a question about soil

I have a perplexing problem, and I'm hoping someone here as some suggestions.
About 8-9 years ago, I had a combination of topsoil and compro (or whatever it is they make out of ground up leaves) delivered for my vegetable gardens. for the first several years, my routine veggie crops were spectacular. Lately, though, I find that seeds won't germinate, even the easiest to grow veggies. Beans, peas, etc...nothing. When I plan seedlings, though, I still get respectable plants.
I suspect that my soil needs something. I'm awaiting the soil test results from my local extension service, but each year, the results look the same, and are usually not real helpful.
Any suggestions? Does this sound like an acidity problem? When you add lime, how much?
Thanks,
Lee
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LG1111 wrote:

First of all, seeds will sprout on nothing. The worst soil in the world should be able to sprout seeds if the moisture and temperature are reasonable. (Yeah, I can think of exceptions. I suppose if the soil was so acid that it dissolved the seeds...)
Soil acidity is about the easiest thing to test for. Many people do it themselves. Certainly your tests done by the extension service will include a report on pH. If you need lime, I would think the report would tell you that and should even tell how much.
Steve
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Adding organic matter to your soil is not a "one time and you're done" type of amending. It's a constant practice, and if you''ve not added any compost or other organics to your soil lately, but have been harvesting out produce, you're bankrupting the soil. YOu have to add organics back in to balance the equation. pH adjusting isn't overnight either, and should be an ongoing project monitored by soil tests.
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Sunflower wrote:

Yup.
SCR
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (LG1111) wrote in message

Makes me doubt the soil is the problem. There are several other possibilities however. Is the seed fresh (harvested last growing season)? Is the soil warm enough? Does the seeds/sprouts get enough moisture? Are birds or insects getting your seeds?

Your soil test results should tell you. Don't guess - go with what they tell you. Your soil ph ideally should be 6.0 to 6.7 (slightly acidic) for vegetables. Typically for a soil ph around 4.5, you would add about 150 pounds of lime per 1000 sq. ft. (15 lbs/100 sq ft, 1.5 lbs/10 sq ft. etc). Powdered lime will work through the soil much faster than pelletized lime, however the pelletized is much easier to use if you have a big area to do.
Enuf
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If seeds aren't sprouting and your soil supports seedlings then you're planting bad seeds or you've got moochers. Use bird nets to deter birds. Look for signs of pests - like slugs. Or start your seeds indoors and transplant to your garden.
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As much as I'd like to agree, my seeds really don't germinate. I mean I can plant 500 beans and not get even 1 seedling. We have deer and rabbits, but I get NOTHING. To me, this suggests that my problem is chemical.
Lee
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LG1111 said:

A heavy infestation of seed maggots might be another cause, given that you have some success with transplants. These can be particularly devestating to beans and other large seeded crops, but they can also destroy smaller seeds. I've dug up cucumber seeds that hadn't sprouted in a reasonable time only to find each one with a maggot inside. (Several years treatment with beneficial nematodes helped eliminate that problem.) Earwigs and slugs can be murder on tender sprouts but only come out at night. (The list of pests that can murder sprouting seeds is not yet exhaustive...)
It's never a bad idea, though, to spring for a soil test (including the major micronutrients) -- especially if you haven't had one in a while.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
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LG1111 wrote:

To me, this suggests that your garden is haunted. I would sell the place and move far, far away.
Steve ... Just kidding (sort of).
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Statistically, I'd say the most likely cause is inadequate or inconsistent watering. Germinating seeds are very unforgiving. If they dry out for even a minute that can be the end of some. Seeds that take a long time to emerge may rot if they are sitting in heavy waterlogged soil from overwatering.
Unless you are tilling a former chemical waste dump :-) I'd doubt that the cause would be the soil chemistry. Chemistry might affect growth, but most seeds germinate when supplied with moisture and warmth regardless of soil fertility. Bean seeds would have to be the easiest and most rewarding to sprout! Practically fail safe! It is possible to plant some seeds too deeply, but probably not so with bean seeds, within reason. Some seeds do have a short use-by date.
--
John Savage (news address invalid; keep news replies in newsgroup)


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Pretty much. They don't complain til they start trying to actually chew it.

Except lima beans. They don't seem to like this germination thing and only about 1 in 3 sprouts. (BTW, very young lima beans are *delicious* raw -- sweet, like young peas.)

Which ones have you found that to be the case for?
Back around 1990, I saved a bunch of seeds from a special roadkill daisy (er, gazinna... they plant 'em along the roadbeds here, so I've renamed 'em :) ... didn't have anywhere to plant them until a couple years ago. In 2002, I planted a few and NONE of them came up. So I thought they'd aged out and were no good... in 2003, I planted ALL the ones I had left. And every bloody one of them sprouted. Hmm...
~REZ~
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