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HELP! Plants underperforming

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HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby DianaH » Jul 2nd, 2016, 1:30 pm

I put in new beds this year on the clay soil in North Glenmore. I amended with huge quantities of Glenmore Grow, topsoil, peat moss, and sheep and mushroom compost. I worked it all in by hand until I could bury the entire length of my trowel vertically with no resistance. I planted (some things as early as the end of March), watered, and .... the results have been dismal. Everything seems stunted, especially when I look around the neighborhood and see how others are doing. Even the snap dragons just sat there while their counterparts still in the 4-packs at the nursery got enormous.

I have fertilized twice now with 20/20/20 half strength and things seem to be improving, but I don't understand what went wrong and how to make sure that next year is a better year.

My tomatoes are doing okay...not as leafy as I am used to but some decent fruit setting
My peppers have one, small, twisted, pepper.
My beans are starting to come but the yellow ones are all twisty.
Everything seems a little chlorotic (yellow leaves).
My beets, started 3 months ago are about 2 to 4" tall

What is wrong?

All suggestions much appreciated!
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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Bman » Jul 2nd, 2016, 2:52 pm

Can you describe your watering practices for us?
How often, how much, etc etc.
Is everything dismal?
Any chance you can post some pics?
Pm me your street. If I'm in the area I can pop in.
Is the world getting stupider, or is it just getting easier for stupid people to have their thoughts heard?

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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Bsuds » Jul 2nd, 2016, 5:43 pm

Take the offer. Bman knows plants and how to grow them.
How do you milk Sheep?

Bring out a new iPhone and charge $1000. for it.

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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Frisk » Jul 2nd, 2016, 6:01 pm

Try sending in a soil test to a lab. Would be helpful for next year.
Take up Bman's offer, if it's something that can be improved this year, Bman would know.

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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Lady tehMa » Jul 2nd, 2016, 8:08 pm

Agreed - Bman is one who knows plants (among other things).

Bman has helped me before, take the offer. :up:
I haven't failed until I quit.

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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Frisk » Jul 3rd, 2016, 4:12 pm

I've been reading around a bit and apparently mushroom compost is very high in salts. You need to let it set and cure or rinse in the rain for a few months before applying any in large quantities

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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby crybabycry » Jul 3rd, 2016, 5:49 pm

Also, remember that we've has some really cool rainy days (until recently) for heat-loving plants.
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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby gardengirl » Jul 6th, 2016, 9:22 pm

You mentioned that you have clay soil. I am wondering why you would not have added sand. I would think that all the compost, peat moss and such would still not change the heavy soil. Adding sand would loosen things up and provide better drainage. Just a thought.

Afterthought. You could take a sample of your soil and have it tested. That would help you decide what it needs. I am pretty sure Don Burnett used to do it at Bylands.
Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.
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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby DianaH » Jul 7th, 2016, 7:11 pm

For those of you who might be curious as to what exactly I am dealing with, the Bman came to visit today and was every bit as wise as you all said.

Bman is running some soil tests (so kind!) but the basics as I understand and remember them are:
(Bman, be sure to correct me if I have remembered some things wrong!)

The soil seems to be too high in minerals: some of the soil that I was given was very sandy.
Several of my plants seem to be suffering from iron deficiency and/or nitrogen deficiency. Foliar feed 1cc/litre water (add a drop of dish soap to the mix as a surfactant) but time it so the sun doesn't fry it....so REALLY early (best) or after the sun is down in the afternoon. Don't keep the mix because salts will form that can be toxic...just pour the remains close to the plants that need it
Soil tests will determine if I need to change the soil Ph, which should help the above. Buy a Ph meter and learn to use it.

I may need to fertilize more, but not until the Ph tests are done...it may be a matter of changing the Ph and the nutrients are already there (?)


Powdery mildew has attacked some of my weaker plants: spray with 1/3 milk, 2/3 water, again when the sun won't fry it (Boil it?)

Next year: LOTS more organic matter. Compost everything or just lay it on the soil and let the worms do their thing. Check that the peat moss that I choose to use isn't horribly acidic.

Don't grow potatoes in buckets unless you can REALLY fluff the soil. Maybe cukes?

Put heavy feeders in one spot and light feeders in another so you can meet individual need....and rotate to avoid soil borne diseases (which is easier said than done in a small garden).

Plant more intensively to provide a canopy that shades the ground and reduces water loss.

Grow the roots first, then the plants, and finally the fruit...

Listen to the plants (I get this. I knew mine were screaming for help, but I just couldn't make out what they were saying...)

Bman is AMAZING

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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Lady tehMa » Jul 9th, 2016, 11:03 am

Yup, Bman sure is! :biggrin:

Thanks for posting all your info, it reminded me of some stuff I need to try (the milk/water spray).

Please keep us updated on the growth of your garden :)
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Re: HELP! Plants underperforming

Postby Nomaster » Aug 4th, 2016, 9:59 pm

Milk spray, powdered milk and Epsom salt, a cooled tea of Horsetail plant, good compost, leaf mood (decayed leaves)....
Maybe check out the video called Back To Eden gardening.
Good Luck!

I'm using this product but really don't know if it's doing anything better than all my other amendments.
http://www.ironearth.com
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