Too much nitrogen in soil

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by rileyjo, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. rileyjo

    rileyjo Well-Known Member

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    I should know the answer to this but I don't so I'm looking for some help.
    This is my first year in this garden plot. It's an old garden site which I reclaimed this year. I noticed a lot of crown vetch ( a legume) which led me to believe the soil was decent. Soil life is also good but the soil is a bit sandy.
    Now that the plants are up, I'm noticing alot of leaf growth but less of a production of pea flowers then I'm used to. I not going to get a normal yield. It looks like I have way too much nitrogen.
    I know if you pile on lots of fresh grass clippings it will remove nitrogen as it decomposes but so I've done that but it's not going to help me with this crop.
    Creepy guy next door #1 (yes, there is also a #2) fancies himself to be an organic chemist but all his suggestions are geared to fixing in more nitrogen, not removing it short term.
    I'm upping the P and K but it's still out of whack.
    Any suggesting on how to flush nitrogen out of my soil?
     
  2. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Nitrogen is a very unstable element, and is continuously changing back into its gaseous form. The roots of legumes like crownvetch fix it from the air. Using heavy nitrogen feeders is one way to deplete it, or adding plant material that uses nitrogen to break down. You can also add phosphorous and potassium (potash) to help even out the balance of nutrients. If you test the soil it will show one analysis but in two weeks the nitrogen element will be different in another test.
     

  3. rileyjo

    rileyjo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I guess I'll try throwing some sawdust on too but I might have to accept a lower yield this year. I will rotate crops next year.
     
  4. rileyjo

    rileyjo Well-Known Member

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    Another thought about this...
    The first mulch was dry grass mixed with chopped old oak leaves. Fresh grass is piled over that. I don't have much to do today and have the urge to putter in the garden. Would it be worth my time to remove all the mulch and reconfigure it - sawdust/grassclippings next to the soil and dry stuff on top?
    Peas are just starting to flower, no set yet. Is it too late to try this?
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    why don't you just take a whipper snipper to the vetch and let it settle on top to rot. when it does, it should stabilize the nitrogen levels. I wouldn't worry about it too much anyway. That nitrogen you may want next year on planting the garden. By then it won't be a high level, I would bet. Then you could also augment with sawdust between rows for keeping weeds down as well.
     
  6. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Growing Legumes cannot put "too much" nitrogen in the soil. Too much nitrogen happens when you add chemical-based petrochemicals to your garden that are rapidly taken up by the plants that either don't need it or don't need it at that time.

    Organically produced nitrogen is taken up in the correct amounts and used as it is needed. Worry about something else.

    ORganic farmers grow tomatoes in vetch. The vetch adds nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil as well as crowds out the weeds. I had a hard time finding seed for vetch so I think you should keep it.
     
  7. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am confused (what's new?)... ANYway, if I understand you correctly, you are not getting much blossom set. IIRC, that means that you may be lacking potassium, not nitrogen?

    Of course, I could be totally wrong. It would not be the first time...

    Pony!
     
  8. rileyjo

    rileyjo Well-Known Member

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    This garden is a reclaimed plot. Hasn't been worked in many years. Chemicals are not a concern now or ever....
    Too much nitrogen stims excessive leaf production and reduces yields. Next year is not a concern, just trying to get the yields I expect from a patch of peas. No desire to eat leaves or vines, I want peas.....

    Might have left this too late to make a difference for this year. Peas are now over my head - tallest, leafiest peas I've ever grown....
     
  9. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Mid Tn Mama said it and I will also. Unless you have added something to the soil which contained excess nitrogen, you will NOT have excess nitrogen from that vetch. Also, grass clippings as mulch will NOT remove nitrogen from the soil. Sawdust or wood chips used as mulch will NOT remove nitrogen from the soil. Doesn't matter since whatever problem you think that you have is NOT from too much nitrogen. In fact, I doubt is there even is a problem with plants which are apparently in such excellent condition.

    Martin
     
  10. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    if there is a problem with nitrogen i'm wondering if there is a septic field underneath? or does water from a manure pile rundown the hill over your veggie garden? or did you acidently put too much plant food in the soil when preparing the pea bed?
     
  11. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You need to increase the amount of sunshine on the plants, but it's too late for that now.
     
  12. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of an old technique used to hunt polar bears. First you chop a hole in the ice, and then you place the peas close to the edge. Then when the bear comes up to take a pea you kick him in the ice hole. :rolleyes:
    Pony you are right that more phosphorous will promote flowering. The question wasn't about lacking nitrogen though. What is IIRC?
     
  13. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOL! That's an oldie but a goodie!

    Yeah, I meant to say "lacking potassium, not having too much nitrogen" -- or something like that.

    IIRC = If I Recall Correctly :)

    Pony!
     
  14. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I vote with MidTnMama and Paquebot. It is very unlikely to have too much nitrogen from legumes(or compost or manure or etc.) I would use the wait and see approach.
     
  15. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    it takes years of tending soil to make it a real garden. While it may have been a garden in the past , the time off may have unbalanced it. I would expect that it will preform better in the next couple of years as long as you keep putting compost in it.
    i found this out by letting my garden set for 8 years. Now 4 years after starting back up it is just now performing to my satisfaction. Of course i hope it will continue to improve in the following years.
    Did you use pea innoculent? I find that helps. i use it every time I move the peas or beans to a new spot in the garden. The production is much higher.
     
  16. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    The innoculant is used to help the plants fix nitrogen from the air.