soil problems

Asked June 14, 2015, 11:48 PM EDT

I have a garden plot approximately 100x100 feet and for the last 8 years have had very good results growing sweetcorn, green beans, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables. Last year I had a total failure of my garden. The seeds sprouted but never grew to maturity. The Corn came up and turned brown, almost as if it was burned, grew to a height of 1 to 2 feet and never produced fruit. My potatoes were late coming up even though I pre-sprouted the seed before planting and never grew to maturity. The beans came up, turned yellow and died. The cabbage never produced stayed alive but never grew much larger than the size of the sets I planted. I'm having the same results this year as well. I've done nothing different than I've done in past years...I rotate crop locations in the garden...I put sheep manure out on the ground in winter and turn it under in the spring at least a month before planting. I'm at a loss for an explanation. Should I take soil samples for testing ? A neighbor thought I might have a nematode infestation. Please advise.

Malheur County Oregon

1 Response

If you are using fresh manure, versus composted manure, you are leaching away phosphorus which would explain the failure of your crops to fruit. It also sounds like you have a nitrogen imbalance. Fresh manure must be applied as least three months before planting. You are much better off with composted manure, particularly if any of the animals had any intestinal parasites. I would definitely do soil sampling, and I would have your manure tested before you apply anymore. I use tested compost. I attached an article on using manure in a vegetable garden.

Also, with your crop rotations, you must rotate and ensure that you are not planting crops in the same location from the same plant family or planting crops that are heavy feeders year after year into the same area. Attached is an article on plant families and crop rotations.