Lack of root growth and other issues in first year garden

Asked July 7, 2020, 2:42 PM EDT

Hello, this is my first year with a real garden and I've had mixed success.

A quick background, I replaced all the soil in my garden beds after lining the bottom with cardboard since I moved the garden bed over a formerly grassy/weedy area. Not sure my ratio of vermiculite to peat to compost was exactly 1:1:1 but it was pretty close. I used mushroom, mixed organic, and cow manure as my compost. I have a compost pile but it had weeds in it when I started so I'm afraid to use it in my garden beds.

The results: leafy greens did pretty well until grubs destroyed their roots, along with fennel and peas. Most of my root veggies (beets, carrots, radishes, garlic) had good greens but unfortunately very small roots. My cantaloupe isn't growing much at all since getting to be a few inches tall even though we've had a lot of heat. My amaranth healthily grew to 2 feet but then stopped growing and the leaves are brown and dry.

Are there fertilizers that could help save my plants - natural solutions included? I was reading about fish/kelp, and compost tea. Do I need to test my relatively new soil before making any decisions? Thanks for any advice!

Larimer County Colorado

1 Response


Yes, to be honest, getting your soil tested would be a really good idea. It will test for nutrients, pH, organic matter, etc. A routine test from CSU costs $35. They are accepting samples, but need to be mailed. Here is the information:

To clarify, is the entire mix all compost and manure? Is there any soil?

Have you fertilized at all? How are you watering?