tedln
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Another Just Wondering!

When I prepare my raised beds in the spring and in the fall, they are each given the same amount of compost and new soil. They each receive the same amount of moisture and sunlight.

I planted eight hybrid cucumber seeds from the same packet along an eight foot long trellis about three weeks ago. All of the seeds germinated within twenty four hours of each other. One plant has grown up the trellis to about 36" in height. The other seven plants, while very healthy; are only about 18" tall.

I planted two beds in yellow crook neck squash in the spring and replanted for a fall crop. One bed produces very healthy, but smaller plants which produce squash. The other bed produces much larger plants in the same amount of time and the squash are significantly larger. All of the squash seed came from the same packet.

In the case of the cucumbers, it seems one seed was simply genetically stronger than the other seven seeds. In the case of the squash, the difference must be in the beds, but I can't imagine what it would be.

Any thoughts?

Ted
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stella1751
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Like you, Ted, I prep each 8'x4' raised bed similarly each spring, adding soil, compost, and other goodies. This year, I seriously blew it on one of my beds, somehow winding up with an excess of nitrogen. I had radishes with 12-18 inch tall tops, peas that didn't start to flower until they were 2' tall, a watermelon plant that refuses to put on female blossoms, and a pepper plant that has produced 3 measley peppers while its kin in the other bed are producing peppers up to 11" long.

I swear I messed up on my soil/compost balance, that the soil is too rich and the plants are growing in mostly compost. I was telling my neighbor yesterday that this particular bed gets only soil next spring, no compost. Don't know whether you did the same thing, but I know it's either the type of compost I used in that bed or the quantity of compost. I'm suspecting the latter. I got careless. After all, I was just planting radishes, right?
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tedln
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When I prepare my beds, all of my new topsoil comes from the same pile. All of my compost comes from the same mixed pile. I count every shovel full of both soil and compost that goes into the wheel barrow before it goes to each bed. Each bed gets the same number of wheel barrow loads of compost and soil which are mixed before being dumped and spread in the beds. My water comes from a central timer which regulates the amount of water to all the beds. The water pressure to each 25' soaker hose is the same. I do it on purpose to eliminate any differences in growing conditions. It's the only way I know to properly evaluate different varieties of the same vegetable. When you plant the same seed from the same packet in two identical beds and they perform differently, it leaves me scratching my head wondering what the difference is. I even have one bed that year after year will produce larger plants on one end than the other end. I always try to make sure that bed is totally the same from one end to the other. It isn't earth shattering, but it is perplexing and interesting.

Ted
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stella1751
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Subsoil. How deep do the roots on a squash go? I have a bed directly outside my office window, the only heaped, not raised, bed on the place. No matter what I grow in that bed, it exceeds expectations. I've always thought there must be something spectacular beneath that bed, maybe an old waste disposal unit or perhaps a century old outhouse site. I know that if I dig deep enough, I come up with orange red chunks of what might be brick or adobe.

After adding to it for three years, it was heaped too high and difficult to work around, being a pie-wedge shape. This spring, I dug that bed back to base level and moved the soil into the bed now occupied by my peppers. I wonder whether that is why those Big Chile II's are pushing a foot in length.

I'm not as precise as you when I am prepping my beds each spring. Additionally, I base my amendments and mixture with an eye to what I'll be growing there that year. I seriously blew the radish bed because I secretly think radishes are bogus to begin with. They don't interest me. I grew them because the bed was empty. I planned to grow peas there later in the summer because I would be growing tomatoes in that bed next year.

I chucked in a bunch of compost and a bunch of soil, some of it Ace's topsoil, and worked it, and I just wasn't thinking. Radishes bore me.

Now, next year, that bed is destined for tomatoes, and I have to un-do my wrong. I'll need to add mostly my soil and really mix it in well. No compost. There's way too much nitrogen in that bed, even for tomatoes.
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rainbowgardener
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A little difference in the amount/angle of sunlight received? I have two identical flower beds out in front, one on each side of the walkway to front door, with identical soil and some of the same plants in each one. However on one side it gets shaded part of the day by the big old lilac bush, while the other side doesn't. There's a dramatic difference in how big the plants grow, how early they bloom, etc. So much for symmetry! :)
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I've found that the on one side of my rectangular shaped garden, towards the end of it, crops seem to grow better then their kin, which are only 5 feet down in the row. The whole row gets sunlight at the same time, but one side does a little better.

In addition to the sub-soil factor, the microbial population may differ from one area to the next. Also, there may be present, but unseen drainage issues, as well.
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thanrose
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Are there any pipes or conduits or mains under that area, tedln?

Yeah, the possibility of leakage, but I'm also thinking of increase in soil temp at relatively shallow depths.

Very curious.

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jal_ut
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It could very well be what is under the beds. When grown in a field, squash roots grow very long (14 feet) and shallow roots plus some going down to 5 feet deep. When you think that a squash plant may have shallow roots under 700 square feet of area and some down to 5 feet deep, that is amazing.

A tomato plant may have a root system that covers 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

Yes, your plants grown in beds certainly have roots into whatever is under the beds. If you have put barriers under your beds you severely restrict your plant's root growth.

My personal opinion is that raised beds severely restrict the root development of many garden plants.
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stella1751
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At a depth of 14 ft, those roots could be snaking toward or through mineral deposits. I know Wyoming is in the top 20 states for mineral extraction, especially something called soda ash, which could explain my soil's high potassium levels. Additionally, Casper, Wyoming, is nicknamed the "Oil City" because of the oil production in this area.

North Texas is probably the same, right? Texas is so big, I don't know where the primary oil and mineral production occurs, but your beds could be resting atop some veins of minerals or other rich natural resources.

Just throwing out some thoughts Jal_UT's posting made me have. It could be simple geology, right?
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tedln
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When the beds were originally constructed three years ago, the soil beneath the beds was turned over about ten inches deep and incorporated with the soil in the beds. They haven't been turned over that deep since. The garden soil in the beds is about ten inches deep on top of the original soil. I had to incorporate the deeper soil because it was hard red clay with numerous large rocks. The area where my garden beds were built does have a slope of about five degrees, so nutrients in the beds may be migrating from the high ends of the beds to the lower ends of the beds when it rains. The only mineral which may be in the soil beneath the beds which may affect the garden is iron and possibly some calcium. The trace minerals like magnesium and copper and selenium are present. The beds have no obstructions or pipes under them. I placed the beds in order to maximize the sunlight to each bed without any obstructions causing partial shade.

We are currently having rain from tropical storm Hermaine. It has totaled in excess of 6" overnight. I checked my beds during a break in the rain and found they are draining well and quickly. I need to cut down some trees now and start building an Ark.

Ted
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stella1751
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Of interest might be this study done by Texas A&M of the clay-mineral relationships in North-Central Texas: [url=https://www.clays.org/journal/archive/volume%2012/12-1-431.pdf]"CLAY-MINERAL ENVIRONMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS IN CISCO (U. PENN.) CLAYS AND SHALES, NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS"[/url].

I especially liked this part:
In late Paleozoic time north-central Texas was the site of a shallowwater depositional basin which lay west of the Ouachita orogenic belt, south of the Amarillo-Wichita-Arbuckle uplift, and east of the Texas Peninsula or Concho Arch foreland (Fig. 1). During late Pennyslvanian time Ouachita-derived fluvial, paludal, lacustrine, deltaic, and shallow marine deposits, now called the Cisco beds, were deposited in the area.
So, if you are located in the region of the Cisco beds, your garden is located above a happening geological substrata :flower:
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DoubleDogFarm
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Ted,

I would do a test on the 25ft soaker hose. Observe how much water is delivered by the first 3ft. as against how much is put out by the last 3ft. You may have a watering issue. Drip tubing with pressure compensating emitters may give you more equal coverage.

Just a thought

Eric

tedln
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Eric,

The 25' hoses were cut from the same 50' hose. The hose was rated to emit 2.5 gallons of water per hour, per ft. of hose at 60 psi. I do have a flow restriction orifice installed in each hose to reduce flow by 50% at 60 psi. The timer is set to stay open only long enough to allow ten gallons to flow through each hose on each cycle. Pressure is equal from one end of the hose to the other end.

Ted
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garden5
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I think Jal's really onto something. I'll bet that there are different things going on under each bet. You could have rock in one spot, then a few yards to the side, clay, or shale. I believe that there's a device that they can use that gives a readout of the underground soil's composition. I think it woks kind of like a sonogram. I'd be interesting to have that done and see what comes up.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Ted,

I'm still designing my layout for next spring. Is your soaker hose hooked up something like this, or are the lines dead ended? I'm leaning towards this parallel mainline setup.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Jacob%20and%20Pepper/Top.jpg[/img]

Eric

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stella1751
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My money's on part of your garden being located atop an old Comanche buffalo jump.
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tedln
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Eric,

I dead head each hose in each bed with a single main line which branches to each bed. I know why you are thinking of doing it with parallel feeder lines, but with only 25' lengths, I don't have a need to. Each hose reaches 60psi the full length within seconds so I get equal distribution. If I was running 50' hoses, I might run parallel feeder lines. The flow restrictors at each hose create enough back pressure to cause equal flow to each bed.

Ted
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