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Phosphorus deficiency?

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Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Fun4stuff on 4/9/2017, 11:16 pm

Last year I grew early and Roma tomatoes in a 4x8' raised bed composed of mel's mix.
 
 Most of my Roma tomatoes looked liked:https://i58.servimg.com/u/f58/19/66/82/98/img_0310.jpg
 
 I've been told this could be phosphorus deficiency.
 
 It was my first year growing anything in the bed.
 
 So I recently did a home soil test which did say I was deficient in phosphorus (as well as nitrogen). So what's the best way to amend the soil? Already added some compost and was going to add some more when I planted as well as some other fertilizer (10-10-10). What about bone meal, triple superphosphate, etc? I'm still pretty new to all this.

also, do I need to add any minerals to the mix?

Thanks!
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2017, 3:58 am

Hi Fun4stuff, I vote for Bone meal. You don't have to add nutrients to Mel's Mix unless the plants indicate it. Adding commercial fertilizers can be hard on the microorganisms that actually do the feeding of nutrients to the plants. Organic "natural" fertilizers slowly release the nutrients. Espoma feather meal, bone meal and blood meal are examples.

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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/10/2017, 9:21 am

Welcome to the forum, Fun4Stuff!
I vote for bone meal, too! (Or fish bone meal if you want to get fancy Smile )
Since your potassium wasn't low, adding 10-10-10 would be adding more of something you already have enough of along with things you do need. Too much of a nutrient can cause problems, too, especially if it's not an organic fertilizer. Great job actually doing a soil test! It's easy to make guesses... but better to get a soil test than to guess because it's difficult to undo mistakes. The same is true for the minerals as it is for NPK. MM should have enough - if you have symptoms of a deficiency, your local cooperative extension can do a test for the stuff other than NPK (alas, usually for a fee.)
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Fun4stuff on 4/10/2017, 10:42 am

Thank you! this is my second year doing squarefoot gardening. I was just looking for some confirmation. I will add some bone meal.
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Robbomb116 on 4/10/2017, 11:21 am

Probably not a concern as compost tends low lower the pH of soil, but when you had tested your soil what was the pH? Phosphorus is much less avaible to plants if the pH is 7 or higher, and the phosphorus forms in bone meal in particular won't be usable by your plants if the pH is too high.

Mel's mix tends to be acidic from what I know (largely due to the compost) so it probably isn't an issue.  Just thought I'd bring it up in case your soil is too alkaline.
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Fun4stuff on 4/10/2017, 11:26 am

My pH was 7 according to the color-metric test.

I happen to have a pH meter though that I use for making beer, that measures pH to the tenth decimal place. So I am going to try and use that tonight to get another reading.
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Fun4stuff on 4/11/2017, 9:18 am

So I tested my soil's pH with my pH meter. I thought the colorimetric test shade of green was 7, but my wife thought it was closer to 7.5. turns out she was right. I got 7.4. I will be adding more compost (already added some), but should I also aim to lower the pH 0.5 with something like espoma soil acidifier?
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Robbomb116 on 4/11/2017, 11:17 am

That is an option.  I don't have any experience with trying to lower a soul's pH, but from my reading some online the general consensus is that it's best to try to do it slowly with compost.  If you do want to change it fast, either a soil acidifer like you mentioned or sulfur would get the job done.  

Another suggestion which I think might be a good option for you, is to use an acid mulch for this year.  The prime example would be pine needles.  Pine needles are acidic and would lower the pH of your soil as water passes through them and as they start to decompose some on top of your soil.  And it's always nice to have a mulch to suppress weeds and reduce water use, so you could kill two birds with one stone possibly.

Again, not really an expert so we'll see what other suggestions everyone else has, or even they'd be worried about the pH making the phosphorus less avaiable.
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  camprn on 4/11/2017, 11:57 am

Fun4stuff wrote:Last year I grew early and Roma tomatoes in a 4x8' raised bed composed of mel's mix.
 
 Most of my Roma tomatoes looked liked:https://i58.servimg.com/u/f58/19/66/82/98/img_0310.jpg
 
 I've been told this could be phosphorus deficiency.
 
 It was my first year growing anything in the bed.
 
 So I recently did a home soil test which did say I was deficient in phosphorus (as well as nitrogen). So what's the best way to amend the soil? Already added some compost and was going to add some more when I planted as well as some other fertilizer (10-10-10). What about bone meal, triple superphosphate, etc? I'm still pretty new to all this.

also, do I need to add any minerals to the mix?

Thanks!
I recommend that you add quality compost, a wheel barrow full. If you toss in synthetic chemical fertilizers, most of those only last about 4-6 weeks.

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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  camprn on 4/11/2017, 11:59 am

Fun4stuff wrote:So I tested my soil's pH with my pH meter. I thought the colorimetric test shade of green was 7, but my wife thought it was closer to 7.5. turns out she was right. I got 7.4. I will be adding more compost (already added some), but should I also aim to lower the pH 0.5 with something like espoma soil acidifier?
I suggest making only one intervention at a time and then reassessing if you need to intervene any further.

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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Turan on 4/11/2017, 12:00 pm

That purpling is usually indicative of Phosphorous deficiency.  It is extremely common early in the season because the colder temperatures make the phosphorus unavailable. If the deficiency is not too severe the purpling rights itself as the weather warms. A pH of 6-7.5 is good, above or below that is trouble.  Bone meal is an excellent source.
I find I get purpling on tomato seedlings as they start to out grow their pots as well.

Here is a previous thread about this. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t19425-tomato-problem

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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2017, 4:53 pm

Fun4stuff wrote:So I tested my soil's pH with my pH meter. I thought the colorimetric test shade of green was 7, but my wife thought it was closer to 7.5. turns out she was right. I got 7.4. I will be adding more compost (already added some), but should I also aim to lower the pH 0.5 with something like espoma soil acidifier?
I had my MM tested last year (?) and both samples came back with +7 pH. I haven't done anything about it to date. I'll take a look at the Espoma acidifier.

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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Fun4stuff on 4/11/2017, 5:08 pm

Thanks all. Appreciate the advice.
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Re: Phosphorus deficiency?

Post  Robbomb116 on 4/11/2017, 5:58 pm

Looking at more sources,  other sources cite 7.5 or even 7.8 to be too alkaline for phosphorus to be available.   Gives a little more room for error than the source that said 7!
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