It is always disappointing to see crops do dismally after babying them along for some period of time. Amending soil is a sometimes tricky prospect when growing the way we do. Conventional growers simply throw down some fertilizer each year with each crop maybe even more than once per crop.
Philosophically we are opposed to the conventional route so amending our soil becomes somewhat of a game. Compost, organic matter (leaves and grass clippings), composted manure and cover crops are all in play and have been for a while. However, we are still getting some of those problem beds. This year we chose some more direct routes of amending soil nutrition that is on the low side. First I mixed up a combination of blood meal, ground rock phosphate and greensand (your typical NPK) and side dressed some of the plants not growing so well. The next step was to apply some pelleted sea bird guano. I am now moving into the latest thought........alfalfa pellets.
These are a nifty addition to the naturally grown arsenal of soil amendments in that not only do they decompose quickly providing quick nutrition to problem beds but they also contain a growth stimulator as it breaks down. This typically comes in a delayed response (about a month after application) and can come back to haunt a grower if applied at the wrong time of year (i.e. when approaching dormancy.
I have yet to apply the alfalfa but am intrigued about the prospect. We will surely let you know how it does and how it helps combat those few "problem beds."
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )