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SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

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SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  Sarabear on 3/17/2010, 6:14 pm

I liked my SFG last year and think I followed
the soil mixture properly (1/3 each peat, vermiculite and compost) but am
having some problems. I use drip tubes with
holes every 1’ (worked in regular soil) but because of the light soil, I only get a “wet zone” of about
4” in diameter, then water would run out of the bottom of the box leaving most of the square foot fairly dry. I leave to often to water by hand. (Northern Utah climate.)
Also, the second problem - because of how
light the soil is I had plants (corn especially) reaching 3’ and then tipping
over
and needing to be staked and tied up (tying up corn is not a good solution for this year
) I’m
wondering what I need to do to fix the soil.
I’d guess compost maybe but also wondering how much I can add so it’s
not to hot of a mixture. would sand be bad mixed in 1" per 10"? I am hoping to
finish this project this weekend so I can start planting. Thank you for your help in advance!! I appreciate
it!

Sarabear

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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  timwardell on 3/17/2010, 6:38 pm

Might it be possible to add a mini-sprayer to your drip pipe? That would disperse the water in a wider area, but still low to the ground so as not to cause mildew or fungus on your plants from wet leaves. I'm thinking something like:
http://www.dripworksusa.com/store/sprayland.php?left
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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  Sarabear on 3/17/2010, 6:47 pm

we tried that the year before last and had geysers- they wouldn't stay on. I think our pressure is just so high, even with a regulator, and I don't think my dh wants to add anything else to all his hard work Smile I guess I was hoping since it worked so well with regular soil, that I just needed to amend my current mix. I didn't think that corn should fall over that easily (not even a storm, they just kept falling over b/c the soil was so light I think). Do others have problems with plants falling over?

Sarabear

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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  boffer on 3/17/2010, 6:56 pm

HI,

Corn falls over in the ground too. They just don't have a deep enough root system for their height. It's not a problem in a big field. But even my 8x25 bed that I use for corn is affected. A couple days of rain, and then some wind, and over they go. You can build a 'railing' 2 1/2 to 3 feet high around the squares that have corn in them.

I'm with Tim, you'll have to find a way to disperse the water more slowly and evenly. Have you tried a soaker hose?
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Not convinced

Post  Sarabear on 4/2/2010, 12:01 pm

Well, I guess I'm still searching for a better solution or something I can add to the soil. The drip is incredibly slow, the water just goes straight down, and not out much. I grew up on a farm and my dad still plants corn to this day. In ANY traditional garden (or field for that matter) that I, or any of my extended families have planted, we've NEVER had corn fall over. Never until I was planting it in the "mels mix". Corn has a short, but strong root system. I think it's great for almost everything else, but I'm not convinced it is normal to have to "tie up" your corn!!! Any ideas are welcome Smile

Sarabear

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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  martha on 4/2/2010, 12:07 pm

is there a difference in the density of corn stalks in the fields vs your SFG? Does anyone think it might work to have tomato cages around the corn? (But how many are you growing? that could get expensive.)
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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  gridgardener on 4/2/2010, 12:41 pm

there are three simple solutions
1. increase the amount potash you fertilize your corn with.
2. use a mels corn cage as seen in mels article in OG 1996
3 mound soil up at base of you corn plants.

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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  Kabaju42 on 4/2/2010, 5:42 pm

You might look at your regulator and see if you can lower the pressure even more. Logan does have especially high water pressure, and there are even special city codes to deal with it because the city won't turn down the pressure for some reason. I remember when I was going to USU up there my landlord had problems because of the high water pressure. The pipes going to our apartments broke, partly due to the water pressure, and they spent quite a bit to lay new pipes because the break was on their side of the water meter. Shortly after that was done, the pipe broke on the city's side of the water meter and they had to fix those pipes too.

You can also add more compost. It shouldn't burn the plants as easily as a chemical fertilizer would.
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Re: SOIL help! too much drainage, plants falling over

Post  Sarabear on 4/3/2010, 10:28 am

Thanks for your suggestions! I appreciate it.

Sarabear

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