Square Foot Gardening Forum

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.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» What are you eating from your garden today?
by MrBooker Today at 2:18 pm

» CANADIAN REGION:What are you doing in October 2016
by Kelejan Today at 12:33 pm

» Garlic and Onions planting soon
by greatgranny Today at 11:35 am

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing in September 2016
by Kelejan Today at 10:50 am

» New Table Tops
by greatgranny Today at 10:39 am

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Today at 8:54 am

» SFG Adventure of a first time gardener in ND
by Robbomb116 Today at 7:55 am

» October: What to plant in Northern California and Central Valley areas
by sanderson Today at 1:46 am

» Mid-South: October 2016
by sanderson Today at 1:36 am

» Rotten Rats in my garden!
by sanderson Today at 1:26 am

» Now What do I do?
by donnainzone5 Yesterday at 8:38 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by sanderson Yesterday at 8:12 pm

» Senseless Banter...
by llama momma Yesterday at 7:58 pm

» homemade ketchup
by llama momma Yesterday at 7:43 pm

» parsnips in square foot garden?
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 7:08 pm

» N&C Midwest: September 2016
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 6:21 pm

» Newbie composting questions
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:03 pm

» compost thermometer
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 9:23 am

» The Research Journey:free-The Gardener’s Guide TO PERFECT GARDEN SOIL
by jimmy cee Yesterday at 8:48 am

» Plantoid' s going into hospital ....
by plantoid Yesterday at 6:22 am

» Hello from San Antonio, Tx.
by sanderson Yesterday at 12:53 am

» 17 Everyday Things You've Been Doing Wrong
by has55 9/29/2016, 11:28 pm

» What's a good type of lettuce to try for some one who doesn't like lettuce?
by CapeCoddess 9/29/2016, 11:59 am

» In between
by Scorpio Rising 9/28/2016, 8:33 pm

» Tomato Mystery Mix
by sanderson 9/28/2016, 11:26 am

» Easy and Fabulous Crockpot Marinara
by trolleydriver 9/28/2016, 11:03 am

» newbeone
by Cajun Cappy 9/28/2016, 8:59 am

» The SFG Journey-Cover crops
by jimmy cee 9/27/2016, 9:45 pm

» Oh no! My hibiscus moscheutos plant has some roots exposed!
by RJARPCGP 9/27/2016, 9:37 pm

» Tryst with my first DIY SFG
by Mimi2 9/27/2016, 8:12 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

My Other Garden

View previous topic View next topic Go down

My Other Garden

Post  dano on 4/19/2010, 5:16 pm

My other garden (not the Square Foot one) has performed very poorly the previous two years. Low yield on tomatoes, cucs that shriveled up, only a couple peppers per plant. I was hoping some of the experienced gardeners here could help.

I had the soil tested figuring there must be something wrong with the soil. The results were:

pHs 7.2 (High)
P 49 lbs/a (Medium-Low)
K 187 lbs/a (Low)
Ca 4045 lbs/a (Medium)
Mg 420 lbs/a (High)
Organic Matter 3.6%

They recommended 1 lb/1000sq ft Phosphorus and 1/2 lb/1000sq ft Potash.

Is the P and K deficiency enough to cause the poor growth?

What should the Organic Matter percentage be?

Any other ideas what might be wrong? (It gets plenty of sunlight.)

Thanks!

Dano

dano

Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-03-31

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  martha on 4/20/2010, 11:19 am

okay, so first of all, two very important points:

1. This is not a cult.

2. I am not a cultist.

so, my first question - how hard would it be to convert it to SFG?

The reason I was such a small scale gardener before I discovered SFG is because of all those things that one has to keep track of.

Now, having said that, I do believe that SFG is only the answer most of the time - not actually all the time! So anyone with more specific feedback - your turn.

martha

Female Posts : 2188
Join date : 2010-03-03
Age : 59
Location : Acton, Massachusetts Zone 5b/6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  lizzo on 4/20/2010, 11:30 am

Hi
You may be asking your question in the wrong gardening forum! A lot of SFG'ers don't know what you're talking about. There's no reason to learn or worry about that stuff with SFG. Drink the kool-aid and get on board the easy train! Very Happy

lizzo

Posts : 50
Join date : 2010-03-18
Location : WAZ7

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  dano on 4/20/2010, 11:36 am

Martha: If I were to convert this box completely, I'd have a lot of fairly good dirt to do something with. So my plan to convert to an old style square foot garden (essentially improve existing soil with Mel's Mix). I don't have the time or money to do it this year. Creating my 18 sq ft of boxes and filling them exceeded my garden budget for this year. Come to think of it, I'll probably add another box next year rather than convert this box.

In the mean time I'd like to make this 4'x8' box at least semi-productive.

Lizzo: There are a lot of gardeners here that started with regular gardens, and some of them are quite experienced and knowledgeable with standard gardens.

dano

Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-03-31

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  dixie on 4/20/2010, 12:52 pm

Since I'm just switching from row gardening to SFG, I don't know if commercial fertilizer is "taboo", but you might try a general purpose fertilizer (I think it's 6-12-12, don't remember) and add compost. Since you are going to gradually convert to SFG, it is an inexpensive option. It's what I have always used in the past (without the compost nad I have never done a soil test) & I've always had a very productive garden.

dixie

Female Posts : 754
Join date : 2010-03-02
Age : 67
Location : Southeast Tennessee

View user profile http://www.zibbet.com/dixiedazzletoo

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  Wyldflower on 4/20/2010, 1:04 pm

Hi Dano

I know it's costly to do the conversion to SFG - and I'm glad you're taking the steps to do that.

As for the soil composition in your "other" garden - I don't know about the P-K-N stuff but I do remember one thing I heard at a xeriscaping class I went to... the organic matter should be at least 5% of the soil mix... so adding compost should help. And the pH should be around 6.5, so you want to add something to reduce the pH.

Good luck and have fun!

Wyldflower

Female Posts : 530
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 65
Location : Colorado Springs, CO Zone 5b

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/20/2010, 1:52 pm

When the soil analysis was done, you should have received a report with recommended levels of fertilizer or nutrients to add to the soil. I'd follow that along with adding more humus, especially compost. And, yes, the P and K deficiency would definitely have an affect, especially on the fruiting and setting.

I have a home test kit and when I tested the soil here late last summer in preparation to planting a few trees and winter grass, it came out pretty much inert. I tilled in a lot of sawdust, grass clippings, leaves, homemade compost and several bags of cow manure. I then sprinkled a balanced fertilizer over it all and the winter rye grass I planted in this section did great, whereas the other area that was not enriched except for fertilizer did very poorly. I think the added humus made the difference.

Retired Member 1

Female Posts : 904
Join date : 2010-03-03
Location : USA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  JonRigby2005 on 4/22/2010, 8:40 am

You probly know this but I'm gonna say it anyways. Those numbers on fertilizer
(ie..5-5-5) are the percentage of Nitrogen- Phosporus-Potassium, in that order. You will notice on fertilizers for bloom/fruiting higher #'s in the phosphorus and potassium, mainly phosphorus. So I believe that is a direct result as to why your fruiting varieties are subpar. The potash will help. Good compost is great because it has these, as well as the trace elements you need also(iron, manganese, boron.....) The nitrogen is generally for Green growth, not fruiting. If you want to stay organic, go through all the organic amendments you can find, and pay close attention to the n-p-k values. And remember if you use organic ammendments they generally need some time to break down to be usable such as bone meal, blood meal, guano's, and what not. powdered dolomite lime is good at keeping the soil ph neutral, but also adds needed calcium and magnesium.

That said I am no expert, but have spent many years reading, and reading, reading, and i've done a little gardening to boot Wink

JonRigby2005

Male Posts : 38
Join date : 2010-04-13
Location : Tampa Fl 9b

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  JonRigby2005 on 4/22/2010, 8:50 am

Oh, and I live in an area where the soil is sand. It can take several years and lots of money to create an ideal medium. This is actually why I started looking into raised beds, and found this website. After seeing all the beautiful gardens here, I will be slowly converting all my gardening to raised beds using mels mix.

One thing that concerns me, and maybe someone can help answer this for me, but from what i understand, over time peat becomes acidic (low ph), 1/3 peat wouldn't concern me in containers, I just worry about reusing over the years. I haven't seen anyone here adding lime and wonder why? Please someone fill me in. Other than my worry of ph, I love the idea of mels mix, diversity of nutes, drains well, while at the same time holding water(something my sand doesn't do.

JonRigby2005

Male Posts : 38
Join date : 2010-04-13
Location : Tampa Fl 9b

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  TheJH on 4/22/2010, 9:42 am

Here is how I grow tomatoes. My native soil is sand (Sandhills of NC) and 7.2. I tried to grow tomatoes in a normal square foot garden and it worked ok. There just wasn’t enough room to grow to big matters that I was trying to grow. So I tried a combination of new squarefoot, old squarefoot and row gardening. I dug five gallon bucket size holes in a row 2 to 3 feet apart. I filled them with Mel’s mix and a little of lime. Covered the row with a 3 foot wide roll of weed/garden fabric. Cut an X were the holes are. Plant tomatoes and mulch. I put in a 7 foot T post between every 2 plants and one on the ends. I use the “Florida Weave” to support them. They did very well. That was last year. This year I am doing the same thing but added a 1 foot by 1 foot wood collar, compost, perlite and some Sonoma brand Tomato-Tone organic fertilizer.

TheJH

Posts : 12
Join date : 2010-04-05
Location : NC, zone 7B

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My other garden

Post  ander217 on 4/22/2010, 1:41 pm

This is my first year with SFG and I'm no expert, but we farmed row-crop and livestock for many years and I've gardened row-style most of my 55 years, first helping my mom and grandmothers, and then on my own.

The trouble with simple soil tests is they test for major nutrients - nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, - and sometimes secondary nutrients - calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, but they don't usually give micronutrient readings. Those include copper, zinc, boron, iron, and others. A deficiency of any of those can cause various growing problems. Besides problems caused by a deficiency, imbalance also causes problems. For example, too much phosphorus can bind up the zinc and make it unusable. Too much potassium causes a deficiency of magnesium, and so on. An extensive soil test to test for all the micronutrients may cost three figures, and is usually done only by commercial growers.

Micronutrient deficiencies are not that common unless an area has been cropped for a long time. Commercial fertilizers are less likely to correct a deficiency than animal manures which contain more trace elements. Sandy soils can absorb micronutrients easier than clay soils. Also, you need plenty of organic matter, but sometimes it can temporarily bind up nutrients, or use them to break down. For example, if you put fresh grass clippings on your garden, it will pull the nitrogen away from surrounding plants temporarily while it breaks down. Cornstalks use a lot of nutrients to break down.

So there are lots of variables that factor in when figuring out what is causing low productivity in one's garden. Those are things you don't have to worry about with SFG if you get a balanced mix in your boxes.

If I understand correctly, the reason no one adds lime to their Mel's mix is because when you pull out one spent crop, you add a trowel full of compost to your square foot grid before planting another crop. If you have good compost, it should provide enough balanced nutrients to grow another crop in spite of the peat moss.

We are also using a combination of methods. Half of our garden is very rich clay loam, built up over the years with rice hulls, manure, and grass clippings, and there are few weeds in it. It already has the texture of Mel's Mix and required no tilling before planting. It grows excellent crops and we saw little reason to convert that area to boxes, but we do plan to turn it into beds next year, a'la Mel's original style. This year we built a 4' x 4' x 1' box in a poor corner of the garden, and five 1' x 8' x 8" boxes to go around the fence for trellised crops. We also built four 4' x 10' beds to use our existing soil since we can't afford to fill that many boxes at once.

So far, I see advantages and disadvantage to both. The boxes have to be watered more often, but there is very little weeding to be done, and we shouldn't have to prepare the "soil" in them again for a long time. The beds will need to be prepared in the spring and weeded or mulched until the plants canopy, but they are holding their moisture better. It comes down to weeding versus watering. I think watering is easier.

Hmmm...I see I've rambled again. What was your question? I hope I helped answer it.


Last edited by ander217 on 4/22/2010, 1:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Correction)

ander217

Female Posts : 1450
Join date : 2010-03-16
Age : 61
Location : Southeastern Missouri (6b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My Other Garden

Post  Sponsored content Today at 3:09 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum