I filled 220sq feet of raised beds earlier this spring with 10inches of soil comprised of 5yds organic compost and 2 yds premium screen top soil (about 50/50 by mass). The beds are open on the bottom. I amended this mix with the recommend dose of Espoma Garden Tone. Unfortunately, I have all my mixed vegetables planted already and I'm seeing yellowing of entire plants and extremely stunted growth. Night temps have been fine and plants outside of these beds are growing just fine, green and lush with the same amount of water. They get plenty of sunlight as well.

I feel like the High PH is preventing nutrient uptake and iron chlorosis. I've foliar fed with a 2-4-2 fish emulsion at half strength once and it didn't seem to do much. Also, tested a dose of a soluble 25-9-15 fertilizer on a few plants with almost no effect.

Since my plants are already in, I'm considering top dressing with peat, elemental sulfur and doing an Iron chelate drench to get me through this growing season. Maybe continuing foliar feeding since nutrient uptake seems to be an issue. I'll mix in the sulfur and peat once I've got the plants out and retest in the fall and spring.

Any help would be much appreciated!

  • I should note that the young leaves of the plants are are a nice green when they emerge and yellow shortly after. The old leaves are all yellowing. Additionally, higher PH tolerant plants like beans, cabbage, and garlic are suffering as well. Finally, I requested "total nitrogen" with my soil test but I don't see any results for it.
    – AJackson
    Jun 18, 2021 at 18:19
  • The urea recommended provides nitrogen only. Presumably they don't think P on the edge of the "optimum" range is worth correcting (and I would tend to agree - a garden isn't a chemistry lab.)
    – alephzero
    Jun 18, 2021 at 19:06
  • "a garden isn't a chemistry lab" It can be if that's what you enjoy haha. The PH issue is my main concern though.
    – AJackson
    Jun 18, 2021 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


It is very difficult to change pH of soil. Apparently your soil contains a lot of calcium , lime stone. Likely you will need pounds of aluminum sulfate per square foot , regularly, to move pH. Better just plant what you want and see what grows . Coles ( cabbage, etc) and onions will do well . I have the opposite , soil pH less than 6 . I have added a lot of lime in small areas for certain plants (pomegranates) , but if you miss a year they die. Onions are impossible ( who else can't grow an onion set ? ). Although your soil test results reinforce my opinion, phosphate is good, usually the first thing that is low. The only fertilizer I use is 9-45-15, water soluble starter. But now, I only grow flowers.

  • These are raised beds so I'll probably remove a bunch of the soil currently in there and add a bunch of peat once this season is over.
    – AJackson
    Jun 21, 2021 at 14:23

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