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not much luck

Post  johnio on 6/13/2011, 10:54 pm

I decided to start with a 2x3 box for my first SFG.

The problem is that nothing seems to want to grow. Things sprout but then they grow anemically and then wither and die (see picture). I've planted pepper plants, lettuce, chives, cilantro and peas and they all seem to suffer. At first I thought it was because of too much sun but I moved the box about a month ago to a spot with mid-day shade but things still don't want to grow.

I am pretty sure I got the right proportions of mix however I ended up only using two types of compost (mushroom and evergreen forest products).

Is it probable the lack of compost variety is causing this? Anything I can do without starting over?

(By the way I checked the PH and it seems be be around 6.5 according to the probe I used)


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Re: not much luck

Post  martha on 6/13/2011, 10:57 pm

Johnio, don't worry about the ph, but do get three more types of compost and mix them in carefully, gently and lovingly. Except for a few things like blueberries, once your Mel's Mix is adjusted, you don't have to worry about Ph.

Aside from that, I defer to others in your geographical area, because us New Englanders don't know nuthin' about heat like you do!
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Re: not much luck

Post  shannon1 on 6/14/2011, 3:13 am

herbicide contamination is a possibilty as well. I have not had tis trouble with store bought composts but some others have. It is important to use 5 different composts due to the fact one can get a bad batch. I know it is hard I could only find 3 and first and then worked in another when I found it later.

There can be other factors at work as well. I found even though it looked like my plants were getting enough water they were wilting. So I stuck my finger in up to the second knuckle and low and behold kinda dry Embarassed .

I am sure others might have some good ideas for you to try as well.

Have you read Mel's All New Square Foot Gardening book yet? I you will find a wealth of info there.
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Re: not much luck

Post  Kelejan on 6/14/2011, 3:31 am

johnio. I sure hope you can get your problem fixed.

Seems to me a lack of nutrients? I think you need more compost made with steer, chicken, rabbit manures, etc.

Keep us posted with your progress. We are rooting for you.
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Re: not much luck

Post  Furbalsmom on 6/14/2011, 1:59 pm

Johnio, have you considered that it may be too warm for lettuce and peas right now? Those are both cool weather plants. Of course that does not apply to your peppers. Just a thought about another possible cause.
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Re: not much luck

Post  AZDYJ2K on 6/14/2011, 2:46 pm

Getting your mix correct is the key. I would guess it's due to a lack of nutrients. I would enhance with some fertilizer. If you don't want to use fertilizer then I would suggest compost tea or even worm casting tea to give your garden a quick boost. This is only my 2nd year and I had similar issues in my first year and it seemed to be due to lack of nutrients in the MM. This year has been much better as I am using my own compost (chicken, cow, small animal droppings, veggie scraps and some browns). I have been applying periodic watering of compost tea using the homemade compost and it has made a huge difference.
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