(there’s a photo with an ant next to it so you can try to have the perspective)so is hard to tell whats inside.
It does look like more a fungus than insect egg tho. they seem to be growing on the pea straw. @sanderson this is a pea straw we bought in bales form a garden/landscape place , no further info about it.

this garden ( raised beds as you asked) hasn’t been used in years but years ago had some good crops . we had a tarpaulin to avoid weed growth in the past years and haven’t touched it since then .
i have pulled out all the weeds, turned the soil , used compost mix that we got from a garden centre  , bone n blood and sheep pellets to make sure soil was rich enough before transplanting seedlings. we had all the seedlings growing indoors as weather wasn’t helping- too wet and too windy.
spring time here is not usually that wet and cold. a friend had some seedlings on the ground few weeks before us and a thunderstorm smashed all of them. @rose we live in a country area with not many neighbours around. our closest one isn’t growing anything at the moment so hard to tell if this has been happening to us only .
our current temperature has been an average of 15C with some wet days - maybe  up to 10mm of rain-which is not much.
i transplant the seedlings end of october as we were expecting at least 10 good days with warm / cloudy weather (roughly 17C with no rain or wind at all). however, we did experience some thunderstorms and drop of temperature in the last week ( min was maybe around 11/10C?).
the pea straw went to the ground right after i transplant the seedlings which helped  to keep moist on the hot days we had. but maybe this moist is what has been causing the fungus?im just hoping is not something bad for the soil. if zoom in the pictures you can see that the white dots are only on top of pea straw , there’s nothing on the actual soil.

the Wind is constant as we are very exposed (right on the cost on top of the mountains , but we do have some windbreakers on the garden).

i have never had a veggie garden before so have no idea about what to expect lol! .

will upload some more photos and maybe someone will identify what these are !

thanks for the help 
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Post  roc0772 on 11/21/2019, 5:40 pm

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Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/21/2019, 7:26 pm

Hey, roc!  Welcome!  To me, it looks like the tiny white dots are fungus that are parasitizing the pea straw only.  Some fungi are bad, some are benign, but since you are having issues, I would be tempted to remove what you can easily, raking the whole thing up and turning it, and re-apply the blood meal especially.  If you think it needs phosphorus, you can put more bone meal, but bone is slower to get consumed.

Your temps have been cool; your eggplant might just need a drink (10 mm isn’t much water).  I think the light green color says “I need nitrogen” (compost or blood meal—you can side dress with either).  

The zucchini sounds like a pollination issue.  Do you have male and female flowers?  Have you seen pollinators?  I have had plants drop mini-squashes when pollination is lacking.  Pictures would help here....actually they always help!  

I think those standard looking mushrooms look benign.  

Glad you found us!
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Post  Roseinarosecity on 11/21/2019, 9:41 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Hey, roc!  Welcome!  To me, it looks like the tiny white dots are fungus that are parasitizing the pea straw only.  Some fungi are bad, some are benign, but since you are having issues, I would be tempted to remove what you can easily, raking the whole thing up and turning it, and re-apply the blood meal especially.  If you think it needs phosphorus, you can put more bone meal, but bone is slower to get consumed.

Your temps have been cool; your eggplant might just need a drink (10 mm isn’t much water).  I think the light green color says “I need nitrogen” (compost or blood meal—you can side dress with either).  

The zucchini sounds like a pollination issue.  Do you have male and female flowers?  Have you seen pollinators?  I have had plants drop mini-squashes when pollination is lacking.  Pictures would help here....actually they always help!  

I think those standard looking mushrooms look benign.  

Glad you found us!

Great analysis, Scorpio Rising!  With over 7000 posts, I would trust S.R.!
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Post  sanderson on 11/22/2019, 5:48 pm

thanks SR

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/23/2019, 7:38 am

Roc, let me add a belated welcome from Atlanta, GA in the SE USA.

I also have to agree with SR's analysis & suggestions.
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Post  roc0772 on 11/23/2019, 10:30 pm

Hey SR, thanks so much for all the insights.

I digged further on the pea straw and is definitely a fungus which has been parasitising the pea straw only as you said .the soil is looking all good ! but is really wet . my guess is that the soil hasn’t been having the chance to dry out making the roots of seedlings weak? ( that’s a completely guess ).
i opened up some space around all the steams and roots to let the soil breath. we didn’t have any rain in the past days which can help to dry out the pea straw & soil a bit . which could help the roots to grow stronger (?)

this week i will try to turn everything up and apply some more blood n bone or maybe some seaweed ?

in regards the zucchini , this morning i noticed that only the females have been blossoming ! males are only growing now . is there any thing i can do to help them to grow and blossom ?
we are not having many pollinators as we though but as long as the male is blossoming i can hand pollinate them.

when i was thinking about all of this made me wonder that this was probably the reason why cucumbers died!

thanks heaps and glad to found help
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/25/2019, 7:04 am

Great, roc, sounds like a plan!  My squashes typically take a while to get both sexes in flowers, but you might need to plant more plants.  They do well in big containers, too.   new member needs help  3170584802
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Post  Kelejan on 11/25/2019, 9:00 am

glad you\'re here roc from New Zealand.  happy hi

from Kelejan in British Columbia  :canada:

A bit belated I'm afraid, I hope you get your problem sorted.
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Post  sanderson on 11/27/2019, 2:40 am

Roc, The first year is 90% learning how plants grow. My first year I had something different in each of the 28 squares plus pots. I learned so much about what they needed. Dampening-off for squash and melon starts is usually because the soil is too cold and wet. No need to add straw mulch until it gets up in the 80's or 90's.

Regarding having only female squash flowers, the males will come along before you know it.

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Post  Kelejan on 11/27/2019, 7:51 am

@sanderson wrote:Roc,  The first year is 90% learning how plants grow.  My first year I had something different in each of the 28 squares plus pots.  I learned so much about what they needed.  Dampening-off for squash and melon starts is usually because the soil is too cold and wet.  No need to add straw mulch until it gets up in the 80's or 90's.

Regarding having only female squash flowers, the males will come along before you know it.

They will scent a good deal.
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Post  roc0772 on 11/27/2019, 4:40 pm

@sanderson wrote:Roc,  The first year is 90% learning how plants grow.  My first year I had something different in each of the 28 squares plus pots.  I learned so much about what they needed.  Dampening-off for squash and melon starts is usually because the soil is too cold and wet.  No need to add straw mulch until it gets up in the 80's or 90's.

Regarding having only female squash flowers, the males will come along before you know it.

Agree 100%!

Have already learnt heaps and im sure there is still lots to take note from now on.

guess what, this morning i checked the courgettes and males are around now8)

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we actually dont get up to the 90' here sanderson.
more like average of 77/80 during summer time.  looks like we will have stable weather from now on according to forecast tho but still average of ~68.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/27/2019, 5:59 pm

Lookin’ good!  Keep it coming, it’s winter here and nothing but catalogs and you guys to keep us going!  Love the pics...

Keep detailed notes, roc, by year, because each year is different and each plant variety is too!
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Post  sanderson on 11/28/2019, 2:44 am

@Kelejan wrote: . . . They will scent a good deal.
Razz

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Post  has55 Yesterday at 10:56 pm

I would suggest you move the mulch back 6" from the plants because They just haven't broken down enough. It required fungi to break down those large pieces. I believe some infection is probably coming from it due to the rain.The items you put in your soil prior to planting seems ok to have good aeration is your soil. Can you tell if it's holding too much water? If so this will cause your plants to struggle due to decrease oxygenation and may be setting up a mild anaerobic environment in the soil.
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Post  Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 11:11 pm

@has55 wrote:I would suggest you move the mulch back 6" from the plants because They just haven't broken down enough. It required fungi to break down those large pieces. I believe some infection is probably coming from it due to the rain.The items you put in your soil prior to planting seems ok to have good aeration is your soil. Can you tell if it's holding too much water? If so this will cause your plants to struggle due to decrease oxygenation and may be setting up a mild anaerobic environment in the soil.
True...
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Post  Dan in Ct Today at 9:56 am

roc0772, you don't happen to know your soil's pH? Usually I get the opposite ratio of female squash blossoms to male blossoms. I am usually waiting for female blossoms to show up. You don't happen to know the variety of squash you are growing? I usually recommend a soil test as a place to start but don't know how easy it is to get one in New Zealand. I know not much help but here is a link to explain soil fungus plus when growing most vegetables you want more of a bacteria/fungus balanced soil. Short story, your soil pH maybe too low and causing all kinds of problems.

https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-37
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