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Need help with my raised beds soil!

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Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  ohill on 5/5/2010, 8:04 pm

I put together the first raised bed 4X8 6 months ago and put in the Filthy
Rich soil which has the perlite,earth worm castings, forest humus, compost and peat moss. I planted cabbage, brussel sprouts,,
red &white onions bell peppers from store bought plants. They
didn't grow very well. The cabbage is about the size of the small
grapefruits and tasted not very good. I dig them all out.....

The
other 2 beds 3X8 were put together 2 weeks ago, I have composted soft wood bark, peat moss, compost &
coir by Dr. Q's herbs and garden mix.

I
am sorry for being so confused!!! I have never done this before and
trying to understand everything. i have Mel's book now but I still need
to help to recondition the beds with enough nutrients to grow somewhere
closed to Mel's mix. From my previous post, the recommendations were adding more compost and vermiculite.
Since, there are 2 different mixes in different beds, I am not sure how much to add to each raised bed?????? Help!

Thank you for your help!
Oanh

ohill

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Location : Las Vegas,NV

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Re: Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 5/5/2010, 9:12 pm

Hi,
I do not think it is terribly important to have a perfect mix. If you want to follow the directions, use 1/3 compost, peat and vermiculite. Depending on how worried you are about getting the proportions correct you can empty your garden out and take one shovel of each ingredient. If you are not too fussy then just dump in some vermiculite and more compost until it looks right. Mix it up and replant. I do not do so well at following directions and have most of my gardens as just compost. This year I have started to add some vermiculite. In any event the plants have been fine. Our spring has been very strange this year. We have not had any rain for 30 days and it is hot early. As a result my spinach has already bolted and my lettuces are thinking about it. Last year they were fine until the second week of June. I think what I am trying to say is do not panic, it might just be the weather. Happy gardening.

Patty from Yorktown
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Patty from Yorktown

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Re: Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  martha on 5/5/2010, 9:58 pm

ohill, can you give us a few more details about your plants not doing well? Maybe it will help pin down what is causing the problem. I agree with Patti that one can have an inexact mix, but since you did not have initial success, let's see what we can all help figure out with you!
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martha

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Re:Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  Jola on 5/5/2010, 10:13 pm

Try adding lime, and fertilizer containing sulfur. Mushroom compost adds some lime, but probably not enough.
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Jola

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Re:Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  ohill on 5/6/2010, 1:51 am

Early Nov 2009, I built the 4X8 and put in Dr Q's Filthy rich soil which has the perlite,earth worm castings, forest humus, compost and peat moss. I bought and planted cabbage, bell peppers, brussel sprouts, red onions, yellow onions, and a strawberry plant. I didn't realized that the bag says to fertilize so I didn't do anything.

The pepper died, the strawberry plant didn't grow much but we picked 4 small strawberries. There are several more but it took 6 months. The onions grew tall but the bulb didn't get big. They looked like the green onion you buy at the market. The brussel sprouts plant grew tall but bfore the spouts are big enough, they opened up and turned into flowers. The cabbage plants looks nice but after 6 months, the cabbage head is about the size of a grapefruit. I cut up one and it tasted bitter.

I have no idea what is going on? Am I growing at the wrong time? Is the soil do not have enough nutrients? This is first experience with gardening.

Thank you for your help! Oanh

ohill

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Re:Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  Jola on 5/6/2010, 8:22 am

It sound like your soil mixture is great, but maybe not good enough for cabbage family. Cabbage family (Brassicas) need pH above 6 an some sulfur to taste good and grow well. That's why it is advisable to add lime in the places where one is going to grow Brassicas. The same with onion. If you are going to fertilize use fertilizer containing sulfur (microelements are listed on the fertilizers' bags/bottles). Do not over fertilize, follow instructions. Strawberries need pH around 6. Maybe you should test your soil (there are sets for testing soil available at the stores).
Do you water well? Watering is very important. What kind of water are you using? (my neighbor used salt treated water (water softener) and was surprised that her plants were not doing well...).
There are several websites with advises how to take care of vegetables, for example: http://www.growingyourownveg.com/growingyourowncabbages.php

If all that won't help, try growing warm season veggies (although your pepper died...). Try tomatoes - they are hard to kill. If they won't survive, there must be definitely something wrong with your soil mixture.
Good luck!
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Re: Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  Megan on 5/6/2010, 8:28 am

I guess I am confused. How does amending soil to adjust pH work with SFG square by square crop rotation? If I change the pH of a square, or a portion of a bed, then wouldn't be hard to rotate in different types of crops? My plants are all growing in the same stuff and no fertilizer except coffee grounds.... have I already messed up?
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Re:Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  Jola on 5/6/2010, 8:56 am

Megan, that answer was specifically for "ohill", who didn't use Mel's mix and grew, as I understand, only Brassicas (plus some strawberries).
If you used Mel's mix you should be fine.
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Re: Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  Megan on 5/6/2010, 9:08 am

Long story, but I am using "almost" Mel's mix. I am using vermiculite, peat moss, organic sterilized steer manure, and the original Virginia farmland red clay. Plus coffee grounds. Smile I don't seem to be having any drainage problems and so far, so good. Thanks for the clarification.
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Re: Need help with my raised beds soil!

Post  ohill on 5/6/2010, 12:17 pm

Good morning,

Thank you so much for your responses. I dig up everything and now I am trying to re-condition the soil so that it as close as Mel's as possible. I would like to grow according to SFG. Thank you for all your time!

Oanh

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Re: Need help with my raised beds soil!

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