One end of the garden doesn’t grow anything well

thats how my father fixed the same problem. added peat and manure more to just that area.

I got my soil tests back.

The “good” end of the garden:

The “bad” end:

I think I have an answer!


On my little bit of land I have a raised area that I found was basically a gravel pile put in to elevate the bordering road as it approaches a creek. The general slope of a different part of the land makes a significant difference in how much added water the young berry plants need. I did a pretty big burn pile a few years ago before I planted my newest trees. I have clay-ie to sandy to forest duff soils all within a couple hundred feet.
The gravel area has severely thwarted the Paw paws I planted there, compared to others near the creek. I can barely keep the berries alive. The two trees I planted on the edge of the burn area (heavy ash) were both healthy and then up and died at the same time, this year…which is unique for me. I acidified the ground and have found that on both trees the root stocks survived and are vigorously sending up many suckers…I really don’t know what is going on there.
I’m finding that underground changes made by me, others, or nature can make an huge difference in plant life vigour even though everything looks homogeneous topside.
Excellent choice to do the soil test!

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Wow that needs a large amount of dolomite lime, Probably a ton of compost and some fish and fish bone meal fertilizer as well as some langbenite and/or some strong kelp solution. I would be careful of gypsum since that side has so much aluminum and i would probably plant some comfrey around there and mulch well if you can handle the moisture. A nice rototilling or some large deep holes to cycle the dirt may help the area if there is hardpan underneath.


Fix the ph, iron and copper.

Copper can be fixed with 3-5 g copper sulfate in a bucket of water used as a drench for each few square feet of the garden.

Ordinarily you would fix iron with iron sulfate. But since acidity is a problem, I would wait until the beginning of the next growing season and add iron chelate.

I guess you fix ph with Dolomite lime.


The “good” end has been in use for veggies (and fruit at the back end) for several years. I did lime it and turn in 2” deep purchased compost in 2017. So I had to work on that soil. It was once as acidic as the bad end.

I did lime the bad end last fall, but it must not have been enough. I admit to not measuring it like I did with the other side.

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Ground limestone takes several yrs to completely become effective. The finer it’s ground the faster it reacts to lower acidity. So one yr won’t be long enough to become fully active.

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True, although the main part of the garden seemed to adjust within a year.

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Wow, that’s a big difference, one side looks just about perfect, and the other, not so much.

We had plots like that, low on P and K, and very acidic (pH abt 5.0), low Ca and Mg. It took a lot of amendments to get them in the acceptable range, but after a couple years, they are in better shape.

Since the Ca and Mg is so low, dolomite would be a good amendment, like others have mentioned. I got the P and K up with 10-10-10 fertlilizer, even tho it’d been better to do it the way Richard mentioned.

How big is the bad plot, and how much lime did you use?


It’s about a 10 x 30 area, so 300 sq ft. I thought I put down about 5 lbs, but the recommendation from UMass is 15 lbs per 100 square feet in two doses.

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Or I could just plant some blueberries there.


So I am concerned about iron and copper.

Even in the “good” soil these two are low. I’ve noticed that my acorn plants have some yellow stripes in the leaves, especially the older ones. Although it seems to mostly be growing and maturing OK. I know they’re getting enough nitrogen.

But, for copper in particular, I’m very gun shy because I know you can overdo it and pretty much ruin everything.

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Well, 5lb won’t help much. According to the UMass rec, you need at least 45lb for your plot. And since the P and K is so low, I doubt blueberries would do well there, either.

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P and K are fixable.