Jefferson County, Colorado

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plants not thriving- copper poisoning suspected

I have an interesting problem that I need some help. I signed up to lease a plot in the Arvada Community Garden for the first time this year. At the beginning of the year the plot had vegetative growth including weeds, lettuce that self seeded and dill that also self seeded. As background information the ACG is located on 57th Ave east of Walmart and was at one time the reservoir for Arvada. The space was , I’m assuming, excavated at some point to allow water collection and the garden is watered using untreated ditch water that runs along the west edge of the property. The untreated water is used by all the gardeners. On May 28th through mid June I started planting tomato plants as well as cabbage, brocolli and cauliflower. In early June I planted herbs which included oregano, basil, sage and parsley. In mid June I planted corn seed followed by bush bean seeds. In total I planted the following:

Tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, broccoli, basil, sage, oregano, bush beans, cucumbers, corn and onions.

I had some die off/stunting of the tomatoes, broccoli and cucumbers which I attributed to the cold weather in late May/ early June. In terms of soil preparation I did NOT rototill, rather I scrapped the surface to remove the growth and loosened the soil only where the plant of seed was placed. I water the garden every other day. I chose that watering scheme due to the soil cracking I was observing in the plot. Apart from some die off my plants were not growing though some were yielding immature ( ie small undersized) fruit even though the plants were small. Assuming some cold weather stunting I applied some Jobs Organic Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer to my tomatoes and peppers followed by a second addition in July to all plants because they still appeared stunted. At that point I collected a soil sample from my garden. The plot is 12x22 feet and I collected 5 samples from the 4 corners and center and then blended the sample prior to submitting the sample for analysis. The sample did sit for about one week prior to mailing and I am aware that this lag time might contribute to a lower N2 score. I have since applied the entire 4lb bag of fertilizer to my plants The results of the sample are attached and indicate a high level of copper that maybe toxic to plant growth In addition the sample indicate high levels of P, K and organics. I suspect that copper levels are the cause of my problem.

Next I looked at what could be done to neutralize or bind the copper. I found several options though I haven’t listed all:

  1. Replace the soil. I was not going to take that path as I do not own the plot
  2. Treat with phosphate containing fertilizers that will bind with the copper and prevent absorbsion I have to date added the entire 4lb bag of vegetable fertilizer to my plot
  3. Raise the pH which I don’t think is practical as soil pH is on the high side and further increases will retard growth
  4. Add organics which also will bind the copper though my plot currently has 7% organic material now
  5. Conduct bioremediation (phytoextraction) by planting and growing crops that will take up the copper.

I have not been able to locate the particulars (application rates, preferred additions or years required) to determine what, if any, method should be used on a plot of land that I do not own. Assuming of course that my identified root cause is correct. Any insight you might have on this problem is greatly appreciated. It maybe that the only practical economical option is to walk away from the plot. Any help or insight you can provide is appreciated I can also supply the soil analysis document. It appears this application does not allow uploading of pdfs

Jeff Staniszewski

Master Gardener Apprentice

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Jefferson County CO 2 months ago

Invasive plant

My flower garden has been taken over by this invasive fern-like plant and I don't know how to get rid of it. When I try to pull it or dig it up, it seems to spread even more.

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Jefferson County CO about 1 year ago

Russian olive that grew volunteer in our neighbors yard! It's a rental?

What can we do to get rid of it? 3 years old about and we kept clipping snail branches over our fence but this year really pulls on fence when windy! Lots of horrible thorns on them ! I both trees are volunteers and on our fence which owner would not help replace when a renters dog broke through it!

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Jefferson County CO trees and shrubs over 2 years ago

Astroturf follow up

Thank you for your response, Tony. There is just bare dirt under the astroturf and judging from the previous owner's lack of upkeep - I would guess he just bought astroturf and put in on the ground. There isn't any sprinkler, either. I think I should just get a lawn installer over here to put grass in like a new lawn.

Jefferson County CO over 2 years ago

lawn problems

My lawn has several areas that are yellow. Most of them are on the edges. The lawn gets plenty of water and fertilizer. Can you tell, from the pictures attached, what the issue is? Is it some kind of fungus? Could it be from rabbits (have several in yard)? Thanks for any help/suggestions, Mark

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Jefferson County CO about 3 years ago

Sod lawn test ?

Hello , my name is Cathy and I have a lawn problem . I have a sod lawn and I have brown spots . Is there a place where I can send a sample of the soil to be tested so I can address this problem ? Thank you for your time . Sincerely , Cathy P.

Jefferson County CO about 3 years ago

Sod lawn test ?

Hello , my name is Cathy and I have a lawn problem . I have a sod lawn and I have brown spots all over my lawn . I there a place where I can send a sample of the soil to be tested so I can address this problem ? Thank you for your time . Sincerely , Cathy Porteous

Jefferson County CO about 3 years ago

powdery mildew

My summer squash, pumpkins and cucumbers are getting powdery mildew and the leaves are turning yellow. Is there anything I can do. I know about watering around the bottom of the plants and keeping water off the leaves. Should I remove the yellow leaves?

Jefferson County CO about 6 years ago

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