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what am I missing?

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  walshevak on 7/30/2012, 11:38 pm

@Turan wrote:I wonder if some of the bags were contaminated with herbicides that do not break down for a few years. A local commercial compost maker almost was put out of business from hay that had been sprayed with these getting into their mix. SO I can conceive that the mixers of the Mels Mix had a similar problem happen. To check for that you would need to send a sample from squares that are doing poorly and ask for a herbicide test, not just nutrient levels.

My daughter and son in law got a batch of herbacide contaminated compost this year. Three dump trucks of well rotted horse manure and stable hay. Fortunately the weather was so wet they didn't get it plowed deeply into the (row) garden and only did a light disc into about 6" of soil. Tomatos and beans were the worst hit. Tomatos were planted more that 6" deep and survived but were looking pitiful. Plants came from 4 different scorces including some I grew from seed and all were struggling. The ones that might actually put out a tomato or two were in the areas where the compost was spread the thinest. Son in law is going to bulldoze off the top 6" after the garden finishes. So sad because now they are turned off from trying to go at least semi organic and plan to use commercial fertilizer from now on.

Kay

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Re:What am I Missing??

Post  tabletopper on 8/1/2012, 12:04 am

Southern Gardner......Ruth here.......I paid good money for a test kit....and I couldnt get any results.....the bark got in the way....the test tubes are small......so for me it was a failure....this was not recently.....so it goes back to my original concern.....the receipe from scratch has no bark.....still dont like to pay for that.....grr....grrr....

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  southern gardener on 8/1/2012, 1:26 am

@walshevak wrote:
@Turan wrote:I wonder if some of the bags were contaminated with herbicides that do not break down for a few years. A local commercial compost maker almost was put out of business from hay that had been sprayed with these getting into their mix. SO I can conceive that the mixers of the Mels Mix had a similar problem happen. To check for that you would need to send a sample from squares that are doing poorly and ask for a herbicide test, not just nutrient levels.

My daughter and son in law got a batch of herbacide contaminated compost this year. Three dump trucks of well rotted horse manure and stable hay. Fortunately the weather was so wet they didn't get it plowed deeply into the (row) garden and only did a light disc into about 6" of soil. Tomatos and beans were the worst hit. Tomatos were planted more that 6" deep and survived but were looking pitiful. Plants came from 4 different scorces including some I grew from seed and all were struggling. The ones that might actually put out a tomato or two were in the areas where the compost was spread the thinest. Son in law is going to bulldoze off the top 6" after the garden finishes. So sad because now they are turned off from trying to go at least semi organic and plan to use commercial fertilizer from now on.

Kay

Boy,,,that's a real shame. I wish they'd give it another try! darn it!

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  southern gardener on 8/1/2012, 1:30 am

@tabletopper wrote:Southern Gardner......Ruth here.......I paid good money for a test kit....and I couldnt get any results.....the bark got in the way....the test tubes are small......so for me it was a failure....this was not recently.....so it goes back to my original concern.....the receipe from scratch has no bark.....still dont like to pay for that.....grr....grrr....

Hi Ruth. I heard back from the local extension. They said there was no way it was going to work in 6" of soil. I tried telling him it was SFG, he said he knew all about it, but no way 6" would work. I have to disagree with that part. He was dumbfounded by how my garden was all over the place. He said the only local place for testing is the $70 place, and I'm not paying that much...period. He suggested getting a home test and trying different spots of the garden since my garden is so hit and miss. Now you have me wondering about spending $$ on that ...ugh...I agree about the bark. I had more than bark, it was whole redwood chips, even in the "new" stuff. Time will tell tho, most of the stuff has sprouted, so we'll see Smile

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Re: What am I missing?

Post  tabletopper on 8/1/2012, 7:36 am

Someone on the forum besides me must have done a home test...I lost patience....I wonder if one used a kitchen sieve and screened the rough stuff out it would work......I can see using the bark as a top dresser to hold the moisture.....on the original made from scratch receipe....should be easy..........hopefully someone will answer.....


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Re: what am I missing?

Post  southern gardener on 8/6/2012, 5:50 pm

@tabletopper wrote:Someone on the forum besides me must have done a home test...I lost patience....I wonder if one used a kitchen sieve and screened the rough stuff out it would work......I can see using the bark as a top dresser to hold the moisture.....on the original made from scratch receipe....should be easy..........hopefully someone will answer.....

Well, I broke down and got one of the home kits. I performed six tests total. The results were: In my squares that seem to be stunted, the PH was anywhere from 4-5.5. In the "good squares" it was 6-6.5. The "fertilizer" level was always at the low end of "ideal" and on the edge of "too little". I tested my new bags of MM. The PH was 3 and the level was again low end of "ideal" and on the edge of "too little". For "kicks" I tested my non SFG out front with the big tomato plant. It tested at 7 PH and "ideal" in fertilizer. I am hesitant to re-do all my beds with the new MM with it testing so low. Most of the plants have sprouted, so i can't really tell yet if it's going to "work". Sad

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  Goosegirl on 8/6/2012, 6:05 pm

pH of 3??? ACK!!! With it that acidic it sounds like it is very peat-heavy. How does it look?

GG


Last edited by Goosegirl on 8/6/2012, 6:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added ACK!!!)

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  southern gardener on 8/6/2012, 6:15 pm

It looks like the other bags of the pre-mix? I don't see any "course" vermiculite, there are lots of "rice" hull looking things? small pieces of bark/stick things, peat moss you can see and "gold flecks" I'm guessing is the vermiculite? i've seen course vermiculite before, and there's non in this. The mix is very light, and holds moisture well. I honestly don't even know what all the numbers mean, but I know what it says too little fertilizer, it's probably not good. MAYBE I just tested a bad spot? Hoping so. I did test in two spots, one was 3 and the other was barely touching the "4". There were chunks of redwood again and sticks too, so does that effect the PH??

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  camprn on 8/6/2012, 7:38 pm

SG, just toss in a good amount (more than a trowel full in each square) of well balanced homemade compost at the end of the season and more to top off the boxes in the spring. I bet you will have a fab garden next year. okay

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Re:What am I Missing?

Post  tabletopper on 8/7/2012, 12:41 am

did you sift the mix....to remove the bark .....so it would go in the test tubes? mine were so small.....vermiculite is silver colored.....if you saw gold.....maybe its real gold & worth ...money....as that has reached new highs on the stock market.....

Anyhow since you live in Southern California you can garden all year like me.....so we both have to pursue this problem further......it was suggested to put in perfect compost.......my homemade is terrible....cant get it over 80 degrees....since I am 87....I cant do the turning of piles...I have a tall plastic composter....bought a special long compost thermometer.....put leaves and steer manure.....water....and food scrapes......and mix it with that special composter tool...and still 80 degrees...grr grr.....got to get it to 140 to kill any tomato and other seeds.....maybe someday.....Ruth

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  southern gardener on 8/7/2012, 12:52 am

@camprn wrote:SG, just toss in a good amount (more than a trowel full in each square) of well balanced homemade compost at the end of the season and more to top off the boxes in the spring. I bet you will have a fab garden next year. okay

I hope so Camprn! We have already topped off all the beds once with our homemade compost, and it took off, then stalled out again. It seems like something is burning/stunting the plants?? I have a big batch cooking, hoping it's good. We have really tried to get a good batch going. It's nice a dark on the bottom, but still has a way to go. i just wish I knew what was wrong. I am afraid to add to this if it's "bad", but hate to waste all the stuff we do have going. Gonna ride this season out. Debating building all new beds and filling with the new mix?? My poor husband, he never complains, just keeps helping me Smile thanks for the encouragement....


Last edited by southern gardener on 8/7/2012, 12:57 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: what am I missing?

Post  southern gardener on 8/7/2012, 12:55 am

@tabletopper wrote:did you sift the mix....to remove the bark .....so it would go in the test tubes? mine were so small.....vermiculite is silver colored.....if you saw gold.....maybe its real gold & worth ...money....as that has reached new highs on the stock market.....

Anyhow since you live in Southern California you can garden all year like me.....so we both have to pursue this problem further......it was suggested to put in perfect compost.......my homemade is terrible....cant get it over 80 degrees....since I am 87....I cant do the turning of piles...I have a tall plastic composter....bought a special long compost thermometer.....put leaves and steer manure.....water....and food scrapes......and mix it with that special composter tool...and still 80 degrees...grr grr.....got to get it to 140 to kill any tomato and other seeds.....maybe someday.....Ruth

Ruth, I didn't have to sift the mix, I found a different tester with "probes" you insert into the soil. I don't think it would have "fit" into the little test tube ones, too much "bark" like stuff if that makes sense? unless like you suggested to sift it, but then, is it a real test of the soil if you have to remove so much? Our compost is cooking really well. I am so sorry you are having such a hard time with your temps. I wish I could help you!! Do you think it's too wet? Are you able to post a pic and maybe we can help you? Maybe you're right, and it's GOLD!! woo hoo! If it is, I'll buy you a bunch of mix for your garden haha! Have a good night, Ruth, you sound like a trooper and a sweet woman Smile

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Re: what am I missing?

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