vegtable flavor

Asked March 23, 2016, 5:01 PM EDT

My father in law has grown the same variety of carrots and Brussel sprouts for years(at 2 different locations). They are always sweet and delicious. The past few years I have grown the same varieties, but they are never sweet or flavorful at all(sometimes almost bad). Is there a nutrient or mineral I could be missing in my soil? I've had it tested and it's never been far off and I applied the recommended fertilizer. We live about ten miles apart so I don't think differences in weather is effecting it. What makes vegetables grown in different ground taste so different? Thank You.

Barry County Michigan master gardener program

5 Responses

even though you live only ten miles apart, your soils could be very different. I have attached a link to an article by Dr. Joseph Heckman , an Extension Specialist in Soil Fertility at Rutgers University.

In his article, he points out that potassium, sulfur and boron are three essential nutrients for production of quality vegetables. Sulfur in particular is important because it forms organic compounds in the plant the contribute to flavor. Sulfur is not measured in a standard soil test. Sandy soils with low organic matter are most likely to be low in sulfur. To add sulfur, you could use potassium sulfate (0-0-50, potassium magnesium sulfate (K-Mag-21% potassium, 10 % magnesium, and 21% sulfur). Compost can also supply sulfur, or you could add sulfur at the rate of about half a pound broadcast over 1,000 square feet of garden area.

Won't adding sulfur lower the PH of my soil? How do I add Boron? Should I have my soil tested for sulfur and boron before adding anything? Who does testing for these nutrients? Thank You.

Boron is required in small amounts. You can have your soil tested to find out if it is deficient, but don't add it unless

a deficiency is present. Micronutrients such as boron are typically applied as a foliar spray. The amount of sulfur mentioned (0.5 lb/1,000 sq. ft.) will have a negligible effect on the soil pH. The MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient lab can test for these elements. Go to their website for more information. The test requested would be in the category "other" on the special crops, home lawns, landscapes and gardens form. Are you adding compost or some other form of organic matter to your garden?

I've been adding manure(from dairy farm) and leaves in the fall the last 2 years. Is there a limit to how much manure I can add if its applied in the fall?

there is a limit to how much your crops will be able to utilize. Organic forms of fertilizer such as animal manures, and compost release about one-third to half of their total nutrients in the first year. Nutrient values of animal manure differ depending on the animal species, the amount of moisture, method of storage, and bedding material used. vegetables range in their nitrogen requirements from about 0.5 lb/1,00 sq. ft. for green beans to 5.0 lb/1,000 sq. ft for broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Fresh dairy manure can range in nitrogen content from about 7 lb/ton to 13 lbs/ton. Assuming it has been stored properly, once it dries to 15% moisture that increases to about 54-92 lb nitrogen/ton of manure. if you are using it as a major source of fertilizer for your garden you may want have it tested. here is a link to an article that gives labs that test manure:

One of the main concerns with using manure can be a buildup of phosphorus in the soil. Manure contains high levels of phosphorus that may not be utilized by the plants.