need advice on garden/fertilizer

michelle11(z7 AL)June 9, 2006

Hi all. I need some help. This year I made a raised garden bed and filled it with compost from spreadrite organics. They told me that compost was all I needed, and recommended against adding any additional soil. So I believed them, and the result has been discouraging. Seeds that I plant do come up, but never seem to grow beyond the half-inch/first leaves stage (with the exception of beans/peas). Seedlings that I purchase and plant survive well, but don't grow more and are showing no signs of producing fruit. I have tried watering with an all-purpose plant food, and it seems to help a little with the plants that are beyond the first leaf stage, but still not the growth you would expect. My question is this: is there anything I can do this year to rescue my crops (or should I just plan to visit the farmers market more often to get my veggies)? And in the fall/winter, what do you think I should add to help the soil? Should I try to add lots of fertilizer only (and what type), or should I dig out half the compost and add in regular soil? I should add, the compost looks like it is all decomposed wood; it is nice and black and was still very warm when we got it, but since spreading it out in the garden it is not hot anymore.

Thanks for any help.


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Hi, Michelle11. Sad to hear about your problems. I have never put my confidence in non-dirt potting products. First, I would water every day. Does the spreadite dry quickly? If it does, you can mulch with hay, leaves or compost. Compost would be a good mulch and great for working into the soil. Next I would fertilize once a week with a Miracle-gro type product at 1/2 strength until they get about 3 inches tall. I would begin adding real soil to the middles of the rows now. As soon as you have plants about 3 inches tall, begin working the real soil into the Spreadrite and pull it around the plants. I think you can save everything if you start now.

If you have not planted in rows but have sown seeds (intensive gardening), I would start over again after amending the soil. You will have a late crop when everyone else has finished with their harvest. We should have approximately 120 growing days left.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 8:27AM
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michelle11(z7 AL)

Okay, I have added some soil around the plants I am hoping to save. In the fall I will amend the entire garden with soil. I am confused though: why do you recommend adding more compost when it seems that my problem is too much compost?
BTW, the guys at spreadrite said that the compost was probably overfeeding the plants and recommended no additional fertilizer. Does this sound right? It seems weird to me, especially since the plants seemded to do better right after I fertilized them with liquid fertilizer.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 4:44PM
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