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killer compost? please help  RSS feed

 
Tim Canton
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Posted June 08, 2011 04:55 AM
ok so i bought a new house last year and got a ton of beds ready last fall but and having awful germination, slow growth, and other misc issues. So here is my setup and nearly everything used is a potential suspect. they are raised beds I made using sheet mulching techniques with some old rotting hay, composted horse manure, and a commercial mix of topsoil and compost......
I have planted everything from lettuce, tomato, peppers, potatos, carrots, parsnips, squash, melons, onions etc etc etc.....

now i planted everything at least 3 weeks ago...I am in western NC
the onions seem fine, most of the squash and watermelon doing pretty good, some small carrots are popping now and some lettue is a few inches big. there are a few 3-4 inch tomato plants, cucucumbers seem pretty good, potatos doing good but in hay no in the ground.

some really small kale, collards, chard coming up now, had a few beans come up but died after setting real leaves.

Lack of sunflower germination, calendula germination, basil germination.

OTHER POTENTIAL ISSUES......the site does get less sun than I had expected because of tree growth but still getting about 5-6 good hours...so not enough? not warming the soil?

I do have a major slug problem I am attempting to deal with....could they be eating that much before I even see it?

any thoughts? or info from anyone who has dealt with this huge mess.......thanks big agro
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Many variables.  If your days are warm/hot, 5-6 hours of good sun/day is enough for most veggies.  However, if you are in a cool summer region, that could be a very limiting factor for sun/heat loving annuals (peppers, tomatoes, corn, any squash/melon family members.  What kind of trees are providing the shade?  Some trees emit toxins to keep other plants from competing with them (cedars, pines, walnuts, etc).  It must not be walnuts if your tomatoes are 3" from seed in 3 weeks.  The varieties with no germination could be bad seed (unless they are unique to the same bed).
 
Tim Canton
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Thanks John,

I know its sort of wide open.  I live in North Carolina so I wouldn't call it cool summers  but not extreme hot either.  The funny thing is the squash and melons are the things doing best.  Maybe the soil still needs a little warmth or I got some bad seeds.  The trees are set back 100 ft from the garden but are uphill so cause  the shade.  dont think thats part of it.  I am just having poor germination overall from carrots to lettuce to beans to sunflowers
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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Calendula and basil are actually planted to protect other plants from slugs. Slugs love them. Slugs love Marigold, dahlia, lettuce, dittander, delphinium, devil's claw and buckwheat, too.

No need to mention that sunflowers are always threatened by slugs.

They've been eaten! At least you get some cale instead!
 
Tim Canton
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eaten with no sign of stems anywhere though?    Also many kale seeds have not germinated either?  its pretty across the board with exception of cucumber, melon and squash
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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I would suspect that your compost isn't fully broken down -- if it has rotting sawdust, that might tie up the nitrogen for another year!  The main symptoms would be that you get some seedling start, but slow growth of anything needing the nitrogen most like kale, broccoli, and lettuce.  The big seeds, potatoes and onions have enough inside to get a good start - but they will stall if you have nitrogen problems!  If the kale just comes to 2-4 leaves and doesn't green up well, add some liquid nitrogen fertilizer a few times and see if they come on better.
Another clue would be to look at peas or beans in the same soil - they would have less trouble since they can source some of their own nitrogen.
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