Garden Plants Stay Small?

Hello. Quick question here. Scenario is new garden plot, "new" dirt mix.
Vegetable plants in there will remain very small. Some will never grow and stay the same size for weeks. Some will even produce flowers, even if the plant size is small. On certain plants, the leaves will "disintegrate".
Any ideas? I am thinking improper nutrients in the soil, or soil too acidic or something like that. Any info appreciated. CHEERS!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What plants, what zone ar you in, what's your weather been like, are you watering and how much, have you fertilized and what did you use? Oh, and how many hours of sunlight does the garden get?
Penelope
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thank you for your time. Please allow me to answer your questions.
-Plants: carrots, tomatoes, hot pepper plants(worst looking plant), nugget hops, cascade hops, and other stuff I forget.
The tomatoes are flowering already, but the plants did not grow at all since planted from another pot. All my attempts at starting tomatoes from seeds have failed also. The seedlings will stay very small and eventually yellow and die (or get blown away by the wind).
-Weather has been in the 90's the past 3 days. Before that, high 80s and 3 weeks ago it rained a lot (for 1.5 weeks). This has been refreshing since we are still in a drought here in Colorado (USA).
-Watering is scheduled on a daily basis using my sprinkler system. I water enough to cover the whole plots. I am pretty sure watering is fine because the soil seems wet enough to the touch. Which reminds me to tell you that my soil has a lot of clay. The radishes in one of my older plots seem to like that. This year my radishes are twice as big, but half the spicyness (if that is a clue of some sort). Last year my hot peppers were small but hot like you would not believe.
Ok, I realize this is a lot of information to dish out. My actual problem (the one I asked here) is for a new garden plot I have started. Last year, I only had one plot and some vegetables did well in that new soil mixture, some didn't. This year, the now one year old plot got natural compost added to it (I try to make my own). Which brings me to the next point.
-Sunlight: I live in Colorado (mountain time). Plot #1 gets full sun pretty much all day. One half of Plot #2 (new one) gets full sun only starting at around noon while the other half gets full sun starting at about 10:00am I would say.
-Fertilization: Nothing this year except natural compost mixed in plot #1. Plot #2 is new and has "planter's mix" in it, which is apparently half compost and half good soil. Last year I fertilized my tomatoes with that pink granule stuff you buy which is specific for tomatoes. I always use half the recommended dose and study the effects.
Gardening is harder than I thought. As if it wasn't hard enough, earwigs are destroying my romaine lettuce heads (which used to be doing good in plot#1). So last night, after dark I wore my headlamp and killed them by hand. One by one. I refuse to use chemicals. Funny the things I would do for good organic lettuce.
Again, thanks for your time!
PS: In this message, when I say "I" I really mean myself and my wonderful wife. Except when I was killing the earwigs by hand, that was all me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Interesting theory. Thanks for your input. I'll look into it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bendit wrote:

Specifically, compost that hasn't finished composting (very often the case with the loads of compost you get from city leaf collection programs) uses nitrogen in its own decomposition process, and doesn't leave enough for the plants.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bendit Wrote:

Do you mulch any of your plants? We have real hard clay soil here i Arkansas, besides the summers are real hot and dry. I put newspape around my plants and put mulch on top. My plants just love th newspaper. They start growing strong just after putting it down. don't know why though. I just know it works. Last year when everyon elses tomatoes died from the heat mine just kept producing and growing
-- Maryc
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for the information. No, I do not mulch any of the plants, yet. I could later in the summer. The reason why I do not do anything of that nature is because that garden plot doesn't get full sun 100% of the time, and even in a hot day the soil is still humid that night. Probably because of the clay mixture. Clay seems to be a mixed blessing. Certain plants love having their feet wet all day. My point is that I do not know if delaying evaporation on my soil is a good plan. I'll have to think about this one. Thanks again for your input!
I guess I could test my soil...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 20 Jun 2005, Bendit wrote:

Since no one else addressed this, mildly acidic soil is often prefered for vegetables, according to experts I know. Poor growth could be due to countless reasons, but this will be accompanied by other more explicit symptoms. For instance, in my 100% mulch soil, I get stunted growth. This is accompanied by chlorosis on the ends of the tomato leaves. Following the nutrition and disease diagnosis keys, I find a single culprit, iron deficiency. Rather than adding iron nails to the mulch, I mixed it equally with the nearly useless clay of my garden, vermiculite and perhaps 10% sowing and cactus soil. The result was impressive!
Regarding the comment about newspaper, I would imagine the newspaper would 1) cool down the soil, 2) trap moisture, 3 kill weeds and 4) add some fibre to the soild to change its texture. Newspaper ink has some drammatic biological effects, mainly toxicity to plants and perhaps bacteria and fungi.
Hope I have been of some help.
Dominic-Luc Webb
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for your input. Very interesting message. Is there a way for me to test the iron in my soil? More importantly, can my situation be corrected since I already have plants in my plot? Thanks again for any information. cheers!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hi Bendit, I think your problem is probably a like of Nitrogen. I am no expert in plant nutrient, I just have been at it longer than most. I do not regard fertilizer as a chemical, no more than I would call a 1 a day vitamin a chemical. I do regard Pesticides and Herbicides as undesirable chemicals
With that said, let me also state I don't think your problem is Iron. Iron chlorosis is easy detected by a white fringe on some of the affected foliage. Even then, your plants may not need iron, if your PH is quite a bit above 7, then your plant looses the ability to use the iron, even though you add more. It also makes the soil more acid.
Another thing to remember is that all compost is not created equal. An example of this is if you use Oak leaves in you compost it will not doubt be acid. If you use wood chips your ph will vary with different types of wood.
Okey- If I were in your situation, here is what I would do(I think).
Go to your nearest discount store (like Walmart) the swimming pool supply or gold fish supply section and buy a package of PH test strips. Then to the bottled water section and buy some Distilled Water. You might want to go to the plant food section and buy a small amount of chemical fertilizers. One that is high in Nitrogen, another that is high in Potash, and another that is high in Phosphorus. (even if you don't to use these in you garden, you can find which one you plants respond to and adjust your compost accoringly.
Soil test: Go home and boil some of the distilled water for 5 minutes (to remove the co2) after the water cools. Place a coffee filter in a small dish, then place some garden soil into the filter(no organic matter). With a plastic spoon dip and slowly pour the distilled water into the soil, continue to do so slowly until after a few minutes the water will begin to seep through the filter. As soon as there is enough water to test, use your test strip EXACTLY as instructed on the package. Pay particular attention to the "read" time, after duncking the test strip in the water. WALLA! if it is above 8 or below 5 (7 being neutral ) you must correct this problem first.
Now the three chemical fertilizers. (Even if you don't want to use these in your garden, you can determin what is missing and adjust your compost accordingly).
Plant three plants, or if you have three existing plants. Make a small trench 1" deep in an 8" circle around the plants(measure it!). Place 1 teaspoon(level) of Nitrogen around one, Place potash around another and etc. Cover it and water it in. Within less than a week you will know what is missing.
Sorry for the lengthy post- Rogerx
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This poster clearly knows his stuff! Nice response!
I might add to this that the pH will likely change with water content, and I would think a weak buffer would be helpful if the soil is clay. Not sure how this is done, really. I am not sure the pH will be very stable from DI water added to a soil that binds ions tightly. Maybe waiting a while would help. I see this measurement being very complicated. Regarding the iron deficiency I posted, I guess you could also try adding some iron nails in one of the trenches. That made a difference in my case and soil pH (essentially 100% clay) was slightly acidic.
Dominic-Luc Webb
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thank you all for your replies. This is great info. I will make good use of it. cheers!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Greetings! Please allow me to post some progress on my situation. I have tested the pH and the N-P-K of my soil. I have used an inexpensive test kit (called RapiTest or something). I am sure that the accuracy of that test brand can be debated, but in my case it is quite obvious that: my pH is somewhat ok (6.5 - 7.0) and that I have a big deficiency in N(Nitrogen). In fact, my soil is totally depleted. I am ok with P(Phosphorus), and for some reason have lots of K(Potash). Thanks to all that have assisted me! CHEERS!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Excellent to see you are getting this sorted out. Regarding the N deficiency, does the test detect all forms of N? Some do not.
Along the same lines, I suspected my soil was probably very low on N to begin with. I decided to grow brown and other beans beside my desired plants to try to improve the soil during the growing season. I speculate that the N would increase with the bean growth and therefore would make more N available as my nearby plants start to need more. Plants grown next to beans are mainly potato and pumpkin. Anyone know if this helps or not?
Regarding bean root bacteria and innoculation, I am curious, how do the bacteria manage to propogate from one year to the next? We pick the seeds, but we do not pick the roots. Sometimes I find a lot of rhizoids, other times very few. This gives me the impression that I should innoculate the seeds every year. I was thinking to just break up some rhizoids and spread the powder over the seeds for the next year. Maybe someone could explain. It looks like both me and the original poster might gain from a response....
Dominic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.