Common Vegetable Problems

A lot of problems can happen in the garden that can confuse the average gardener. From germination, wilting, light conditions, diseases, watering, pest and much more! Below is an explanation for some of the most common problems that gardeners and farmers face when planting vegetable seeds.

Identifying and Treating Diseases

Seeds Do Not Germinate

Learning Download: Germination

This is a tricky one. Most of the time it will be an environmental condition and not the seeds. Most professional seed companies will not send seed that has been professionally tested at 85% germination. If it is just one seed variety then it may be the seed but if you have trouble with more than one it is most likely an environmental control.

Causes Fixes

Not given enough time

Soil too cold

Soil too dry

Soil too wet

Insects ate the seed

Seed too old

Wait longer

Allow soil to warm up

Water the soil

Replant and make sure soil drains well

Replant and protect seed. Relocate

Use fresh seed

Seedling Wilt and Die

Learning Download: Wilt

Seedlings can be very fragile. Keeping healthy growing conditions can be a challenge for people who work, have children or just don’t have time.

Causes Fixes

Dry soil

Wet soil

Too much fertilizer


Keep soil moist but not dry or damp

Usually causes root rot and plant dies where stem meets the soil

Seedlings don’t need fertilizer the first month of growth. Use a soiless mixture to start seeds

Treat with organic insecticide

Spindly and Reaching Plants

Learning Download: Spindly Plants

This is one of the most common occurrences for beginning gardeners. Tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetable stems will get long and skinny as though they are reaching for more light.

Causes Fixes

Not enough light

Wet soil

Crowded plants

Too much nitrogen

Use grow lights or sunny location. Do not burn plants.

Slow watering. Improve drainage.

Thin plants out. Increase spacing.

Do not fertilize seedlings.

Slow Growth

Learning Download: Slow Growth

Slow growth of vegetables plants can be a number of factors. Sometimes it can just be the nature of the plant to grow slow, other times it may be transplant shock.

Causes Fixes

Not enough light





Most vegetables need full light. Move to new location.

Use row covers or cloths to protect from cold.

Test soil, fix as needed.

Identify insect doing damage and remove pest.

Identify disease and fix: Disease Control and Identification

Yellow Leaves

Learning Download: Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves is a common problem on tomatoes for gardeners. It will affect other vegetables and usually means the same thing.

Causes Fixes

Nutrient Deficiency

Not enough light

Test soil, fix as needed.

Most vegetables need full light. Move to new location.

Poor Yields

Learning Download: Poor Yield

Poor yields can be attributed to several things that go wrong in the garden.

Causes Fixes



No pollination

Not mature

Soil moisture

Temperature too hot or cold. Grow varieties that are right for your climate.

Test soil, fix as needed. Too much nitrogen

Attract bees and butterflies with flowers.

Give the plants more time to mature.

Use mulch, keep soil moisture even.