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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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whats up with the yellow leaves????

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tomperrin
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Post  deriter 5/3/2012, 3:26 pm

Ok so I have my new sq ft garden a going. But the leaves are turning yellow or very pale green. Tops of the onions are dried up. How do you tell if it is a nutrient deficiency, too dry, or too wet? When it does rain, my soil is a heavy clay based soil and it squishes as you walk across it. I was figuring that if I used this sq ft gardening system that the garden would be above the wet soil and it would be ok. Now I am wondering if it may be wicking up the moisture. Then again, it could be a deficiency. Is there any easy fool proof way to tell? Please help with advise!!!!
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut 5/3/2012, 4:10 pm

Are you able to post a picture? That always helps our experienced gardeners if they can actually SEE the plant(s). Smile
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Post  deriter 5/3/2012, 4:13 pm

No, I have not learned how to post pictures.
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut 5/3/2012, 4:49 pm

If you know how to get a picture to your computer - this thread explains how to post it:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t129-how-to-post-a-picture-located-on-your-computer

I'm a bit of a novice with some of the issues you mentioned, but hopefully someone will come along who might have some hints as to what is going on with your plants. Smile
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Post  deriter 5/3/2012, 4:59 pm

Thanks walnut. I do have a digital camera so maybe someday I can learn. I did stick a soil analyzer in the garden. We will see what it has to say.
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Post  camprn 5/3/2012, 5:01 pm

Would you tell us which of your plants this is happening to? Is it just the first leaves or more? do you have full sun in your garden?

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Post  deriter 5/3/2012, 6:39 pm

Well camprn, it is everything. I have peas, onions, radishes. The leaf lettuce, spinach, & romaine lettuce do not show as much.
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Post  littlejo 5/3/2012, 7:36 pm

Stick your hand in the mm. Is it wet? Do you see bits of the peat moss? If you see the peat, then it's prob. dry most of the time. Other than that, your compost may not have been the best, and sometimes it just needs curing after making mm. Mine last yr. was not finished composting, smelled like jack daniels. My stuff started looking yellowed,etc. I cheated, only once! I got some liquid miracle grow and only applied it 1 time. That gave my veggies a boost and gave time for the garden to get it self together.

Jo
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Post  TejasTerry 5/3/2012, 8:11 pm

I had this same problem this year...my first year of SF gardening. Turned out it was an iron deficiency. I took pics to a local nursery who had a guy look at my pics. He knew instantly what the problem was. I used a 20-20-20 green light brand fertilizer. Within days things started looking better. Do they look like this? Here are a few pics of how my garden looked before:

whats up with the yellow leaves???? D2259820

whats up with the yellow leaves???? Fcef5b3d

whats up with the yellow leaves???? D8b61888
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Post  landarch 5/3/2012, 8:19 pm

I had a bad problem with yellowing leaves in my first year's Mels Mix...cool season veggies in Mels mix were yellow and stunted. I have since added more compost, watered with fish emulsion, added Buffaloam Compost Tea with mycorhizae, and transplanted about a dozen earthworms into each square. The garden looks a bit better now.

It had to be a nutrient problem as seedlings planted in my non-Mels Mix boxes were flourishing and the Mel's Mix seedlings were stunted and yellow. Currently, beets in my non-Mels Mix soil are about 6" tall...beets in my Mels Mix are about 1/2 tall and they've been in the ground for around 6-7 weeks. The poor squares will probably be tilled under to make room for summer veggies, flowers, and herbs.
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Post  TejasTerry 5/3/2012, 8:41 pm

landarch wrote:I had a bad problem with yellowing leaves in my first year's Mels Mix...cool season veggies in Mels mix were yellow and stunted. I have since added more compost, watered with fish emulsion, added Buffaloam Compost Tea with mycorhizae, and transplanted about a dozen earthworms into each square. The garden looks a bit better now.

It had to be a nutrient problem as seedlings planted in my non-Mels Mix boxes were flourishing and the Mel's Mix seedlings were stunted and yellow. Currently, beets in my non-Mels Mix soil are about 6" tall...beets in my Mels Mix are about 1/2 tall and they've been in the ground for around 6-7 weeks. The poor squares will probably be tilled under to make room for summer veggies, flowers, and herbs.

I think the compost we are buying to do our initial gardens is lacking...or something. So the added fish emulsion, compost tea, and worm castings will help with the deficiencies. I'm hoping that next year when I add my home made compost, and the organic stuff, I will not have any problems with yellow leaves, etc.

I've seen several people on here post that their first year's MM was lacking, and after a year or so, things picked up.
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Post  Unmutual 5/3/2012, 8:48 pm

Chlorosis can be caused by many things: too much water, too little water, various nutrient deficiencies(either because they are non-existent or because of pH).

Iron deficiency shows in the younger leaves first, then spreads to the older leaves.

Zinc and manganese deficiency starts with the older leaves, then spreads to the younger leaves.

If you placed the raised garden where water pools, then root damage from too much water may have occurred(just because MM does well with over watering, doesn't mean you can stick it in a spot that keeps 1"+ of water for a few hours after it rains).

Pics and more information would be helpful. The tips of my onion greens always go brown, and they do just fine.

What plants are suffering chlorosis? Are all the plants suffering chlorosis(and if so, exactly which plants)? How often and at what time of day do you water? Are you giving each plant ~1/2 gallon of water per week(more if it's dry/sunny/hot, less if you're actually getting rain)? Is the MM dry when you stick your finger a few inches into it? Have you checked moisture in different spots? Was your MM mixed right(too much or too little peat moss can really throw off your pH, so can adding various non-compost amendments and this can limit what nutrients are available to your plants regardless of how much of a nutrient you have)?
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Post  SherrieLou 5/3/2012, 10:43 pm

Landarch, forgive the novice question but can I just buy red worms and put them straight into my SFG?
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Post  landarch 5/3/2012, 10:54 pm

Only adding worms may take too long to help currently ailing plants...it will be beneficial in the future...but I am by no means an expert on this. This is my first year with Mels Mix...I was willing to try anything to get my soil in shape before my summer veggies went in.
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Post  littlejo 5/4/2012, 7:38 am

SherrieLou wrote:Landarch, forgive the novice question but can I just buy red worms and put them straight into my SFG?

The idea of getting worms to inhabit your garden is to get them to tunnel and make the dirt more loose and workable and to add nutrients from their castings.

Normal garden worms will do this for you, but a red worm that is raised in a bin is not a natural earthworm. It is a foreign species and you must provide undigested food for them and a habitat that they like. They will not normally will not stay or live in dirt that is good, without raw uncomposted material. Raw organic uncomposted material is not good for your garden. On top of that, they cannot handle freezing and the heat.

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Post  landarch 5/4/2012, 9:30 am

littlejo wrote:
SherrieLou wrote:Landarch, forgive the novice question but can I just buy red worms and put them straight into my SFG?

The idea of getting worms to inhabit your garden is to get them to tunnel and make the dirt more loose and workable and to add nutrients from their castings.

Normal garden worms will do this for you, but a red worm that is raised in a bin is not a natural earthworm. It is a foreign species and you must provide undigested food for them and a habitat that they like. They will not normally will not stay or live in dirt that is good, without raw uncomposted material. Raw organic uncomposted material is not good for your garden. On top of that, they cannot handle freezing and the heat.

Jo



Correct, red worms are to be used in a compost pile while native earthworms can be used in the SFG directly.
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Post  jillwilliams1 5/16/2012, 9:31 am

I'm new to SFG this year and have 5 boxes.......all our plants came right up from seed and looked great for about a week....then they seemed to slow and started yellowing; especially the veggies that are heavy feeders. After looking through the forum, I feel certain that I either don't have enough compost or at least not enough 'quality' compost. I just don't have any more money to spend on this garden project this year, and have opted for Miracle Grow since I had it on hand. I just mixed up enough for my boxes and each box received about 8 oz of solution per square. I'm hoping this helps to give them a boost over the next week..... I'd really hate to lose everything at this point! I'll post back later on with an update!
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Post  landarch 5/16/2012, 10:15 am

I had the same problem...good germination but stunted and yellow plants. I have slowly ripped out all my cool season veggies, added more compost, mycorhizae. planted summer veggies, watered with fish emulsion, and mulched with coffee grounds. Thinigs are looking better but it's taken more money and work. I am tapped out as well on the garden budget for this year.

The compost I added was purchased mushroom compost and what was ready from my own compost pile...as much of the compost for sale around here is total crap (no pun intenede). I bought some cow manure compost and it is like slimy clay when wet. Cotton Bur compost was nothing but chopped up sticks, leaves, and coton pieces...others lookes like pure silt. Using your own compost is the way to go.
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Post  walshevak 5/16/2012, 12:20 pm

Some good compost tea will probably help a lot. I am having some yellow leaves in my second year beds and think I may not have added enough compost when I replanted. I have just been waiting until my worm bin has a bit more in it to make worm casting tea.

Kay

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Post  Gilly21 5/16/2012, 12:37 pm

I was having the same issue with plants yellowing or stunting in growth. So I did as you, added some MG shake and feed 10-10-10. A week later everything started to shoot up. My gardens are looking really good now. Hopefully this fall I will have enough home made compost to amend the beds for good nutrient balance for next year. There is no hard fast rule anywhere that says SFG HAS to be 100% organic. It is better morally and environmentally, but just like getting seedlings to start, it is OK to use some fertilizer to get going too. I feel as though a successful harvest is more important then trying to be perfect and fail.
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Post  walshevak 5/16/2012, 2:19 pm

+1

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Post  tomperrin 5/16/2012, 5:57 pm

Virtually all my store bought tomato and squash transplants showed some yellowing after being in the square for awhile this year. I attributed this to a lack of nitrogen in the blended compost. (my own compost was not yet ready when I built the squares.) I didn't have the same problem last year so I suspect that my choice of bagged compost was less than ideal.

My remedy has been to add some slow release organic fertilizer (Espoma TomatoTone) and some blood meal in the affected squares.

My deep dish potato beds were laced with aged (but not yet finished) horse manure compost and the plants exhibit very nice deep green leaves. In retrospect, I should have included the horse manure compost with my blended compost for the other squares, but I didn't think it had broken down enough.

All of this makes me wonder about the claims of the various bagged compost manufacturers. Certainly, our home made stuff is much better.

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Post  rjeverett 5/16/2012, 9:26 pm

Can I just jump and down with joy for finding this thread?! thanks
Yesterday, I noticed some issue with my tomatoes being a bit droopy, older leaves yellowing, green fading and purple veining, so to get the reassurance from so many of you that it is a normal-and most importantly treatable issue- just made my day!!
I was going to go buy a soil test kit, but I haven't really read about anyone here doing that with their MM, so should I? Are they reliable? Or would I be better off top dressing with good compost? (My compost isn't ready yet but I have a local store with some really great stuff.)
Tips, advice?
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Post  jillwilliams1 5/16/2012, 9:35 pm

I do have my own chicken manure compost that is ready to use (been maturing for over a year). HA! I was afraid to use it, thinking that the commercially prepared stuff would be superior! I'm certainly having 2nd thoughts. But now that my plants are taking up space in the boxes, how would I work in my compost later on without damaging my existing plants? maybe I should just continue with Miracle Grow, till a square is done growing and when I start a new plant, add the compost then?
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Post  camprn 5/17/2012, 6:47 am

Jill you can use the aged manure as light top dressing and if you like very carefully hand cultivate the surface of the mix around the plants. Do not cultivate too deeply as you may disturb your plants tender roots.just kind of scratch the surface. For those that do not know what a hand cultivator is, here is a photo.
http://seedsandsprouts.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/about-tools/
whats up with the yellow leaves???? 3-tine-hand-cultivator

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