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I think my spring garden is a dud - Page 2 Toplef10I think my spring garden is a dud - Page 2 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.

I think my spring garden is a dud - Page 2 I22gcj10I think my spring garden is a dud - Page 2 14dhcg10

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I think my spring garden is a dud

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Old Hippie
FarmerValerie
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dizzygardener
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HPartin
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Post  HPartin 4/7/2011, 9:08 pm

I have not addressed the PH yet. I don't really have time to send off the soil sample for the summer. I am hoping that it is a little off Smile. I think it is really strange to be that off. Here I thought I had too much peat which is acidic. I think I need to google soil ph and do a little investigation.

Heidi
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Post  dizzygardener 4/7/2011, 10:12 pm

Just keep in mind that those tests can be off by as much as 2 points, so it is entirely possible that your soil pH is actually just right. Amendment could make things much worse. This is why I mentioned sending off for a real soil test. That way you would know for sure before taking any action that could be detrimental to your SFG.

If you don't have time to do that test perhaps your could purchase/borrow a pH meter? I'd calibrate it first by testing something we already know the pH of like bleach or something else like that.
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Post  HPartin 4/8/2011, 5:26 am

I am a bit frustrated. If using Mel's mix, why am I having such problems. I knew my originall (ground) soil was poor. That is why I went this method. According to Mel, my soil should be perfect; no need to do all this testing. Upon further reading, I am thinking my vermiculite is the culprit, which frankly, makes me angry. It is a huge component to this soil and can be as alkaline as 9? Knowing that peat runs acidic, the vermiculite must be really high. One would think that it would counterbalance but it doesn't. So, I am losing heart.

I have 3 more boxes to mix. I had planned to do it today and I don't really know what to do. I am going to probably have the same problems.

Meanwhile, the Plant-tone fertilizer has 1 percent sulfer. Maybe that will be helpful. We will see.

Heidi
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 8:04 am

Give your county extension office a call, some help out for free, and if they are close enough you can run up there and get it checked. My husbands grandmother used to take a handful of dirt to hers every year, along with her pressure gage for her canner. This woman could stick a broom in the ground and grow a tree, but it was more about the woman and her relationship with her maker than the soil. Don't give up, we are all racking our brains trying to figure this out.
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 8:10 am

I have a quick question, when you tested your soil, did you use distilled water, and have you had your water checked? My water reeks havoc on everything it comes in contact with. The mineral content is off the scale, it turns my white clothes brown. Your water may be off a bit, just a thought.
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Post  dizzygardener 4/8/2011, 9:14 am

Don't give up. We will figure this thing out.

I don't think the problem is the Mel's mix concept. I don't think the problem is the vermiculite or the peat so long as you have the right proportions. More than likely the problem is with your compost. Perhaps you got a bad batch. If you visit this site ( http://www.gardenguides.com/131615-ph-level-cow-manure.html ) you can read a bit about cow manure. The pH can vary depending on the environmental conditions.

As far as your nutrients, the age of the compost and how wet it got during processing will determine how nutrient rich it is. Again, the nutrient issue is probably a compost issue.

All of this is the reason Mel stresses using 5 different types of compost. That way, what one might be lacking the others can make up for. Don't lose hope. This can all be fixed.
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 9:25 am

I looked up Bumper Crop Soil Amendment and this is what came up.
http://www.coastofmaine.com/mn-bumpercrop.shtml

It says
Working with the Master Nursery soil committee Coast of Maine reformulated the terrific Bumper Crop Organic Soil Amendment and super charged it with Mycorrhizae, Worm Castings, Kelp Meal and Dehydrated Poultry Manure. It you are looking for a product to give your gardens a boost head to your nearest Master Nursery Garden Center. That is the only place that you can purchase Bumper Crop Organic Soil Amendment. Look for the made by Coast of Maine label on the back of the bag.

Also, the Mycorrhizae is a fungi root
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycorrhiza
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Post  HPartin 4/8/2011, 12:58 pm

FarmerValerie wrote:I have a quick question, when you tested your soil, did you use distilled water, and have you had your water checked? My water reeks havoc on everything it comes in contact with. The mineral content is off the scale, it turns my white clothes brown. Your water may be off a bit, just a thought.

Yes, I used distilled water. I know all about water Smile. In a previous house, our water was so hard it was crunchy. Everything white turned yellow. But not here, thank God.

You didn't make any comments about the Bumper Crop soil amendment. On paper, it sounds good, doesn't it? There are people who swear by the stuff Smile.

In the 3 boxes today, I cut down by 1/2 on the vermiculite(1 bag instead of 2), I put in 1/4 of the peat, and then for compost: 2 Cf. of "Bumper Crop", 3 Cu of black Kow, 1.5 C feet of poultry compost, 3 Cu of "Garden Compost (brand by jollygardner), 1.5 cf of Worm compost (20% castings), 3 Cf of mushroom compost. With all that, those darn boxes are still not full. I think I need 2-3 Cu feet of something per box.

After I add the rest of the compost to the boxes, I will do another soil test. Hopefully, it will be okay.

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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 3:04 pm

I was just curious about the fungi roots and chicken poop. I know chicken poop is good, and I'm sure they know what they are doing, but that is one poo that has to be done just right. After reading what all was in that, and that your only other compost added was cow manure, I'm sure it's just that you did not have enough variety of compost. But we have to do what we can, I understand that, and that may have been all you could find/afford or both. We will continue to do what we can to help you fix this, don't give up, we aren't.
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Post  staf74 4/8/2011, 3:56 pm

Yes, I used distilled water. I know all about water

I wonder if we are honing in on the issue here but coming late to this "thread party" though so please forgive me if you have not been using this for a while with your plants or I am missing something here.

With that said, distilled water does not have the natural mineral count of rainwater or even tapwater that adds it back in during processing. Tap water is not healthy BTW but that's another story. Distilled water is a little like reverse osmosis treated water in that it is quite aggressive in trying to revert back to its natural state and will steal nutrients / minerals (from your plants perhaps?) to maintain the natural balance of these things.

I'm not saying its the problem, but I would be very wary of using distilled water on a long term basis just like its not recommended on a longer term use for us humans to consume without some form of re-mineralization. For example, I regularly consume a remineralized mix of distilled water, fresh squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of pure, raw Apple Cider Vinegar as a great internal cleanser, but again, another story.

The correct structure of water molecules are hexagonal in shape. Once you process (through whatever means) water, you change its structure and it ability to do its job. Another thing to add here is that distilled water is VERY low in electrical conductivity and these subtle things are needed for water to be able to do its job of saturating plant cells.

Again, just sayin, but could be something to investigate further.

I love water too Very Happy
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Post  HPartin 4/8/2011, 4:01 pm

The distilled water was for the soil sample kit, not plants. Smile
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Post  HPartin 4/8/2011, 4:10 pm

FarmerValerie wrote:I was just curious about the fungi roots and chicken poop. I know chicken poop is good, and I'm sure they know what they are doing, but that is one poo that has to be done just right. After reading what all was in that, and that your only other compost added was cow manure, I'm sure it's just that you did not have enough variety of compost. But we have to do what we can, I understand that, and that may have been all you could find/afford or both. We will continue to do what we can to help you fix this, don't give up, we aren't.

I think it was well composted. There really wasn't any smell to it. But you make me nervous about poultry poo. I just added a cubic foot to my mix for the 3 boxes I just finished. For my next boxes I am well composted Smile

1. Bumper Crop (2Cu)
2. Black Kow
3. Mushroom
4. Worm compost (20% castings)
5. Organic Garden Compost by JollyGardner (I don't know anythng about this stuff but looked good)
6. Poultry compost
7. Organic Forest Compost (can't recall brand at the moment but very black). Even my non-gardening husband said, "oh, that's pretty" when he poured it out.

So, surely, this is enough for better results. I still have to amend the old boxes that are suffering. I'm going to see if the spring stuff perk up. If not, I'm yanking it and starting it with summer/late fall veggies. Hopefully, by the end of the summer my horse manure will be composted for the fall. Who knows. Another issue Smile
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Post  staf74 4/8/2011, 4:12 pm

Then like I said, oops. Crashed the party late Embarassed

I guess I can delete an irrelevant post unless its informative enough to remain.
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Post  dizzygardener 4/8/2011, 4:17 pm

Staf,

I think you should leave the post. It may not be relevant to this particular thread, but it is still useful info. Better yet, why not start a new topic called "Why you shouldn't use distilled water on your plants" or some such. Smile
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 7:05 pm

staf74 wrote:Then like I said, oops. Crashed the party late Embarassed

I guess I can delete an irrelevant post unless its informative enough to remain.

Hey, no worries, I learned something, and it was interesting too.
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 7:06 pm

Don't worry about the chicken poo, I tend to "err on the side of caution", my husband says I'm too parinoid. Chicken poo if used right away can burn plants, but if it's been done right, it will do fine.
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Post  HPartin 4/8/2011, 8:09 pm

I just did a soil test on my new boxes and everything looks great. At least I know I started off right. Time will tell for the rest.

Heidi
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/8/2011, 8:16 pm

cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers
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Post  dizzygardener 4/8/2011, 8:46 pm

Yippee! I think my spring garden is a dud - Page 2 217255
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