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  1. #1

    Plants yelllow and slow growth after planting in mushroom compost??

    Hello,

    This is my first post and first garden this year. I believe we have made a mistake, and I'm looking for advice on how to fix.

    I have 3 raised beds approximately 6' x 4' x 12". The bottom inch or so of the raised beds was soil I churned after digging out the sod. I then took the recommendation of a local landscape supply place and filled the rest of the box (approximately 11") with mushroom compost. So essentially our raised beds are filled with 100% mushroom compost.

    We planted approximately 3 weeks ago, and I live near Chicago IL. All my plants now have a yellow tint, and growth is very slow. For example, a zucchini plant is only about 8-10" tall. Some even have leaves wilting near the bottom of the plant or on the tips. Rains have been fairly heavy here this spring, but I don't think over watering is an issue as i have several neighbors with gardens in very good shape.

    Can anyone recommend what may be wrong? I have been told by at least one person that our problem is likely a lack of nutrients from not having a proper mix of soil with the mushroom compost. Does that make sense to the folks here? If so, how do I go about repairing it? Can I just add soil between the plants?

    Hoping there is some kind of solution as I would hate to have built all my raised bed boxes and done all that digging just to fail and have to try again next year ;-).

    Thanks for any advice

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Edmonton Canada
    Posts
    68
    hello there,
    too much of a good thing but fixable I think.

    spent mushroom compost is low in soluble nitrogen which means little nitrogen is immediately available for your plants.
    hopefully you are not to bent on organic gardening because I think the best fix for this is a STAT big dose of 20-20-20 good old non organic all purpose miracle grow mixed according to the directions. repeat weekly this growing season.
    next year add some regular garden mix soil, some composted manure and some vermiculite and mix it up well. I think of raised beds as essentially like great big flower pots and think that they require fertilizing and water in much the same way. good luck and I think the balanced fertilizer will help with your yellowing and slow growth. these seem like symptoms of lack of nitrogen
    Karen

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Edmonton Canada
    Posts
    68
    Oh and if you can, test the pH of the "soil" you have. mushroom compost is often peatmoss based and can be acidic. some garden lime again, applied as directed will help to bring the soil pH up toward neutral and balance things out. many vegetables do not do very well in acidic soil. beets are a good example.
    K

  4. #4
    Thanks for the reply.

    In addition to the miracle grow should I attempt to mix in soil versus waiting till next year?

    We were wanting to try and stay organic, but given the situation I think we may have to scrap that this year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Edmonton Canada
    Posts
    68
    for organic gardening, it is more important to stay away from pesticides and herbicides and insecticides. It's maybe not ideal but not too much of a cheat to use commercial fertilizer. The important ingredients of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash are there regarddless of the source and this way, for this year, you will have a predictable and dependable source of nutrients for your plants. I would wait til fall to ammend the soil unless you wish to just top-dress and gently work a bit of nice garden soil mix in and around your plants without disturbing their roots.
    I hope I am right and this is what your garden needs. would love to hear if it helps..

    never give up, we all learned everything we know by trial and plenty of error too. eventually, that compost, once ammended will make beautiiful garden soil..
    garden lime would be OK in an organic garden as it is a natural substance.
    happy gardening
    Karen :)
    Last edited by KarenZone3A; 06-15-2010 at 06:50 PM.

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