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My NWA garden Toplef10My NWA garden 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

My NWA garden I22gcj10My NWA garden 14dhcg10

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My NWA garden

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markqz
Guinevere
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My NWA garden Empty My NWA garden

Post  Guinevere 5/29/2024, 1:00 pm

Looking at my garden overall. . . .I think it needs fertilizer. . . .very light green on most of the plants.  But I'm not supposed to need to fertilize with MM, so I'm confused. 

I have cauliflower, but it looks so odd; Is it ready? How do I know when it is ready?

Now I see why cabbage is planted one to a square! Can I pull off all the huge leaves that just drag on the ground? Again, how do I know when it's ready to harvest?

Look how small my pepper plant is.  It hasn't grown at all since I planted it.

The tomato plant that I thought was dead, is not.  It has two tomatoes on it, and looks healthy, although it's still very small.  The cherry tomato plant is doing well, and now I see how I can trim off the side branches, because the growth pattern is coming clear.  I picked the first red cherry tomato yesterday! 

Some of my radishes had enormous, tall leaves, but when I pulled them, the radishes hadn't developed at all, they were long, skinny, and twisted instead of spherical.

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Guinevere
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Post  markqz 5/30/2024, 12:08 pm

Did you make your own MM, or buy it? Did you top off the garden at the start of the year with compost? And how long have the boxes been in place?

My feeling is that your compost might not have enough Nitrogen. If it was me, I might want to see if I could get some cow or chicken manure to work in.

I've had trouble growing cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and other brassicas because of the heat here. I'm thinking you might have similar issues. I know some people tie off the leaves around their cauliflowers so they stay nice and white. I get rid of dead leaves wherever I find them, but maybe that's just me. I haven't tried to raise cabbage because it's just so cheap here.

I'm sure someone will be along with better advice!

Happy gardening!
markqz
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Post  Guinevere 5/30/2024, 1:19 pm

markqz wrote:Did you make your own MM, or buy it? Did you top off the garden at the start of the year with compost? And how long have the boxes been in place?

My feeling is that your compost might not have enough Nitrogen. If it was me, I might want to see if I could get some cow  or chicken manure to work in.

I've had trouble growing cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and other brassicas because of the heat here. I'm thinking you might have similar issues. I know some people tie off the leaves around their cauliflowers so they stay nice and white. I get rid of dead leaves wherever I find them, but maybe that's just me. I haven't tried to raise cabbage because it's just so cheap here.

I'm sure someone will be along with better advice!

Happy gardening!
I made my MM, with a mix of composts, last fall, and it sat all winter in two new beds.  I topped off the boxes before planting with more of the same MM.  Nitrogen deficiency is my first instinct, but I know little to nothing about gardening.  I do have some chicken manure left over from another project, maybe I should work some into the squares?
Guinevere
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Post  Scorpio Rising 5/30/2024, 4:08 pm

Yes, lack of nitrogen makes sense….could try adding chicken poo or blood meal.   I have grown cabbage here, and agree with Mark, it is so cheap I have decided not to grow it.  Plus it didn’t taste very different than grocery cabbage.
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Post  sanderson 6/1/2024, 12:04 am

Guinevere wrote: . . .
I made my MM, with a mix of composts, last fall, and it sat all winter in two new beds.  I topped off the boxes before planting with more of the same MM.  Nitrogen deficiency is my first instinct, but I know little to nothing about gardening.  I do have some chicken manure left over from another project, maybe I should work some into the squares?[/quote]First, have you read the 2nd or 3rd Edition of All New Square Foot Gardening? We replenish beds with only more composts to bring the height back up to where it started. 2. If you made the beds in the fall and didn't plant all winter, then topping off with a little MM to give you a starting point of at least 6" deep is fine. If you had a lot of rain, available nitrogen may be temporarily low, but should be more available as the Mix warms. Don't add blood meal at this time. Too much nitrogen will produce big green plants but less fruits.

The cauliflower is past prime. You can tell by the way it has opened up and separated.

Only remove yellowing older leaves on brassicas. If the leaves are pushing into neighboring plants, you can trim off part of the leaf. Leaves produce energy for the plants.

If the radishes had huge leaves but small roots, it could be too much nitrogen.

Cherry tomatoes are usually grown as bushy plants with several suckers developing into auxiliary stems.

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Post  donnainzone5 6/12/2024, 7:29 pm

Guinevere,

Which composts did you use, and how many?  No more than 20% of the compost portion should be manure-based.  Most bagged composts these days need to be sifted to remove uncomposted wood products and/or rocks or other foreign materials.
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Post  WBIowa 6/13/2024, 6:23 am

I make my own with blood meal, bone meal, and potassium. I use different mixtures depending on whether it is a root crop (less blood, more bone), a crop the leaves of which we eat (more blood, less bone), or a crop where we eat the fruit (balanced). The radish problem sounds like not enough bone meal (phosphorous). Drued manure is nicely balanced for most crops.
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Post  Guinevere 6/13/2024, 11:13 am

It's all so complicated.  Mel's books make it sound simple: make the beds, make the mix, plant, and be rewarded with the most prolific garden you've ever had!   Well, it seems most things don't grow well, even in MM.  My veggie garden is a sorry sight, and I have to say I just don't care about it like I care about my perennial gardens.  Nothing except cherry tomatoes is growing well at all, and I can't get enthusiastic about why. 

Every bed I planted with MM and flowers is thriving, so I don't know what's going wrong with vegetables.  Same mix.

Perhaps my veggie plants sense that I don't give a hoot about them.  I just don't care too much about food.  I like the idea of eating my own vegetables, but I have zero interest in cultivating the garden. I guess it's just not for me.
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