AMKuska's 2020 Garden

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,053
Reaction score
6,654
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
I think the soil may be too fast draining in one of the locations. The other 10x20 gets 12+ bags of compost every year, and I recently started fish fertilizer during the growing season which really seemed to help with stunting, a problem I had previously.

No, the water it's not salty. I do wonder if @digitS' is onto something with the bees. When I looked up poor pollination, that's exactly what appears to be happening, but why would the bees stick their little noses up at my squash when there are so many bees (of different species even) absolutely everywhere in my yard? Why hop the fence and go to the neighbors squash instead? Why pollinate the cherry tree but not the cucumbers? It's just so puzzling.
well you shouldn't need compost every year in the veggie gardens if you are rotating your crops, but it also depends a lot upon how intensive you are gardening in those areas.

hmm, bees, perhaps they don't like all the sprays? do you have any bumblebees or ground nesting bees around, those are the ones most effective at pollinating the native vining plants. or if you are keeping bees perhaps they are defending their turf a bit too aggressively so that the native bees can't get at the vines.

but for me this season on some plants it was certainly the temperature because nothing was setting on the melons or squash for weeks at a time and them, all at once we had some finally take (and they were clumped together). but not the cucumbers which i found odd.

i do know that with some plants they'll have male only flowers for a while and then finally get some female flowers out there - i'm guessing this is to encourage the spread of pollen around instead of only to the self. i.e. to prevent mostly inbreeding.
 

digitS'

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
20,461
Reaction score
10,865
Points
457
Location
border, ID/WA(!)
Finding a good bagged product to mix with garden soil and perlite for pots of perennials or a few vegetables and flowers for the yard has really proven difficult. I suspect that all of the outfits that are in the business use municipal compost. Their products have so much wood.

Digression: I have been a little frustrated with Sun Gro's Black Gold the last couple of years and I have used it for starting plants in the greenhouse for decades. Then, I discovered that the garden center now has a new product on its shelves - a Black Gold Starting Mix. Okay, fine. However, the other bagged potting mix is now much coarser.

I'm not suggesting using potting mix in your garden soil. That would be expensive. It is just that some of these "soil amendments" do not make any plant nutrients available for what we are trying to grow in any immediate way. Even bagged manure is often ladened with what ain't manure.

All of this coarse material may eventually become available but a plant days-, weeks-, months-old has immediate needs for producing something that we want from it.

Yes, I like fish emulsion. It seems that some plants make better use of it as a foliar fertilizer than others. Tomato leaves hold onto it well. One may as well put it directly on the soil around corn plants because it runs right off the leaves. That will require lots more of the fish fertilizer. Still, it's good stuff.

Steve
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,053
Reaction score
6,654
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
Finding a good bagged product to mix with garden soil and perlite for pots of perennials or a few vegetables and flowers for the yard has really proven difficult. I suspect that all of the outfits that are in the business use municipal compost. Their products have so much wood.

Digression: I have been a little frustrated with Sun Gro's Black Gold the last couple of years and I have used it for starting plants in the greenhouse for decades. Then, I discovered that the garden center now has a new product on its shelves - a Black Gold Starting Mix. Okay, fine. However, the other bagged potting mix is now much coarser.

I'm not suggesting using potting mix in your garden soil. That would be expensive. It is just that some of these "soil amendments" do not make any plant nutrients available for what we are trying to grow in any immediate way. Even bagged manure is often ladened with what ain't manure.

All of this coarse material may eventually become available but a plant days-, weeks-, months-old has immediate needs for producing something that we want from it.

Yes, I like fish emulsion. It seems that some plants make better use of it as a foliar fertilizer than others. Tomato leaves hold onto it well. One may as well put it directly on the soil around corn plants because it runs right off the leaves. That will require lots more of the fish fertilizer. Still, it's good stuff.

Steve
i haven't used bagged cow or other manured composts in years but compost is for the future, it's worm food, soil conditioner and helps hold nutrients and water.

worm compost is more current food. worm teas i've not gotten into, but i hear people speak of them, same for fish emulsion, around here fish emulsion is asking for raccoon troubles.

for the first time in years the raccoons did some digging at the onions, pulled a few up along the edges of the patch. that is because when Mom planted the onion starts (that are grown as plants in flats like many other garden veggies) she put them too shallow. over the little plugs of dirt you want a few inches of dirt to go over those because otherwise the raccoons smell the fertilizer and think there's something good to eat down there. we used to put the onions outside the fence but the raccoons would disturb them too much so we then switched to putting them inside the fence.

in contrast i've never had any onion seedlings dug up when i've sprouted and grown my own in place without using any potting mix or fertilizers.

the onions planted shallow did ok this season but they were about 1/3rd to 1/2 smaller than they would normally get.
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,377
Reaction score
6,945
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
Their products have so much wood.

I've noticed the same thing. I don't know why but all those products now seem to contain a lot of shredded wood or bark. Didn't used to. I can understand a little of the wood products in some of those products but not as much as I'm seeing. Especially for starting seeds and growing the young plants it makes it harder to keep moisture right. I suspect you are supposed to mix soil or compost with all of them, didn't used to have to do that. To me, mixing other stuff in kind of negates the "sterile" mix.

It is just that some of these "soil amendments" do not make any plant nutrients available for what we are trying to grow in any immediate way.

The plants absorbing the nutrients is a chemical process. The nutrients have to be in the right chemical form for the plants to absorb them. The way I understand it, the slow-release fertilizers are not in the right form. They have to undergo a chemical reaction to be converted into the right form. I think they start out not water-soluble and our friends the microbes in the ground convert them into the right water-soluble form. So no, they will not do you much immediate good but they will last for quite a while.

Nutrients in water-soluble form are immediately available for use but with rain or watering they can be leached out of the soil. Things like compost tea or bloodmeal. So when you use these products you need to apply them regularly. I think this mainly applies to nitrogen but there have to be other nutrients involved too.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,053
Reaction score
6,654
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
Their products have so much wood.

I've noticed the same thing. I don't know why but all those products now seem to contain a lot of shredded wood or bark. Didn't used to. I can understand a little of the wood products in some of those products but not as much as I'm seeing. Especially for starting seeds and growing the young plants it makes it harder to keep moisture right. I suspect you are supposed to mix soil or compost with all of them, didn't used to have to do that. To me, mixing other stuff in kind of negates the "sterile" mix.
...
likely a result of many community trash programs now requiring yard waste and organic materials to be put out in different containers/packages so that they can be composted instead of landfilled.
 

AMKuska

Garden Addicted
Joined
Jan 25, 2014
Messages
1,265
Reaction score
1,996
Points
257
Location
Washington
I've noticed lots of wood in even my potting soil, pretty big 1" chunks too. To be honest, I just used top soil in the green house this year and mixed in a little fertilizer, and it has been doing great.

I have 3 different species of bees in my garden that I recognize, but I don't know what they are. A tiny, fuzzy thing that prefers the wildflowers, a honey bee from the local honey bee farm, and then a great heavy fellow who is a bit more uncommon. He's yellow and black and has even more fuzz then the honey bee.
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
14,556
Reaction score
18,563
Points
427
Location
Northeast Texas
My squash failed this year too, as did bush beans. I planted zucchini, yellow crookneck and yellow patty pan squash and all bloomed, fruited, then died. I tried three times. Nothing. I planted blue hubbard winter squash, they came up and died. I planted pink banana squash in the same holes, they came up and produced.

The bush beans I planted for the bean network, bloomed, set beans that never filled out and dropped off. Meantime, the bean vines across the aisle made beans like crazy and i canned plenty of them.

What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong? Heck if I know.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,053
Reaction score
6,654
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
I've noticed lots of wood in even my potting soil, pretty big 1" chunks too. To be honest, I just used top soil in the green house this year and mixed in a little fertilizer, and it has been doing great.

I have 3 different species of bees in my garden that I recognize, but I don't know what they are. A tiny, fuzzy thing that prefers the wildflowers, a honey bee from the local honey bee farm, and then a great heavy fellow who is a bit more uncommon. He's yellow and black and has even more fuzz then the honey bee.
the great heavy fellow is likely a bumblebee (which is still likely a female :) ) is what you want to encourage for squash plants, but even more so you want to encourage squash bees.

here's a good video of them (sorry his voice is strange, but the information is good and i like movies of bees :) )...


there should also be some other interesting videos when you bring up that one for even more information. :)
 

digitS'

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
20,461
Reaction score
10,865
Points
457
Location
border, ID/WA(!)
Interesting. I don't think that those are what show up in my squash and punkins.

The common visitor is, I think, a bumblebee. There doesn't seem to be much of a pollination problem but there is a good deal of ground around the big veggie garden that is not filled, not irrigated, not used by livestock.

Steve
 
Top