D-Licious
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What is wrong with my soil?

Hello everyone! New to the site and it's my first post; so let me get to it then!

-helpsos-

Like the subject says, what is wrong with my soil? I've started a new raised garden early/middle of December (I live in San Diego, CA btw). What I did was cut out a section of my lawn, turned the soil, then used three bags of various garden soils, a bag of vermeculite and a bag of perlite, tilled and mixed well. I what I thought was my original soil after I mixed the new soil in and it gave me a nuetral pH. I tested my tap water and got a 8.35 pH with TDS of 315ppm. :roll: So I'm going to start using better water. In the mean time I'd like to know what you all think is wrong with my crop? I think/thought N lockout from the high pH? Combined with some nute burn or maybe light burn? I don't know anymore; I'm guessing at this point which is why I'm here asking.

I know my bed is crowded, but here are some pictures so you can decide and tell me whats wrong. They did look worse, but I think they're getting a little after I gave them a light general fertilizer mix.

Please, tell me what you think!

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D-Licious
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BTW, none of my plants looked light or sick when I bought them. They looked very healthy, so I know it's something I've done to them since I've transplanted them.

Even my chili peppers; they are almost white on parts of the fruit now. They were completely red before. What am I doing wrong?

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applestar
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Visually, there might be more perlite than you need, and the soil looks a bit on the dry side. The bed IS crowded, and you have combination of plants that have different requirements planted together. Some plants look like they need more light, and you must have thought so too since you've created the reflective back board. How much sun does this area get?

Also what have the average daytime high and overnight low temp been like? I'm assuming higher than 50° since the basil leaves don't look affected. But it does look a bit spindly -- either lack of sufficient light or fertilizer. It maybe too close to the wood border -- wood blocking the sun or if the roots have reached the wood, it may be suffering from N lockup along the wood surface.

The lettuce look good, which may support the high pH theory-- they like "limey" soil and if sunlight is lacking, they tolerate that too. Is the rosemary doing well? ...that's a rosemary in the front, right?... They like slightly alkaline soil as well (but they do like a little extra sun -- I might be able to tell with a little closer look).

So let's assume it could be the high pH water you've been using. It could be that all the vermiculite and perlite have been holding the water. Did you say you tested the soil? Did you take a sample and added neutral pH water, etc.?

If it is, that may be why strawberries are affected -- they prefer slightly acid soil. Also it's hard to tell but they may be buried too deep? Are their crowns halfway above the soil level? But once they get established, they are going to take over this bed, you know....

Cilantro looks stressed -- has it been hot?

The pepper in the back -- why is it still in a pot? That could affect the soil moisture levels or it could be getting extra doses of the high pH water that are not draining. Can we see a close up of that plant? I would like a closer look at the dried up looking leaves -- it could be a sucking insect problem.

Overall, I would mulch the entire top 1/2-1" depth surface of the bed with good compost to inoculate the soil with beneficial microbes which will help. Do you have a rainbarrel -- are you getting good rainfall?

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rainbowgardener
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What Applestar said!

Also, right up against the house like that is generally not a good place to put a veggie bed. The house has to be shading it a lot of hours of the day. Most the things you have in it want full sun. And the house walls and foundation could leach alkaline into the soil (since your bed is directly on the ground) adding to the alkaline water problem.

And WAY too crowded. Picture three is a good example-- a big clump of basil plants all right together. They will be competing with each other for light, water, nutrients and can all die that way. They need to be dug up and separated, spaced out 1' apart. (Remember if all goes well these will become little shrubs.)

And it is odd to me to be growing lettuce in with the peppers, tomatoes, basil. If it is warm enough for all the other stuff, it is probably too hot for the lettuce. (Or conversely, if it is cool enough for the lettuce, it is too cool for the peppers etc).

But welcome to the Forum! Glad you found us. We all learned all this stuff by trial and error. I'm sure you will have a great time with your garden and get better results as you go along.
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jal_ut
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You say you started with lawn soil. If it will grow grass it will likely grow other plants. It is far better than anything you can get in a bag.

However you say you added "Bags of Garden Soil". I have no idea what that contains, but likely it contains the usual mix of Non Nutrients like peat, perlite vermiculite and sawdust. Then you added more non nutrients with the perlite and vermiculite. All these things can serve as a medium to anchor roots, but they are devoid of nutrients.

In all the bagged garden and potting soils there is some added fertilizer. This has to be done or they would not grow anything as the materials they are made from are pretty much devoid of nutrients. This is quickly used up so that when you use this type of soil you must constantly add more fertilizer. Use a balanced type fertilizer and follow directions on the package.

In choosing a soil for your plants, it is well to find some natural soil with a sand and clay content. I know people cuss clay, but you know it is high in minerals the plants need and it holds water. Then add some organic matter, compost is very good or well rotted manure. You see the compost and manure are also loaded with nutrients. Yes, it is OK to lighten the soil up a bit with perlite or vermiculite, but don't over do it on these things. Remember that they are devoid of nutrients.

Organic mulch is great. It breaks down and provides nutrients for the plants. It will also aid in water conservation. Grass clippings is a good one.

Judging from the looks of your plants I would rather suspect the soil is lacking in fertility. I don't buy the over-crowded theory. Even crowded plants in good conditions look well nourished. I don't know about the acidity of your soil or water, but you seem to have a mix of plants that prefer different acidity levels, and yet none are doing good.

Light levels was also brought up. I will only say that all the garden plants I grow do very well in full sun. Yes if they have been grown in low light light conditions, then transplanted into direct sun, they will turn light colored because they are not used to the full sun. Could this be the case? Try planting some seed then it will be used to the full sun from day one.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Oh, yes, WELCOME to the forum.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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ElizabethB
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Welcome to the forum :!: Glad you found us. My first thought is pH. Judging from the pictures you have a chlorisis issue. There are 2 types - iron chlorosis and magnesium/zinc chlorosis. The differentiating factor is which leaves are impacted first. With iron chlorosis the terminal and younger leaves yellow first. Don't start adding iron. Iron becomes insloluble at a pH of 6.5 - 6.7. You may have plenty of iron in the soil but your plants are unable to absorb it. Try lowereing your pH to 6. An optimum level for most vegetables.

You can lower the pH using elemental sulfur. Granulated sulfur worked into the soil at the rate of 1 lb per 100 sq ft will reduce your pH 1 point - YUCK - math :!: It takes longer to adjust the pH but provides a more stable pH. Water soluble sulfur works faster but requires very close monitoring since it can get the pH too low rather easily. It is also less stable and requires more frequent adjusting.

What ever you do to adjust the soil pH do monitor frequently. pH is just as - if not more improtant than nutrients. Your soil can have all of the nutrients needed but if the pH is off the plants can't absorb the nutrients.

IDK what to recommend about the very high pH of your water. Not a problem I have ever faced. Hopefully other members can make some recommendations. As long as the pH of your water is so high you will have a constant battle maintaining your soil pH.

Good luck and Happy New Year.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

DoubleDogFarm
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I'd like to know what was in the 3 bags of soil. Maybe not soil at all? I see what appears to be peat moss and the perlite. If you look at picture #2, the basil stems look small at the soil line. Damping off maybe? Maybe you have a drainage or retention problem. Root rot? If it is a soil less potting mix, probably a low nutrient problem also.

Welcome

Eric

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Ok first, thank you all for the welcome and the replies. I'll try to answer all questions to better inform you...

Yes, the bed gets plenty of sun considering it's December. It faces south-east and gets sun from sun-up and still has some sunlight near sun-set. The reflective back I put up so the plants near the front wood would also get at least reflected light. Seems to work great (maybe too great for cilantro!) I didn't fill it as deep as I originally intended, so the plants near the front wood were being shaded originally from the morning sun. I do remember that day that the reflected sun was strong, I was sweating (maybe it was all the manual labor too! :roll: ).

Yes, that is rosemary! It is doing well. It, my broccolli, celery and taragon seem to be in the best health. The rosemary is the only plant that I believe has grown since being planted. Taragon doesn't seem to have moved at all, but it's still the same color at least.

Yes, I used distilled water to test the soil.

Strawberry crowns are above soil, but not by much. I did plant them a little deep because they had some roots exposed when I purchased them. I have more strawberries in a hanging pot that I used the garden soil to fill and it isn't having any of these problems. Also, I thought strawberries needed a freeze to make viable seeds? I live in SoCal, so unless I froze the runners, the strawberries wouldn't take over? Maybe it'll just veg and cover the whole garden! :shock:

The pepper is in a bio-degrable container. It was falling apart when I was transplanting and I figured I would do more damage to the rootball if I removed it than just planting it in it.

It has been raining almost daily for the last week or so. Temps have been low for us San Diegans (highs in the 60, lows in the high 30s-low 40s). I haven't been collecting any rain water, nor have I tested it. What I would use to collect the rain water (55 gl drum), I'll be using to store my RO water.

And about the crowding, yes I figured many of my plants would grow to a greats size, and they'd be some competition. I don't think it would get out of control because I have a big and hungry family (the wife and I have 4 kids), so I'm certain we can eat everything in the garden in short order and really would be keeping any one from taking over by simply harvesting.

I also knew that the acidic/alkaline issue could come up. I was so exited to get started, I didn't do any research to find out which of these plants were which so I could plant them together. I just figured at one point it'll be acitic, and those plants will flurish, at another it'll be more nuetral or alkaline and others will.

The soil... So I turned over the lawn, and removed the bigger clumps of grass. The soil that I put in was two bags of miracle grow organic choice garden soil, and the other was canna terra pro? I've also been crushing up egg shells to an almost dust-like size and sprinkling that. There was also a box of E.B. Stone Sure Start (the amount used was for the square footage of the bed) that was supposed to help the plants root well and help from transplant shock. There was also some E.B. Stone dolomite lime, that I added before I tested the soil or water because I thought it was going to be acidic based on all the clay that was in the original soil. After I had already mixed it in and tested it is when I found out that my original soil was nuetral, and my water is alkaline.

So typing all of this really gets me thinking, I've made this bed too alkaline because I didn't know what I had to start with. :( My own fault.

I'll get some closer pictures with a better camera in a couple days, applestar. I wont be home for another day or so.

Any new suggestions with this new info? Thanks again for all the f

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jal_ut
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but I think they're getting a little after I gave them a light general fertilizer mix.
Ah, here is a good clue. Try a little more fertilizer.

Also I must ask are all these plants transplants? It is not a bit unusual for nursery grown plants to turn a bit light colored when transplanted into direct sunlight. They are not used to the intense light. They will adjust as they make some new leaves, but the old leaves are likely doomed. Usually plants will survive the transition and be fine.

About the so called biodegradable pots. Ya, they may eventually break down, but my experience with them tells me it is hard for the roots to get out of them. It is always best to at least take the bottom off the pot when transplanting. I prefer to remove the whole pot.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Dillbert
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d-

wondered about that pepper in a pot - not much is non-biodegradable. but it is a question of time - so aide from stuff like peat pots, removing any "pot container" is best advised. personally I strip off the pear pots. a sweet green pepper will develop a root mass going to 18" inches in diameter, or more - so artistically confining the roots to a 4-6 inch pot is not going to help.

>>what/when/where/who/why added
heh, a body has to start somewhere. so a feather your cap for starting - and just keep on moving.
it is indeed possible to likely that the soil is simple 'nutrient poor' - that shows up in the yellowing leaves etc. I''m an organic twit, but yes, you may need to resort to some chemical fertilizers / quick fixes to help in such situations. even in my organic based gardening, some crops - like green beans - I'm 'forced' to hit with a wide dressing of dried manure - e.g. more nitrogen - can be provided 'au organic' or 'chemical' - plants/gardens don't make a big deal about the source of nitrogen over the short term. long term? well, that we gotta' talk about.

>>made it too alkaline
difficult to envision as most of the 'common' bagged soils containing peat moss, etc. are on the acid side. add to that, "home test" kits are notoriously inaccurate / subject to way too much 'interpreted' error.

>>dolomite lime, that I added before I tested the soil or water because I thought it was going to be acidic based
major issue here - lime is not acidic - it is precisely the opposite.
furthermore, and especially western USA areas of dry lake bed / arid lands from old sea beds are typically high in salts and alkaline in nature.

strawberry and seeds -
oops. you don't need seed for new strawberry plants. yes, strawberries can be grown from seed, but established plants 'spread' by 'runners' - the runners reach out and touch someone (i.e. the soil) and start a new plant. strawberries are perennials - the 'mother' plants don't die with cold/frost. one typically does a strawberry 'patch' - one entire area 'dedicated' to strawberry plants - and after 2-3 year one rips out the oldest plants and lets the newer more vigorous plants continue to take over. young(er) plants produce the biggest / most fruit - which is why commercial growers plant huge fields from roots every year. neat but not the usual home gardener approach.

>>keeping any one from taking over by simply harvesting.
nope. doesn't work out that way.

stuff like rosemary is also a perennial - it grows and grows.

stuff like the crusifiers - cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc grow and produce one (with side shoots as applicable) then croak.

stuff like peppers are 'tender' - they'll grow until they get killed by temperature - not likely to happen in SoCal - but bigger is not better - they eventually give out due to old age.

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ReptileAddiction
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It will kill them here without protection. The other day I had to scrape my windshield. :shock:

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rainbowgardener
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Plant spacing is a controversial issue (as you can see :) ); different people have different philosophies. But the closer you space your plants, the richer your soil has to be. The people that do really close spacing (see Square Foot Gardening) start by building super-enriched soil. And even so, they put ONE basil plant in a square foot. Since you are not sure about your soil fertility, you should give them a bit more space.

You said you didn't worry about crowding because your big family will be eating everything, but it doesn't work that way. That clump of basil as the prime example, will never get big enough for you to harvest much and may all just die. They need to be spaced out.
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ElizabethB
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All good suggestions but I still think pH is your main issue. 7 is too high. You can fertilize all you want but your plants can not absorb the nutrients. Get your pH down to 6 then addres the nutrient issues.

Good luck and Happy New Year
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Green Mantis
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Go on your local free ads or look up rabbit breeders in your area, go find

some free or reasonable rabbit manure from somebodys rabbits.

Strawberries "love" rabbit manure :)

Can be mixed into your soil easily, doesn't burn your plants. Good Luck.

Welcome to a "great" forum with great people here. :D

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ElizabethB
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LOVE rabbit manure :!: I did a simple query for rabbit breeders in my city. Found several. They all love me because I show up with my 5 gallon buckets and a shovel and clean up the poop. I have even been offered a disigner rabbit kitten for free. I had to pass. I have no interest in raising designer rabbits. A real cutie but too much work. Yes the poop is good but why go to the troube of raising a rabbit when I can get poop for free from the breeders?
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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ReptileAddiction
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ElizabethB wrote:All good suggestions but I still think pH is your main issue. 7 is too high. You can fertilize all you want but your plants can not absorb the nutrients. Get your pH down to 6 then addres the nutrient issues.

Good luck and Happy New Year
Why is 7 to high? I always used 7 as the "prime" since it is neutral.

dustyrivergardens
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How are you watering? spraying? sprinkler? slow soak?

imafan26
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Hi and welcome 8) It looks like you created essentially a raised bed. It is up against the house wall which is not good for the plants or the house in the long run. It has been raining and if the bed is in a relatively low spot or you are also getting runoff from the roof and the bed is not drying out, plants will yellow. If the rain stops in time the plants may recover. Most of the yellowing from excessive rain is because the root zone gets flooded and can't get enough air. If it persists long enough the roots may rot. From your pictures it looks like the bed is mostly potting soil and not much native soil. Miracle grow (moisture control) contains polymers to hold water which is great when the weather is dry but not so ideal when there is non-stop rain. Most bagged potting mixes are nearly neutral. Peat moss would actually be a fairly good thing to have since it is acidic especially if your water is so alkaline. You could actually look up the manufacturers analysis on their websites for the products you used. Sometimes they will tell you composition and pH. Or you could have the soil tested at your local extension office for a small fee. If possible when you restart your garden move it to a site that is away from any building or wall. It will need at least 6 hours of sunlight.
You can start a new garden by putting down cardboard or several layers of newspaper on the ground. Stack stones or build up the walls of the raised bed and fill it with your soil mix. You can use potting mix, just as long as it is good quality. To make watering easier, put in a drip or soaker system before you plant. You can hook up the system to a faucet and control it manually or with a hose end timer. Consider a square foot gardening plan. If you get the book or go online you can get all you need to build a square foot garden including what soil mix to put in the garden. :oops:
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

D-Licious
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jal_ut wrote:
but I think they're getting a little after I gave them a light general fertilizer mix.
Ah, here is a good clue. Try a little more fertilizer.

Also I must ask are all these plants transplants? It is not a bit unusual for nursery grown plants to turn a bit light colored when transplanted into direct sunlight. They are not used to the intense light. They will adjust as they make some new leaves, but the old leaves are likely doomed. Usually plants will survive the transition and be fine.

About the so called biodegradable pots. Ya, they may eventually break down, but my experience with them tells me it is hard for the roots to get out of them. It is always best to at least take the bottom off the pot when transplanting. I prefer to remove the whole pot.
Little more fertilizer did the trick. At least they do look healthier now. Yes, they are all transplants. The places that I bought them from had them all outside, so I figured they were already hardened off for direct sunlight. But I gues they weren't ready for the reflective sheet.

I have since removed the pots completely.

D-Licious
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Dillbert wrote:d-

wondered about that pepper in a pot - not much is non-biodegradable. but it is a question of time - so aide from stuff like peat pots, removing any "pot container" is best advised. personally I strip off the pear pots. a sweet green pepper will develop a root mass going to 18" inches in diameter, or more - so artistically confining the roots to a 4-6 inch pot is not going to help.

>>what/when/where/who/why added
heh, a body has to start somewhere. so a feather your cap for starting - and just keep on moving.
it is indeed possible to likely that the soil is simple 'nutrient poor' - that shows up in the yellowing leaves etc. I''m an organic twit, but yes, you may need to resort to some chemical fertilizers / quick fixes to help in such situations. even in my organic based gardening, some crops - like green beans - I'm 'forced' to hit with a wide dressing of dried manure - e.g. more nitrogen - can be provided 'au organic' or 'chemical' - plants/gardens don't make a big deal about the source of nitrogen over the short term. long term? well, that we gotta' talk about.

>>made it too alkaline
difficult to envision as most of the 'common' bagged soils containing peat moss, etc. are on the acid side. add to that, "home test" kits are notoriously inaccurate / subject to way too much 'interpreted' error.

>>dolomite lime, that I added before I tested the soil or water because I thought it was going to be acidic based
major issue here - lime is not acidic - it is precisely the opposite.
furthermore, and especially western USA areas of dry lake bed / arid lands from old sea beds are typically high in salts and alkaline in nature.

strawberry and seeds -
oops. you don't need seed for new strawberry plants. yes, strawberries can be grown from seed, but established plants 'spread' by 'runners' - the runners reach out and touch someone (i.e. the soil) and start a new plant. strawberries are perennials - the 'mother' plants don't die with cold/frost. one typically does a strawberry 'patch' - one entire area 'dedicated' to strawberry plants - and after 2-3 year one rips out the oldest plants and lets the newer more vigorous plants continue to take over. young(er) plants produce the biggest / most fruit - which is why commercial growers plant huge fields from roots every year. neat but not the usual home gardener approach.

>>keeping any one from taking over by simply harvesting.
nope. doesn't work out that way.

stuff like rosemary is also a perennial - it grows and grows.

stuff like the crusifiers - cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc grow and produce one (with side shoots as applicable) then croak.

stuff like peppers are 'tender' - they'll grow until they get killed by temperature - not likely to happen in SoCal - but bigger is not better - they eventually give out due to old age.
Yes, I removed the pots from all the pepper pots.

I agree that the soil was nutrient poor. Most of the additives put into the soil had no nutritional value at all. It was a mistake of mine to think they were healthy enough and didn't need to be fed so quickly. I didn't want to over-do the fert like many new growers do. I did make some guano tea, and also mixed some guano into the soil itself. It looks to be doing the trick now after the quick chemical jump.

Yes, the home test kit was for the soil only, and it said it was nuetral. My water was tested with a calibrated pH/EC/TDS/Temp "stick". Read, "not cheap toy".

I think you miss-understood me about the dolomite lime; I know it's not acidic. I added dolomite lime because I thought the soil was going to be acidic, and I added dolomite to counteract what I thought was going to be acidic soil. This was based on how dark and dense the soil was.

Thank you for the info on the strawberries. I'm probably going to remove the ones in the bed and place them into pots as well. I kept a few out of the bed, but the majority of them went into it (the bed).

The rosemary may end up in a pot as well. I knew to keep my mint outside the bed; rosemary may be soon to follow.

What I see happening is that I'll harvest my lettuces, spinach, celery, and brocolli when they're ready. I'll also move the rosemary and strawberries and leave the tomatoes, peppers, sweet basil and cilantro for as long as they'll live. It seems like my thai basil is almost dead. I don't think it can withstand the cold and I can't say I've been particularly gentle with them. I may take a few out of the bed and put them in a pot until it gets a little stronger.Yes, I removed the pots from all the pepper pots.

I agree that the soil was nutrient poor. Most of the additives put into the soil had no nutritional value at all. It was a mistake of mine to think they were healthy enough and didn't need to be fed so quickly. I didn't want to over-do the fert like many new growers do. I did make some guano tea, and also mixed some guano into the soil itself. It looks to be doing the trick now after the quick chemical jump.

Yes, the home test kit was for the soil only, and it said it was nuetral. My water was tested with a calibrated pH/EC/TDS/Temp "stick". Read, "not cheap toy".

I think you miss-understood me about the dolomite lime; I know it's not acidic. I added dolomite lime because I thought the soil was going to be acidic, and I added dolomite to counteract what I thought was going to be acidic soil. This was based on how dark and dense the soil was.

Thank you for the info on the strawberries. I'm probably going to remove the ones in the bed and place them into pots as well. I kept a few out of the bed, but the majority of them went into it (the bed).

The rosemary may end up in a pot as well. I knew to keep my mint outside the bed; rosemary may be soon to follow.

What I see happening is that I'll harvest my lettuces, spinach, celery, and brocolli when they're ready. I'll also move the rosemary and strawberries and leave the tomatoes, peppers, sweet basil and cilantro for as long as they'll live. It seems like my thai basil is almost dead. I don't think it can withstand the cold and I can't say I've been particularly gentle with them. I may take a few out of the bed and put them in a pot until it gets a little stronger.

D-Licious
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ReptileAddiction wrote:It will kill them here without protection. The other day I had to scrape my windshield. :shock:
It hasn't been THAT cold here, but it has been cooler than it's been in the last couple years and it seems like it's cooler for longer periods of time.

D-Licious
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rainbowgardener wrote:Plant spacing is a controversial issue (as you can see :) ); different people have different philosophies. But the closer you space your plants, the richer your soil has to be. The people that do really close spacing (see Square Foot Gardening) start by building super-enriched soil. And even so, they put ONE basil plant in a square foot. Since you are not sure about your soil fertility, you should give them a bit more space.

You said you didn't worry about crowding because your big family will be eating everything, but it doesn't work that way. That clump of basil as the prime example, will never get big enough for you to harvest much and may all just die. They need to be spaced out.
Thank you. I'll do exactly that.

D-Licious
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ElizabethB wrote:All good suggestions but I still think pH is your main issue. 7 is too high. You can fertilize all you want but your plants can not absorb the nutrients. Get your pH down to 6 then addres the nutrient issues.

Good luck and Happy New Year
Thank you, ElizabethB! I hope you've been having a good one too!

Yes, I agree; I think pH was also part of the issue. I have since gotten my RO installed and making good, clean water. After it goes through the RO I test the pH and adjust it to 6.0-6.5. Lately I've kept to my bat guano, but I have a compost bin cooking now. So maybe in a few months I can use it for most of the nutrition.

D-Licious
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Green Mantis wrote:Go on your local free ads or look up rabbit breeders in your area, go find

some free or reasonable rabbit manure from somebodys rabbits.

Strawberries "love" rabbit manure :)

Can be mixed into your soil easily, doesn't burn your plants. Good Luck.

Welcome to a "great" forum with great people here. :D
I've been looking on Craigslist, but so far no go. I have found plenty of free cow and horse manure. I plan on getting some of it to throw into the compost bin too.

D-Licious
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dustyrivergardens wrote:How are you watering? spraying? sprinkler? slow soak?
I have a water pot when I feed. When I just water I have a wand on the hose end. It's set to a "rain" setting.

D-Licious
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imafan26 wrote:Hi and welcome 8) It looks like you created essentially a raised bed. It is up against the house wall which is not good for the plants or the house in the long run. It has been raining and if the bed is in a relatively low spot or you are also getting runoff from the roof and the bed is not drying out, plants will yellow. If the rain stops in time the plants may recover. Most of the yellowing from excessive rain is because the root zone gets flooded and can't get enough air. If it persists long enough the roots may rot. From your pictures it looks like the bed is mostly potting soil and not much native soil. Miracle grow (moisture control) contains polymers to hold water which is great when the weather is dry but not so ideal when there is non-stop rain. Most bagged potting mixes are nearly neutral. Peat moss would actually be a fairly good thing to have since it is acidic especially if your water is so alkaline. You could actually look up the manufacturers analysis on their websites for the products you used. Sometimes they will tell you composition and pH. Or you could have the soil tested at your local extension office for a small fee. If possible when you restart your garden move it to a site that is away from any building or wall. It will need at least 6 hours of sunlight.
You can start a new garden by putting down cardboard or several layers of newspaper on the ground. Stack stones or build up the walls of the raised bed and fill it with your soil mix. You can use potting mix, just as long as it is good quality. To make watering easier, put in a drip or soaker system before you plant. You can hook up the system to a faucet and control it manually or with a hose end timer. Consider a square foot gardening plan. If you get the book or go online you can get all you need to build a square foot garden including what soil mix to put in the garden. :oops:
Thank you, imafan26!

Yes, it was an attempt of a raised bed; but I ran out of soil before I ran out of square footage!

The placement of the bed was because of the amount of sun it received. I think the house and bed will be ok. I understand that in the very long run roots will effect the house's structural foundation; but I think it'll be a while before vegetable roots will be detrimental. There is no roof run-off on the bed. When it rains, only half of the bed is out in the rain (if it falls straight down). Sure, it looks like all potting soil, but it's not. There is a good amount of native soil in there. Maybe it's the perlite and vermiculite that makes it look like potting soil. The soil now is light and airy so it drains well and doesn't pool water, yet it still retains moisture. I no longer have the bags that the soil came in, but I'll check next time I go to the nursary; thanks.

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Newer pictures over the last week or so...

Too many to post in the forum...

You should see how some of the plants are getting better (and bigger!)
Thanks to all for your help. :)

Garden-Shots

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imafan26
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The pictures look a lot better. Whatever you are doing it looks like you are on the right track.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ReptileAddiction
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D-Licious wrote:
ReptileAddiction wrote:It will kill them here without protection. The other day I had to scrape my windshield. :shock:
It hasn't been THAT cold here, but it has been cooler than it's been in the last couple years and it seems like it's cooler for longer periods of time.
Yes it has been that cold. Here in winter you can grow tomatos but they will grow so slowly and you will get so few tomatos (if any) it is not worth it. Wait till the spring and plant them when it is warm enough. The peppers will I can almost guarantee do nothing. Your area might be slightly warmer than mine but it is just to cold to do them without protection.[/i]

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ElizabethB
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Reptile - just to be sure I checked with the Ag Center on the pH issue. Optimum pH for most vegetables is 6 - 6.5. Many necessary nutrients lock up and become insoluble over 6.5. Home test kits are not reliable (strips and tablet kits). pH meters are accurate when compared to lab results.

That is one of the reasons people have problems with plants in concrete planters. The concrete leaches lime and raises the pH. I had a couple of clients with concrete planters that had never been able to get any thing to grow in. I lined the planters with garbage bags that had holes punched in it for drainage. I lined the bottom of the bag with gravel before adding the soil. Magic! Plants survived. Hmm I never did reveal my trick to my clients. They just thought I had a magic touch. Oh well.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown


Tonio
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woah, go one DDF !!!

Thanks (insert thumbs up emoticon)
San Diego / Z10
-------------------

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rainbowgardener
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pH guide

Very interesting, Eric! There are a few surprises there. I did not know potatoes like it so acid, more even then blackberries. (For some reason they didn't put blueberries on the list, but I assume they would be right there with blackberries and cranberries.) That may account for why my container potatoes have not been real productive. I will acidify this year and see what happens.

Some of it is controversial. They have rosemary in the acid liking column. Here is what I have always known about rosemary and told others:

To grow rosemary in pots, select potting soil with a minimum of peat moss, which is acid, as rosemary likes an alkaline pH. Add enough sand for superb drainage.
https://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/2 ... w-rosemary

It has worked for me. When I was trying to overwinter rosemary indoors and only had peat soil, I added baking soda to the water to keep it happy. Worked well for me and I had killed rosemary before. But I was also restricting water and misting, so maybe it wasn't really the baking soda.

However, when I saw this, I went looking now and I found people saying about rosemary:
6 - 7.5
6.8 but tolerates up to 8.5
5-6
6 - 7.5
6- 8.5
6 -7
about 7/ neutral

So apparently this stuff is not an exact science or it depends on other conditions or it depends on your rosemary cultivar.

Incidentally here's a more comprehensive listing I found:
https://www.gardenexpress.com.au/growing ... guide.html
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

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tomf
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There is a lot of good information here, I have grown for years and learned a bit from your post here, with out sounding overly sweet, there is a lot of knowledge here.
Elizabeth I have always used the strips, what PH meters do you think work well?
DD good link.
I do one more thing to check my soil.
I fill a jar about 1/2 way with soil and add water, shake it up and after it settles look to see what the mix of sand clay and organics are. Also when you add potting soil it often has un-composted browns in it, as browns compost they suck nitrogen from the soil. Things like PH and calcium can effect the uptake of nutrients, you need minerals and as J said clay has them, clay also holds water.
I tried the pots and starter pots that say they break down, the roots never could grow past them.

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ReptileAddiction
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This year before I planted my maters I ripped up the peat pot and put it into the soil. At the end of the season I still found chunks of it :shock:

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Well, Reptile; I'm a believer. My peppers are alive, but they aren't doing anything! The chili peppers are still white on the side that the reflective screen was on. The green pepper has one under-developed fruit at the top of it. The yellow pepper is just there with the banana pepper... just alive. I'm glad I took them all out of those "biodegrable" pots. They do look better. My tomatoes are starting to flower, but I'm not going to hold my breath for any fruit. All my basil died (except for one sweet basil). The thais have all dried out and the overcrowding I did witht the sweet basil didn't work out (like everyone said it wouldn't); except for one.

My cold weather crops on the otherhand are doing great! Lettuces, spinach, cilantro, brocolli and celery are all doing great. Rosemary is as well too. Teragon looks the same size, but with two little yellow flowers at it's top. The new growth on the strawberries looks super strong and healthy, but the damaged leaves aren't getting any better. The strawberries are also starting to flower.

So at this point, I don't know if it's the short amounts of daylight, or the phosphates in the fertilizer, but as mentioned, lots of the plants are flowering. The cilantro, celery, lettuces and brocolli are the only things not flowering right now. Which is good; I'm not complaining. But I begin to wonder.

Since my first test I've been very concious of my water pH now. I pH it down to 6.5. I fill my reseviour with RO water, add nutes, check pH, adjust and then water. Seems to be working for the time being. I'll post some more pictures tomorrow.

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Well if you haven't noticed already, I'm out of bandwidth for the month so none of my pictures show; but I found this this evening and I thought it was interesting: https://www.sandiego.gov/water/quality/w ... ness.shtml

BTW, my pictures have been uploaded to my gallery, but no one will be able to see them until next month I believe when I get more bandwidth.

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