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Not So Green

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Not So Green

Post  lyndeeloo on 6/9/2013, 7:58 am

My tomato, cucumber and corn plants in the SFG are not as green as in my other raised beds with traditional soil. Also my corn plants' leaves are turning yellow at the bottom of the plant and slowing working its way up. I have not added any fertilizer to any of the gardens, they all get the same watering schedule. Any thoughts on this? Does the SFG need something?

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Re: Not So Green

Post  camprn on 6/9/2013, 8:39 am

Hi Lynde, what kind of composts did you use to make your Mel's mix? When you made the MM did you use the recipe as called for in to book? Also would you be able to post a few photos of the affected garden plants?

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Re: Not So Green

Post  llama momma on 6/9/2013, 8:49 am

Sq. ft. gardening is extremely successful when the mix is made in correct proportions and the correct compost blend is used.

Sometimes people tinker and make it all wrong, other times they try diligently and it's still unintentionally wrong.

But it's the same outcome if you make it right - a lush productive garden. You can pull lots of info off of this forum, but I wouldn't cheat myself that way. The book explains it very well and you get to refer to it often, I still reference parts of the book 3 years later.

If you have a 5 way (minimum, more is better) compost blend of correct ingredients (not all manure), plus 1/3 fluffed peat before measuring, and 1/3 vermiculite, moistened thoroughly, then the results will be terrific, unless other mistakes occur somewhere along the process or afterwards. Some issues are not your fault, example, poor quality bagged compost, contaminated municipal sources, etc.

So the question is, What's in your mix? And we'll try to help.

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Re: Not So Green

Post  gwennifer on 6/9/2013, 10:29 am

Sounds like a classic nitrogen deficiency. If your mix is too dry, it can hinder nitrogen release. You say that your MM beds are on the same watering schedule as your other garden beds, but Mel's mix needs to be watered more often than regular garden soil. Bottom of page 128 to top of page 129 in the 2006 version of the ANSFG book:
But because your soil mix drains readily when saturated, it also has a tendency to dry out quicker than most garden soils. Regular garden soils stay saturated, so single-row gardeners may be used to turning on the sprinkler or flooding the garden twice a week and that's it. Your All New Square Foot Garden is different. You have to water a little more often and pay more attention to watering.
There's one idea anyway. Whaddya think?

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Re: Not So Green

Post  lyndeeloo on 6/9/2013, 2:01 pm

Thank you All!

I was very careful with the recipe of the MM. 1/3 by volume of each. I used a combination of 6 different bagged composts, all different brands, with different ingredients, fluffed the peat moss and spent the money on the vermiculite. The composts used wood grindings, mulch, leaves, cow manure, chicken manure, worm castings, mushroom something or other, lobster shells and other ingredients. Then I mixed, mixed, mixed!

I am now working on making compost myself for later on.

I've read the SFG book and look back in it often. I look at the topics on the Forum and am getting lots of great information and ideas. Very Happy

I water, but not everyday since we've had so much rain the past few weeks. I water carefully under the plants. I am afraid to overwater so perhaps that is the problem. We've had a total of 7 inches of rain in the past few weeks according to my rain gauge. First year jitters about overwatering maybe? If we get an inch or more of rain I don't water the next few days. Should I be watering every day when it isn't raining? We did have a heat wave in between the rain. Can it hurt to water more often?

Don't get me wrong, the plants are beautiful, big and healthy, bigger than the same types of plants in the traditional soil in my other beds. We are eating lettuce like crazy, Swiss chard, and have tiny tomatoes started on most of the plants. Some small Broccoli heads. I just noticed that the plants were not as green and it concerned me that I might be doing something wrong.

I will try to figure out how to send a photo of the corn.

Thank you.

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Re: Not So Green

Post  GWN on 6/9/2013, 2:33 pm

I found the same thing in my gardens last year as you are describing. Since I already had several raised beds i had many to compare to.
There were others who said that really it is the second year when you add more compost that it gets better.
I added compost to my SFGs many times last year, and did OK, especially with certain crops. My tomatoes and carrots did very good as did the peas. The beans also did great. However my peppers did not do anything, right next to the other raised beds where they were thriving.
I have not given up and this year I am trying peppers once again in my SFG and they are doing much better in this second year.
So my advice would be to add LOTS of compost..... or perhaps lots of fish fertilizer.

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Re: Not So Green

Post  brainchasm on 6/9/2013, 2:43 pm

How many wood chips did you see in your composts? Did you use the cheaper but seemingly reasonable composts like Kelloggs brand (like I did)?

Wood chips will suck nitrogen from the mix as they try to decompose. If you find a high wood content in your mix, you can be sure that is what's happening. Amending with a mild nitrogen fertilizer should take care of it.

(you could always use...pee)

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Re: Not So Green

Post  camprn on 6/9/2013, 3:37 pm

@brainchasm wrote:How many wood chips did you see in your composts? Did you use the cheaper but seemingly reasonable composts like Kelloggs brand (like I did)?

Wood chips will suck nitrogen from the mix as they try to decompose. If you find a high wood content in your mix, you can be sure that is what's happening. Amending with a mild nitrogen fertilizer should take care of it.

(you could always use...pee)
Or a good quality compost, as Mel recommends.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books




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Re: Not So Green

Post  lyndeeloo on 6/10/2013, 6:54 am

Thank you for your input! My compost is almost ready and I know what is in that. I'll add more compost and watch the watering. I'm impressed with SFG and how big the plants are getting. Looking forward to lots of veggies this summer.

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Re: Not So Green

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/10/2013, 3:10 pm

lyndeeloo, I'd love to see some photos of your garden when you get a chance. It sounds very productive! Like you, I've been eating lots of greens as well as peas, and have little tomatoes growing now. But my broccoli buttoned with the wild swing in the weather that we had this spring so they went into the smoothies.

Do you have pepper plants? If so, how are they doing?

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