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Plants dying or not growing ? Help

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Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  activar on 6/13/2017, 1:32 pm

Hi everyone,  I was so excited about trying SFG and spent quite a bit of money buying everything, I Mixed as it said in the book I think? 
It was basically equal parts and i used 5 different bags of compost one of which was black cow compost, My GF says this is why my plants are not growing and some are dying it's the cow manure compost, i went the extra mile and put bottoms on my SFG boxes and made sure they were not treated wood, I thought perhaps it wasn't draining well enough so I drilled more holes and put the box up on bricks to get it off the ground a little,

I am so upset that I've missed something I bought really nice plants at a grow house did I mix in too much compost or too much peat moss? 
Is it the black cow compost?

My plants started growing then got a few inches high and never grew anymore my tomato plants look so skinny and i thought I did everything correctly, but i did something really wrong as my garden box from two years ago that my gf is using which was store bought miracle grow raised bed mix is doing great.

If anyone has any ideas how i can fix this please advise,
Thank you, steve
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Robbomb116 on 6/13/2017, 1:50 pm

Black Kow Is fine. Actually many people here prefer it. A common problem is that some of the different "composts" actually have a lot of peat moss in them, leading to a lot of newbies being really heavy on the peat moss.  The other issue,  is that a compressed peat moss bale will expand to almost twice it's volume when you uncompress it and fluff it.  This also causes many newbies to have way to much peat moss.  Those things being considered, problems with new beds always make me think too much peat moss off the top of my head, but there is a variety of other potential problems too.  

Some beds take a while to get going cause there isn't much of a "soil" microbe food web established yet. There are lots of beneficial microbes that live in soil and they need a little time to get established in a newly made bed. You can help this along by adding some things to the beds. Look for products that state the contain beneficial bacteria or microbes and an especially good one is mychorizal fungi.

And lastly, even if the compost used didn't contain large amounts of peat, with purchased compost there's always a chance it's just low quality.  Purchasing 5 types some to help with this, but doesn't always succeed.  Some newly made beds greatly benefit from the addition of some blood meal and possibly even bone meal. The blood meal will help bring up the nitrogen levels and is slow release so shouldn't burn plants.  Bone meal has a decent amount t of phosphorus as well as many micronutrients. 

These are just general problems, without knowing more it's hard to say.  But your question about whether or not it's the black kow brand name manure that's the problem, i can pretty safely say it's not as a lot of people here use that same brand.
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/13/2017, 4:47 pm

way to go
Wonderful explanation, Rob!

Hi Activar!  glad you\'re here
My first year boxes were often sub standard.  Back when I started SFG I didn't know anything about the soil web & microbes, etc., but they are pretty important.  Sometimes heat can also bring growth to a halt. 

Every year some things do better than other years and some things don't do a well as previous years.  It changes constantly.  I have to at a 'patience' pill at the beginning of every season.  Wink  Rob offered some good tips.  And some folks even use a  little fertilizer the first year to help things over the hump.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your garden and take notes if possible.  I write  a lot of my notes in my ANSFG book.
study  
CC
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  donnainzone5 on 6/13/2017, 6:01 pm

The previous responses were excellent!

Did you wet your MM thoroughly before planting?  This issue is another possible cause of "failure to thrive."
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/13/2017, 6:23 pm

Hey!  Glad you are here, Activar!  I think the black low has zero to do with it.  Are your plants green but just doing nothing?  Can you post pictures?  That is actually very helpful...

Anyhoo, my gut says "needs Nitrogen". My personal go to for this is organic blood meal, others like fish emulsion stuff....I like blood meal because it is low maintenance and slow release, apply once per season.  And it tends to scare away non-predators.  I put it directly on top and lightly mix in around the plants. 

If the color is normal green it might lead me away from my Nitrogen hypothesis.

What say others?

glad you\'re here
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Mixing blood and bone meal

Post  activar on 6/13/2017, 6:38 pm

I really appreciate being able to ask questions and get some help with my first SFG
Rob, how should I proceed using blood and bone meal?

Should I remove some of the mix in each square and then add a combination of bone and blood meal and how much do I need to add?

One thing I didn't mention in my first post was I used the course vermiculite but unknowingly the second bag I got at co-op was aggregate type but I already opened the bag so I more or less had to use what I had purchased, since both boxes seem to be not growing I suppose it's as you said too much peat moss, I didn't account for peat moss already being in the compost,

I also wonder how many other people gave up after experiencing the same thing?

I bought the best compost available from five different sources and I wonder why it doesn't warn you in the Mel's Book about when adding peat moss use a little less than a third since most compost will contain some peat moss and/or check the % of peat moss in the compost or something?  I thought this would so simple and now feel like I should've just used raised bed mix and saved myself allot of mixing and disappointment but I will try to hang on after I find out how to add the other meal,  I am not an easily discouraged person but my GF is using my old raised bed using 3-year-old miracle grow mix and she started from seed and growing plants like crazy, her sunflowers are almost three feet tall without any fertilizers,lol

Well, I do like the boxes but I wonder is a 12x12x6 large enough space for a tomato plant to really produce without constant adjusting the mix which is why I started this new way of gardening according to Mel's book no fertilizers, less watering? 

Thanks to everyone for your support, your advice is much appreciated,

Sincerely, Steve
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Robbomb116 on 6/13/2017, 7:35 pm

Just follow the directions on the blood and bone meal packages.  If you're problem really is too much peat moss, the only thing you can do is remove some of the mix and add compost. This unfortunately csnt really be done woth plants in the bed, so for now the blood and bone meal is the best temporary solution most likely. It's ok to have too little pear moss or vermiculite, but you need at least 1/3 compost as the other two ingredients don't have nutrients.  If ever in doubt, error on the side of too much compost,as there is no such thing.

I'm honestly pondering having my new beds be 50% compost,  25% vermiculite, and 25% peat moss in the future.
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Robbomb116 on 6/13/2017, 7:37 pm

I believe it's a very small amount of blood and bone meal needed on the directions.  Like tablespoons per plant.  So no mix should need to be removed.
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Kelejan on 6/13/2017, 7:56 pm

Activar, just treat everything as a learning experience.  With luck you may not make the same mistake next time but you can rest assured that there are so many possible mistakes, like a library of books or like Life, you will never run out.
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/13/2017, 10:18 pm

Kelejan wrote:Activar, just treat everything as a learning experience.  With luck you may not make the same mistake next time but you can rest assured that there are so many possible mistakes, like a library of books or like Life, you will never run out.
Words of Wisdom!

With that said, keep detailed notes!  Really

And as far as the blood/bone meal, you really cannot mess it up.  Sprinkle it on, rake it in. Yep.  And wait for rain.  Or go with fish emulsion stuff, like Neptune.  I have never used it.

I like things that would be here. I am not on a sea shore.  Blood and bone, yeah. 
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Kelejan on 6/13/2017, 11:52 pm

Just imagine using something like blood and bone meal instead of compost.  Treat it like a supplement, not a meal.  You can always add more if needed.
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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  sanderson on 6/14/2017, 4:22 am

Activar,  Welcome to the Forum from California!  glad you\'re here  Do not disparage, as you are not the first Newbie to start your SFG beds and have everything stop flourishing.  Ask me how I know. Embarassed Embarassed  Feb 2013 I stumbled across this Forum, bought the All New SFG book, and by March had 28 sq. ft. in boxes and a few pots.  I planted the seedlings and talked to them every day.  One day they quit growing.  The folks on this Forum explained what I had done wrong.  (I had used Kellogg's garden soil for the compost part.  I thought since it listed a bunch of good stuff it would work instead of 5 sources of compost.  It had a lot of small wood pieces in it which tie up the nitrogen for a while, to boot)  As an emergency, I used half strength Miracle Grow fertilizer once and started my first homemade compost cage.  Meanwhile, I started searching for bagged composts to get me through the first year.

You can try some Espoma Garden-tone, an organic fertilizer of chicken blood meal, bone meal and feather meal, plus a few other organics.  Use as directed, watering well.  I think it comes out to like one teaspoon per square.  It is slow release.  Seaweed extract as directed may help.  Mix per instructions (like 2 teaspoons per gallon) and add 1 cup per square away from the base of the plant.  We have a thread with photos of different bagged composts you can check out.  (That little search box in the upper left corner is great)  http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t21089-recommended-store-bought-compost?highlight=compost

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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  RoOsTeR on 6/14/2017, 2:32 pm

Are you sure the problem is 'nutrition' based?
Plants getting enough water?
Purchased plants properly hardened off?
Properly planted?
Have you had your mix tested (if you indeed feel that is the issue).
What are you going to add, and for what reason?

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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  sanderson on 6/14/2017, 3:15 pm

Rooster, good questions.

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Re: Plants dying or not growing ? Help

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/14/2017, 8:49 pm

sanderson wrote:Rooster, good questions.
Yes.  I have had plants fail because they got shocked by the full sun/wind/weather....
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