This whole time I thought I was composting so I would have the rich "soil" I needed to fill my raised beds with.
Yesterday I read somewhere that you're not supposed to grow veggies in 100% compost??? Is this true?
That sounds like "damping-off," which actually covers several diseases seedlings can get when there is too much moisture and not enough drainage. Did your compost hold water very much?tedln wrote:I bought a six cubic yard dump truck load of compost this past summer. It was made from horse bedding which consisted of saw dust, horse manure, and horse urine. The compost had aged and matured for about 18 months before I got it. It looked like a very rich loamy soil. I decided to experiment a little late last summer and tried to germinate some different seeds in the compost. The seeds would germinate fine, but the plants would slowly wither and die. The compost seemed to not have all the components necessary to make plants grow healthy. The pile has now composted through another winter. I used almost half of the compost mixing it with normal soil and letting it weather and mature in some raised beds this winter. I think it will work well mixed with the soil.
I believe Mel suggests using multiple composts from dealer sources to achieve a balance. This makes sense if the compost is made of one or only a couple different ingredients such as horse manure and sawdust.tedln wrote:Hi jbest. I love your journal. I also appreciate your thoughtful approach to gardening. I was aware that you are growing in 100% compost. I think your compost is more chemically and nutritionally balanced than my purchased compost. Given time and the possible addition of some micro nutrients my compost and those like mine will eventually be as balanced as yours.
This is a classic case of the soil being too HOT. In other words too many available nutrients in the mix. (this is also the reason you have to water straight compost beds so much) If you can take a mix like that and add it as an amendment to real topsoiil at a rate of about one part compost to 5 parts soil, then you have something that will grow plants.The seeds would germinate fine, but the plants would slowly wither and die.
What is under your beds? Do you have any idea how deep your plants roots go?On the right are Butterbush squash and on the left are potatoes. All are growing in 100% compost.
Sorry jal_ut but it makes a difference on the weather, how long the squash were growing and what type of squash. In the photo below the bed is 10" deep, 40" wide and 14' long and the 100% compost produced 29 squash averaging 1 1/2# each. Also our weather last summer was the worst growing weather I can remember, cold and few sun days. Johnjal_ut wrote:BTW this is what squash grown in real soil looks like.
How would you explain the success that people have with the SFG style of gardening. Some of which are on concrete driveways or with bottoms and elevated on legs for the patio? Most of them use a soilless mix or straight compost and they have very attractive harvests. Or potatoes grown in bags of commercial potting soil and other container gardens. Johnjal_ut wrote:John,
My reason for giving you the link to a paper on plant roots was so that you could see that the roots of squash can go as deep as 6--7 feet and as far as 12 feet or more lateraly in all directions.
The point is that you may say you are growing in 100% compost but truth be known, that little bit of compost is only a drop in the bucket of what area your squash roots will gain water and nutrients from.
Unless you have a bottom on those beds to keep the roots from going further? Basically, what you have done is provide a good mulch on top of the ground your beds sit on. Your plants will get a good share of their nutrition and water from the area below and beyond your compost.
Does this make any sense, or will you still say you are growing in 100% compost?
Interesting thought! While I was thinking along the lines of insufficient nutrients, you believe the opposite. I do remember once reading a thread in a compost forum that said a high wood content in compost will severely reduce the available nitrogen while the wood is decomposing. Since my purchased compost was primarily saw dust with horse manure and horse urine, I kinda lean to the insufficient nutrient side. I will know better this spring when I plant my spring garden and see how the new plants do in the compost.jal_ut wrote:This is a classic case of the soil being too HOT. In other words too many available nutrients in the mix. (this is also the reason you have to water straight compost beds so much) If you can take a mix like that and add it as an amendment to real topsoiil at a rate of about one part compost to 5 parts soil, then you have something that will grow plants.The seeds would germinate fine, but the plants would slowly wither and die.
Thanks for sharing that link ... that looks like some thoughtful and useful information!jal_ut wrote:What is under your beds? Do you have any idea how deep your plants roots go?On the right are Butterbush squash and on the left are potatoes. All are growing in 100% compost.
Every gardener should look at this page.