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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old May 6, 2014   #1
gtnate
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Default result of soil test

I just got back the results of a soil test for my raised beds that I installed in the Fall. I filled the beds with a combination of peat moss and compost in a 1 to 2 ratio. I expected my pH to be low because of the peat, but the soil test states that my pH is 7.2. Do I need to do anything to this soil, as I have read that ideally my soil should be between 6.2 - 6.8 pH?
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Old May 6, 2014   #2
ginger2778
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I can't answer other than adding pine bark fines but it will take time for them to decompose.or add more peat?, i do potting mix in Earthboxes so I am no authority on this, but it will give it a bump for others to see it and post something more helpful.

Marsha
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Old May 7, 2014   #3
Cole_Robbie
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I think you will be fine. NC State says 5.5 to 7.5 for tomatoes: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/c.../pHplants.html

Every nutrient that a plant needs has a spectrum on the ph scale in which it is available to the plant. The spectrums overlap the most at about 6.5, but that doesn't mean you will notice any difference with your plants.
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Old May 7, 2014   #4
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Thanks you. Sounds like it should be fine. I mulched with pine bark and will turn it into the soil at the end of the season.
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Old May 8, 2014   #5
b54red
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I got my ph too high a few years back and have been working to get it down some. The problems that I have had due to the high ph is the inability of the plants to take up enough iron and Phosphorous. It doesn't always show up but sometimes on some of my tomatoes or peppers I will definitely get iron deficiency and have to spray an iron supplement to the foliage to correct it. It also affects my peppers in their ability to pull enough P so I found that I could help by giving the plants a drink of water with a little vinegar in it which would temporarily lower the ph. Another result of the high ph is my soil test shows extremely high P because not enough of it is being pulled out by the plants the last 5 years. Six years ago my ph was just under 7 and my P levels registered as high but as my ph eased up my P levels rose dramatically.

My ph has come down some in the last year and a half. I have put in a lot of bark fines and fertilized heavily with cottonseed meal which is acidic and I haven't put any type of lime in my garden in years.

Avoid putting any lime in for a while and if you can start trying to get your ph down a bit so you don't have the problems I have had. I would also avoid using any cow manure as it will raise your P levels fairly rapidly especially if your ph is high.

Bill
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Old May 8, 2014   #6
greenthumbomaha
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For a new raised bed, I was about to purchase a bulk growing mix of cow manure, sand and topsoil without asking about the ph. Overall ph in my area is 7.5. I'll find out if they do a soil test.

- Lisa
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Old May 8, 2014   #7
gtnate
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Bill, how high did your soil pH rise? From the info I have seen a soil pH of as high as 7.5 is fine for tomatoes and 7.0 for peppers.
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Old May 13, 2014   #8
b54red
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I had some of my beds with a ph as high as 7.4 and none under 7.1 three years ago and had terrible problems with iron deficiency in my tomatoes and peppers for a while. Most other crops did really good and my tomatoes and peppers did fine most of the time but I had to frequently give them iron supplements by foliar spray and soil drench as well. This has become less of a problem as my beds ph has gone down some due to the soil amendments I have added. I also have a problem of too much Phosphorous bound up in my soil so my soil tests show extremely high P yet my peppers have to have a dose of vinegar and water so more of it is available for them. If I don't give my peppers a couple of drinks of vinegar water they will barely set fruit.

I planted tomatoes in the one bed that I haven't used since testing and finding my ph so high so it has not had the benefit of the ph lowering amendments. I noticed yesterday the distinct signs of iron deficiency in that bed only. I gave all the plants a foliar iron supplement, an iron rich soil drench and a little vinegar water to help release both iron and P this afternoon. I hope I am not too late in attempting to correct this condition. Below are some pics I took before treating the plants. The extreme yellowing in the new growth if not stopped will get worse and eventually kill all the new growth and ultimately the whole plant will die. I know because I have seen it happen numerous times. The last photo is of one of my other beds that is totally unaffected. Both were planted on the same day and given the same exact treatment as far as water, fertilizer and etc.

I will check them every day and see how they are progressing. If I got the iron to them quickly enough the yellowing will fade but if I was too late it will get worse until that yellow is almost white at which point the growth will start dying.

Bill
Attached Images
File Type: jpg iron deficiency 1 5-13--2014.jpg (275.0 KB, 162 views)
File Type: jpg iron deficiency 2 5-13-2014.jpg (189.8 KB, 160 views)
File Type: jpg iron deficiency 3 5-13-2014.jpg (238.3 KB, 163 views)
File Type: jpg iron deficiency 4 5-13-2014.jpg (267.1 KB, 163 views)
File Type: jpg Multiple stem bed on 5-11-14.jpg (300.8 KB, 160 views)
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Old April 22, 2020   #9
rick9748
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Bill
Added compost and worm castings to each tomato hole. Plants started great, 2 weeks, now tip of new growth white. Comments say I need need Iron, what would be best way to correct growing plants?
Thanks
Rick
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Old April 24, 2020   #10
zipcode
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Where is this thread? White tips could also be glyphosate.

One should understand where this magic 6.2 pH comes from. Which is pretty much for all plants, just that some have lower requirements, but it is possible that some plants have a better way to locally control pH around the roots. So it comes from iron in hydroponics, where iron edta is used, and this has a good availability up to that value. Soil is a different thing, there are natural chelators (humic acids), so same rules don't apply (up to pH 8 one should still be quite ok). Also in hydroponics, there are other ways like EDDHA, DTPA, which are stable at higher pH.
That being said, I think the easiest way to correct iron also in soil is with iron eddha, since it is stable to a high pH, and is available for sale (more or less difficult depending where you live). Certainly easier than trying to lower soil pH.
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Old April 24, 2020   #11
Yak54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtnate View Post
I just got back the results of a soil test for my raised beds that I installed in the Fall. I filled the beds with a combination of peat moss and compost in a 1 to 2 ratio. I expected my pH to be low because of the peat, but the soil test states that my pH is 7.2. Do I need to do anything to this soil, as I have read that ideally my soil should be between 6.2 - 6.8 pH?
If it were me, I'd add some sulphur to bring down the PH.

Dan
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Old April 24, 2020   #12
aclum
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This is no doubt a crazy question but.....

Can you increase the iron available to plants by adding a newly rusted (so the rust rubs off on your hand) nail or screw to your water? I'm thinking specifically about Kratky buckets but it could also be in watering can water for the plants. I've read about people being able to get some iron from using cast iron pans FWIW and I don't have anything like Ironite but I do have a bunch of rusted screws. Just an idle thought ....

Anne

P.S. Bill, your garden is so beautiful!

Last edited by aclum; April 24, 2020 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Added PS
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Old April 24, 2020   #13
RayR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aclum View Post
This is no doubt a crazy question but.....

Can you increase the iron available to plants by adding a newly rusted (so the rust rubs off on your hand) nail or screw to your water? I'm thinking specifically about Kratky buckets but it could also be in watering can water for the plants. I've read about people being able to get some iron from using cast iron pans FWIW and I don't have anything like Ironite but I do have a bunch of rusted screws. Just an idle thought ....

Anne

P.S. Bill, your garden is so beautiful!
Iron Oxide (rust) is not soluble and therefore not plant available.
Iron sulfate or a complexed iron with amino acids and organic acids or a chelated form like Iron lignosulfonate are examples of bioavailable forms of iron.

Iron is common in most soils and not typically a limited micro in most complete fertilizers but other factors like a high PH (8.0 or greater) or excessive amounts of Nitrogen or Phosphorus can inhibit iron uptake also.
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Old April 24, 2020   #14
aclum
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Thanks, Ray! As I suspected, but not sure.
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Old April 25, 2020   #15
cjp1953
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I had suggestions for Penn.State who did the test on my soil.I have used cotton seed meal in the past but there are other ways as suggested.I have not had my soil tested in 5 years.The PH was around 7 when it was tested .I still use cotton seed meal when I have it on hand and use alfalfa pellets along with Tomato tone.It's been 2 years since I added a bale of peatmoss.I also add about 2 to 3 bales of straw as mulch during the growing season.I use cover crops,this past fall I planted winter rye that was late in planting and now is around 12 inches tall.I'll mow it down in a few weeks and turn it in or use a small tiller.My garden is around 200 sq, ft so it's a little easier to take care of.
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