[nafex] Re: Raspberries...melons

H.Dessureault inter.verbis at atreide.net
Thu May 31 20:41:29 EDT 2001

When I first started my garden the pH was too low and many plants were not growing to their potential, and many were diseased. It was obvious that the soil was acidic from the type of weeds growing around. I added dolomite, which I had bought a truckload of as this particular dolomite from this particular quarry was highly recommended for fruit trees because of its high magnesium content. 
The cabbages have been growing well ever since as well as most garden vegetable.
The pH is often disregarded but it is very important. 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Kieran or Donna 
  To: nafex at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 11:57 AM
  Subject: [nafex] Re: Raspberries...melons

  Tom wrote  "In my experience green peppers love sulfur and produce a good
  crop when sulfur is added to the soil.
  My guess is that green peppers like their soil a little acidic, and the
  sulfur acidifies the soil.  Just my guess.
  I usually just mix up a gallon of lime/sulfur spray (dormant concentration
  level) and water in my pepper plants with it when planting.  Some people
  just plane a couple of unlit, wooden matches under each plant (the old style
  matches have sulfur in them). Can anyone confirm acid soil for green
  peppers, or is it some other aspect to sulfur that induces bumper crops of
  green peppers?"

      Our property came with wild blueberries on it, which can give you some
  idea of the pH.  The first year we gardened there we had a "disease" in
  peppers in which leaves developed brown spots and fell off, leaving only the
  skeleton. (Corn grew 8" high and fired from the bottom up.  the co agent
  agreed with me it looked like K deficiency, but thought it was from low pH
  as local soils have plenty of K)   Naturally, yields were dismal. I decided
  it was bacterial blight, and indeed, the plants responded to lime sulfur.
  Only the second year did I realize it was calcium that was in short supply.
  One friend saved her peppers from this condition by adding high Ca lime at
  our advice.  So the notion that peppers need sulfur is new to me, but I have
  heard 2 farmers in our area say they got the best grass they'd ever had
  after adding 50 lbs to the acre of sulfur.  ( I'm sure their fields had had
  plenty of lime, sulfur alone in our first year would probably done in the
      After we got our pH and organic matter up, we used to see manganese
  deficiency during rainy spells (yellow stripes in the corn, similar to but
  NOT THE SAME as magnesium deficiency) .  These 3 factors ( high moisture,
  high pH and high organic matter) are a recipe for manganese deficiency, and
  the only thing we could affect was the pH.  I threw sulfur around and the
  corn greened up.
      I hope all this will give food for thought, and maybe some actual
  experiments.  Naturally a CEC soil test is the best way to look for these
  problems.  In fact, it was such a test plus that wonderful book, HANDS ON
  AGRONOMY,  that clued me in on the manganese problem. ( I myself seem to be
  genetically prone to manganese deficiency, so it's not a good idea to have
  much of our food supply in the same boat)  I finally bought my own copy,
  then loaned it to a farmer friend who whined and pleaded to keep it longer
  than the 2 months he'd already had it.  I wonder if an excerpt published in
  POMONA might inspire a few people to try the CEC soil tests?  The ones the
  county does are useless.
       I also got a great book on weeds as soil indicators.   Ours all
  indicated high Mg, low Ca the last few years.   Broomsedge  thrives in low
  pH, low N, and low P conditions and should NEVER be seen in an orchard.

  Donna  in TN zone 6, in severely leached upland clay soil

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