ugh3012
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Washington, IL

Poor health and slow growth

I must be doing something wrong. Many of my plants, such as Hosta, are not growing as well as my neighbors. I never used fertilizer or anything like that, so I want to use it this year, but which one? I want to use one that is safe to use for all plants and shrubs and for someone who is not experience like me.

dustyrivergardens
Green Thumb
Posts: 617
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:32 pm
Location: Holbrook Az. zone 5b

I agree completely if all you do is add 2-3 inches of compost a year your yard will do nicely

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Me three! Well aged composted manure is also a good addition. Also keep your beds well mulched with organic stuff, wood chips, fall leaves, straw or whatever. It suppresses weeds and eventually breaks down to help feed your soil.

But you do have to do something. Even if you had good rich garden soil to start with, if you never replenish it, eventually the nutrients are depleted.

Start your own compost pile; then after awhile you won't have to buy compost any more!
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

ugh3012
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Washington, IL

Great idea. I will do that this week.

What about watering it with some kind of plant food. I see people hook up something to the water hose and spray plants with it.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4986
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Use real fertilizer, 15/15/15, Ammonium Nitrate, Manure and Lime.

Compost has almost no fertilizer value but the organic material loosens the soil and is great for root growth.

dustyrivergardens
Green Thumb
Posts: 617
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:32 pm
Location: Holbrook Az. zone 5b

I am a organic gardener so I don't use the fertilizers unless they are omri approved.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

I disagree that compost has no fertilizer value. It may be in the range of 1-1-1, which seems small compared to 12-12-12 granular or 20-20-20 Miracle Gro soluble plant food, but on the other hand, you're putting it on by the shovelful. It has plenty of fertilizer value.

And don't add lime to your soil unless you have a soil test and know for a fact that your pH is too acidic. Even then you need to know the Ca to Mg ratio to know whether to use calcitic or dolomitic lime.

I think it's OK to use some fertilizer along with compost. Most people will not be able to change whole hog from whatever they were doing to a massive soil improvement campaign with compost, overnight. So don't feel guilty about using some fertilizer.

If your neighbors have great looking gardens, ask them what they're spraying on them. :idea:
Last edited by toxcrusadr on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tox

estorms
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:04 pm
Location: Greenfield Township, PA

Because my garden is new, I did a soil test and added as much 10-10-10 and lime as recommended by Penn State. They also recommended one inch of organic matter. My garden is about 1500 square feet. When organic matter is spread out, it doesn't seem to go very far. I saved all the grass clippings and put them on, then I put all the leaves on, and it wasn't nearly enough. I added 30 bales of hay. When it packed down, it still wasn'n't an inch. I would like to have tilled it all in in the fall, but it was too wet. We will till as soon as the ground thaws and is dry enough. It will be years before I can have enough compost. There is a saw mill up the road. Do you think I could use sawdust? I thought I would mulch between the rows with it and till it in in the fall.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

What kind of logs are they sawing? This could have an effect on the pH of the sawdust in the short term.

I have a woodshop and I use planer shavings and sawdust for several purposes:

Mulching paths as you suggested. Works great.

Mixing with greens for compost - esp. grass clippings that really need a nitrogen sink.

Mixing with other organic matter (grass clippings or whatever) to use for mulch. Basically a compost mix but rather than composting in a pile or bin, I pile it around tomatoes, etc. to keep weeds down and moisture in. By fall it's pretty much disappeared into the soil.

Just be careful tilling it in, because sawdust is a super brown, maybe even after some aging on the surface.
Tox

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27798
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

There IS fertility in all the compost and organic matter and it's not just about the NPK
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=43

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Please sir, I want some more

..
Feed the soil that feeds the plants. Compost does that. Mulches do that. Fertilizers only feed the plants and can ruin the soil.

to sense
..

Return to “Composting Forum”