User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:17 pm
Location: maine

do you think my cover crop/green manure is enough?

enough nutrients for the season? or do I need to topdress around my plants as well? how often do you add more compost, yearly? every other?
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3588
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Are any of the cover crops, nitrogen-fixing? If not, you are mostly just adding organic matter and conserving nutrients. Of course, you can fertilize a cover crop in the fall.

I put down an organic fertilizer at the beginning of the season and then every month - unless, the crop is nearing harvest. Hopefully, there is enuf compost to go around each year (never happens :roll: ) but then the 2nd year, I'll be working organic matter into the soil.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Whenever I plant a seedling/transplant, I put some compost and/or worm castings into the planting hole.

If I'm planting seeds, I prepare the soil and add some compost and/or worm castings to the line/area where the seeds will go.

If (ha!) there are either worm castings or compost left over, they go to the extant plants in pots (rose bush, citrus bush, rhubarb) or the in-ground roses. That takes care of it.

But we just sent a 2-gallon bucket of worm castings to DH's community/demonstration garden at work last week b/c we missed the Spring Work Party. This is our contribution so that we can pick some of the veggies as they come in this summer. So my worm castings were hit pretty seriously, but I'll still get some benefit.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Agree with cynthia. .. I put compost down at planting time (in the hole and generally on the bed). Then I mulch well, which also ends up adding organics. Mid season I top dress with more compost. In the fall I put down more compost and then more mulch.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

orgoveg
Green Thumb
Posts: 468
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:06 pm
Location: Ohio

I'm glad one of you mentioned that you never have enough compost. I thought it was just me as I can never make enough. I trim my trees/bushes and tear off all the leaves. All my weeds, table scraps and everything else I can find goes in the pile. It's never enough and I can't find a local source to buy good stuff anymore. I've thought about trimming some weedy areas around city property to make piles. That would benefit me and the City, but #1, I would need permission and #2 I hate removing anything wild. There are precious few wooded areas in my part of the State. I look at satellite images and see nothing but farmland.

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:17 pm
Location: maine

Thanks :)

I did a cover crops of oats. I was hoping it would add nutrients to the soil.

My worm compost is 2 years old now and I still haven't been able to harvest any castings. I keep having to move the dumb then and when I do, the old stuff and new stuff keeps getting mixed together so I never get to harvest anything :(

I'm going to get some overwintered horse and goat manure today, but its not composted. I thought of maybe using it to top dress later on in the season, but my plants are already in the soil now and its too late to mix in compost. I planned on getting some compost at the bigeinning of the year but I couldn't get a truck, so I ended up getting a dump truck load of garden soil instead. but didn't have enough to put in my main garden.

but now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if anything will grow good now. I wonder if my garden is now doomed for the year because I didn't incorporate anything in :(
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

orgoveg
Green Thumb
Posts: 468
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:06 pm
Location: Ohio

sheeshshe wrote: but now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if anything will grow good now. I wonder if my garden is now doomed for the year because I didn't incorporate anything in :(
I don't know exactly what you're growing or what condition you soil is in but I sure don't think it should be doomed. As I mentioned before, I never have enough compost to go around, so the remainder of the garden gets watered every two weeks with plenty of fish emulsion. It usually works out very well. You could do the same with any kind of organic fertilizer, couldn't you?

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3588
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Well, the oat seed itself had important nutrients.

Oats are a good choice for a late cover crop because it winter-kills. My Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening says that oat grain is 2-.8-.6, NPK. That's about 50% of their rating for cottonseed.

Field peas do a very poor job of surviving the winter here. I have put the seed down at about twice what I would have for growing a reasonable cover crop confident of the nutrient value of the seed itself.

Fish emulsion is a very good choice for an organic foliar fertilizer.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:17 pm
Location: maine

how long will it take before the horse/goat manure is composted enough to top dress?


the oats I did for the nutrients thing, but now I can't seem to find the chart that tells me what it puts into the soil. it grew for a couple of months before dying.

so those #'s you just posted, is that a decent amount you think?
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28237
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Remember, too, that the winter killed oat mulch is nourishing the soil biology now.

I don't know about your garden, but anywhere I have any kind of mulch, and particularly dead grass/roots kind of mulch, I'll find ridiculous number of earthworms having orgies (:roll: really! :wink:) underneath. Especially right now after a week of rain and now heat.

They are making earthworm castings in situ. :()

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

I wonder if anything will grow good now. I wonder if my garden is now doomed for the year because I didn't incorporate anything in
OK, take a deep breath and settle down. Your garden is not doomed. I suspect it will do quite well in fact. That cover crop of oats might also be called a "green manure" crop. Yes it adds a lot of nutrients to the soil. If you have organic matter in the soil you likely have earthworms too. So you get the worm castings too.

If it is your intent and interest to grow without adding manufactured chems, then adding organic matter is the way to go. Put more on than you take off and you will succeed.

Properly made (hot pile) compost is an excellent fertilizer. Compost that is from a cold pile, not quite as good. Organic mulch eventually breaks down and the nutrients in it are then available for the plants to use.

A word of caution with any fertilizer. It can be overdone, and when it is overdone, your plants immediately wilt and die. The solution in the soil becomes more dense than the solution in the plants and the water will migrate from the plant into the soil.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:17 pm
Location: maine

OK. so we went to the manure pile and it was GONE!!! apparently before we came (they knew we were coming), they put a big sign with an arrow GRRRR!!! so there goes that idea! man. sigh...

OK. so the green manure is going to help. but I only put it on that one side, so I need to do something on the squash side most likely. I wish I could harvest my castings. 2 years not and I still can't harvest any :(

YES! I have found lots of earthworms in there. so that is reassuring, phew! I just hate that I put all this work into the garden and it might not have enough nutrients. maybe I'll have to get some of that pro-gro stuff.
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28237
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

When I want extra nitrogen, I get a bag of alfalfa feed pellets.
Soak with water and they puff up and then crumble. I rake/ scratch that in (side dress) or mix in bottom of planting hole or mix into container mix.

Also, your worm castings -- I recommend screening it with chicken wire or 1/2" hardware cloth, depending on how fine you want it and how much of the earthworms you want to screen out and keep in your bin. Then make AACT with what you get to stretch the amount if you don't have a whole lot.

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

(It seems like I say this all the time, but maybe not, so here goes again....maybe a few people haven't seen it...yet... :lol: )

Please become acquainted with any and all [url=https://www.freecycle.org/]Freecycle.org[/url] lists in your area. Freecycle is a way of off-loading excess items that burden you and your home as well as a way of accepting the excess of others that can benefit you. The original (and still valid) mission of Freecycle is to keep useful stuff out of the world's landfills.

However, it has morphed a little over the years and has become a giant, free (no cash transactions permitted, ever) swap meet, but each transaction goes only one way.

For instance, last night on one of my lists a woman requested "large planters." I emailed her to say that I have large black plastic planting pots; how large did she need? I haven't heard back from her yet, but if she wants my millions of 10-gallon (maybe they're 8-gallon) planting pots, she can have at least a dozen of them.

If we complete the transaction, and depending on our mutual schedules, I may leave the selected pots in a location near the front of my house that's not visible from the street. She'll come by and pick them up. We won't have any idea what each other look like. Then she'll email me that they're safe and sound.

Transaction over.

I must also say that the "flake rate" on Freecycle is much less than that of craigslist, at least in the Bay Area.

So...go to [url=https://www.freecycle.org/]Freecycle.org[/url], do a zip-code search, and see what's out there. Maybe someone is posting an "OFFERED: Manure" announcement today. Or maybe you can put "WANTED: Manure" and find out about resources heretofore unknown to you. :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:17 pm
Location: maine

there used to be all kinds of good stuff on freecycle, but there isn't ever anything good anymore. :( the good freecycle shut down a couple years ago and they had all the good stuff. now its just the one that is "eh". :(


I'll have to see what I can do about the castings...
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”