Need advice on soil test results

CobarchieJuly 1, 2011

Hello, this is my first post here.

I have a two Sweet 100 plants, two Jet Stars, a Celebrity, a Better Boy, a bell pepper plant and a cucumber plant in a strip of my backyard. I pulled the sod off of the ground, double dug big holes for each plant and mixed my soil with composted cow manure I got in bags from Lowes. Some of the plants are doing fine... a Jet Star and the Celebrity look awesome. The others look scragly and pale, yellow even, and the lower branches and leaves of the Sweet 100s are dying altogether.

Last year I just dug holes in the ground and put transplants in. My Sweet 100 plant almost took over the backyard and needed a cage built out of rebar to hold it up. The Better Boys didn't do squat. Everything split and rotted on the vine, and the plants barely got over 4 feet tall. It seems odd that this year the Sweet 100s would be struggling so much, so I got a soil test at the local extension office.

Here are the results, I'm hoping someone can provide more insight about my test besides the recommendation of adding 30 pounds of nitrogen per acre at 4 week intervals that came along with the results.

pH: 6.5

Phosophorus: 41 (noted as high)

Potassium: 293 (noted as high)

Calcium: 2407 (noted as sufficient)

Magnesium: 429 (noted as sufficient)

If it helps, they get plenty of sun and I water pretty good every three days or so (in the morning) with a soaker hose if we don't get rain.

Someone told me to spray the plants with a fungicide. I bought some today and will try that out.

Any advice will be appreciated

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could be from just over watering. what kind of soil is underneath? clay,sandy..

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 6:39PM
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I'd guess clay before I'd call it anything else.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 7:01PM
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you soil test looks ok. but how deep did you dig the holes? you might have just made a bowl for the potting mix and water to sit in. overwatering and the splitting fruit go hand in hand. dont water until they need water. use the finger check if its dry water. clay soil doesnt drain that good.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 7:21PM
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I dug each hole between 2 and 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide, and after I planted the plants, I put another 3 inches or so above the bare earth level of the space I cleared of sod.

I'm trying to find a good balance between waiting too long and watering too frequently, but there doesn't seem to be any definitive info on how much water and how often for tomatoes. I'm doing as you suggested; waiting until my longest finger stuck in the ground can't find any moisture before I water again...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 9:59PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Sounds like an awful lot of nitrogen to me. Ask who ever did the soil test what you should do.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:09PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

How do your plants look? Any pics?

fwiw - I water my tomatoes and squash plants twice/day during the summer heat but I have sandy soil. Growing tomatoes like water.

Consider adding as many leaves to your soil as you can get. Start as mulch now - they will attract worms and work their way into the soil.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:06PM
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