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Newb with soil problems...

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Newb with soil problems...

Post  HSkinner on 6/24/2013, 2:43 am

I live in northeastern az at about 6000' elevation and just switched to the sfg process over the winter. I did the mels mix but used a 50/50 topsoil compost mix. I planted about a month ago and everything seems to have completely stopped growing. My carrots are about an inch high. my sugar peas look like they are dieing. We are known to have an alkali soil and I thought that when I bought a load of topsoil and mixed it with the peetmoss and vermiculite it would solve that problem. Do I need to by a ph tester? I didn't really fertilize this year. Do I turn everything under and start over? We only have about a 4 month window and I'm really disappointed with what's happened thus far. Thanks in advance. Heath
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Re: Newb with soil problems...

Post  sanderson on 6/24/2013, 3:35 am

Hi Health,  Welcome the SFG Forum.  I'm sure folks will be replying in the morning.  No need for a pH meter if you follow the principles outlined in the book.  

I'm a newbie, also.  First advice you will get is to buy the new edition of All New Square Foot Gardening.  Just takes a day or two to read.  I bought a used copy on eBay.  Follow the book to a tee and you will have success.  Skimp like a lot of first year folks do :oops:and you will quickly learn how important a good compost is.  I'm just now getting some good compost cooking.

Just for tonight, Click on Home Page. go to the upper left corner to the Drop Down menu HOVER and read the topics that make up the heart of SFG.  No soil used.  Only 6 inches of mix.  5 part compost. etc.  Click on Gallery at the top and see what folks are growing in their boxes.  All of this with only 6 inches of Mel's Mix.  As you get going, you will have questions and this is a good place to get answers.  Good luck and have some fun!

Arizona SFGs, maybe you can guide him to MM products in your area.
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Re: Newb with soil problems...

Post  camprn on 6/24/2013, 6:35 am

Hi Heath, Welcome to the SFG forum. Sanderson has set you in a direction for more info. I think your biggest problem in the garden is that maybe your plants are starving. There are no nutrients in sphagnum peat and probably not much in the topsoil, which is most likely dirt. It needs compost. As much as you can get in there, lay it on top of the soil you have. Water well and when the growing season is over add more compost and mix that in.

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Re: Newb with soil problems...

Post  LittleGardener on 6/24/2013, 4:08 pm

HSkinner wrote:I live in northeastern az at about 6000' elevation and just switched to the sfg process over the winter. mels mix but used a 50/50 topsoil compost mix. everything seems to have completely stopped growing. my sugar peas look like they are dieing.
Do I turn everything under and start over?  Thanks in advance. Heath
Another discovery of how abysmally-sterile our Food-soils Shocked became past 100 years. So my suggestion is plant in straight Natural compost, the deeper the better! . The difference will become readily apparent, & at least keep tummy-rumbles at bay. Gardening was meant to be enjoyed. Smile
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Re: Newb with soil problems...

Post  RoOsTeR on 6/24/2013, 7:34 pm

LittleGardener wrote:
HSkinner wrote:I live in northeastern az at about 6000' elevation and just switched to the sfg process over the winter. mels mix but used a 50/50 topsoil compost mix. everything seems to have completely stopped growing. my sugar peas look like they are dieing.
Do I turn everything under and start over?  Thanks in advance. Heath
Another discovery of how abysmally-sterile our Food-soils :shock:became past 100 years. So my suggestion is plant in straight Natural compost, the deeper the better! . The difference will become readily apparent, & at least keep tummy-rumbles at bay. Gardening was meant to be enjoyed. Smile


Good thing we use nutrient rich Mel's Mix (and only 6 inches I might add) in our square foot gardens!

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