Here are some things I purposely did verses last year that have brought my current success.
- I put as much compost into the ground as I could. I also put a lot of lobster carcasses from a lobster party we had.
- I didn’t use any hills or plant anything in elevated mounds. The entire thing was left flat.
- I put a nice thick layer of compost over it after I tilled.
- I used a drip system for water. Instead of sprayers I used recycled tire soaker hoses that run the length of the rows.
- I covered the whole thing with a nice layer of compost
- I’m using compost tea as a regular feeding
But not all has been perfect. The garden has been up for about 1.5 to 2 months and it’s starting to show signs of stress. The snow peas leaves are starting to turn brown as the the spinach. The garbonzo beans are starting to die off and most of them have brown leaves. It’s clear that my monthly application of compost tea is not often enough and/or does not have everything it needs.
Googling vegetable garden fertilizing came up with some helpful links, this one states, “Nitrogen is essential for vigorous vegetative growth and development. Phosphorus is necessary for good root development and for fruit and seed production. The role of potassium is not as well understood, but is important for overall plant development.” I gather then that what nutrients I put in the ground have probably been absorbed by the plants with Nitrogen being first on the list. To combat this I’m using organic fish emulsion fertilizer with a 5-1-1 (5% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus & 1% potassium). along with increasing my application of compost tea we will see what the results are. I’ve also learned that peas can use a lot of nitrogen so I’m not surprised that the plants around the peas are suffering the most.
Next year I need to do a better job of placing plants together based on similar feeding and watering habits. At least we get to actually enjoy the harvest this year!