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fertilizing question

Posted by tedevore 7b Al (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 23, 07 at 23:59

I just did a little soil test on a bed in my yard where the plants
are not doing as well as the rest of the garden--kind of stunted.
I haven't done the full-blown test where you send the dirt off to Auburn
to get the 3 page report-just a quick store-bought test for N-P-K & PH.
The nitogen and potassium are supposed to be depleted, while PH and phosporous are fine.

Any fertilizer suggestions you have would be welcome. I have never bought much fertilizer, just amending with compost has always seemed to work fine in the past. This bed happens to have some boxwood shrubs on the edge, and I wonder if they have been hogging nutrients. I also wonder if I can use a bag of 22-3-16 lawn fertilzer I have had in the garage for about 8 years, or if I should throw the ammonia smelling stuff away, as I am inclined to do.

Hope y'all have been enjoying the relatively cool nights and mornings.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: fertilizing question

You should know that there is no legitimate soil test for N. Even when you send a sample or two off to Auburn, they can't report the amount of N in the soil.

Is this area mulched? Perhaps the boxwood aren't hogging the elements as much as they are the water. (Just a thought).

I'm not much of a fan of using the high nitrogen turfgrass fertilizers for woody plants, as they tend to skew the soil environment. Essential microorganisms are sensitive to the soil chemistry. But, if you have the gut feeling that the plants in this vicinity are starved for NPK, then a very conservative application, just to see what happens, would be a good experiment.

RE: fertilizing question

What is your compost made from? I read somewhere that composted leaves are low in nitrogen and should be supplemented with grass clippings or manure. I make compost with leaves, grass clippings, vegetable peels, coffee grounds and crushed eggshells. When I add it I sprinkle a handful or two of lime and lawn fertilizer (13-13-13)over each flower bed. This seems to work fairly well. One year my sister fertilized my flowers liberally with the lawn fertilizer and we had lots of leaves and few flowers! Like Rhizo, I recommend being conservative with it.

RE: fertilizing question

My compost is made of the same stuff os yours, and every once in awhile i'll put
some of the droppings from my boy's pet guniea pig in the compost bin for good measure as it cooks. I may not have worked enough in last year.

The bed is mulched, and I will probably go over it real good this fall and mix some slow release fetilizer like Osmocote or something in, and see what happens.

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