Direct sowed plants not growing well

Skigirlf9(6)June 1, 2014

First time gardener. Since it's supposedly easy I chose to use SFG. Read Mel's book. This post is about the tiny growth of 3 of 4 of my plants I direct sowed April 24th. Arugula, spinach and beets appeared to have sprouted after 7-14 days but no movement since the initial poke through. Peas are the only thing that looked like a comparable size to a local nursery. I understand arugula should be ready to be harvested around 40 days and we are certainly nearing that and the leaves are smaller than a pencil eraser. The soil is my attempt at Mel's mix. Differences are that I could not get coarse vermiculite. Only medium and I got free compost from our town pile since stores near me did not sell any compost making it seem real unpromising for me to track down 5 different kinds so I gave up and went with the free. It ended up a bit woody as I believe a lot of what is composted appears to be shrubs and trees. I have my own pile started for more compost but it won't be ready for awhile. Our weather in zone 6 for the latter part of spring has been moderately cool and rainy/sun mixes until the past 7 days really warmed up say mid 70's most days. All in all weather seems like no issue and things have been kept consistently moist so I wonder if it's my soil? I will say I did try fish and seaweed fertilizer about 2 weeks ago as well. Tomato seedlings saw a slight boost but nothing else appeared to. Could I have started the seeds too late in spring? Any thoughts or different organic fertilizer or things to try are appreciated.

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Your city compost is not "done". It has too many woody chips and your garden needs time and nitrogen to break it down. Next time, get the compost free and let it break down at home for another 6 months or more before putting into the garden.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:19AM
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slowjane CA/ Sunset 21

I agree with slowrider - what my town facility calls compost is really "composted" clippings, not the "black gold" nutritional material mel talks about. good as a mulch but not much good for amending soil for sfg. i'm not a by-the-book sfg gardener so i would go get some dr. earth tomato vegetable/fertilizer and work it into the soil - or even make a tea for quicker effect following the directions on the back. it's a slow release organic fertilizer that has other goodies to help improve your soil and microbial activity. however if you want to stick to mel's method, you should go get a big bag of compost - any big box garden store will carry some kind of compost. see link below - i haven't used this kind but anything would be better than nothing.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Thank you both for taking he time to give me some feedback. It makes sense. Next year I will be using my own compost so things should be better. This year to try and salvage things, I think I will look into the Dr. Earth fertilizer to get some nutrients in. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 3:11PM
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planterjeff(7b Grant Park Atlanta)

Dr. Earth makes a great liquid fertilizer too. I had some stunted crops this year and it really helped kick them into gear. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:28PM
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