I’ve been wanting to have a raised bed vegetable garden for years. This year, we did it. I say we, because my husband Jon and younger son Andrew built the raised beds in March – 3 of them, at 10′ x 4′ each. This way, we could put really good soil in there, instead of relying on this clay soil we have here at the juncture of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. (St Louis). There is a reason almost all the homes in south St. Louis are brick. Our soil is so heavy it makes really great bricks.
I ordered the soil from a local composting business. It was half river bottom soil, and half compost. I started peppers and tomatoes from seed, and put them out right after our last frost date of April 15. When I first put them in, they were a bright, lush green. However, several weeks later, they were a funky yellowish green with purply veins and stems. From research on youtube, that indicated phosphorus deficiency. That’s strange. I thought compost was very fertile. I was trying to go organic, and had started heirloom plants from seed myself. Here is the before picture:
Since I am aspie, everything I do, I go whole hog into. I seldom do things halfway. So I go to Lowe’s to get a soil testing kit. I also end up buying the moisture/light/pH meter as well. When I used the soil testing kit, it showed a very high pH. It was off the charts. On the alkaline side was green and dark green, but my test came out blue! (with a slightly greenish cast). I actually enjoyed doing the soil test. This meant my pH was at least 8.0 or more, which is very high. I did all kinds of internet research, and got lots of conflicting opinions. According to my gardening book, tomatoes actually like a slightly acidic soil. So, I ended up buying soil amendment at Lowe’s which was to bring down alkalinity. I also analyzed this in my mind, thinking that this river bottom soil must have been derived from the limestone bluffs that run along the river banks here. Then afterward, I started obsessing over whether the soil test was accurate, and what if I was wrong to have added the sulfur?
My husband suggested just hitting it with Miracle Gro and forgetting about it. I’ve had to tell myself to just relax, and let nature take it’s course. My soil test also showed there being a complete lack of nitrogen, so I decided to hit it with some Miracle Gro as my husband suggested.
Something helped, because things are looking a lot better. At least I haven’t killed my garden (yet), due to my hyper focus. Here it is after I added the sulfur and Miracle Gro.