I have four 4' x 4' raised beds (14" deep) I built last fall. I only had enough compost from my pile to amend about 2" in each bed. I made up for the lack of homemade compost by adding about 2" of black kow to each bed as well. I also added 2" of peat moss. Worked all that in with 2" of the original soil (which had plenty of clay in it).
I just bought Jobe's Organics Vegetable and Tomato Fertilizer 2-5-3 -- 4 lbs worth. I was wondering how much of that fertilizer I should mix in to each of the 4 raised beds. Perhaps I'll have a lot of compost for spring next year, but I figured it could use a little help right now.
In the future should I not use this product nor any other organic fertilizer product? Is it better to say add 4" of fresh compost to each bed in subsequent seasons?
I am also going to add about 2 cups of worm castings per each bed this time. I'll work on saving it up over the year so I can add more to each bed next year. I had just started the worm bin late fall. To be honest I thought I'd have much more worm castings than I have now with 5 months. Perhaps I haven't been feeding the worms often enough.
Is it okay to buy several bales of straw to help bulk up my compost piles? Say a bunch of straw and starbuck's coffee grounds? I could even break down the straw bales over the fall / winter by adding some 12-0-0 blood meal. Going to see about getting free vegetable scraps from grocery store etc.. I want as much free carbon and nitrogen as possible. I want huge amounts of black gold!
posted 8 months ago
Will that Jobe's fertilizer work fine for all vegetables? each of the plants will take what it wants of the N-P-K? like I know onions want more nitrogen. I have several sets of onions, leeks and scallions all growing in the same bed as vining tomatoes.
I think it's a dry granular product, right? My suggestion is sprinkle a handful lightly over each bed.
In the future should I not use this product nor any other organic fertilizer product?
I think that's entirely up to you. I think organic fertilizers have their place, when needed, but are not necessary to use by default especially if the soil is full of minerals, is healthy and teeming with microbial and fungal life. I believe what you're doing with the manure, compost and worm casting will set you well on your way to very healthy soil and purchased "fertilizers" will be unnecessary in the future. If I may offer a suggestion, consider adding a little unrefined sea salt, I use Sea-90, or kelp meal. These contain trace minerals such as yttrium, cobalt, iodine, selenium and others.
Is it better to say add 4" of fresh compost to each bed in subsequent seasons?
Yes. I believe compost and regular applications is always a good idea. It's an easy and cost effective way to add not only minerals but also abundant and healthy microbial life.
Is it okay to buy several bales of straw to help bulk up my compost piles? Say a bunch of straw and starbuck's coffee grounds? I could even break down the straw bales over the fall / winter by adding some 12-0-0 blood meal.
It depends. That's a lot of carbon, and the microbes that will break down and decay that straw need nitrogen to do their job, which the blood meal will help with. Worst case I can think of is it slows down the compost pile activity. I think coffee grounds are always a good idea. These things can make for a good compost pile. I myself would use straw over the surface of the raised beds as a mulch, and I've done this before. It arrests falling raindrops and prevents soil surface crusting, keeps the soil from drying out in the sun, keeps the soil from getting too hot, and provides shelter for all sorts of soil insects, among other beneficial things. It will decay in place, feeding the soil food web and in turn also the plants grown in that soil.
Will that Jobe's fertilizer work fine for all vegetables?
each of the plants will take what it wants of the N-P-K?
Yes, with the aide of soil microbial and fungal life.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
posted 8 months ago
James, thank you so much for your reply! Answered all my questions! I just got the Jobe's in the mail today. Can't wait to work it in !! I have a lot of seed to sow -- I'm a bit behind. Hoping I'll get a harvest on kale, swiss chard, mustard greens.. sowing this late.. March 23rd in 6b/7a zone.
I am going to try and get ahold of a lot of fruit and veggies to compost, say from local grocer or farmer's market or the like. Also would be nice for a tree trimming service to fill my driveway with free wood chips!
I think I'll add in the Sea 90, green dand and azomite rock dust next Spring. Probably would take too long to get them since I need to sow tomorrow. Thanks for the recommendation.
Btw, after sprinkling a handful on each bed of the jobe's, how far down should I work it in? 6 inches? 4 inches? I can mix the soil up good with my hands.. it's kidn of fun getting dirt under my nails.
Jennifer, i think your idea on the first post of adding 4" of compost every year and nothing else is an excellent idea. If you havent watched charlea dowding on youtube, you might enjoy it. I watched one today where he built a new bed by adding 4" of compost, then covered it for 3 months with a wool rug. No tilling, no carboard, no nothing. He flipped over the carpet and it was full of worms.
As stated, once that organic matter is added, worm castings will happen on their own. Everything will happen. Its good stuff.
James mentioned SEA-90. I can see a benefit from that and it is a worthwhile purchase every couple of years. It has every mineral known to man. I am able to get seawater from the coast so i dont have to purchase it.
Sometimes the answer is nothing
Note to self: don't get into a fist fight with a cactus. Command this tiny ad to do it:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while