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weeds and other questions

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weeds and other questions

Post  dstubbs on 7/17/2011, 8:37 am

Hi all,

This is my second year doing SFG on my rooftop. In general, I seem to be making better headway than last year. Apart from a few minor differences in crops, I've donepretty much the same as last year. The only real difference is that this year I added compost from my worm composter. While last year I had very, very few weeds, this year it's pretty bad. Some of the weeds look like zuchinni sprouts (understandable as I uncderstand those things spread like wildfire), but most of them look like litle tomato plants, which is ironic, as I've had trouble with growing tomatos.

Could these weeds be a result of seeds within my worm compost? The worm compost makes up a pretty small proportion of my overall Mel'sMix as it's just one of the compost types I used (it takes quite a long while for the worm composter to produce the compost and I just started last summer). Still,the worm compost is the only major diffeence I can see compared to last year (other than weather -- we had a wetter spring and early summer this year). Sorry I didn't think to get a photo before tossing the weeds.

Second question... some of you may be following my thread about a ground level SFG I put in at a local daycare. It's doing very little. Almost everything we planted seems to have died off. We started everything from seed indoors,and things were doing well until shortly after I transplanted them. It's the same Mel's Mix as I used at home except that that one included some coffee grounds rather than the worm compost. The two gardens are in the same neighbourhood -- just a few blocks apart, although the one at home does get a little more sun (we're right on the ocean and get a lot of fog). I'm so disappointed for the kids -- any ideas what might have gone wrong or what I might tweak?
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Re: weeds and other questions

Post  westie42 on 7/17/2011, 11:58 am

It is not how the book would ideally paint the picture but I almost enjoy seeing those toms and other former crops show up in mine at least I know I have made some contribution to my growing ecology. Could your other problem be due to higher salt saturation in the air nearer to the sea. When I lived in Florida that had a huge impact on metal deterioration for one and as I recall vegetation on the seafront was different than a short distance further inland. Just a thought for you to follow up on.

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Re: weeds and other questions

Post  Furbalsmom on 7/17/2011, 2:56 pm

@Dstubbs wrote:Second question... some of you may be following my thread about a ground level SFG I put in at a local daycare. It's doing very little. Almost everything we planted seems to have died off. We started everything from seed indoors,and things were doing well until shortly after I transplanted them. It's the same Mel's Mix as I used at home except that that one included some coffee grounds rather than the worm compost. The two gardens are in the same neighbourhood -- just a few blocks apart, although the one at home does get a little more sun (we're right on the ocean and get a lot of fog). I'm so disappointed for the kids -- any ideas what might have gone wrong or what I might tweak?

Is it possible the seedlings were not hardened off enough? If they are not acclimated to the outdoors, they can get sunburnt and otherwise fail to thrive. (ask me how I know) Coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen so should not have caused a problem as long as it was less than 10% to 15% of your total compost. I place used coffee grounds directly around my plants (just a little to top dress them) and in great gobs to my compost pile (still less than 10% to 15% of the total volumne of compost ingredients)
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Re: weeds and other questions

Post  shannon1 on 7/18/2011, 1:31 am

Coffee grounds are acid and may have thrown off the PH of your mix. Good for plams, azelias and other acid lovers but I would only put them in the compost pile and not sub coffee grounds for compost in the future. Trust the MM the way Mel says to make make it, that would be my advice.
You can have the MM tested and since it is for a school someone may even do it at no charge. Then you would know for sure if the PH is off.
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Re: weeds and other questions

Post  camprn on 7/18/2011, 11:57 am

@shannon1 wrote:Coffee grounds are acid and may have thrown off the PH of your mix.
In my experience if there is excessive peat in the mix this is probably the more likely culprit to a pH imbalance. Most of the acidity of coffee beans is removed during the brewing process. "Used grounds are essentialy neutral and composting them with other materials will buffer any minor residual acidity."

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/soil/2002015354019975.html

@shannon1 wrote:You can have the MM tested and since it is for a
school someone may even do it at no charge. Then you would know for
sure if the PH is off.
If it's clear there are problems, testing the growing medium is always a good idea. Very Happy

@Furbalsmom wrote: I place used coffee grounds directly around my
plants (just a little to top dress them) and in great gobs to my compost
pile (still less than 10% to 15% of the total volumne of compost
ingredients)
Me too What a Face.
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Re: weeds and other questions

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/18/2011, 11:43 pm

Camp, sorry I didn't read the link, and I don't want to hijack the thread....just a quick question.

If the pH goes towards neutral after breweing, that is good news. I still assume coffee grounds are a strong source of nitrogen and nothing changes in that regard after brewing, right? If that's the case, we could sort of apply used grounds directly into the SFG? (Just asking the question. I think grounds would still be better in the compost pile first.)
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