Peppers, Epsom Salt

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What is the best way to use Epsom? As a spray for the foliage or sprinkle it around the base of the plants?
MJ
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Epsom salts has been used to relieve magnesium defi ciency found during intensive cropping of many fruit and vegetable species worldwide. Th ese include commonly grown North American crops such as alfalfa, apple, beets, carrots, citrus, cauliflower, cotton, grains, hops, kale, nuts, okra, peppers, plums, potatoes, snap beans, sugar beets, sweet potatoes, tobacco, tomatoes, watermelon, and wine grapes, as well as more exotic species including banana, cacao, coff ee, rubber, Swedish turnips, and tea.
Among the diverse plant materials that have been studied under treatment with Epsom salts, there are two commonalities: all are intensively produced crops and all were suffering from magnesium deficiency.
There are two primary causes of magnesium defi ciency in plants: an actual lack of soil magnesium, or an imposed defi ciency caused by mineral imbalances in the soil or plant. Magnesium defi ciencies most commonly occur in soils described as light, sandy, and/or acid, though occasionally clay soils under intensive production can show magnesium defi ciency as well.
Regardless of type, soils heavily leached by rainfall or irrigation are more likely to exhibit magnesium defi ciency. Thus, soil addition of highly soluble Epsom salts under leaching conditions does not benefit magnesium-deficient plants but does increase mineral contamination of water passing through.
To restore magnesium, buy some Epsom salts at the drugstore and add about one tablespoon to an empty spray bottle. Then fill the bottle with lukewarm water, shake it up so the Epsom salts dissolve and spray the solution on the leaves and blossoms of your pepper plants.
Epsom salt solutions have been sprayed on foliage, resulting in leaf scorch; inclusion of a wetting agent can relieve this. A teeny bit of detergent maybe? Commercial wetting agents look pricy.
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Billy wrote:

As well as all this keep in mind that a foliar spray is a quick fix not a long term solution and it doesn't last long. Unless you want to do it every few weeks study your soil and see what needs to be done to provide a long term balance of minerals.
D
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On Thursday, May 30, 2013 7:22:26 PM UTC-4, David Hare-Scott wrote:

Everything is fertilized with 10 10 10. The peppers (bell) do not have very thick walls and I thought I had read that this would help. There is a lot of irrigation to the garden, so am I wasting my time and effort? The burnin g issue concerns me too. Would early morning be enough to combat that? MJ
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Of course I recommend that you go organic. That said, I can only recommend you try different pepper cultivars, and find the ones that best like your garden. Watering at levels above what is needed can create cultivation problems (root rot), and dilute flavor in the fruits, and vegetables. =====<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Girl> Early Girl is well suited to a technique known as "dry farming".[4]
Researchers at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are among those who have described the technique: not watering tomatoes after transplanting, forcing the roots to grow deeper to seek out moisture, producing more "concentrated flavor," and saving water.[5]
Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes have a cult following, and aficionados claim the taste of dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes rival those of the best-regarded heirloom tomatoes.[6][7][8]
Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are popular in farmers markets in the San Francisco Bay Area. The variety is also popular with home gardeners in that region, where it thrives despite the area's cool and often overcast summers.[9][10][11]
Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters is a fan of the Early Girl tomato, telling an interviewer "[O]ne of the best tomatoes IΉve ever had was an Early Girl that was dry-farmed up in Napa at a friendΉs house." ===== The problem with burning is the concentration of salts in a droplet of water. Wetting agents let the water spread out in a sheet, rather that let the surface tension hold it together in a droplet.
Try a drop of detergent per bottle, and then spray a leaf. If droplets persist add another drop. I wouldn't go above 10 drops (1/2 ml), but more than that may be OK, depending on the size of the sprayer bottle.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I am assuming you have good reason to think your soil is deficient in magnesium. If this is just a guess on your part it might be easier to do some testing before springing into action. If the only indicator you have is the thickness of the walls of your peppers then consider that this may be the cultivar you have not the environment. For example the 'bulls horn' capsicum (sweet pepper) has much thinner walls than the short square kind.
First check the pH of your soil, if it is too low instead of raising it with garden lime try dolomite instead which contains magnesium as well as calcium. This form of magnesium is nowhere near as soluble as epsom salts and so it will last longer.
Keeping the magnesium in the soil also depends on the presence of colloids such as those in clay or compost (look up cation exchange capacity). Retentive soil will always be easier to maintain minerals compared to very sandy soil. This does not apply just to magnesium but all minerals. So the long term solution would include the steps: getting the pH right, get the exchange capacity up and add a source of magnesium if required.
D
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On Thursday, May 30, 2013 7:42:42 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

t of irrigation to the garden, so am I wasting my time and effort? The burn ing issue concerns me too. Would early morning be enough to combat that?

I have had the soil tested many times at through the cooperative extension office but it has been a few years. I don't remember the exact results but there was never anything that stood out and the 10 10 10 was their recommen dation. The soil is fairly sandy and slightly acidic due to the pine trees near by. I have never been able to figure out what is in the soil that cau ses my tomato plants to develop wilt but they do every year. In fact I took some dirt out of the garden, put it in a pot, planted the tomato plant and it too has wilted. But back to the peppers, I put a tablespoon of the Epsom Salt around the b ase of each plant and I sware the plants are greener. How often should or c an I do this? The garden is watered twice a day for 15 minutes. The plants are just getting flowers.
MJ
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

it may be still too early to pick them, try giving them a bit more time to develop.
if your soil is not holding moisture well and requires a half hour of watering each day that is a good sign that your soil could use some added clay and organic matter. this also would help in holding nutrients for the plants. also top dressing lightly with a mulch (once the soil warms up after the spring) will help hold moisture.

if nothing stood out they should have left it alone, but anyways...
have you had the water tested? is it city/treated or well water?
are you watering using hoses that are laying in the hot sun all day? if you spray that directly on plants fresh out of the hose that's not a good thing... when i water i always flush the hose first until the water runs cooler and then use...

use a little agricultural lime (powder acts fastest, grit lasts longer) in your garden. if you make your own compost add it to the compost heap. how much you need depends upon how far off your pH is from neutral. if you are 6.5 to 7.5 that is fine for most garden plants (other than those well noted for needing acidic conditions). don't add a lot all at one time, but over the course of a few years you should be able to gradually increase the pH. however, if your soil is mostly sand and has little clay or organic material to hold the moisture it can be leached away quickly once stopped. that is why i recommend adding a little clay and organic material to help hold things in place and to give the rest of the soil community more to work with.

diseases can be a problem for some plants. do you start your own seeds? have you tried different varieties? do you do crop rotation or are you planting tomatoes and peppers in the same soil year after year? if you are starting your own seeds you could be using infected seeds/trays/pots/starting mix, tools, watering can, hoses or location. if your starting process is flawed then it all follows.
what do you do for soil organic matter? do you add compost? do you grow other crops in the area and turn them under?
we've grown tomatoes for years and had some problems with fungi (after flooding and heavy rains), but not wilt. we also rotate plant on a minimum three to five year cycle (tomatoes first on new soil, then peppers, then beans, peas, beets, greens, then cover crops like buckwheat or alfalfa or trefoil. if we've planted the same crop two years in a row it is because i've turned the soil deeply enough to not worry about diseases.
also, mulching lightly to reduce rain and watering splashing of soil on the leaves. some people even remove the lower leaves of the plants once they get growing to keep disease problems from having an easy start. i don't go that far...

i dunno, around here both magnesium and sulfur are at reasonable levels and we amend enough with other materials that they shouldn't be getting depleted.
you could be picking them too early. when we get thin walled peppers it is those at the end of the season when the temperatures are lower and the light is not as strong. they are still edible up until the frosts get them, but the flavor isn't as good as prime time.
you could also try different varieties.
songbird
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On Monday, June 3, 2013 9:18:01 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:

know the actual number. It is an irrigation system that waters around 10 pm and then again around 5 am.

from actual tomatoes, cheep ones from Wal Mart, disease resistant seeds fr om a mail order place in Florida. All of my utensils are correctly used.

Yep rotate every year. Have not turned them under, especially the tomatoes because of the wilt. Organic matter is just fallen leaves and not much else . I cover the garden is black plastic for the winter (November - February)t o kill the weeds but whatever is there gets tilled in. We are homebrewers s o any spent grain gets put in the garden but nothing else compost wise. I h ave tried it and it just doesn't seem to work for me.

Again have done this too. The ones I have had success with have been from s eeds harvested from grocery store peppers, believe it or not.

Thank you for your time and information. I just feel like I have been doing this long enough that I should be growing perfect produce :)
MJ
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

sorry this seems so frustrating to you, but there's a lot of things that the rest of us don't know about what you are doing and so in order to try to help it is important to find out as much of the history and methods you are using. when i ask a question i want a specific answer to that question. if you think you're repeating yourself you might not be getting the point i'm after. already below you've revealed a few things that i didn't note from before so they can help longer term. :) patience... the more complete you can be the more it helps.
onwards...
have you ever been able to grow tomatoes there at all? you say you've planted different varieties but have you tried cherry tomatoes or smaller varieties?
have you ever tried growing tomatoes (patio or cherry tomatoes) in a brand new pot using potting soil and not using water from the tap?
for an experiment get a bucket, put a few holes in the bottom, fill it with potting soil and put a patio or cherry tomato plant in there and keep it watered using distilled or spring water (i.e. don't use tap water or water from the lake). fertilize it lightly only after it gets growing for a month.
if you can keep that plant alive then at least we know it's not you... :)

i still think this will help overall for your garden apart from everything else.

your soil is sandy loam? the soil tests should tell you what type of soil it is and how much clay (the percentage). if clay is too low then you're low pH water will be leaching nutrients from a sandy soil.
test your water. find out what you are up against (at the rate of 30 minutes at so many gallons per minute) each day.
i'm not sure if irrigating at different times would help too. is your irrigation system buried so that the water isn't being heated up at any point along the route from the lake to the garden?
is it being stored in a tank that is in the sun or does it come straight from the lake to the garden? (to adjust pH some folks run acidic water through a crushed limestone gravel bed, this works well for a while, but the gravel can eventually get a coating on it which then decreases the adjustment so after that it needs to be stirred. a much, much easier approach is to use earthworms and limestone grit. the worms use the pieces of grit in their gizzards to grind things up. along with their calcium secretion glands they are very good for maintaining pH.

important...

have you ever lifted a plant and looked at the root system? compared a healthy plant with a wilted plant? perhaps you have root knot nematodes (sandy soil ...)?
it may not be wilt. just curious what you've examined and if you've sent a wilted plant in for diagnosis? if so, what was the exact name they gave?

ok, how are you rotating? how large an area? have you ever double dug an area?
if you have another area far enough away that has never been gardened put a tomato in that spot and see what happens (even if it doesn't get enough light you can still examine the root structure later on or see if it wilts in the same manner).

not much actual nutrition in fallen leaves.
your soil is crying out for a more balanced diet. :)

is wilt a fungal, bacterial or viral disease?
if it is a fungal disease then covering the ground for that long a period of time and not encouraging bacterial populations is not going to help...
the sun sterilizes the surface of the soil (UV rays). earthworms will also help change the bacterial and pH characteristics of a soil. also growing plants will help. if you can switch to planting a mixed cover crop for those months and then turn it a few weeks before planting the garden i think you'll eventually be in for much better results.
once you learn more about what is going on (is it a fungal disease, bacterial or viral) then you can also adjust your practices to encourage the other factors to reduce the problem.

again, another very limited nutrient material. perhaps also too oriented towards fungal (like covering with plastic for months at a time will accomplish).
if you can afford fertilizer you can afford a bag or two of alfalfa pellets or alfalfa meal. top dress your garden with that and lightly mix it with the top few inches of soil. mulch lightly over that. in combination with added clay (if you don't have enough) some agricultural lime (probably needed) you'll greatly increase the bacterial and fungal counts. if you do this along with adding a bit of composted cow manure and other known good quality compost then you'll help to add more competition to disease organisms. this is best done a few weeks to a month before planting.

"I have tried it" what is "it"? compost or cover crops or ?
there's a lot of history we don't know about yet. we have no idea how long this garden has been going, if you've ever been able to grow tomatoes there, what the light situation is like, etc.
i'm trying to find out. :) if you answer each question i ask (bear with me, but each question is important because it gives me a better idea of what you are doing).
already we are getting a clearer picture of what's up...

do you use any mulch, covers or what?

likely California Wonder (the most common green bell pepper found in stores).

you're welcome. i enjoy problem solving and perhaps others can learn something too. i don't consider it a waste of time, but it speeds things up if you answer each question even if you think i should know the answer already. not everyone reads the backstory or the past articles and someone far wiser than i may see something obvious that i haven't...
as for growing perfect produce. well i can tell the bugs which plants to eat and they listen. just joking... every year i learn more and i've been growing houseplants and gardening for more than 40 years. the more i learn the more i appreciate what a fine world we have.
getting back to your problem with tomatoes...
i think i would lay off using the brewing leavings and instead use those in a compost pile (to reduce the yeast populations and to introduce a wider variety of bacteria and fungi to the compost, which then gets added to the gardens). i would add a little lime to the compost pile, and use dirt and composted cow manure from a different site to innoculate the pile.
you want to encourage a wider population of soil creatures than what you currently have. many of them will help fight an imbalance, but you want to get these soil creatures from a whole different location and source than what you have now.
if you want a prime example of how this type of process works look at the problem of c. diff in people. it's a very nasty bug of the digestive tract. very resistant to drugs. yet they can treat it in a fairly inexpensive manner by taking a healthy person's poop and putting that in the infected person's digestive system (simplifying the description, but that's about what they do). c.diff almost killed my aunt. before this treatment was made known, she was not really ever fully recovered... now they know a lot more and more people are able to be treated.
garden soil is a whole community much like the digestive system. if you can find the imbalance and correct it that is good, but you might also need to give it a boost with a new community of organisms to provide competition with whatever is causing disease.
a few things you are doing is pushing your soil community towards the fungal life, but also certain types of fungi (yeasts and those that thrive in low light and warmth) does that sound familiar? like the understory of a tomato plant in summer humidity?
stop smothering the soil for months at a time. plant a mixed cover crop and turn it under about a month before planting. at that time add some lime, new compost from a known good source (innoculated with soil from a known good area not at all close to yours). if you can get native earthworms (not composting worms) to add at the time you turn the cover crop and add the lime (add the lime first and water it before adding worms) this will help things a great deal. clay too. don't forget that if your soil is too much sand. a little bit goes a long ways.
another thing, is that earthworms (not composting worms) don't tend to hang out in poor sandy soils. they like a little clay and they like a little grit and they like green stuff up top and cool enough temperatures below. give them grit, green stuff and a bit of clay and they will work for free to help you keep your pH up. they are great garden helpers. a light layer of mulch after the ground has warmed up enough to plant will also help give them a bit of protection from the heat and drying out. composting worms are ok too, but they are more up top creatures and what i would want to encourage in your situation is actual soil dwelling worms.
songbird
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On Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:48:26 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:

stuff and the green house get watered from tap water that I let sit out before I use it. I thought distilled water was a no no.

Sorry for the delay in responding. We had a quick trip out of town MJ
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Ah, beginners luck ;O)

Do you let it sit for 24 hours as you would for a fish tank? That should blow off any chlorine worries.
bird is just trying to get identify the problem. If your plants grow well with distilled water, the house/lake water IS your problem. Distilled water doesn't have any minerals, and volatile compounds should have been blown off by the heat (chlorine for example), leaving you with a small residue of aromatic compounds, but probably not as much as straight lake water, unless it is a very pristine lake. Most water is OK, as long as it isn't high in salts, which you would taste.

You might ask the cooperative extension office about the lake's pH. They would probably know.

Look at the chart on <http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/effects/surface_water.html>

Ouuuuughaaaaa. ³Danger, Will Robinson!² Houston, we have a problem. On second thought, we don't have a problem, your soil be day-ed.
Sorry, I came in late to the show, but if it isn't too late get some organic material into your soil ASAP. This is also where the 10-10-10 comes in. It doesn't support the soil ecology. Hmmmmmmm OK, people grow hydoponically so you should be able to grow without worms, but it will be more expensive.
You won't have to water as often as hydroponically, since the soil wil hold some moisture, but you would be feeding at each watering.
Check with a nursery that has hydroponic supplies. As you might guess, I've never done this before, but it would rule out if it is your soil, or if you are overwatering (root rot).

Sounds like salt! hmmmmmmmmmm
You might shake up some soil with water, wait 24 hr for solids to settle, and then filter the clear fluid into a glass jar, and then let the water evaporate. If you have salts, you'll see them.

That's a pretty small garden. it's almost an entire sq. ft. ;O)
Double digging is digging a trench in the garden. Then you dig the trench again. The material that came out the first time goes in first, and that is covered with the soil that came out the second time. The idea is to increase the area in which the roots can grow easily. This is done for the entire garden.

Lightly indeed. Alfalfa meal can fry a plant just as effectively as chicken manure.

So everything else grows OK, it's just the tomatoes that you have the problems with?
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Verticuillum might also have that effect and travel with the soil - now it's probably travelling with the pot. It's rather a <bad word> to get rid of....
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Thing is that tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes are all members of the family Solanaceae. If any of these are grown in the same soil with no harm, then it is not wilt.
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It's recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly before touching any non-diseased plant, and sterilize any tools that have been in contact with the diseased soil. You don't want to spread that <bad word> around.
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Billy wrote:

the worst thing is to win the first outing at a casino...
...

yeah... i have that problem too in places. i've made progress over the past few years.
one garden last year had zero worms when tested (pile organic materials on top, water, wait a few days, see what's in there). i added worm poo and worms to it when planting the tomatoes in there last year (down fairly deep in that clay too, heavy digging). this spring i had a wheelbarrow full of bark pieces and wood chips and no place to put them quickly so i dumped them in the middle of that garden. today i finally was able to check it out and see if there were any worms in or under that pile and there was. i was surprised as i didn't see them other places i'd done the same treatment. only thing i can figure is that garden didn't get so heavily flooded last summer and also had a little more organic material in it to start.
the journey continues... :)
somehow i have to convince Ma that refuges are good things to have in each garden.

i'm not sure what the problem is, it might still be a combination of things. irrigation in sandy soil may not be enough when it gets really hot. that first season may have been cooler. etc.

unlikely... (i think he'd see signs of that in the rest of the garden plants, especially after 8 years of irrigation)
...

note that double digging generally does NOT recommend switching soil layers. nor do i. i only recommend it when there is a problem and a reset of the soil community may help (along with using fresh compost and worms along with other appropriate amendments).
i also use it as a learning about the soil observational thing. if i'm putting work into a garden i want to know what i'm dealing with. i don't double dig every year. only new gardens and other gardens i'm burying things deeply in and once in a while test trenches to see how things are going. for the heavy clay here it's way too much work to double dig a whole garden that often. not when we have several thousand sqft of gardens.
no tilling. not anymore if i can help it. using a shovel and leaving larger clumps destroys much less of the soil community. i only break clumps on the surface if the seed bed needs a finer grain (and only in the planting rows and not the whole garden). saves a lot of work too not having to break all that up.
...

see below (not done when planting, but before).

...big snip...

i think so, but there was some talk about bell peppers being too thin walled (could be a timing thing or lack of nutrients or ...).
songbird
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On Thursday, June 6, 2013 2:09:45 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:

Yes everything else grows just fine. You mentioned Hydroponics, I have that in the green house and grow my tomatoes there. I just can't grow them in d irt apparently.
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Very strange. Oh little mysteries of life.
Do you find that you can control the water absorbed by the tomatoes so that they don't turn into water balloons, diluting their flavor?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

ok,
using a word like "wilt" is too general. in all of the disease of tomato keys there are more than one "wilt"s, there are: bacterial, viral and environmental.
in your disease identification process have you had the same diagnosis each year? pictures? records? written down the name of the species?

ok. good to know.

for a test it's fine. use bottled spring water if that sounds better (the label of the bottled spring water i can get locally for cheap is sourced from a municiple water supply in Columbus Ohio of all places. doesn't sound like a spring to me, but oh well... (bad puns alert :) )).
what i'm trying to figure out from that test is if your light and watering habits will support tomato life apart from the system you have in the gardens. the combination of soils/water/diseases and potentially irrigation system aren't working for tomatoes, so perhaps moving that one crop to large potted containers is the answer. if the test grows fine, then you can switch to tap water after a while and see what happens. if that works then you will likely have some kind of crop from that setup and we've sidestepped the larger garden problem for now and gotten you a tomato to finish.
next year you can then do the same thing with tomatoes in large containers, but add a test of using a few containers in combination with lake water. if those do poorly or well that answers a question, but perhaps it will take more than a single season for the lake water to have the negative effect. so it's not a conclusive test by far, but it continues to gain information you didn't have before.

some people can grow some things and not others...
...

ah, see this is another wider system diagnostic. but perhaps you are in an area where worms are not native. i don't know.
can you find a local master gardener who has a good knowlege of the area? they should know. if the answer is that there should be worms about then it's a good indication you are doing things to your soil which isn't encouraging it.

if you haven't gotten a certain id of the problem then we could be wasting time. use google and do a search on "tomato wilt" and then use the site that comes up from any university that (Cornell's seems to be decent) will let you work on identifying the culprit. if it is an actual disease and not a part of the physical set up. that is the complexity of your situation is that we still aren't sure if it is a general wilt from having sandy soil and not enough moisture holding capacity of the garden (so the plants can't keep up with the heat of the summer and just collapse) or if it is a disease. or the pH is too low or ...
note also that there is a pretty good list of different varieties to try. most of them i've never heard of. :)

it is a method of digging down two layers. what it does is let you examine the soil structure other than the top few inches you might see when planting or weeding. the other point is that it lets you see if there are worms and drainage down deeper, how dry the soil is, if there are any layers which might be limiting the root growth (if your tomatoes can't get roots down very deep because there is a hard sandy layer (common in some areas) then they could be wilting because of the heat and lack of water along with other problems.
generally, it's a practice that few do these days (it's a lot of work :) ), but it gives you a chance to observe the soil you are depending upon for growing something. i recommend it as a test trench across a garden every so many feet just to make sure the soil is not different. you take the top layer of soil off, set it to the side and then dig another layer from underneath that and put it to the other side. if you are reversing soil layers then you bury the one with the other, and if not, vice-versa.
as a method to isolate diseased soil from plants it can also be useful. in that you can dig a fairly deep trench and bury the infected topsoil (reducing disease causing organisms that come in contact with plants). by changing the environment of the disease organisms it can also help moderate them (some don't like lower oxygen levels, others do better down deeper (some fungi don't do all that good up top, etc.).
it's like hitting a major catastrophe switch for the soil community. so not recommended if you already have healthy garden soil, but unlikely to hurt if you have a rather troubled garden. if you reverse soil layers and then add compost from a known good source to the top layer (after the switch is done) then you've pretty much started a whole different garden system. add a bit more organic material, some clay, some lime, mix, water and plant and you might find that certain crops improve. if you can find native earth worms. harvest some of those (keep a separate bin of them that can't be raided by animals and then you can use these as a supplement too) and add them. use a light top mulch (once the soil warms up especially where you are growing peppers/tomatoes/eggplant/ okra).
i also use deep trenches to bury plant debris. instead of throwing useful material away, i let the fungi, worms, and other soil critters have at it, eventually it gets turned into plant nutrients.
almost every garden i do these days is in heavy soil so they can all use more organic matter and better drainage. some of these gardens are also in flood prone areas. if i can bury several inches of chunks of wood under there then that helps lift these gardens above the likely flood stage. over time that woody material gets digested and has to be replaced, but in heavy clay that can last a fairly long time (it turns into peat-like material and acts as a worm refuge during the hot parts of the summer and the really cold parts of winter).

good test too.

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it's a pretty limited diet. i know kids who were raised on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs but eventually they figured out they like to eat other things too. i've even seen them eat a salad.

Billy pokes me about alfalfa meal being a hot agent, but my whole comment includes the fact that this should be done some time in advance (if you are mixing it in the top few inches of soil).
after reading more i see there are alfalfa related diseases so perhaps better to avoid alfalfa unless run through a hot compost pile or through worm composting. i haven't seen any problems yet using green manures so they are what i consider the best approach.

ok. but keep at it. learn how to make a well balanced compost and your garden will be helped by that. if you don't add some clay then it will get used up fairly quickly (an inch or more per season would not be uncommon) that's a lot of compost. just using it once and saying it didn't help is probably also common. add some larger pieces of wood chips, add some clay and give the pile some green stuff of varied kinds and over the longer term your garden soil will improve and like i've already said too you can use some lime and that will give worms a chance to stick around.

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i mean, during the growing season, not just the black plastic through the winter.
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no problem, i'm not on a schedule here. :)
songbird
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I've been mixing up in a spray bottle 2T of molasses, 2T organic liquid seaweed fertizer, and about 1T+/- of Epsom Salts pre-disolved in warm water added to this mixture... then I fill the bottle with rain water or tap water if I have no rain water. I've been spraying that mixture 1 time a week on everything that I have planted. Cukes, tomatoes of various types, melons, jalopeno peppers, and habanero's. I did the same thing with my peas, but it burned a few pea leaves. I ended up pulling up my peas anyway because they didn't like where I planted them and I replaced them with pole limas that have broken ground over the weekend. Everything else I sprayed that mixure on is growing like crazy and my peppers have nice big blooms on them now. I even sprayed it on a kumquat tree that I overwintered indoors and had just put outside. It was dropping leaves and a couple branches died back, but now even my kumquat is growing like a weed!
This is the first time I've opted for mixing this combo of organic fertizers and hand spraying them every week, so it's an experiment for me this year, but seems to be working out so far.
--
Natural Girl



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