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Old June 20, 2015   #1
Lindalana
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Default Compost quality

Last fall village applied compost supps local to the community plots, I have seen it being done, it looked like black fat soil and was applied generously. Here is pic of my neighbor tomatoes, he like me planted into WOW on early side then removed it. Obviously this tomato in bit of neglect but providing soil was not bad to begin with and compost was added should not it look better to begin with?
I am a bit concerned what was in that compost as it seems more difficult to get what I normally get and weeds are not as abundant as they always are, mind you those are 2 months worth of weeds. Village does till fall and spring if that matters.
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Old June 20, 2015   #2
Cole_Robbie
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It's been cool, wet weather. That plant has early blight, or some sort of fungal issues, likely brought on by the wet weather. Those two intervening variables make it hard to assess the new compost.
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Old June 20, 2015   #3
Lindalana
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The reason why it bothers me a great deal is because am seeing different pattern of growth for me this year- am working too hard and plants seems to be stunted. All new growth on leafy stuff was coming out pale, I had to resort to dry organic chicken compost to apply to correct the issue. The only patch which is never tilled or fertilized is doing great, but where that compost was applied all new growth comes pale and barely visible. Granted we had cool and wet weather but am not finding it that different from previous years, June in Chicago more often than not cool and wet.
Also paths between gardens have barely any weed growth... and last year we had it waist high... am wondering if some broad leaf pesticide was in that compost?
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Old June 22, 2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindalana View Post
The reason why it bothers me a great deal is because am seeing different pattern of growth for me this year- am working too hard and plants seems to be stunted. All new growth on leafy stuff was coming out pale, I had to resort to dry organic chicken compost to apply to correct the issue. The only patch which is never tilled or fertilized is doing great, but where that compost was applied all new growth comes pale and barely visible. Granted we had cool and wet weather but am not finding it that different from previous years, June in Chicago more often than not cool and wet.
Also paths between gardens have barely any weed growth... and last year we had it waist high... am wondering if some broad leaf pesticide was in that compost?
Could be that, or could be it was anaerobic, too high a Ph, or too hot. Potentially many things outside your control, since you didn't make the compost. Or it could be just a coincidence about the compost and really all due to the weather and blight. Hard to tell.
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Old June 22, 2015   #5
Lindalana
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Thanks for feedback!
Weed pattern growth at veggie gardens is sure different this year. Hoping it was just lousy village compost and not real contamination of long term chemicals. No weather related changes by the house, gardens are lush and beautiful.
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Old June 22, 2015   #6
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Lindalana, I think the quality of compost varies also depending on what it was made of, and whether there is unfinished material like wood or straw still present, not necessary for contamination to play a role.

I found myself in the same boat with poor quality compost this year. It was not contaminated in any way, I made it myself, but it was made mainly out of just sods and weeds and straw. There was quite a lot of unrotted straw still in it, but I thought it will help to aerate the soil overall and encourage the worms. But when I saw that fruit were not getting larger, I got concerned and did as you did, add some dried hen manure to help the situation.
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Old June 24, 2015   #7
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Old June 24, 2015   #8
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Compost does vary even when you make it yourself. I've read so much about making compost - it hurts. Oh my head...

I finally gave up on trying to, "Do it right" and just started throwing in whatever needs to be disposed of. If it's brown or green it goes in. When there are non-meat leftovers - it goes in. Last year, I put dead grasshoppers in it by the hundreds because there were so many of them here.
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Old June 24, 2015   #9
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lindalana, let's see a pic of your tomatoes! I've seen a lot of pictures of herbicide damage and the neighbor's tomato doesn't particularly look like 2-4D or anything. It sure does sound like something at the gardens is off this year. Maybe anerobic compost.
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Old June 24, 2015   #10
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That looks like a typical badly starved tomato plant.
Now the reason why that happened, is hard to tell, but I can't imagine the soil is so extremely poor. Something is stopping root uptake of nutrients, either way too much water for longer periods, or wrong pH, or something eating the roots. In any case, it is not a fungal disease, aged leaves that turn yellow due to lack of nitrogen are sensitive to anything fungal, they will just rot (it might be some sort of virus, but I'm no expert in those, doesn't look like the usual suspects).
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Old June 25, 2015   #11
Lindalana
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ok, pictures, this is what I am surrounded with- small plants, already sick, there is not even enough leaves to remove yet...



my house




Community gardens




Community garden path between water towers- never tilled or compost added


tilled and composted path

Last edited by Lindalana; June 25, 2015 at 01:26 AM.
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Old June 25, 2015   #12
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I see what you mean. You probably need that soil tested.
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Old June 25, 2015   #13
Lindalana
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Redbaron, thanks! What and where I should consider testing? I did basic soil tests with SCI and IntAglabs in the past but am assuming it is more than soil test?
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Old June 25, 2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindalana View Post
Redbaron, thanks! What and where I should consider testing? I did basic soil tests with SCI and IntAglabs in the past but am assuming it is more than soil test?
I believe there are people who test for pesticide residues toxic waste etc and such. However, I never had to do it myself, so I don't know who to call. I would start by calling your exchange service and also find out where that "free compost" came from.

Keep in mind it may be nothing. But a precautionary approach is probably warranted due to the fact this is food we are talking about.
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Old July 8, 2015   #15
Lindalana
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Update- so what am observing now - something tying up nitrogen real bad. I mean rain is not helping but sheesh, I have applied 100 lbs to my two 20x20 plots of Chickity Doo dry manure fert and slightest rain gets leaves pale green. Never mind all my foliars...
This is how most other plots look like


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