I have no idea what happened to rest of my post. I read it last night after I made it, and now most of it is missing. I can't understand why part of my post would have been deleted after it was up on the fourm for a while???
This is more or less what was in the original post.
pH = 8+
Nitrogen = trace
Phosphorous = medium high
Potassium = very low
These are samples that were taken from my pea and cucumber beds where the seeds are already up. This means that I am limited as to the type of amendments I can use. Normally, I would use garden sulfur to lower the pH to 6.0-6.5, but I don't know if it is fast acting enough. I could use muracid, but I have never put that on a garden before. I could use blood meal or manure to add nitrogen, but I have the same question about how quickly it would be available to the plants. The only thing I have ever used to add potassium is wood ash, but I don't have any of that (it was warm this winter).
I guess I could just use liquid miracle grow. I will test the tomato, pepper, and green bean beds today and see if they are as bad as the other beds. The cucumbers and peas are at the back, and since they always get planted first, it may be that they just missed out on the compost I have been putting in for a while.
I have never used fish emulsion, can you get it at a hardware store or is that something I would have to order?
I took the same approach by putting leaves and grass clippings on the garden every fall and working them in with a tiller. I figured that after a few years there would be plenty of nutrients. The exception is that I add bone meal every year after the plants flower. This was to give a boost to the roots as the fruit started to grow. It makes sense that the phosphorous is in better shape than the others because of the bone meal, but I thought that the compost would have provided more. I decided to test this year because the cucumbers did really badly last year and I didn't want to guess about how to fix the problem. It could have been weather related, but it's hard to tell.
I am going to go and test some other areas of the garden and see if they are as bad and the cucumber beds.
Although I add lots of organic materials to our raised beds every year, I also give each vegetable organic fertilizer. Organic material is great as a soil amendment, but doesn't offer much in the way of nutrients.
Which organic fertilizers do you tend to use. I have used blood meal and bone meal in the past, and also composted manure.
My tomato bed is in a bit better shape. The nitrogen measured as low/very low instead of trace, and the phosphorous and potassium are both medium. That is probably where most of my wood ashes end up. The pH is still high there at 8.
Do you have to do anything to lower the pH of your garden?
I would put down alfalfa/blood meal and kelp meal (or potash) then cover with compost. The meals will cover the immediate nitrogen and potassium needs and the compost will slowly break down to add more. I get most of my soil ammendments from here http://www.fedcoseeds.com/
tommyr2006 wrote:MY BAD! Yes, lime WILL raise it. My mistake, sorry! Yes, garden sulfur is what to use. I must have had a brain fart this morning!
That's what I was thinking, I put ~3lbs of sulfur on the garden today and will add another 3lb or so in a couple of weeks. I also added 2lb of blood meal and 2lb of a 2-4-6 mix to up the phosphorous. I watered the plants that are already up with fish emulsion to give them a boost. I will add some manure to the rest of the garden after I have watered in the nutrients I added today. I also ordered some potash because I couldn't find anything higher in potassium than the 2-4-6 and I don't want to add too much phosphorous. I will test again in a month and see how things are going. It got really cold again last night, so it remains to be seen what will happen to the peas and cucumbers that are already up.
Adding wood ash raises the pH just as lime does (gypsum does not, but it can otherwise adversely affect plants and soil despite the general myths).
Fresh human urine is a fast-acting source of nitrogen (and it's sterile). Mix 1 part urea (urine) to 10 parts water. Don't pour directly on the plants as it could burn them even diluted. I suggest using only urine from your own household, and exclude anyone taking prescription (or recreational!) drugs.
The Lowes and HD here don't seem to carry it, but it may just not be in stock yet. It is still pretty cold.
There are quite a few things in that post about miracle grow that rampant nonsense. I tend to avoid fertilizer like that, but I have added 6" to a foot of grass clippings and leaves to my garden for years and is has provided almost no nutrients. The suggestion that 1/2" of clippings per year is enough is just foolish. Even the Native Americans here found that they needed to add a fish head to each corn planting if they wanted to have any food for the winter. I generally wouldn't advocate something like miracle grow for use other than indoor plants and flower beds, but other soil additives are often very necessary and pure organic techniques aren't always effective if you can't plan far ahead. I do appreciate reading posts on such things, even though I don't always agree completely, so thank you for the link.
darius wrote:Adding wood ash raises the pH just as lime does (gypsum does not, but it can otherwise adversely affect plants and soil despite the general myths).
I imagine that adding a number of different nutrients (like nitrogen) tends to raise soil pH. Acid rain tends to counter this to some extent, but I generally need to lower my garden pH. I have never had to use lime.
darius wrote:Fresh human urine is a fast-acting source of nitrogen (and it's sterile). Mix 1 part urea (urine) to 10 parts water. Don't pour directly on the plants as it could burn them even diluted. I suggest using only urine from your own household, and exclude anyone taking prescription (or recreational!) drugs.
Unfortunately, this eliminates everyone here, since we are all on at least three prescriptions. Urine contains much more than urea and it is toxic to plants from some species, but not others. I'm not sure what the difference is.
I used a combination of fish emulsion and blood meal, so hopefully that will release some N quickly enough. I will test the soil again after a few weeks and see what had changed. It has got rather cold again, so nothing is growing very much now anyway.
TX_gardener wrote:Don't remember all the different ones, but when I googled fish emulsion I found that the NPK is not the same for all fish emulsion -- ie I found one 5-1-1, one that had high middle number, etc.
The stuff I used was 2-3-1, which was not as much nitrogen as I would have liked. The Alaska brand is 5-1-1 and that is more like what I need. I used blood meal as well, so hopefully that will give me enough N.