compost killed plants?

soylobomAugust 1, 2010

i put just a bit of VC on some tomato plants, around the base of them, as well as some jalapeno plants. it seemed to burn them severely, or mess them up some other way. either way, they were in bad shape, tho all but one returned to heatlth eventually.

any ideas why this might have happened?

this bin has been sitting in my backyard for probably 3 years and none of the compost has ever been used. could it be too rich with Nitrogen or something like that?

i put a decent bit of citrus in it over the years as well, but certainly not more than say 10% of their food intake (other than cardboad). could this have affected it?

much appreciation for any help, because I want to finally use this stuff now, and although i plan on testing it out on some grass first, i would still love some input.

thanks

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alabamanicole(7b)

How deep a layer did you put around the plants?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 8:49AM
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soylobom

hardly any at all, but from what i've read i thought you could pretty much plant the plants in just worm castings and they would be ok -or something to that extent.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 3:44AM
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pjames(8/LA)

I would not have thought that castings would have any kind of adverse effect on plants even if in large proportions.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 8:54AM
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alabamanicole(7b)

The only thing I can think of is that you might have suffocated the roots. Unlike straw or other items we usually use a mulch, VC is very dense. But since you didn't use very much, that doesn't sound likely.

It might have been something else entirely and just happened at the same time?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:20AM
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antoniab(5 WofChicago,IL)

Would fungus gnats have eaten the rootlets?
(Just brainstorming here.)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 12:34PM
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soylobom

hmmm well i tested it out on a weed in my yard and it killed the weed.
i have no idea what could be wrong.
i don't know what fungus gnats are :S

has anyone ever let VC age as long as this (appx. 3 years)?
maybe i'll put a PH strip in it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:27AM
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antoniab(5 WofChicago,IL)

During the time it was stored in your backyard, was it exposed to some herbicide? Could it have gotten accidentally exposed by neighbors or something? I have heard that the microbes that are beneficial can die off after a while, maybe add a few worms to it and see if they survive, and see if you can revive it to cleanse the VC, and get it working again?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:23PM
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antoniab(5 WofChicago,IL)

Oh, and what material is the bin? I know that aluminum when it gets hot is toxic, and can make the material it is stored in toxic. Could the bin have infected your VC?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:26PM
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antoniab(5 WofChicago,IL)

Oh, and sorry for the triple post. I didn't mean to imply in my previous post that old VC, simply because it was inactive would have killed a plant. If it was inactive, it would have just been less beneficial, not toxic. I was just thinking that if it was active again, whatever was killing the plants in it might be taken care of by the wee beneficial beasties.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:32PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Wow, if it killed a weed, it is some toxic stuff.

Sounds like something is in there besides VC. Maybe cats have been using it for a cat box?

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 1:36AM
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soylobom

it's in a rubbermaid with a top firmly secured on it (only small holes drilled in top) and there are still tons of live worms, mites, spiders, etc. in it - so no herbicide or cats have been getting into it.
Is it possible that it could be too rich?
Or that putting lots of grapefruit rinds in it could've acidified it without hurting the worms?
I'm still perplexed and going to do another test on some more weeds. I tried doing one last week,but I think my dogs may have eaten the VC :/

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 12:58PM
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antoniab(5 WofChicago,IL)

Soylobom, you've got me. But I am fairly new to all this. Hopefully someone with more experience will know what is going on!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 1:30PM
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equinoxequinox

Patent it as an organic weed killer.

Don't let Monsanto steal your soul.

I have no explination for why compost is killing plants.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 11:33PM
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