Nitrogen immobilization-can I reverse it?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Squishysquashy, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Squishysquashy

    Squishysquashy New Member

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    Hi, I'm new here, but I need help! I have a business making backyard (or front yard) vegetable gardens and teaching about growing food. It's my first year doing this as a living, but I have been growing food for several years. I have clients with raised beds and other clients with in-ground beds. I think raised beds are too high input unless they are your only choice, but that's what people want. The in-ground beds look great and are productive. The raised beds are sprouting, stalling out, yellowing, and dying. I am fairly certain that the compost I brought in was very unfinished. It is largely wood-based, and is causing nitrogen lock-up. Not even the beans are growing. Is there any way to turn this around? A better question, is there any way to turn this around quickly and get my plants some available nitrogen? It seems like everything I put on there to try and fix it is being used up so quickly that the plants aren't getting any.
     
  2. Ian

    Ian New Member

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    I am no expert, but the best way I found to add nitrogen is lots of greens, ie lawn clippings, and the like
     
  3. Squishysquashy

    Squishysquashy New Member

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    That's the problem, every form of nitrogen I put on there gets used up so fast by the microbes that the plants can't get any. At least that's what I think is happening... I have read that too much fresh green matter worked into the soil causes a temporary nitrogen immobilization as well. I wish I could know how long it will take to fix this.
     
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  4. Ian

    Ian New Member

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    I wish I could help more, however, I did some research and people suggest adding Urea, but I cant see anything that will correct the problem in the short term, other than dig it out and mix it with some different compost, Good luck
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    time may be on your side. eventually things may settle down and
    the plants will be able to take up the N.

    i have sometimes planted into areas where i've mixed too much
    C and the plants didn't do well at first, but after some weeks
    they caught up and did ok.
     
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  6. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    You could try a thin layer of fresh chicken manure mixed into the top 100mm this could provide a long term slow release of N , I use chickens on incredibly thick mulch have a look at my pics in the thread (link below) the constant mixing of their manure by the chickens provides enough N to break down enormous quantities of organic matter .

    Fresh manure is not usually ideal due to health reasons but of course with strategic planting harvest can be 12 weeks plus away

    http://permaculturenews.org/forums/index.php?threads/selecting-a-property.16017/#post-123061
     
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  7. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    First off, the growth characteristics you describe don't really follow a lack of N. What you might find works best is to make some mineral adjustments instead of throwing more Nitrogen at the problem. Mn and Mg are necessary for nitrogen to be taken in by plants, there is a nitrogen pump effect that only occurs when the trace minerals are in correct balance with the available Nitrogen. Also check for K, Ca and P levels, they should be there and if not, you are going to see plants that grow, yellow and look burnt. Wood chips used in compost don't suck all the Nitrogen out or even bind it up, they do limit the number of Nitrogen eating bacteria that can grow because wood chips are more fungal food than bacteria food. Once you get the trace minerals in order then the approach Terra mentions would be a great way to continue on.
     
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  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I was going to say "Use watered wee at 1 part to 15 parts of water", then I read Bryants post and thought that that is actually a very good point .

    Not everybpdy has chicken poop to hand and your own wee is self sterile. ie, you cant poison yourself or infect yourself with your own liquid fert.
     
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