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Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? Toplef10Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? 1zd3ho10

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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.

Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? I22gcj10Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? 14dhcg10

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Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ?

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Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? Empty Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ?

Post  middlemamma 6/30/2010, 1:45 pm

Number 1:This is my first year gardening of ANY kind....

Number 2: I live in Post Falls Idaho and our summer has just started (last week), our spring was very cold and rainy.

Number 3: My mels mix was made with vermiculite, peat moss, and chicken manure, steer maure, and then 3 different brands of "compost" of varying types.

Things are green, not dying...but are just sitting there. For example, I thought pole beans and zuchinni were the type of plants that grow fast and take things over? Maybe I am new and impatient? My pole beans have been in the ground about 3 weeks. They are about 7 inches high and leaves other than seed leaves are starting to pop out. They are not climbing yet. My zuc is green, tons of new leaves unfolding but really not even expanded out of the original square at all yet? I have tomato plants, 4 of them. 1 had about 5 little tomatos starting...the other 3 have flowers but no fruit yet.

Is this normal for where I live or should I add fertilizer? I don't know if I am over anxious and impatient...or if my plants need help.

Thanks for your suggestions....

Jennie
-daydreaming of zuchinni bread, and fresh picked beans, and all the cucumber salad a girl could want. Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? Icon_flower
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Post  Jay Bird 6/30/2010, 2:33 pm

If you find some rabbit manure locally it will be a mute point because if the plants need it they will use it if not they wont, I would guess temperatures may be your problem with stagnant production.
In NE Texas my plants grew like crazy and then did nothing for a 10 days to two weeks then after a rain the temps hit 95+ !!!! Back up and dont get caught in the flesh eating plant jungle Wow what a difference some heat makes.
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Post  middlemamma 6/30/2010, 2:40 pm

Jay Bird wrote:If you find some rabbit manure locally it will be a mute point because if the plants need it they will use it if not they wont, I would guess temperatures may be your problem with stagnant production.
In NE Texas my plants grew like crazy and then did nothing for a 10 days to two weeks then after a rain the temps hit 95+ !!!! Back up and dont get caught in the flesh eating plant jungle Wow what a difference some heat makes.

If I could find some is that your suggestion? To add rabbit manure and then leave it at that? Where might I find something like that?

Thanks! Jennie
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Post  junequilt 6/30/2010, 6:35 pm

If your boxes are nitrogen-poor, try sprinkling with blood meal. If things perk up within a couple of days, you'll know nitrogen was the issue.

Coffee grounds are also good, but they take a little longer to get going and you have to be careful not to apply them too thickly.
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Post  camprn 6/30/2010, 6:51 pm

Have you tested your soil to determine if you have specific deficiency?
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Post  Retired Member 1 6/30/2010, 7:51 pm

Since I err on the exuberant side, I'm going to say fertilize with a balanced fertilizer (soluble Miracle grow, or similar) to give everything a boost. But also put on additional manure/ compost/ blood meal/ fish emulsion, whatever. If the plants are just sitting there, they need something now -- not in a few weeks when the manure has broken down.
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Post  Retired Member 1 6/30/2010, 7:51 pm

Since I err on the exuberant side, I'm going to say fertilize with a balanced fertilizer (soluble Miracle grow, or similar) to give everything a boost. But also put on additional manure/ compost/ blood meal/ fish emulsion, whatever. If the plants are just sitting there, they need something now -- not in a few weeks when the manure has broken down.
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Post  MsMinchin 6/30/2010, 10:33 pm

I'm with Belfry. I started using Neptune's Harvest fish & seaweed organic fertilizer. I swear that each time I apply it, my corn, beans and squash grow 3 inches overnight!
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Post  boffer 6/30/2010, 11:08 pm

middlemamma wrote:.... I live in Post Falls Idaho and our summer has just started (last week), our spring was very cold and rainy.....

It's the great unknown that no one talks about: the weather. I have always wished that first year gardeners would get great weather. If this year had been my first year gardening, I wouldn't have tried it again.

All the folks that are fighting bugs or critters or poor soil can take active measures to combat their problems. For those of us who are stuck with poor weather, we're helpless. Unless we get into greenhouses etc.

Everything that I'm growing this year is slow-including rads, spinach, and lettuce. Most of my squash and cuke seeds are rotting in the ground. I would suggest fertilizing as others have suggested-on one half of your plants-just to experiment. I have had great results with Mel's suggested 5 way compost-but without some heat, it's a moot point.






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Post  ander217 7/1/2010, 7:59 am

I agree with Boffer - this is an atrocious year to be a beginner gardener. But you know if you can survive it this year, you can do it any time.

I'm far south of you, but my early garden sounded much the same as yours. I had plants just plain sitting there for weeks doing nothing. A few things took off quickly - some tomatoes began growing right away, but I had one tiny little Rutgers tomato that just huddled for weeks and let everyone pass it by. Suddenly one day it erupted and now it's one of my best-looking tomatoes.

My English peas never did grow well - first time in my life I couldn't grow a decent crop of peas. They were so slow that when they finally decided to bloom the hot weather zapped 'em.

I gave everything that was stagnant a good dose of fish emulsion. Some things it helped a lot, other things it didn't. My green beans still haven't grown well, but our corn is going great guns. I'm thinking I still have a deficiency, but maybe it's potassium or phosphorus, rather than nitrogen. Time to try some additional boosters, I guess. (I have so many micro-growing areas in my garden that a general soil test won't do much good. I have to rely on signals from the plants to tell me what they need.)
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Post  aspiegardner 7/1/2010, 11:09 am

mine was doing the same but now with miracle grow fertilizer and epsom salt to the beans things are looking better not great but better.

the peppers, beans, peas and heirloom tomatos are the worst.

Cucumbers and squash leaves but NO flowers, few tomato plants with flowers but again mostly green.

I did get a good bunch of lettuce and radishes.

Corn is past knee high
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Post  middlemamma 7/1/2010, 1:01 pm

OK! THANK YOU EVERYONE!

I sprinkled a tablespoon of bone meal and a tablespoon of blood meal in each square last night and watered. I went and bought some fish emulsion. Im gonna give our newly warm weather another week or two to keep things going and then I will break down and get miracle grow or something if nothing is happening.

I do think the weather is the main culprit...we didnt see the sun for almost the first 3 weeks of june...which from what I understand is very rare for our area. I'm not only new to gardening but also to Idaho. When we moved here we arrived last year on June 2nd and it was wonderfully warm and didnt rain at all, all summer. I had a couple tomato, herb and pepper plants just in pots on my porch because I thought we arrived too late to plant a real garden. And I had fruit and fun with those few plants. At the same time those plants last year were doing much better than the same ones this year at the same time.

Thanks everyone!!! I love this even though it isnt going big and wonderful. My family and I have had just the worst year of my life and I can honestly say this garden has kept me going day to day for the last few months. I love it, and its nice to know that there is always next year. Smile
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Post  Lavender Debs 7/1/2010, 1:07 pm

Big wet hug from Washington (where nothing is growing either....excepet for those crazy peas)
Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? July_111
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Post  camprn 7/1/2010, 2:00 pm

Deb, a beautiful red, white and blue bouquet! What are the white flowers?
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Post  Lavender Debs 7/1/2010, 4:50 pm

??? the sweet peas or the little round ones whose name I don't know? Got them from the farmers market for $5.
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Post  AZDYJ2K 7/23/2010, 2:52 pm

How is your garden doing now after taking some action?

I am having similar issues. However, my problems may be due to the extreme heat in Phoenix we have during July and will continue into August. I started in June and used the pre-packaged Mel's Mix. I assume that this will have enough nutrients for my initial garden. However, I'm wondering if I need to also supplement.

I planted a Bush Goliath tomato plant from Home Depot and it has not done well at all. The fruit it had has been either eaten or fallen off and the leaves are shriveling and hardening.

I started some watermelon and canteloupe from seed back in June. The only thing left is a tiny watermelon plant that is maybe 3"-4" tall.

I started some pole beans and Asian string beans last week and they have sprouted and surpassed the watermelon.

Any advice for this noob would be certainly appreciated. Thanks.
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Post  Chopper 7/23/2010, 5:15 pm

If you ever ask yourself "should I feed them?" you almost automatically should. Why not? They won't get fat or develop cholesterol problems or diabetes. Go ahead and feed! LOL. Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? Icon_biggrin
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Post  vanter0109 7/23/2010, 5:22 pm

My plants weren't growing much either, so I added a slow release fertilizer & bloodmeal...but that takes a while. A week later I started watering once a week with Epson Salt water & booooom.....I had to trim some back. I also began testing my soil, just to be sure not to over feed, but I don't seem to be having a problem with that.

It has actually brought my tomatoe & pepper plants back to life (I thought for sure they were gonna be dead in a week).

You may have to water more often.
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Post  AZDYJ2K 7/23/2010, 6:19 pm

Chopper wrote:If you ever ask yourself "should I feed them?" you almost automatically should. Why not? They won't get fat or develop cholesterol problems or diabetes. Go ahead and feed! LOL. Noob: To fertilize or not to fertilize? THAT is the ? Icon_biggrin

I was hoping that with Mel's mix I would not have to feed initially. Mel says to just add diversified compost and you should never need to add fertilizer.
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Post  AZDYJ2K 7/23/2010, 6:20 pm

vanter0109 wrote:My plants weren't growing much either, so I added a slow release fertilizer & bloodmeal...but that takes a while. A week later I started watering once a week with Epson Salt water & booooom.....I had to trim some back. I also began testing my soil, just to be sure not to over feed, but I don't seem to be having a problem with that.

It has actually brought my tomatoe & pepper plants back to life (I thought for sure they were gonna be dead in a week).

You may have to water more often.

I never heard of watering plants with Epsom salt water. What is the mix of the solution? Thanks.
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Post  vanter0109 7/23/2010, 6:37 pm

The mix for Epson Salt is 1 tbl sp / 1 gal of water.

I have a gallon water jug that I use (from spring water). I fill it half way with warm water, add the salt & shake to disolve; then add the remaining water & give another shake & water.

Lots of info available on line. Here's one link:
http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf62825998.tip.html
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Post  elliephant 7/24/2010, 10:18 am

AZDYJ2K wrote:How is your garden doing now after taking some action?

I am having similar issues. However, my problems may be due to the extreme heat in Phoenix we have during July and will continue into August. I started in June and used the pre-packaged Mel's Mix. I assume that this will have enough nutrients for my initial garden. However, I'm wondering if I need to also supplement.

I planted a Bush Goliath tomato plant from Home Depot and it has not done well at all. The fruit it had has been either eaten or fallen off and the leaves are shriveling and hardening.

I started some watermelon and canteloupe from seed back in June. The only thing left is a tiny watermelon plant that is maybe 3"-4" tall.

I started some pole beans and Asian string beans last week and they have sprouted and surpassed the watermelon.

Any advice for this noob would be certainly appreciated. Thanks.

Definitely the heat. Here is a link to my sister's blog in March. They live in Mesa and her husband has a degree in horticulture. You can see what they already had planted and what they were planting then.

I grew up in Blythe (where I-10 enters CA) and the commercial melon crops there are mostly over by the 4th of July. It just gets too dang hot to grow much more than cotton and alfalfa. I would look into some local resources to see what you should be doing now for a fall/winter garden.

ETA: Oops, forgot the link. http://lilybugmorris.blogspot.com/2010/03/backyard-and-garden.html
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