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Beginner Vegetables: brown curling leaves on everything

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brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 9, 2013
8:14 AM

Post #9514383

This is my first year with a vegetable garden. I live in Clearwater Florida & since we have sand (not soil) I bought miracle gro vegetable soil. I planted squash, peppers, beans, asparagus, tomatoes, herbs, & some flowers. They grew well for a couple months but now they seem to be dying. I have no idea why. I water daily cuz its hot & started using miracle gro liquafeed weekly. The leaves are yellow, brown, curling & everything is droopy. I really want to do well. What am I messing up?

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Seedfork
Enterprise, AL
(Zone 8b)

May 9, 2013
11:55 AM

Post #9514605

So sorry about your plants, they really need help. Have you checked the roots to see what they look like?
behillman
Plantersville, TX
(Zone 9a)

May 9, 2013
3:54 PM

Post #9514921

Has it rained lately. Sometimes they need the rainwater inorder to grow. Something about nitrogen coming down in the air, into your plants.
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 10, 2013
9:24 AM

Post #9515670

I tried to dig beside the plants to find the roots but never found many. Could something be eating them? It just looked like a flat end at the bottom of the stalk part that was under ground. & it rained for a couple days last week but not since. We don't get a lot of rain :(
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 10, 2013
10:20 AM

Post #9515720

Now that u mention it, I've found several strange worms. One is a white worm with a strange black Pincher thing on the front end & also a black worm that looks like a dark earthworm but has the brightest blue stripe on its belly (i find them everywhere but of course when i went to take a pic i couldnt find a single 1)and also some plain earthworms. Could any of these be attacking my roots?

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Seedfork
Enterprise, AL
(Zone 8b)

May 10, 2013
10:35 AM

Post #9515737

Yes the grub worms for sure could be eating your roots. It is possible the earth worms are, but that is very unlikely. I would love to see a picture of the worm with the blue stripe.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 10, 2013
12:29 PM

Post #9515853

You could be over watering (this can cause yellowing and droopiness) and/or over fertilizing (this could burn the edges of your leaves).

Hold back on the water for a day or so, and see what happens...use the tip of your finger to determine if your soil is moist 1" below. If so, you're over watering. Set a new schedule.

Dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 strength, and see what happens...feed WEAKLY, weekly...

Linda ^^_^^
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 10, 2013
4:50 PM

Post #9516091

Thank you all for your help. I.ll try the watering suggestions & get a pic of the blue striped worm. It was very strange. Thanks again!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 10, 2013
5:05 PM

Post #9516120

>> use the tip of your finger to determine if your soil is moist 1" below.

I agree with that. First, narrow it down to "too much" or "too little".

Is your soil "like sand" or "heavy clay" or "pretty good"?

If it is pure sand, no amount of rain will provide the plants with water a day after the rain stops. It all
drained out overnight.

If you have heavy clay or soggy silt or anything else with no open air channels, air can't circulate through the soil.. If the roots don't get oxygen, they drown and die - that might be what you're seeing.

Just likie the amiunt of water being added by rain, you have to determine how much water is being retained in the soil between waterings: "too much or too little".

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 10, 2013
5:34 PM

Post #9516151

Duhh! You said "sand not soil".

OK, probably all but a sip of water drains out of the sand within a few hours of the end of the rain. Now that the plants are bigger, they drink up that sip in a few hours or days. Then they start dieing of thirst.

If the rain also washes all the n utirentys away, they MAY also be hungry for fertilizer, be it is MUCH better to under-fertilze tha overfertilize. Go easy. Don't fertilize much if at all un til the plants are helathy enough that "low nitrogen: is one of the top two problems. Water first.

Limited short term solution: water a little bit every day or two. Or more often! Do you have to pay for your water, or is it a lmited resource there?

The best long term solution is the same as the medium-term and smart short-term solutionm: : compost, compost, compost, MORE compost and organic matter.

The Composting forum will urge and explain making your own, b ut that will take more time than you have this season. Can you buy a cubic yard? Or many bags?

You can top-dress the compost between ploants until your current crops are harvested (or die off). But it helps more, faster, if you can scrath it into the surface soil, or till it down into the soil (maybe between the rows for now).

Many brands of commercial "compost" are cheap and crummy, so I usually buy bags of "manure" or "composted manure".

Don't add so-called "compost" or alleged "soil conditioners" that are mostly wood shavings or sawdust. Its just that sawdust is the cheapest thing you can put in a bag, and many companies lie like rugs to sell you things that hurt your soil (excuse me, sand). Sawdust HURTS your soil b y depriving roots of n itrogen as bacteria digest the sawdust and hog ALL the nitrogen to do it. If you have swadust, c ompost it in a pile before rototilling it INTO the sand.

Coarse wood chips are great as top-dress mulch. Not as good as big bark chips, but still great. I suppose, with wood, youi would also have to worry about attarcting termites.

Coarse mulch keeps soil cooler and moister by blocking sun and preventing evaporation. Rake wood chips OFF after harvest and before you till in good soil conditioners like manure, gin waste, compost, coffee gorunds, lawn clippings or kitchen scraps.

My soil-amending obsession is pine bark. Or fir bark. Or balsam bark. Or any confer or evergreen bark. Mulch, shreds, fines, chips or nuggets.

Buy bags of (clean, dry) fine mulch or "nuggets" and turn the fines and small parts under the soil. Any size from dust up to 1/2", but smaller than 1/4" is good, and fibers and powder are best for holding water.

It holds some water right away, and breaks down into compost over a few years and holds even more water then. It breaks down much slower than wood of the same size, and has a little N of its own, so the nitrogen defieicet is very slight. You can screen it through 1/4" hardware cloth or even 1/2" hardware cloth. The finer it is IN the soil, the more water it will hold.

Use the bigger bark chunks on top of the soil: laid down flat as mulc h, rain flows around it, in to the clay, and then does not evaportate out.

Peat moss is expensive, breaks down really fast, and is non-renewable. But it does hold a lot of water - more than bark. Sort of like verimculite. But it is helpful if you can afgord to add a few inches every year.

If you have access to free sawdust or paper or wood shavings, and time to pre-compost them, you can make cubic yards of your own compost for free. THAT's the way to turn sand into soil!

In-between crops, you can turn several inches (2-6") of com post into the first 12-18" of sand. Do that every year for a few years, and you'll have soil! But it KEEPS being digested, so you will have to KEEP adding compost - say 2-4" per year. After tghe first few years, you can top-dress the c ompost and let rain and worms turn it under for you.

I hear that warm, open FL soil helps things break down really fast so you might be able to barely half-compost thigns, then turn them into the soil half-composted or even fresh. Fork them in and spade them in, or roto-till. Let them decompose IN the soil.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 10, 2013
7:45 PM

Post #9516305

Root Knot Nematodes are also a possibility especially given the sandy soil. It's strange bc everything is browning...
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 11, 2013
7:01 AM

Post #9516692

Thank u so much for ur answers. I do pay for water but have been watering daily bcuz by the next day the sand is dry. When I planted, I used miracle gro. Veggie soil so its sand & that all mixed 2gether. I really don't know if air gets down there. I know the roots seem to be missing or wimpy in everything except strangely my jalapeno peppers (which are doing awesome) & my Basil & spearmint. Everything else is begging 2 die. As far as nematodes I've read about them but have no idea how to know if they r partly to blame. I find all sorts of strange insects & worms but as I know nothing (literally) about gardening I have no idea what they are & if they help or hurt. Woe is me.
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 11, 2013
7:04 AM

Post #9516695

O & I will go get the composted manure & mulch chips. Again, Thank u so much 4 ur help.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 13, 2013
7:12 PM

Post #9519575

Good luck! And please let everyone know how it goes. That's how we all learn what is good advice and what is bad.

Otherwise we only know what works in our own backyard.
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 13, 2013
7:39 PM

Post #9519613

I posted a new thread about this but figured i'd add it here for all my friends who know what has been going on. After incorporating the peat moss into my soil, covering the ground with mulch and keeping a more consistent watering schedule, I went out last nite around 1 a.m. to find about 30 slugs making a buffet out of my garden. I put coffee grounds and eggshells around the plants then put rock (ice cream) salt around the outside border of my garden. I don't know if the salt thing was wise but... could the slugs cause all the damage i've seen to my plants? Or is this a secondary problem? any suggestions would really help.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 14, 2013
11:15 AM

Post #9520324

I'd say secondary, since there doesn't seem to be evidence of your leaves being chewed up in the pictures you posted.

I'm staying with over-watering/fertilizing...

Check out a YouTube video by ldsprepper. He's doing semi-hydroponic gardening in raised beds filled with sand and SAWDUST, and feeding weekly with the Mittleider Magic Plant Food (bought online).

Awesome vegetation growing in his yard!

I'm gonna try this method with the next two raised beds I build. For me, it certainly would be cheaper than having to add all sorts of amendments every season!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 14, 2013
5:53 PM

Post #9520797

I would avoid sowing salt anywhere near any plants. Certainly slug bait is less harmfull to plants and soil life than salt. The iron phosphate slug bait is very safe.

brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 14, 2013
7:32 PM

Post #9520919

OK. I'll check out the video & remove the salt. As soon as i put it down, I knew it was unwise. Those slugs got the best of me. I'll try the iron phosphate. Thanks again guys!!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 14, 2013
7:36 PM

Post #9520925

I know what you mean about slugs! We had two very bad years for slugs, and I lost tray ofater tray of seedlings.

P.S. There is another kind of slug bait, with metaldehyde, that is extremeely effective. But it is a chemical slugicide, and bad for cats or dogs. With the rion phosphate bait , I see fewer slugs after a while.

With the "metaldhyde" kind, the next day I see slimy btrials with on e dead slug at the end of each trail.

The sam e company sells two kinds of "Sluggo": the label says either iron phosphate or metaldehyde.
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2013
8:18 PM

Post #9520965

If most or all the leaves are looking like that, then I would suspect salt, lack of water (especially when it is hot) or fertilizer burn.
Each can be complex, not a simple answer.
The grubs you are finding, and the small root masses will make the plant look like they lack for water, even though you are watering often. The roots are missing, so the plants cannot pick up the water. Killing the pests will be the first priority. All the things you can do to help the roots, like mulching, will help a lot.
Many commercial fertilizers act like salt, and some tap water, especially near the ocean, or from certain aquifers can be salty. Actual sodium chloride from the way the tides move in and out; the ocean can contaminate the drinking water. It happens here, but very rarely.

Is your water salty at all? High in minerals? Hard water?

The salt is a big problem.
Hard water minerals are the minerals plants need to grow, so hard water is OK. Salty water is not.

Sandy soil with some potting soil added will drain really fast, and wash out fertilizers. So I would water often, and add fertilizers. A slow release fertilizer added to the surface will release a little fertilizer each time you water.

Mulch with any sort of organic matter. When you cover the soil you are keeping it moist, and cooler. You are minimizing weed growth. You are adding nutrients to the soil directly as the mulch decomposes, and indirectly by adding humus (also as the mulch decomposes). Humus holds on to fertilizers in a way that plants can get them, and they do not wash away through the sand when you water. This takes time to build up. As the soil gets better, beneficial microorganisms will thrive and help you. For example, root knot nematodes are mentioned above. When other soil microorganisms are thriving there seems to be less problems with nematodes.

Every time you clear some of the vegetable garden, add as much organic matter as you can to the soil. Mix it in if you need to plant right away, or allow it to lie there and decompose slowly if you have the room to let part of the garden rest. Over the years the sandy soil will get worked up into being very high in fine organic matter, and will be much better for gardening.

What I would do now:
a) Get rid of the grubs. Probably a pesticide. Perhaps a bait that the grubs would eat instead of the plants.
b) Mulch.
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 15, 2013
8:05 AM

Post #9521374

So is organic matter (say, manure?) The same as fertilizer? Do I need both if I'm using the miracle gro liquafeed? I also put the peat moss in & mulched so does that matter when it comes to adding the fertilizers & manure? My water is city water. It tastes like metal. I just found out I can look up my local city website & they should have readings from the last water tests so I'll check that out & let u know what it shows. Now for GOOD news, I'm attaching pics of my first ever veggies which are growing well. Yaaa!!

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RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2013
7:01 PM

Post #9522108

Great to have your first-ever crops reach the edible stage! They look better than I thought.

This is good information:

>> My water is city water. It tastes like metal.

Bad news! Diana,. do you know if that means hard, salty or pH? I would be quick to believe "salty" in Florida.

>> I also put the peat moss in & mulched

Good news! The mulch you added is reducing evaporation, and the humus is holding more water, so you can rely more on rain and less on city water. But they still need water. Maybe check wuth your finger and don't water until it's dry a few inches down.

>> So is organic matter (say, manure?) The same as fertilizer? Do I need both if I'm using the miracle gro liquafeed?

Good question. Organic matter and "fertilizer" overlap becuase both provide the minerals that plants need.

Chemical fertilzer (granular or soluble) provides a LOT of soluble minerals FAST. So be restrained with it and aim to use "less rather than more". Leaves will give you plenty of warning when you under-fertilize, by gradually turning yellow. OVER-fertilizing is more like posioning the plants or burning the roots. Sadly, these nutrients are also salts, so they con tribute rto salinitgy if that is already a problem.

Chemical fertilizers feed the plants directly with major mineral nutirents N, P and K.

(Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium. Potassium is called "K" becuase "P" was already take by Phosphorus, and the Latin name was something like "kalium".)

However, chemical fertilizers don't provide ANY organic matter. Plants need the minerals N, P, K, Iron, Sulfer, Calcium, Magnesium and a few others. But the soil life that roots co-exist with and co-evolved with need food too!

Organic matter is anything that provides 'carbon compounds', or calories, to the soil life like worms, root fungi, insects and bacteria. Helathy soil is loaded with millions of kinds of microbes, mostly beneficial to roots. But they all need to eat.

Organic matter (manure, compost, hay, grass clippings, coffee grounds, kitchen scrpas, shredded paper, pine needles ...) provides those calories to the soil microbes and worms.

The OM helps hold water and binds soil together. As microbes break it down, they do release a little fertilizer (N, P and K), but it takes a LOT of compost to provide a LITTLE N, P and K.

You get mostly INDIRECT "fertilizer benefits" from OM by the fact that it hodls water (and dissolved minerals) until roots have time to take it up. As microbes break it down, they release "humic acids" that help extract minerals from insoluble forms l;ike grains of rock.

But the main benefit of OM is the soil "herd" that it nourishes. This micro-herd includes many kind of symbiotic root fungi (mycorrhiza) that hugely impriove the eficiency and health of root hairs. They nbot only help out by serivng as micro-extensions of root hairs, they actually pentrate into root hairs and pump water and minerals form the soil into the roots, and receive back compounds and enrgy from the roots.

The cooperation between roots and fungi is impressive. It even protects roots from harmfull soil bacteria (plant pathogens) and provides communication from plant to plant! I think it's a matter of taste or opinion whether you call that coevolution or divine design (I say "both"), but the observable fact is that if you feed the soil, the fungi will feed the plants, and the plants will feed you.

>> I also put the peat moss in & mulched so does that matter when it comes to adding the fertilizers & manure?

Peat moss and mulch help a lot with water, and therefor they hold the soluble fertilzer a little longer than sand would, which means you can use less fertilizer. As the peat breaks down fairly slowly, it will provide organic matter to the soil, so the micro herd can increase (if it doesn't wash away as fast as it decomposes!)

But until your soil is really rich and highly organic, you will porbably need to keep adding some fertilizer (soluble, granular or slow release).

It will also help if you cvan find more sources of OM besides peat and mulch. Manure and compost will break down faster than peat, and provide OM faster.

I meant to ask: did you scratch the peat moss into the soil between plants, or just layer it on top? One thing to avoid is using too much peat moss as top-dressing mulch. If there is too much opeat moss on the surface, it might catch all the water and HOLD IT ALL UP, away from the roots in the soil. That would be bad, unless the water trickles slowly out of the peat layer down into the sand slowly, ewhich would be great.

I'm just so used to clay that I'm not sure how top-dressed peat moss works with sand. I'm used to9 very coarse mulch like bark chunks or wood chips. Water runs right through them, hits the clay, and then the trouble starts. When I use peat (hardly ever) I have to scratch it down into the clay and mix it well.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2013
7:03 PM

Post #9522113

Diana_K,

I agreed 100% with everything you said:

>> a) Get rid of the grubs.

If there are no roots, it doesn't matter how good the soil is!

>> If most or all the leaves are looking like that, then I would suspect salt, lack of water (especially when it is hot) or fertilizer burn.
>> Each can be complex, not a simple answer.

>> A slow release fertilizer added to the surface will release a little fertilizer each time you water.

>> Mulch with any sort of organic matter.

>> Every time you clear some of the vegetable garden, add as much organic matter as you can to the soil. Mix it in if you need to plant right away, or allow it to lie there and decompose slowly if you have the room to let part of the garden rest.


brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 15, 2013
8:56 PM

Post #9522219

I did scratch the peat moss in! Finally I did something helpful! I put the mulch over the soil (after I added the peat moss) & just left that on top. I am going to add some manure & a little fertilizer. When I put my finger in to about 2 inches the soil is not wet but not bone dry either. As much as i'd love to rely more on rain, we truly get practically none. This year has been very dry. I'm not finding many grubs or worms anymore just strange insects & SLUGS! UGH! but as things are growing better I think all ur suggestions have helped immensely. I read about buying compost or compost tea & was wondering if that would be better than regular manure or no? & I'm only going to use the liquafeed every 2 weeks or so. I think this plan will work best. Yes?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 16, 2013
9:09 AM

Post #9522684

Sluggo Plus for the slugs. Not the regular Sluggo, but Sluggo PLUS...
Seedfork
Enterprise, AL
(Zone 8b)

May 16, 2013
11:15 AM

Post #9522800

Gymgirl
I don't think that is right. Sluggo for snails and slugs, Sluggo plus if you have other pests.

What are the active ingredients in Sluggo Plus?

Sluggo Plus is a combination of two active ingredients:
Iron phosphate is the active ingredient that kills slugs & snails. Iron phosphate causes slugs and snails to stop feeding immediately and to crawl away to die. Iron phosphate only targets slugs & snails.

Spinosad, which is derived from a naturally-occurring, soil-dwelling bacteria, is effective at killing earwigs, cutworms, sowbugs and pillbugs. It is a selective insecticide that controls certain pests. Spinosad does not control slugs & snails.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 16, 2013
3:19 PM

Post #9523068

My approach is to use the Iron Phosphate Sluggo if I'm not having terrible slug problems. But I switch off and use a little of the "metaldehyde" Sluggo in really bad years or if I just put out a few trays of tiny seedlings and I know they are at risk.

I haven't tried the Sluggo Plus yet.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 16, 2013
3:38 PM

Post #9523090

>> I did scratch the peat moss in! Finally I did something helpful!
>> I put the mulch over the soil (after I added the peat moss) & just left that on top.
>> I am going to add some manure & a little fertilizer.
>> When I put my finger in to about 2 inches the soil is not wet but not bone dry either.
>> I'm only going to use the liquafeed every 2 weeks or so.

Everything there sounds perfect to me. What do you other guys think?

>> I read about buying compost or compost tea & was wondering if that would be better than regular manure or no?

Maybe finished, decomposed compost is slighter better than fresh manure in one way: it is already broken down and will help your plants FASTER than big clumps of manure. And you should not put raw, fresh manure where it can touch plant stems. It gets hot, and plant stems just don't like it.

But aged manure is probably richer than any "compost" that you buy. Sometimes bagged "compost" is more than half sawdust and wood shreds. And manure has more N, P and K than most compost.

BTW, if you really have fresh manure and leafy crops, many people prefer to compost the manure for a few months before spreading it.

Can manure really spread pathogens that humans need to worry about? I'm not sure, but it does sound yucky to wonder if you've washed all the cow poop off your lettuce.

At least, if you do add manure that is less than well-aged, add it UNDER the mulch. Rake mulch aside, lay down srumbled or screened manure, maybe scratch it in if you can do that without killing roots, then rake the mulch back on top.

Would some of you disagree with using ANY fresh manure at all near crops? I know it's "better" to compost it first, but it sounds like this sand can use a lot of help, and manure may be more available than bagged store-bought compost.

Tilling manure under the soil in the Fall is great, because that gives ALL the nutrients to your soil life and none leaches out of the compost heap.

If you can afford to buy loots of the compost easily, maybe spread that around the plants for now and make as big a pile of manure as you can. Add leaves and paper and compostable "browns". The bigger the pile is, the faster it turns to compost. And it will almost certainly be better compost than you can b uy at any price. Then, a few months later, spread the aged/decomposed compost on plants, or till jt into your sand after the crops are out.

(Adding "browns" to a compost heap multiplies the amount of organic matter you get back. And it keeps the high-nitrogen poop from smelling. And probably helps the pile from being so dense that it doesn't "breath" enough. Compost-making microbes are like humans and plant roots: they need air to work right. That's why a pile should either have some "fluffy" things in it, or be turned occasionally to keep it open.

P.S. You could have both manure and compost AND compost tea all at once.
"Deep watering with compost tea made IN the garden"

If you have really big cans or buckets to spare, drill lots of 1/2" or bigger in the bottom few inches and bury them deeper than the holes. Locate several of these between the rows of your plants.

Or get some 4" PVC pipe or 6" PVC pipe and cut 2 1/2 foot lengths. Drill big holes in the bottom 12-16", then bury it 4-6" deeper than the highest holes.

Fill with a mix of manure and browns, with texture open enough to stay aerobic. "Aerobic" is important.

The mix will start to deocmpose and attract worms. They will eat theikr fill and circulate in and out of the can or pipe, carrying manure that has been turned into worm castgin gs into your sandy soil.

Do some of your watering THROUGH the cans or pipes. Thios will leach aerated compsot tea out of the manure and into the soil near root depth. If yolu hbave a drip irrigation setup, that would be great: drip righ throuigh the canned compost heap.

But that's kind of fancy and complicated. It's more like a work-around since you don't have a big compost heap or pile of aged manure from last year.

P.S. If you have enough room, pile the manure in one spot this year, and garden in the other spot. Next year, put the garden where the manure was, and start a new manure p;ile where last year's garden was. Valuable "juices" leach out of any compost heap if it getgs too moist, and your sand will benefit greatly from the "drippings" and the worms they attract.

brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 16, 2013
5:53 PM

Post #9523214

Those were totally awesome suggestions rickcorey. I put store bought manure down (not a lot of cows in Clearwater, FL :( ) but just put it on top, not scratched in. Now onto my dilemma... I got manure, mulch, peat moss & the watering under control but found NOTHING that said fertilizer! Lots of "plant foods" but no fertilizer! Where would I find this in a city? I tried Walmart, home depot, kmart, & a feed store. No luck. Any suggestions?'

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 17, 2013
11:43 AM

Post #9523976

[quote="Seedfork"]Gymgirl
I don't think that is right. Sluggo for snails and slugs, Sluggo plus if you have other pests.

What are the active ingredients in Sluggo Plus?

Sluggo Plus is a combination of two active ingredients:
Iron phosphate is the active ingredient that kills slugs & snails. Iron phosphate causes slugs and snails to stop feeding immediately and to crawl away to die. Iron phosphate only targets slugs & snails.

Spinosad, which is derived from a naturally-occurring, soil-dwelling bacteria, is effective at killing earwigs, cutworms, sowbugs and pillbugs. It is a selective insecticide that controls certain pests. Spinosad does not control slugs & snails.
[/quote]

SLUGGO PLUS
Active Ingredient:
Iron Phosphate . . .0.97%
Spinosad (a mixture of spinosyn A
and spinosyn D) . . .0.07%
Other Ingredients: . . .98.96%
Total: . . .100.00%

Since Sluggo Plus is contains both Iron phosphate (which does kill slugs and snails), and Spinosad (which kills the other pests), I'd say it can be used for insects and slugs and snails, just like the label says.

I have a tremendous pill bug population that just loves to munch on new seedlings (which is why I started sowing EVERYTHING inside -- to have sizable transplants that stand a chance against the pill bugs). I also had slug issues, but not so much, anymore.

This stuff is remarkably effective against these pests, and, a LITTLE really does go a very long way. I haven't ever sprinkled more than 2-3 tablespoons in a 4x8' bed, and "poof!" no more pill bugs the next day...

I just cover my bases against both...

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 17, 2013
6:42 PM

Post #9524336

>> store bought manure

I would guess thast was pre-composted or at least aged.

>> NOTHING that said fertilizer! Lots of "plant foods" but no fertilizer!

First, if they are looking dark grren or even green, the need for more fertilizer can't be TOO great. When plants start looking pale green, yerllowish green, or yellow leaves (som e call it "lime green" at first) ... then you know you won't be OVER fertilizing if you add a little.

You can probably tell I have a compost fetish! B ut thta is a long-term i nvestment, and city folk do look at you funny when you rhapsodize about your pile of rotting vegeation. I just know I would be a happy peasnat if I had the biggest garbage pile in the valley.

But "plant food" is probably just another name for fertilizer. Beware "lawn fertilizer" where they are eager to sell you weed killers and insecticides in the smae bag!! Avoid that.

The fastest and second-most expensive will be soluble chemical stuff like Miracle-Grow or Peter's. Typically a blue powder or small crystals, you dissolv e a tablespoon or so in a gallon and spread it with a watering can. Probably water it in a little next, but don't flush it right through the sand. Get the peat moss wet with it, and give the plant roots time to suck it up before it washes away. These will have N-P-K numbers like 23-18-12 or 32-20-15. The firstg numbe ris nitrogen , and plantgs need more of that than of most things.

The cheapest, if you look around and avoid fancy, pretty bags, will be 20 to 50-pound bags of granules. In a city, maybe quart-size or gallon-size bags only slightly cheaper than 50 pounds would be in a fed store or farm coop. It's a riiiiip-off!

These will have numbers like 10-10-10 or 15-8-6. They are only half as storng as 23-18-12, but probably cost 1/10th as much per pound. I would expect Home Depot or Lowes to have 20 pound bags..Wal-Mart, maybe 5-10 pound bags.

The most-expensive per pound of nitorgen, will be organic fertilizers. "Dr. Earth". "Kelp emulsion" "Fish meal" Bone meal". They will add valuable organic matter, but their NPK numbers will be around 1-1-1 or even less. It is nice that the minerals in organic fertilizers come from non-industrial sources, b ut your sand means that a lot of min erals will be flushed away before the roots can garb them. For these dilute, organ ic sources to provide enoguh minerals, you might have to make your soil from a 3-4" layert of these, mixed with 12-16" of snad. If you can afford that, it is one4 way to get lots of organic matter into the soil.

If I were you, I would add organic matter with bagged manure, which is much cheaper than designer alfalfa pellets.

Add the mineral nutrients with bagged granules or a big jar of soluble Miracle-Gro.

I'm cheap.

If you'll never be able to have your own compost heap, the fancy bagged organic fertilizers. become more attrac tive. But keep; an eye on the NPK numberds. Some (is it bone meal?) only provide on e kin d of nutrinet (maybe 0-6-0). Blood meal is very high in N, I think. If you doin't add a balanced chemical fertilizer, you'll have to balance and combine the the various organic things so your plants get enough of everything.

Umm, the most importqant thing, I should have said first: don't OVER-fertilize! One nice thing about expensive organic fertilizers is that they are so dilute and slow-releasing, you'll hardly ever burn roots using them alone.
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 17, 2013
10:13 PM

Post #9524512

So when u say miracle gro pellets that u put in a watering can to dissolve, is that different from the liquafeed by miracle gro? Cuz I'm using the liquafeed weekly & I soak the mulch with it. I scratched the peat moss into the soil then put manure then mulch. The liquafeed hooks into a nozzle that screws onto the end of my hose so I can water & apply the liquafeed at the same time. And my compost pile is only about a foot high. The sites I read said not to use dairy & meat & stuff that attracts rodents or pests so the pile is slow growing. The info I read also said that u need more brown plant matter than green, the scraps & water so I spray water on & around it daily when I water my garden. Is that all OK? & last, My slug bait is working awesome. I went out this morning & they were dead all over. Yaaaa!! Thank you so much for answering all my questions. Hopefully I'll learn quickly & then stop asking stuff all the time. Your help has been a lifesaver... or should I say gardensaver?
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 19, 2013
2:35 PM

Post #9526121

You will never stop asking questions if you keep gardening.
behillman
Plantersville, TX
(Zone 9a)

May 20, 2013
4:57 PM

Post #9527603

Rick Cory...since you love composting. Do you make compost by mixing brown,green,food scrapes, in a bucket & add water. Then use it as tea. Or do you make a pile & keep adding to it.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 21, 2013
2:56 PM

Post #9528722

Thank you v ery much for the kind words. And also thank you for puting them to such good use. Since you made your plants happy, the green thumb award is yours!

>> is that different from the liquafeed by miracle gro?

I think they are the same.

>> I scratched the peat moss into the soil then put manure then mulch.

Great!

>> my compost pile is only about a foot high.

That's OK, in your climate, even a small heap will probably break down fast. One way to judge when it's "done" is when you no loinger see the sraps it used to be, you only see black crumbly stuff. I would lean toward moving the central, most-broken-down parts into the soil as soon as they lolok more like black soil than like garbage.

>> u need more brown plant matter than green

Yes, or you NEED enough browns to keep the greens from getting slimy and smelly. You can BENEFIT from adding as much brown stuff as will still break down fast.

The "greens" (high N) act like spices or coffee on the compost microbes. They speed up decomposition. If you have much too much brown, the microbes starve for N and decomposition slows down. At that point, adding it to soil will steal N from the roots! The mopre 'browns" ou can find, the more compost you have. If the pile "stalls" and stops breaking down, stop adding browns and just add more scraps as you colect them. (Coffee grounds are good 'greens'. Coffee filters, napkins, paper towels, newspapers and shredded office paper are good browns.).

>> I spray water on & around it daily when I water my garden

Compost cooks fastest if it stays a little moist. If you add so much water that it gets soggy or smelly, let it dry more. In fact, turn it over so it airs out and dries out a little. If you grab a double handfull and squeeze like a facecloth, no water should come out.

>> they were dead all over. Yaaaa!!

Double yay-hurray! Mayb e you can cut back on the amount or the frequency and still keep their numbers down. ?? Something like 30 tiny pellets per square yard?

>> Hopefully I'll learn quickly & then stop asking stuff all the time.

Naaah. 1lisac is riught: none of us eevr stop asking. We just kill fewer plants, keep asking, and start answering some.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 21, 2013
3:03 PM

Post #9528725

Behillman,

I make a pile and keep adding. The only compost tea I make is when I use some not-quite-finished compost as a top-dressing and then water it down with sprays. Some leaches into the soil, and some remians on the sorface as mulch. For example, when I didn't chop green juniper branches fine enough to compost fast. They remianh on the surface as a shredded wood mulch.

I have written about some clever compost-in-a-PVC-pipe and make trickle-tea schemes that I read about. Half-bury a 4" to 6" diameter pipe, with 1" holes underground. Fill with manure plus fluffy stuff, uncooked composty, or partly-finished compost. Water from above, maybe trickling. Worms come in and go out, the compost breaks down and leaches out.

I do love composting! I wish this forum below was more active. It used to have a lot of "lasagna people": and 100% Organic people.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/soil/all/


brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 23, 2013
2:36 AM

Post #9530714

I like the PVC idea. It seems like that would work well with the sandy soil here. Also how do I know when my onions are ready to be harvested? I don't know which kind. The top tube looking leaves grew to 8-9" so I cut those back to just above the soil (I read that if u trim those then the bulb gets more energy to grow) then I dug down to check the bulbs but they're only the size of a small marble. I planted these at the same time as all the other plants & they already produced stuff but the onions aren't making it. Any suggestions? I put the peat moss, manure, mulch & fertilizer on them but its not helping. Where did I go awry?

Thumbnail by brownthumb78
Click the image for an enlarged view.

behillman
Plantersville, TX
(Zone 9a)

May 23, 2013
10:02 AM

Post #9531166

Brownthumb78...Did you plant your onions in November? Then they should be making bulbs around now.
brownthumb78
Belleair, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 23, 2013
2:53 PM

Post #9531496

No. I planted them in late Feb-early March. I live in Clearwater, FL & its usually hi 70's. Then & now its hi 80's. We don't get rain very often so they're always watered overhead. By my garden hose. Did I plant them too late?
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 23, 2013
2:56 PM

Post #9531502

I planted my onions early this spring bc that's when they were for sale. Some as potatoes...

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