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MM or the weather or ??? (long)

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MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  Gena575 on 4/26/2012, 7:06 pm

I hate feeling like a total newb, and hate admitting failure. But, I'm confused and seeking guidance. I made my MM to the best of my ability. Some of my "compost" had peat as an ingredient so I scaled back on the peat and might even be a bit light on peat, but not by much. Vermiculite was a complete no go for me so I substituted perlite. Everything is very well mixed and very well wetted. I've dug down and all but the top half inch or so is wet enough to make a ball in my hand but it crumbles easily if I poke at it. I'm watering daily in late afternoon unless it has rained or rain is imminent. I used organic cow manure compost, humus and manure (meaning peat and a cow pooped in the peat field I think LOL!), mushroom compost, forestry compost and chickity doo doo for my composts...heaviest on the organic cow and mushroom since I felt they were the most "composty."

I planted two squares of radishes. The first on 4/7 and the second on 4/21. So far I have 3 very nice sprouts, 1 gaining true leaves as of today from the 4/7 planting. Nothing so far from the 4/21. Onion sets that were planted on 4/7 are sort of growing, but not much. About half have green shoots 2-3 inches tall on them. Lettuce seeds planted 4/7 are a bust as are cilantro and basil. Carrots from 4/7 haven't shown yet either, but I know they are slow. The oregano transplant is brown all around the edges of the leaves, but seems to be recovering in new growth. 2 peppers have died completely, the other two look healthy enough but are pretty much exactly the same size as when planted. 2 of the 4 tomato plants are really sickly with yellow splotchy leaves. The other 2 are growing, but just look punky, with a bit of yellowing on the lower leaves. 6 of the 8 marigolds are goners. I thought all 8 were, but 2 seem to be recovering the past few days. The tomato plant from 4/21 is growing and still dark green and strong looking. I also have what I think may be chives sprouts coming up from 4/21. Lettuce transplants put out then are still very nice and putting out new leaves. Everything on 4/21 was planted in the last bed mixed...maybe something to that?? Also, the 3 radishes that are growing are in the south west corner of that bed.

For a counter point, the radishes I planted in containers (in Miracle Grow potting soil) weathered being under a leaky gutter and flooded, knocked over by my very graceful husband and only about 6 hours of sun on the days it has peeked out. They were planted 4/18 and are as big as the ones in MM from 4/7.

The weather decided to be annoying for part of this time. Right after planting we got 2 nights of light frost...temps right at freezing those nights. I covered the beds with bedsheets and propped them up so the plants weren't touching the fabric. Since then, until the past few days, it has been cool...mid 50's during the day, low 40's at night. Several rain showers have passed through, none of them overly violent in my immediate area. I'm really hoping my problems are mostly weather, and my eagerness to put things in the ground. I can keep pushing on if that is the case.

I also may be totally misunderstanding "cool season" crops. Can anyone, in 3rd grade words, explain cool season vs warm season? Is there a temp cut off? I'm thinking my feeling cool and the plants feeling cool are two very different things.

P.S. I hate radishes. I'm only growing the dang things for my stepdad and they are really starting to irritate me LOL!
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  givvmistamps on 4/26/2012, 9:50 pm

Hi Gena,

I'm not certain about your zone, but it seems to me that several things you planted outside about a month early, though a few seem ok to plant. Have you looked at a list of when to put things outside for your region?

Cool weather crops don't necessarily do well in a hard freeze; some will do fine if you have a soft frost (tender), others will survive a hard frost or even snow (hardy). None of the cool weather crops do well in high summer; most go to seed or just die when real heat kicks in. Some should be overwintered in the ground, like garlic. Cool weather crops include your radishes, onions, lettuce, carrots, and several other things.

Warm weather crops are those which do better in summer than they would in spring or fall and should be planted after all danger of frost is past; sometimes they shouldn't go outside until a couple weeks after your last frost date. They won't have any frost tolerance to speak of. Tomatoes and peppers fall into this category.

I think the herbs you planted probably should have waited also; basil is definitely a tender plant, as are all annual herbs. In fact, any annual, herb or flower, should wait to be planted outside until after your last frost date.

If I seem unsure about some of this, it's because all my gardening has
been done in zones considerably farther south than you are. Where I live now, I almost have the opposite problem from you; it's sub-tropical here and most things won't grow well in the summer. Many cool weather crops can be grown through the winter so long as I have a way to protect them in the somewhat rare event of a hard frost. (The ground never freezes here.)
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  landarch on 4/26/2012, 11:08 pm

you may want to to a soils test with you mix (check your county extension service) as you may also be light on nutrients.
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  kbb964 on 4/27/2012, 8:59 am

I guess sometimes things happen just because...... I have 2 beds, I am in a similar zone to you.

I have one bed with absolutely nothing come through at all! bummer. I have planted same plants as you almost. carrots, scallions, lettuce, spinach , beets and radish. Now the radish I planted as an afterthought on Monday this week and today I have radish sprouts in every spot! They actually popped their heads out this morning after last nights freeze warning. I have plastic domes and blankets.

I have had a few seeds not come up and wondered if it was my planting. The radish I soaked for an hour in tepid/ warm water and literally just put them in the soil 1/4 and sprinkled mm on top . I think maybe the soaking helped?
I am a newby tho lol
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  kbb964 on 4/27/2012, 9:00 am

Definitely Peppers and tomatoes dont plant out till may late may !
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  kbb964 on 4/27/2012, 9:02 am

Seriously go soak some radish seeds and then re sow in the same place, what is the worst that can happen? double radishes and a little more thinning! I hate them too I am growing for hubby only
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  Gena575 on 4/27/2012, 9:18 am

Thank you everyone. I'm glad to see it at least seems like it is my own stupid fault for overeagerness! It had been such a warm March and I got lulled into believing Mother Nature. Mother's Day is typically "the" weekend for planting things like tomatoes here, so if the puny ones don't start perking up I'll compost them and start over. I'm not out much and got a good little lesson in patience too.

KBB...I wonder if that is why the radishes in my pot poked up so quickly, the rather thorough LOL soaking they got right after planting. I think I will soak a few seeds and see what happens. I've got plenty of seeds and if after 3 weeks those radishes aren't up, they won't ever be I guess.
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  kbb964 on 4/27/2012, 9:25 am

I bet if you do it today they will be up by mid next week! I have a whole 2 squares with no pea sprouts and I swear it was because i didnt soak them!

and yes, I think most of us got fooled last month. Have to keep reminding myself that a few years back we had an ice storm late april and no power for a week!


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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  landarch on 4/27/2012, 11:34 am

I think soil temps play a big part...here in the KC area we've had highs of 93 and lows of 37 within a weeks time...a soil thermometer shoud let you know what's actually going on in your beds...take the temp early in the morning as theoretically that's the coolest part of the day.

I planted tomatoes and it's about 2-3 weeks early compared to the prime time (May 15th) here in my area...I may wait on peppers, melon, eggplant, green beans for a few more days.
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  Gena575 on 5/6/2012, 7:15 pm

Well, in just over a week, things are really looking up out there!
We've had lots of rain, and lots of nice warm sunshine. The sorry
looking tomatoes are putting on growth like crazy. The
radishes...well...I have no idea what I'm doing wrong still. Out of 2
squares, I've got 6 that sprouted. The first three are almost ready to
harvest, though. I planted 2 more squares today that I soaked first.
We'll see what they do.

The onions are still being slow, but growing. Out of 2 squares I think only 3 are going to end up being duds. The oregano has recovered nicely. Still no herbs or carrots or lettuce spouting. I think I need a growing-tiny-seeds tutorial!

I planted my pole beans today, which did fine in my dirt garden last year. Surely these bigger seeds will behave for me LOL!

Speaking of the dirt garden, I have several volunteer tomatoes popping up. I may have to dig one up and see what happens in the SFG. They'll either be Brandywines or Early Girls or some other variety that I cannot remember. An adventure! LOL!
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  herblover on 5/8/2012, 2:59 pm

I have been SFGing (is that a word) for 3 years and this problem comes up every year from newbies. Most commercial compost, and even my homemade, seems to lack magnesium and/or potassium. I use an organic fertilizer on my SFG and that makes a big difference. You might try that.
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 3:20 pm

It sounds like you got good advice from kbb above. You planted a little too early. The soil temps make all the difference. If its too cool, germination is ultra slow and any transplants seem to go into hibernation mode til it gets warmer, at which time they'll put on growth quickly. Be patient.

As for the rads, you probably planted too deeply. That's always a problem for many gardeners. The smaller the seed, the less soil cover they need. For rads, that's just a light sprinkle over the seeds.

MM, too, can sometimes be tricky, depending on what ingredients are in the compost you added. Sometimes there's more sticks and waste in the bag than useful compost.

I think you'll be in better shape now that its getting back to warmer temps.
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  Gena575 on 5/8/2012, 7:16 pm

Herblover...I worried about that. I think more than anything though, my mix needed some sunshine and rain. Even my dirt garden gets all kinds of growy after even a small rain. I may yet pick up some organic veggie food just to be on the safe side though.

Quiltbea...things are progressing nicely now. I'll resow some of the things and go from there. The second batch of radishes I planted, I did just barely cover with sprinkled MM. 3 came up LOL! There are already several popping up from the last planting though. I've been sprinkling them with water 2-3x a day instead of just once. I think that the surface drying of my MM was what was holding them back. Or maybe it wasn't as saturated as I thought it was and all the rain lately has done that for me.

Thank you all for your help and lack of "stupid newb" judgement Laughing
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Re: MM or the weather or ??? (long)

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 8:55 pm

@Gena.....Yes, newly-sown seeds need to be kept moist to germinate so make sure they are watered more than once a day if needed. Sounds like things are getting better. Good for you.
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