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sheeshshe
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A question about soil

OK, so I've been thinking... this spring me and my neighbor went together to put in a large order of rasp from nourse. I went and got compost and tilled a strip and mixed in the compost etc. I think it was a seafood compost by seeing lobster pieces and seashells in it... so a nice tilled strip and compost and it sounded lovely. My neighbor dind't have anything. she didn't till it and didn't add anythign to the dirt. hers went in where there were some evergreen trees that they cut down. mine went in by the edge of a strip of trees that go between me and another neighbor. I think there are some pine trees there I don't know if that makes a difference.

OK... so we both put them in, I got mine in first and then a couple days later I helped her get hers in. buried them the same way because I helped LOL! we watered them the same amount too for the first few weeks. then she stopped watering regularly and I still watered once or twice per week (I quit after they started dying on me thinking maybe they had too much water, which I don't think they did since it was so hot and dry and the ground was dry as a bone). it was 90*+ daily from the day we put them in till about now. mid 80's to low 90's all summer. VERY little rain. my plants half of them died and they aren't looking that great. hers are growing great. nice and tall and filling in and she didn't lose but 1 or 2. :roll:

SOOOO, I feel like it is a soil thing. I added good stuff to my soil and she didn't and hers are doing great and mine aren't. her berries are nice and big and juicy and mine aren't!!! what on earth is going on? you'd think mine would be better since I have compost and I tilled it etc kwim?

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applestar
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"hers went in where there were some evergreen trees that they cut down"

Where she planted, these trees had been digging way farther down than you could with a tiller. Evergreen needles must have been piling there for years, forming spongy compost and mulch. Having been cut down, the tree root systems were probably immediately taken over by fungal hyphae and the breakdown created an even spongier nutrient soil.

Brambles are classic understory plants that grow in association with evergreens.

You probably used "Lobster Compost from Maine". It's expensive around here but HG said before that it's a good compost to mix with your own compost, particularly to boost chitin eating bacteria. I'm hoping to get the same effect from adding crab remains to my compost pile.

Hopefully, your berries will have a chance to become established and you'll have a better growth and some harvest next season. Just keep them mulched and give them some more time. You'll see.

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After reading from this link, https://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/hort2/mf720.pdf
I don't have too much of an answer for you. :( You may have just gotten the "bad luck" batch!

The link has some great info though.

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rainbowgardener
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Also raspberries like an acid soil, down around pH 5 or 5.5. Pine needles are acidifying, so her soil may have been more acid than yours. A soil test would help.
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gixxerific
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AS soon as you said "there were evergreens there" that threw up a flag for me. As Apple and RBG said that was probably some fine soil without too much soil additions needed, at least for an acid loving plant.

Than you said you had some pine trees "maybe"around your plot. But with your addition of compost which was more than likely pretty neutral you proabably brought down the ph to a more alkaline level.

I agree a soil test of both plots might help you figure it out. I have been trying to grow blueberries in a not so ideal soil condition and they are going absolutely nowhere.

Good luck try to find some pine needles for mulch I'm not sure if pine bark mulch would help some may chime in on that point.

Epsoma has a fertilizer made for acid loving plats maybe give that a try.

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sheeshshe
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my soil is normally very acidic. I have wild blueberries growing all over my front yard. I figure if I may as well leave them LOL! so you think I made it too alkaline with the compost? so now what? do I dig out? what can I throw down to bring it back to acid?

I didn't know what the compost was at the time. I had my DH go get a load of compost from the local nursery and that is what it ended up being. not sure if it is ONLY lobster and sea stuff in there or what. but those are some things that I noticed in it since some of that wasnt broken down. sea shells don't really break down all that well. and there were tiny pieces of lobster claws in there that hadn't broken down either.


so. now I wonder if I should have never got that compost. now I've made my soil too alkaline? most likely with all the shells :( but I figured it would be good to bring it up a bit since I know my pH is very low (not sure HOW low, I just know that blueberries thrive in it, so its low enough for those). :( I'm so sad that I've ruined my rasp strip. now what? now how do I fix it? please help me :(

I have some friends going to give me some more rasp this fall and I wanted to extend my section so I don't want to ruin that either.


now how do I fix it :( gosh I'm so mad at my self now!

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gixxerific
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Easy now don't get too worked up. I said that might have changed your soil. Get a test done before doing anything drastic. Any kind of compost is good n the long run. :D

Check out this https://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1560-e.pdf it may help. But get a test first.

Now I feel bad your all upset and I may be wrong. :(

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sheeshshe
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nawwww, I'm sure its the reason bc there were shells in it which up the pH and I put a LOT of compost down because I read that rasp like rich soil :roll: . I used it on my blueberries too, but only put a little bit. so, now what? how much is a soil test? I mean there is a lot of compost in it. like 50/50 compost to dirt. so I bet that the pH is a lot higher. :( I mean should I just collect tons of pine needles and toss it on top? is that enough to fix it or do I need so put down some sulfur or something?

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gixxerific
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Test are normally around 10$ for the basic test which is all you would need for this. Though they do get more complicated if you like. Most of the time the test will come with a idea of what should be done with your land given your specific needs. By "test" I mean taking samples to your local Agg Extension office.

Pine needles would be great but they take a long time to break down. As far as using sulfur I have never done anything like that. So I can not give you any specifics. Hopefully someone with more experience will come along. I'm sorry I don't want to give out advice on something I have no experience with.

[url=https://anlab.umesci.maine.edu/]Here[/url] is the link to Maine Extension office. There may be one closer you this is just the main site. I would get to the hompage and bookmark this site. It should have plenty of local info that will help you out in the future.

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applestar
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If your soil is naturally acidic -- and this is IF the compost was alkaline, which is by no means certain because usually they aim for neutral pH -- I think the pH will balance out and tip back to the lower side of the scale over the next year without your intervention.

It might be easiest to find out from the nursery what kind of compost it was and ask if THEY know the pH of the compost or contact the manufacturer.

It takes time for raspberries to get established, but once they do, they will take over. So keep that in mind before you panic and fill up the space with new plantings of raspberries. :wink:

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sheeshshe
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thanks guys :)

see, my neighbors are getting nice and tall and everything! I have only one that is getting tall and it is the one on the end. where I bet didn't get as much compost bc it was way on the other end of where I started.... hmmmm

should I give it time?


OK, so I'm going to start another strip for rasp... so what should I do this time to get it right? should I find another type of compost?

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sheeshshe
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ya know, the more I think about it... the shells are going to take forever to decompose and stop emitting a high pH... so I feel like I need to either add something acidic TO it or try to get rid of some of the compost...

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applestar
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I know. It's hard not to make comparisons. But even immediately next door -- or several feet away -- there are differences in soil, micro-climates, water drainage direction, sun exposure, etc. Maybe it was just luck that your neighbor picked a good spot... or maybe your neighbor is an experienced raspberry grower and could advise you on a good spot on your property to plant.

In all honesty, if you put 50/50 compost in that original site, I think you put in too much. Raspberries are not that fussy. They just want good drainage and well-mulched bed because they have shallow root systems.

Personally, I think the original location will work just as well once the compost mellows and integrates with the natural soil -- you did say there were unbroken down visually identifiable bits in the compost. Maybe just add a layer of sand (4~6"?) *if* you don't have well draining soil. (But this won't do any good if the land slopes into a trough in that area -- in that case, plant on top of the slope.... see how all these details count?)

If you are going to plant elsewhere, the condition of the soil and other details that I mentioned above for this new location will determine what, if any, amendments are needed.

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gixxerific
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And the Apple has spoken. :D

Thanks for saving my butt, I didn't even think about the ground going back to it's original state, or should i say balance itself out. Though I know it will eventually.

This is kind of what I'm doing with my garden it was clay and rock. I have been adding compost like ti was going out of style. I think that this may have thrown my balance out. For the rest of the year it will be topsoil and manure Well that and grass and leaves and maybe straw. It may take another year to balance out but when it does it is gonna be good. My problem is I am trying to force feed all this at once so I don't have to build up over the years as much. I know it is wrong now but later I will be able to relax more by getting crazy with amendments in the beginning.

Good luck with your rasp.

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applestar
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Just want to elaborate that even IF the seashells are affecting the pH, don't forget that the native soil biology is ALSO working to keep the pH low -- the microbes, the pine trees and other resident plant life, etc. And that little bit of compost -- relatively speaking, compared to the REST of the area -- can't keep up with the living organisms.

Anybody who's been trying to get and keep their hydrangeas blooming blue in alkaline soil :roll: would tell you the same. 8)

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sheeshshe
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applestar wrote:I know. It's hard not to make comparisons. But even immediately next door -- or several feet away -- there are differences in soil, micro-climates, water drainage direction, sun exposure, etc. Maybe it was just luck that your neighbor picked a good spot... or maybe your neighbor is an experienced raspberry grower and could advise you on a good spot on your property to plant.

In all honesty, if you put 50/50 compost in that original site, I think you put in too much. Raspberries are not that fussy. They just want good drainage and well-mulched bed because they have shallow root systems.

Personally, I think the original location will work just as well once the compost mellows and integrates with the natural soil -- you did say there were unbroken down visually identifiable bits in the compost. Maybe just add a layer of sand (4~6"?) *if* you don't have well draining soil. (But this won't do any good if the land slopes into a trough in that area -- in that case, plant on top of the slope.... see how all these details count?)

If you are going to plant elsewhere, the condition of the soil and other details that I mentioned above for this new location will determine what, if any, amendments are needed.
I read that first part to my neighbor over the phone and she died laughing. hhahaha. she has a brown thumb and kills everything so she's been saying... LOL!

OK, so I put in too much compost,. so shall I try and scoop some out this fall? what should I mulch with? pine needles? do I put the mulch down in the fall too? I know they are shallow roots so if I add sand on top then they won't be shallow anymore correct? I think the soil is well draining.. I wonder if it is too well draining since its always dry feeling and I am watering more often than my neighbor has been. it hasn't been raining much at all this summer and she hasn't been watering and her rasp are plump and mine are these little hard berries... and yes there were little pieces of lobster claw in there. there were also rubber bands geesh! and sea shell pieces.


soooooo... what should I do for my new strip? I want to add more plants.


oh and also, my neighbor has a little area where hers are dying too. she got 42 plants I think? well the whole strip is ok except for 8 or 9 right in a row next to each other those are all dying... what is up with that ya know? this whole thing is just weird!

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