So I built our new garden beds with compost that we bought from the city and I'm thinking it's not very fertile. I direct sowed and all the seeds sprouted but after developing 1 or 2 sets of leaves, pretty much everything has stalled. The leaves have a slight yellow tinge and they've been creeping so slowly for like 3 weeks now.
So I decided I need to add some fertility to the soil and I've heard so many good things about worm castings so I ordered some.
Was that the right move? Will worm castings provide enough fertility to get things growing again?
Worm casting are a great first step to improving the fertility of your gardening soil. Actually you remind me of myself when I first started gardening as I was always trying to find the perfect organic amendments to add to my clay soil (at the time it was strip mine tailings, so not too far off from the dirt you were planting in).
If you were adding one and only one amendment, worm castings would be an excellent addition. More importantly though, I would try to get life into that soil. Encourage all sorts of microbes and other forms of life (like worms) to grow and you will get better results than just adding an amendment. To do this, add organic matter and the soil life will thrive, and so too will your crops.
Bountiful soil fertility does not happen overnight though. It is the result of long term effort, but don’t get discouraged. The worm castings are a great 1st step, but the are really just a first step. If you build a compost pile on your garden beds over the winter, all the nutrients and soil biota will leach into the ground below and can be extremely helpful. I always keep a mulch on the surface and it does wonders for the soil beneath. The more life you add to the soil, the better things will grow. It is amazing.
If you want any other help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Permies is just a few keystrokes away.
Hey Brandon, it sounds like the compost may have left.you with a severe shortage of available nitrogen. Worm castings wont likely solve that (although they are generally great). For immediately available nitrogen you might look for blood meal, high nitrogen guano, feather.meal, or fish products. You could also plant some inoculated N fixers like clovers. Those will at least be able to get some.N into the soil by midsummer if you chop and drop them once.they've grown up a bit
Since you already have the castings, I would make aerated castings tea with them.
Strain the castings out, spray the bed and then top dress the plants with the used castings.
If that doesn't help your plants, go to step two like s. lowe suggested.
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