help

terina1181April 24, 2014

I'm a new gardener and after reading many books, decided to make raised/lasagna/kill mulch beds. I have 5 4x8 beds(a huge upgrade from a 4x4!!).In November I added about 4-6 in of a mix of horse manure and leaves. As soon as the snow melted I laid down a layer of cardboard. I talked to an organic gardener in Orem that suggested I get mushroom compost for the top layer of my bed, he recommended going to Cook's. I went to Cook's Greenhouse and was advised a mixture of nutrimulch and mushroom compost would be best. I laid down 4-6 in of the mixture and planted peas, carrots, lettuce, beets, bunching onions, swiss chard, chives, and radishes on March 1. Yes, I was overzealous. Yes, I was very excited for the growing season! Well, the weather turned pretty ugly but my lettuce started coming up, and the peas finally started coming up about 3.5 weeks later. I've been watering pretty much everyday. My mom was worried about the compost burning my plants, I told her it should be fine, I had gotten good advice. I transplanted my broccoli and kale 4/1. I noticed on Monday (4/22) that the top leaves of my peas are turning yellow. I called the USU ext and they said pull back on watering. I went to Cook's again and they said mushroom compost and nutrimulch need to be mixed with soil. Uhhh, WHAT? They said sorry someone had given me bad advice! So, I'm pretty much freaking out over here since I have plants that need to be transplanted soon. The lettuce, kale, and broccoli seem to be doing just fine. My last years strawberries are turning brown, but are flowering. I'm guessing I'm going to have to get top soil and just mix everything together. Can anyone give me some good advice please?!

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jonathanpassey(Utah z5)

I might try posting this in one of the other forums where people know more about lasagna method.

You'll notice that the utah forum is not the most frequented.

I grow in the native soil. I try to mix compost into my soil and plant into that. I also try to add organic material on top of the soil as a mulch to keep it moist in the summer.

I know that some people have been successful in straight compost (or close to). The thing that worries me most about your description above is the layer of cardboard. I think (guess) the cardboard will take several months to decompose to the point that roots will easily penetrate it. I would be more worried that your plants will never be able put roots down as deeply as they would like than I would be about your compost. Also, your irrigation/watering will not sink through the cardboard very well. but will pool on the cardboard or stay in the compost and the roots of your plants good get a bit swampy (why the ext. probably recommended backing off the water).

I realize that I am too late to offer useful advice but if it were me i would do (would have done?) one of two things:

Either plant your plants into the soil as you have created it but cut through the cardboard underneath them underneath the plants and in several other places (just cut tears or slices so the roots can easily get through and the water can drain) and see how they do. They'll probably be fine. And your soil will be awesome next year.

OR remove the cardboard and mix all of your amendments into the top 6-12 inches of the soil.

Anyhow. Sorry I don't check this forum very often. I Hope your garden is fun and fruitful anyway.

I live in PG and am a new gardener but have a big garden and the benefit of very experienced gardeners giving me pointers and advice.

JP

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 3:04PM
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