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Spinach and soil

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Spinach and soil

Post  cliftyman on 4/2/2010, 3:59 pm

This was my first year with a SFG.... I've been row cropping for all my life and it just became too much to balance with a 8-5 job and two young kids.

Anyway I built 4 4x4 boxes and 2 1x8 boxes (for potatoes).

I was planting by March 1st (peas) first time I've ever planted that early and I was excited.

I'm a little afraid I haven't done something right.... I planted peas on 3/1, and then on 3/8 I planted lettuce, spinach and carrots.

Everything germinated fine but it seems there hasn't been much growth at all in the last two weeks.... my plants aren't hardly an inch tall and I'm beginning to think that my soil PH is messed up or its too wet.

I really couldn't afford to fill 4 boxes up with Mel's mix, so I went to the local mulching place and got their mixture that the local university uses to plant flower beds in. Its mulched wood chips.

I thought the soil looked good... it was mulched pretty good, held moisture well and passed the "balling test" where you ball it up and see how it falls apart. I thought if flowers grew in it it should be good.

I'm thinking the PH is too acidic... obviously wood chips are highly acidic. I'm wondering if I need to get a bag of lime and some nitrogen and start applying heavily... problem is every blasted fertilizer bag I read has directions for row crops or yards.

I really don't have time this year to make some fancy mix of blood meal or fish emulsion... I just need to know how much lime/10-10-10 that I would apply per square to get this thing straightened out.

I'm thinking of watering the squares with a miracle grow all purpose fertilizer twice weekly too...

Help!
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cliftyman

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Re: Spinach and soil

Post  camprn on 4/2/2010, 4:59 pm

Hi there Clifty & Welcome. What is your location? Have you thought about going to your local garden store and picking up a soil test kit? Using it would give you information about you pH, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium levels. Here is a link comparing several soil test kits. http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/soiltest.htm

That would be my first step before I amended the soil mix in any way.

Do you know where you local Cooperative Extension service is located? They may be helpful.
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/
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camprn

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Re: Spinach and soil

Post  cliftyman on 4/2/2010, 5:04 pm

Hi thanks for the response.... I'm in KY in zone 6. The extension office is a couple miles from my house.... I guess I probably should run some soil samples by there and do things scientifically.... probably should have done that to begin with when I first got this soil.

I just felt like this soil had to be better than the rocky clay soil that is predominant where I live...
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cliftyman

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Re: Spinach and soil

Post  camprn on 4/2/2010, 5:09 pm

LOL, the soil is no doubt better than it was. The off the shelf test or samples taken to the Extension will give you a better idea of what your soil needs and how best to deliver it. For example, the Lime will take months to effect the pH of the soil, but wood ash is much quicker. Perhaps a dusting of bone meal worked in with a cultivator would help, but wont know till the soil is tested. Smile
Has it been a bit chilly there? The weather, as you know, rules. Cheers! Smile
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camprn

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Re: Spinach and soil

Post  cliftyman on 4/3/2010, 12:30 pm

We've had a harder winter than usual.... we are in south Central KY so our weather is more like TN than it is KY...

I think I'm worrying too much... I only planted my seeds 23 days ago and they are 1 1/2 inches tall now... all the carrots, lettuce and spinach germinated really well.

I think they grew a bunch since putting some miracle grow on them...

I've never grown cold weather vegetables before... I've always grown tomatoes, squash, corn and beans and I've always planted after "Derby Day" (some folks may not know what I'm talking about but if you are from Kentucky you do), so a winter garden is new for me.

No doubt about it though from what I've seen already SFG's are much better!

My next project is mine is to install a cistern and a drip irrigation system running from it.
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