Gerard R
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First Year Planter Boxes

Hello! I have had a regular garden for 30 yrs. We thought this could be easier on the back and etc. The tomatoes had to be replaced and the peppers look skimpy. I have problems below:

Put the box's in an tested soil after plants went yellow. (Tomatoes and Peppers) When I tested the soil it was very high on the PH scale. I bought a bag of sulfer and applied J need to test again

In St. Louis we had 20 inches of rain in June Would that much rain cause the stunted growing. Or is it just the soil, The soil was a mixture of compost and top soil.

What did I do wrong. Should I take the boxes out? I am so glad that we planted in our landscape all around the house. That dirt is excellent an I never touch that soil!! Can somebody explain what has happened? Thanks

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Compost and topsoil doesn't drain well. When combined with 20" of rain, it's very probable that the roots got waterlogged. How tall are the "boxes"? Do they have a bottom or are they bottomless and sitting directly on the ground? Please provide a more detailed description.

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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:52 pm
Location: Zone 6a, St Charles, MO

Sheesh - add another solid 1/2 inch + this morning. It has definitely been a wet one this year it the Saint Louis area! I think I have only watered twice this season. My raised beds are all thriving - the rain has been consistent (more like PERSISTENT....) enough to keep the soil moist, and it drains well so it doesn't get soggy. The plants I have directly in the ground (planted at the same time) are stunted and spindly. Just when they start to dry out and begin recovering, we get a bunch more rain and they get waterlogged again....

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Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

I agree the mix will hold on to water for a long time. You did not add anything like perlite or vermiculite for drainage. While your container is draining well now, that kind of mix will eventually pack down to a sticky mud.

Sulfur will take about 6 months to bring down the pH. Actually it is the microbes in the soil that use the sulfur to do that. You need to be careful raising and lowering pH. Unless the pH is extreme it is better to alter only one point at a time.
For me that would be 1 cup of sulfur per 100 sq ft worked into the top 8 inches of soil.

You did not say what you were using for fertilizer. Compost has a low NPK so would have needed to fertilize.

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