adding lime to vegetables?

livvyliv10June 9, 2007

I'm embarrassed to even ask this question. Because my vegetable garden hasn't been doing that hot (plants haven't thrived and are yellow), I checked the soil and it's acidic and I need nitrogen. I now know this is something you do BEFORE you plant. Makes sense. I purchased all of my garden soil so I thought that meant I didn't have to test...anyway....can I add lime now that I already have vegetables growing in the soil or does the lime need to go deep down in the soil? I was going to add the prescribed amount to the top of the soil and gently work it in a few inches.

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You may not need lime at all. And even if it might be useful, things are seldom so far off base that you can't wait until later.

So, what pH is the soil?

Where do you live?

Also how did you test the purchased soil? A home test kit? Or a professional lab test?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 2:00AM
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Jean asked all the right questions. Adding lime now won't help the chlorosis which can be the result of a large number of nutritional problems ranging from Nitrogen unavailabilty to a molybdenum deficiency.
A good reliable soil test is needed.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 7:14AM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Use your finger to test your soil to make sure your are not overwatering your plants as this will also affect the uptake of nutrients.

While you can add lime at any time, it takes months to make any change. Powdered lime may help more quickly. Of course a quality soil test is the only way to determine how much lime you will need to add. So collect your soil samples before you begin adding any amendments.

However, this is the prefect opportunity to see how a compost or composted manure tea will improve your plants. Don't get caught up in wether to use aerated or non-aerated tea, your plants need help now.

If you don't have compost or composted manure buy 1 bag for now. I use knee high stockings (3pr/$1 @ dollar store) for the tea bag. Cut both ends off a can to slip into stocking while adding composted material to the stocking. Don't get fussy on can for now, you can make another bigger one later if you need to. Tie stocking to a stick or pole so it is suspended in the water.

I use rainwater but if you don't have rainwater just use whatever you use for now. You can refine your recipe/process as time goes on and you read more on how others do what. Some say to let tap water sit for a day or so to dissipate the chlorine. But worry about fine tuning the process later, according to your needs & time avail.

Doesn't matter if you use a 5gal. bucket, 30 gal. garbage can, or an indoor trash can for now. A couple buckets or pails will help right now, keep 1 full of fresh water or make 2 or 3 tea bags to start, if you need lots of it. Keep the bucket where you will pass it often and dip the tea bag (as you would tea) or stir it each time you pass it.

After about an hour, I would draft some tea from the bucket into your watering can, water your plants, but top of the bucket again with fresh water. I wouldn't worry about diluting as it will be a very weak tea. In fact, I don't think you can make it too strong to begin with. I think people dilute to spread out what they have.

If you want to try a foliar spray this will likely help faster. Just use a nylon to strain the tea while pouring from the watering can into a spray bottle.

So your shopping list is -
compost or composted manure
knee highs
bucket or pail
spray bottle
watering can
powdered lime

Then if you decide to get into the aerated thingy you will only need a few more things.

And do NOT forget the soil test, eh!!
Or to use your finger to test your soil to make sure your are not overwatering.

I am sure that others here would like to hear your results, postive or negative. So keep us posted.

Get busy & Good Luck,

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 3:31PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

ps. You should notice an improvement within a week but more likely a couple days.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 11:39PM
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edgman(z7MD East)

Any time you plant any Veggie throw a tablespoon of lime in the bottom of the hole. I dont care what the experts say your plants will all come out healthy, green and with an abundant crop.. When you side dress with fertilizer add another dose of lime with it. Lime does not take months to work as stated above, but sometimes days or a week if you scratch it into the surface. If your veggies show black end rot (especially tomatoes) that means you didnt use lime in the planting. It may be too late for the first batch but scratch lime into the 2-3 inches of dirt around the drip line, water it really good so it gets down to the roots and your second batch should be fine. Been sucessfully gardening for 25 years now and my first purchase for the garden is a 50 pound bag of lime. Forget the PH meters and start getting to know your garden by looking at your plants. Used one of them meters one time and screwed up my garden so bad by trying to change the PH to what the master gardner said it should be. Lost 50% of my crop. Moved from New Hampshire where my crops did great with a certain PH level to Maryland where the PH level was just the opposite and the same crops still did great regardless of the PH level. Gardening is trial and error. Get to know your own garden and don't depend on meters to tell you what's wrong. Was out in my Garden today telling my garlic to get a move on so I can harvest it so my tomatoes can have more nourishment.

Sorry for rattling on.

edgman/Tom R

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:16PM
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would be interesting to hear how livvy made out with this problem?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 3:59PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

First, high-magnesium lime becomes available to plants very slowly. Much of the dolomitic lime used today isn't available for at least 18 months, even in a biologically active soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leave it on top

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Contact your local office of your states USDA Cooperative Extension Service about having a good, reliable soil test done. The results will have a recommendation of how much, as well as which (calcitic or dolomitic) lime you might need, if any. The best time to add lime to your gardens soil is in the fall so the soil bacteria have time to utilize that and correct what the problem is. Adding the wrong lime could mean there will be no change in soil pH and could result in even more plant problems because the wrong material can interfere with plant nutrient uptake.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:22AM
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