Thursday, October 17, 2013

Soil issues.

I eluded to the fact that I would be back to discuss the issues I'm having with getting my green beans to grow. So- here I am. The first batch I sowed I"m pretty sure just got drowned. Nothing more, nothing less. They were about 4" high when we had an entire week of nothing but rain No joke. It was canoe weather. The second batch of beans I sowed managed to climb and grow and stretch and just die one after the other with no real beans produced. The last of the beans ended up with rust pretty badly, but I'm not thinking that is what actually killed the plants. The third succession of beans? This set didn't make it more than 2-3 inches tall. The second set of true leaves before just kind of disappearing.

So, the problem is getting worse over all. I've let the garden get a bit weedy the last few weeks just waiting for the fall season here. I figured a bit drier conditions and more manageable humidity would help whatever was causing the issues. MAN, I could kick my own butt for that! If I hadn't let the beds get weedy and had paid closer attention as the plants were dying off yet again I may have noticed the problem sooner and been able to do something about it. Then again, as long as the soil was wet I may have not seen the problem. I don't really know. What I do know is that now that it has dried out? Oh what a MESS!

THIS is what my garden bed looks like after having weeded and turned it over:
Not only do I have these clumps of white nastiness, but the entire soil seems infiltrated with it!  UGH. Here is a close up of that gross white clump when I broke it open...

So, Uh- Yeah. I have a pretty serious problem here. Everything I've read (and it hasn't been easy to find anything about this particular problem) says I should "replace my potting soil" HAHAHAHAH! Ah, well. That is not an option. What I can find says that the soils was probably TOO high in organic matter and the decomposition process had not completed before adding it. Well, that is a distinct possibility. But, now that I have this problem what do I do? I can't just dig 6-8" of dirt out. How am I going to rehome BAD dirt anyway???
So the only thing I can think is that this is from turning under my crops, and then the excessive amount of rain not allowing it to decompose correctly (bad aerobic/non aerobic balance = gross!)
Nevertheless, I have to endure, and after all I did not spend the last 5 years building this soil just to abandon it and start all over with nasty Florida SAND. (AGAIN)
Not knowing what my options are and not being able to find any real experiences out there I decided it's probably best if I myself put this out here. I have white, gross garden soil. I'm bound and determined to save it, and use it again - successfully!
I have come to the conclusion that this white substance is most likely either a mold or a fungus. Either one should be controlled by one of my favorite mostly organic concoctions. Good old fashioned copper. It of course is going to work better on fungi - but if I can flood the area should also work to dry out any mold.
The most unfortunate thing in all of this? Remember all those worms I had in my soil last year? All of them are gone! I didn't see a single one while I was digging through this mess. Not that I blame them. It just makes me sad. It also makes me realize that if a worm won't hang out here, how could I expect for my plants to grow?
Oh Mother Nature - Why must you spite me?!
Hopefully I'll be back in a week or two with good news.
See you soon!  

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