okay, it is the soil!

Hi All,
Lesson learned, maybe.
This year for the first time I had reseeded tomatillos sprouting up. Two of the guys seemed rather aggressive and I was wondering if I was going to get some mutant tomatillos. But they kept getting bigger and bigger. Now I was curious. The leaves matches the pattern on my other tomatillo, but now were five times there size. And two and three feet tall.
Now I was really curious. So I got to thinking. These look a lot like sunflowers. My neighbor grew the things last year, so I wondered if he grew them again. Now I am 5'8" and the fence is 6'. I was standing back about 20 feet. He had a sunflower sticking up about three feet above the fence line. Sucker must me 9' tall! He had a bunch of others, telltale flower and all, about 6' tall.
So the stinkers were sunflowers from his seeds last year! But mine were only 2' and 3' tall. Hard on the ego, black thumb and all.
Then I started to think. My neighbor imported soil from the local soil and compost place and used raised beds.
Were mine had decided to grow, was in the decorative rocks: decomposed sandstone covered for 22+ years. Some how they had found a hole in the plastic and took root.
There is no other difference between me and him OTHER than the soil. Same water, same light, same temperature, same sun, same everything, except the soil.
Do I suppose too much? Or is this a good demonstration on why I need to drastically improve my soil? (Where I have been improving it, I seem to be doing pretty well this year, so far.)
-T
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Anecdotally: This year I cleared a section of "lawn" to turn in to a garden bed, basically turned over everything that was there and buried it in the sand raked it to a fine tilth and picked weeds for a month or so. Rather than leave it fallow for the winter and prior to any amendments I scattered a couple of seed packs of leafy vegetables, spinach, silver beet and lettuce. I mixed the seeds together and scattered carefully, if that's possible. Looking at the way the seeds are growing it looks to me that some parts of the patch have suitable nutrients and some have none at all.as that seems to be the way the seedlings are showing all seeds grow at one spot no seeds grow in another spot and these are scattered all over the patch. Come the spring, Australian Winter at the moment, I shall be digging in the compost to give the summer crop a better start.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bloke Down The Pub wrote: ...

i've seeded in a patch out back that i cleared and did much the same, scattered a mix of old seed packages.
fairly even coverage now. not much rain so most of the greens aren't going to be great quality and i'm only spot weeding it anyways to keep the grasses from coming back.
before i scattered the seeds i used a wide rake to make small dents for the seeds to fall in and then i went back over it with the rake a little to make sure some are covered as some do like a certain depth for germination and proper rooting.
in the mix are also the seeds for some longer term perennial plants that will be the main residents along with whatever strawberries i transplant this fall.
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
T wrote: ...

no, of course not, clearly, good soil is going to make a difference.
to me the issues are how much you want to spend for it and how much work it is to bring in good topsoil. if you can afford it and are going to grow a lot of veggies then it is usually worth investing in good topsoil if your site doesn't have it. if you are only going to grow a few things then you can create it via bringing in amendments and mixing your own (for a small area). using some of your existing soil as a substrate is ok. all good topsoil contains a certain amount of sand.
in my own case, the soil here is clay and is very fertile when we get enough rain. i can turn it into excellent topsoil by adding some sand and plenty of organic matter. my veggie garden beds that i've been amending and working on for the past years are all progressing well. at minimal expense. if i wanted to speed things up i'd just bring in 50 yards of topsoil and raise the entire fenced garden area up, but that is a huge amount of work considering all the pathways and other hardscape stuff already in place and it would have to be hauled in a wheelbarrow at a time...
for what i am doing, keeping it simple and minimal expense, it's just not worth it to do that kind of retrofit.
that is why it's a good idea to get your main ground features and plans sorted out before you limit your access to an area. so much here would have been much easier had i been able to truck and dump stuff instead of having to haul it piecemeal.
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 08/08/2016 09:05 PM, songbird wrote:

Hi Songbird,
I can't afford to barely eat with this recession that won't quit, so I can not afford to import soil. :'(
I am noticing that where ever I has added Peat Moss to increase acidity and hold moisture, and did your recommendation about burying weeds and other vegetable matter, I am having good luck.
The neighbor's sunflower collection confirmed my suspicion about my miserable soil
Got three large zukes this Monday. Tons of Purslane too. My cherry tomatoes are starting to turn from orange to red. Got about five Chinese lanterns on my Tomatillos. And my Ancho has got little peppers all over it. Just flower so far on my eggplants. No sign of squash bugs for a while now.
Things are looking up.
-T
Man fresh zukes from the garden are good eating!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
T wrote: ...

yeah, i do understand, i'm underwater too each month, just hoping interest rates can go up enough that i can break even.

great! always keep your eyes open for free organic materials. old veggies at the store that might get thrown out, free for the asking or if you get to a greenhouse and they are throwing away old plants. ask them. or friends who are throwing away potted plants. ask them. wood pieces from tree cutting, bark, etc. from wood cutting, sawdust, etc. it's all worth it if you can get it. any time you see a tree service cutting something down, stop and talk and perhaps they'll deliver them for a few $ as it might save them a lot of miles and a tipping fee. talk to the neighbors.
mostly, just keep eyes peeled and some things work out. a few inches of wood chips after a few years turn into some great stuff. :)
and never give up! heehee!

:)

we did 21 quarts of pickles yesterday. going to be super busy soon as tomatoes are finally starting to turn.
have you ever tried pattypan squash?
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 08/11/2016 11:00 PM, songbird wrote:

Awesome!

Have you grown them and how did they come out. Was there more food created than off a regular zuke?
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2638/2
Squash, summer, scallop (patty pan), cooked, boiled, drained
1 cup Mashed: Calories 38.4 KCal Carbs 8.2 grams fiber 4.6 grams Glycemic load 3
This is right up my alley!
But, but, but ... http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetables/p/Patty-Pan-Squash.htm says Soil: Patty pan squash does best in a *rich*, well drained soil and plenty of sun. Patty pan will grow in most good soils, but prefers a soil pH that is *slightly acidic*, about 6.1 to 6.5.
I am screwed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
T wrote:

you'll get there eventually. :) keep scroungin!
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ask around and look around for anything useful - lawn clippings, dead leaves, brush/chips/trimmings, any food waste or food preparation byproducts, coffee grounds (particularly at the coffee-shop scale, but any help...) as well as the more traditional herbivore food byproducts (who's got a pet rabbit? A pet pony? A horse? A Guinea Pig? - they all generate garden improving material, and many of them throw it away or consider it a problem to get rid of.) It's more convenient if you can find one large source, but many small sources add up.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/12/2016 12:09 PM, Ecnerwal wrote:

keep them healthy. The drugs will show up in the manure sooner than later. We got some manure from a fellow with race horses but I had the manure tested first, threw it into a nearby dumpster. Grass and hay fed critters without drugs are okay. Rabbit manure is the creme de la creme of fertilizers, doesn't burn, composts readily, good stuff.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 08/12/2016 11:40 AM, George Shirley wrote:

Thank you guys!
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.