The day we glazed the greenhouse I was so excited that within minutes of finishing (literally!) I jumped into my truck and headed to Brymik Earthworks for a load of fish compost. Before the end of the day we had the planting beds inside the greenhouse filled with a mixture of peat moss and fish compost.
The tomatoes were already pretty big and healthy and had fruit set and ripening. My peppers and melons, however, had been held for too long in pots that were too small for them. The peppers were dropping yellow leaves and the melon vines were stunted and stressed.
For your edification, I will now demonstrate the effects of excessive nitrogen in the controlled environment of a greenhouse. The next set of pictures was taken on August 23rd, a little less than 5 weeks later.
Talk about green!! If you can believe it, I had just pruned a wheelbarrow’s worth of leaves from my tomatoes prior to taking these shots… I wish I’d thought to take some pictures before I pruned, but the difference is still pretty striking!
The compost in my beds is clearly rich in nitrogen, and while the tomatoes are thriving, neither the peppers nor the melons are fruiting well, although they are growing like mad. In fact there are exactly 0 melons on the 1 cantaloupe and 3 watermelons I planted.
The peppers are faring a little better, they had already set some fruit before transplanting and those have developed and ripened, but all the growth since July 21st has been vegetative, and now, in September, they are just starting to flower and fruit again. I wonder if these peppers will ripen before it gets too cold.
The fall/winter veggies I seeded are also growing well. Most of these are salad greens; lettuce, komatsuna and spinach, with a few radishes chucked in for good measure. They are using the surplus of nitrogen to size up rapidly with tender, succulent growth. Time for some fresh salad!
I should probably pull the melons out, but I kinda think it’s not a bad idea to let them siphon off some nitrogen first. They will deplete it (somewhat) from the soil so that next year the soil chemistry is more balanced (I hope). Those nutrients won’t be wasted; I’ll compost the plants and they’ll end up somewhere else in my yard… the circle of life in a micro-system (my garden).