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Old February 7, 2019   #11
brownrexx's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 1,420

Organic can refer to the way something is grown with all natural or approved materials but in this case they are talking about organic material which is material that has not broken down yet. Think of it as fiber.

My organic garden has 10 - 12% organic material but the average in my area is 4%.

If your % of organic material is too high it can cause nitrogen depletion as it decomposes. I saw this first hand when I added a LOT of chopped leaves to my garden and planted peppers. The plants all turned yellow. I fed them nitrogen and by the end of the summer they were all green again but my harvest was reduced.

Excess nutrients are not necessarily a good thing. I also have an excess in my garden as revealed by my soil test so I have stopped adding so much compost to the garden. Excess nutrients can cause stunting of plants and excess calcium leads to a higher pH which you have seen.

Excess nutrients can interfere with uptake of micro nutrients and excessively high calcium can interfere with magnesium absorption.

I would also recommend what others have said and that is to mix your compost with other soil to dilute the excess.

Edited to add that I just looked at my most recent soil test report from Penn State and saw this note:

"Soil nutrient levels exceeding crop needs can be as bad as deficient levels. High soil nutrient levels might not only might represent an economic loss, but they may also result in crop, animal or environmental problems. Very high P levels (above 310 lbs P2O5 /acre of 140 lbs P/acre) in the soil may lead to nutrient deficiencies especially of iron and zinc. If K, Mg and/or Ca levels are high, serious nutrient imbalances can occur. When K levels are above the 5% saturation; Mg levels 15% and Ca 80%, soil nutrition is beginning to get out of the optimum range. Use best management practices to avoid increasing nutrient levels that exceed crop needs."

Last edited by brownrexx; February 7, 2019 at 09:06 AM.
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