Soil challenge?

Asked August 3, 2017, 10:48 AM EDT

I changed out my garden soil several years ago here in NE Bend thinking it was viral or challenging my veggies in some way. See photos of two kinds of summer squash; first two photos are same plant and third photo is the other squash. Do they have a virus, etc.? In general, I'm not totally happy with growth rates of other veggies here. I use organic fertilizer and worm compost I make, mostly focused around the plant. I use drip irrigation, but on hot evenings I've lightly sprayed overhead water to help cool around the house. The terraced beds have railroad ties which the prior owner placed 15-20 years ago but might they still be bad for the soil? Is there a soil test for that? Should I also do a general soil test? Thank you, Perry

Deschutes County Oregon horticulture soil and fertility issues vegetable gardening

1 Response

Hi Perry, from the pictures I see possible leaf stippling which is damage from some type of insect that pierces the epidermis of the leaf then sucks out fluids. This leaves a sort of mottled appearance like that of the upper leaf in picture one. The other thing I see is most likely sun scorch, leaf edges turning tan and dry with some curling. This indicates not enough water. We have been extremely hot for a long time, much hotter than usual. Plants need extra water in heat especially with our drying winds. The last picture may be showing signs of intense sun damage or it could just be the angle. Again, with the intense heat and sun we have been having this is very possible. You might try creating shade for this plant for the hottest hours of the day.

Testing for toxins in the railroad ties would be very expensive. Since they are old I would just suggest that you don't plant root crops within 12" just to be safe.