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worm compost

Posted by ChristyRocNY none (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 10:24

I just put in a couple of new raised beds this spring and when I was looking for something to fill them, found a place selling a 50/50 topsoil & worm compost blend. I mixed some peat moss in as well. Does the soil need more than that? I thought the worm compost would provide reasonable fertility, but maybe it's not balanced?

It's been three weeks now, and things just aren't growing like I'd hoped. My husband can't seem to stop commenting that "the tomatoes are smaller than when you planted them". I don't think they really are, but I don't think they've put out a single new leaf. The basil, broccoli, peppers and one chard that I transplanted also seem to be in stasis. Beans came up nicely, and shot right up, but seem to be stuck around 3 inches tall. The only thing really doing well is spinach.
The tomatoes growing directly in the ground also started slowly, but are now about a foot tall, so weather doesn't seem to be a key factor.
What am I doing wrong??


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RE: worm compost

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 10:38

Not wrong, just not a full understanding of how organic additives and new beds can't function as well as established beds when it comes to providing nutrients to the plants.

Older well established beds have had the time to develop a soil food web, a micro-herd of bacteria and soil residents that can digest the available organic matter to nutrients the plants can use. New beds won't have that for at least a couple of years unless you add it by using one of the many soil activators or mycorrhizae supplements. And even they require time to work.

So when dealing with a new bed you have to supply nutrients on a regular basis in a readily usable liquid form the plants can absorb.

There are 100's of liquid organic supplements available that are mixed with water than fed directly to the plants and many of them are discussed here on a regular basis. Fish emulsion and kelp blends are probably one of the most common.

Bottom line it takes time - seasons worth - for a bed to feed the plants adequately. Until it can you have to.

Dave


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RE: worm compost

I think I have some fish/kelp, and may have even sprayed some mycorrhizal stuff, but only to empty out the tank after spraying it on the fruit trees.
If I fertilize, should things grow this season? And does spinach just not need as much fertility in the soil? It's the one thing that seems to be doing okay.


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RE: worm compost

Where are you? You seem to have a mix of warm and cool weather plants. Broccholi, spinach and usually chard being cool weather and the rest warm weather.
I have found with warm weather veges, if it's too cool, they simply aren't ready to grow and wait for the weather they want, then take OFF!
Also, sometimes if you buy starts that are root bound, they don't do well. Just a couple of thoughts. Nancy


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RE: worm compost

I'm in NY. It's definitely been cool weather here, but I've had one of the tomatoes and two of the peppers in "Wall-O-Water" type things, and they aren't doing any better than the ones without them. And the chard hasn't grown any either, while the ones that I shoved into spaces in some crappy window boxes that I can never get to grow ANYTHING have doubled in size.
I started most of the plants myself, and tried to tease out any roots that were looking like they were starting to be rootbound, and the roots didn't look anywhere close to as rootbound as you often find in starts you buy - but needing to get the beds built & filled did put them about a week behind the other garden spots were plants are doing better. Would a week be enough time to become rootbound?


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