Why won't my garden grow?

Hi there,
I own a country property of 20 acres and feel it's an incredible shame if I can't grow my own vegies.
Problem is that I've had no luck and have tried 4 times.
The batch of seeds in my first attempt failed, and I put that up to poor soil and lack of water so I tried somewhere else with better soil.
The second attempt failed... and only god knows why because I watered pretty regularly.
Same for the third.
The fourth attempt, I went all out. Bought top soil (even though I have so much of my own), properly fenced it off, watered every night. Even went to the extent of pre-planting the seeds in a planting pot on my balcony and then transplanting the sprouts to the patch. I also soaked the seeds 24 hours before planting (I read that helps somewhere).
Anyway, the result was that they slowly shrivelled up and died or just disappeared and I have no idea why, particularly since they sprung up so quick and healthily in the planter box.
Let me also say that I used to have a very good vegie patch in my back yard when I lived in suburbia and that was just by poking the seeds into the dirt.
What could be the problem?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
Kim
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This could be so many things. You ight be best to ask a local who can grow stuff where you are but here goes anyway....
Where are you in the world? What is the soil and the water like? What are you planting? When did you try planting it? What was the temperature like at the time? What was the soil moisture like before you watered each night? What local wildlife do you have? Have you been out at night to check for vermin, snails, slugs etc, did you see anything?
David
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Thanks David. I'm in Victoria near Bacchus Marsh.
Water should be ok and soil was topsoil bought from a garden place.
I was planting peas, carrots, lettus, onions, corn, cucumber, watermelon and similar stuff.
I tried planting in early summer, then late summer (which met requirements on seed packets).
Soil moisture was sometimes dry and sometimes moist depending on the weather when I watered.
Temperature varied from warm to hot (25 to 35 degrees celcius).
Wildlife is rabbits, birds and frogs but I fenced off for the former.
I haven't checked at night but dont see many snails and slugs.
What do you think?
Thanks for the help
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In the Garden State then

early summer (from mid spring actually) carrots, lettuce, corn, cucumber, watermelon should be fine
about now for peas, onions, carrots

If the top is moist don't water. If it is dry on top but moist down 4cm only water seeds and seedlings. Especially during mid summer it is easy for seeds and seedlings to dry out on a hot day and just kark on the spot.

Check at night. Also check for ants in the day if your seeds never seem to sprout, they can steal all the smaller shallow seeds.

I don't see anything obvious but it could be a combination of problems. If it was me I would suspect the fence is not herbivore proof. You might also have hares, possums or roos which are harder to fence out than rabbits. Put out some nice attractive herbage (kitchen scraps or old veges etc) and see if it is taken over night, if so repeat and go out with a torch and see who has come for dinner. As they say in the classics 'be vewy, vewy quiet' and turn the torch on only at the last minute.
Maybe try some peas, these have a good strong seedling that is quite obvious and not too fussy, you should be able to work out what is wrong if you watch them carefully. You should see them break the surface after 8-12 days, then uncurl the first leaves over the next few days, then they add more leaves and start to develop tendrils, etc The point at which they stop and the manner will tell you why they are failing.
And as I said ask the neighbours.
David
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anasttin Wrote:

You could try a conservatory? We wanted to add a conservatory to our garden and wanted to be able t price it ourselves. We found a really useful website fo conservatories, replacement windows and doors. They had clea instructions and prices online and the prices were very good so w opted to buy from them. It was an excellent product and was delivere on time. Have a look at < href="http://www.doubleglazingontheweb.co.uk ">Conservatories online, replacement
windows and doors </a
-- samjones
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Do by any chance do you have a commercial field close that sprays their crops?
From Mel & Donnie in Bluebird Valley
http://community.webtv.net/MelKelly/TheKids
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Didn't think of that one. Glyphosate overspray will be a bugger.
David
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--WebTV-Mail-2934-4574 Content-Type: Text/Plain; Charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7Bit
If you watered every night...It may have been to much water.
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Thanks for the tips guys.
Overspray of poison is not the issue and I doubt over watering because the garden was often dry.
No relationship with any gardening neighbours to ask them and now I have a new problem... my new chickens (only got em in the last 2 weeks so they're not the culprits) jump my fence and dig up the ground.
Might have to give up on the project.
Sad, because they seemed to sprout so well on my balcony.
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could be damping off of the seedlings? or cutworms?

yup, chickens do that. they dig wallows, too. you might want to put your garden in raised beds. then you can put chicken wire boxes over the beds to keep the chickens off your seedlings (and away from anything ripe, which they *will* eat). my chickens go over an 8' chain link fence, so unless you roof thier pen, they'll be out in no time. this is not all bad though. they do eat ticks & bugs. last year we had virtually no mosquitoes, despite having a 20 acre wetlands. they also make really good compost for you.

nah, but you might think about the raised beds. take a look at Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. lee
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Yeah, my first thought was damping off. And the chickens may be in there because of grubs/cutworms, something like that.
Don't give up. Plant something bomb-proof. I have a great crop of vetch, as a covercrop, to help my soil. Get your soil tested and be sure there's a good balance of nutrients, and not too much of anything. What's the pH?
And I'm wondering where you are still...Victoria, is that British Columbia, or Australia, or...?
Container gardening is a good way to get veggies. I had good tomatoes in my #5 pots.
bahB
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Oz. It's autumn. That's why I suggested peas.
David
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