Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Finding Mel's Mix

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Finding Mel's Mix

Post  LeeAnne12 on 2/26/2012, 4:29 pm

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here and my first attempt at SFG, or basically gardening of any kind. We tried several years ago and it was a disaster, so we gave up. Anyway, I've bought some compost bins and have had them going since before Christmas and it still doesn't look like it has decomposed, so I think the best thing I can do is buy Mel's Mix. The problem is I can't find it, locally or online. Does anyone has a source where they buy it?

Thanks,

Lee Anne
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  sfg4uKim on 2/26/2012, 4:39 pm

I don't think it's available online. Someone will probably let you know if it's available at someplace like Lowe's or Home Depot in your area.

Most of us just get the separate ingredients ourselves - 5+ different forms of compost (making sure they don't also include peat moss), peat & coarse vermiculite. There's a Vermiculite Database here.

LOL I'm SO rude . . . Hi and welcome to the Forum.

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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  JK on 2/26/2012, 8:24 pm



Im very new myself and I had a bit of trouble with MM too. I have yet to see MM in a bag so like Kim said, mix up your own Smile. From my own search, your big box stores will usually have one or two different types of compost. I think every single store I went to had peat. Feed and seed stores will be another option for finding compost. Any local farms or even friends who have cows, horses, etc. may be a potential source for manure which if not already composted you can add to your piles and it should get them decomposing faster bounce.

My big score came from Ace Hardware. Got peat, vermiculite, and 4 different composts from one store. The fifth type gave me trouble but a local feed and seed came up with the last one I needed. Good Luck Very Happy

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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  Chopper on 2/27/2012, 12:57 am

It is not called Mel's Mix in the stores. It is called "GardenTime Square Foot Garden Soil" There is a picture of Mel on the front of the bag. Lowes carries it and Home Depot is supposed to soon if not already.

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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  CindiLou on 2/27/2012, 1:49 am

Called all over..the premix isnt in Iowa yet...grrr..Thought I might get to do the next two beds easy lol...
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 2/27/2012, 1:52 am

I feel you Cindi - I'm not sure it's in Illinois yet either. Smile
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  shannon1 on 2/27/2012, 5:37 am

But if you get the premixed stuff you miss out on all the fun of hunting down the ingreidents and mixing it by hand.
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  LeeAnne12 on 2/27/2012, 7:31 am

Thanks for the replies! I plan on making some of it. I'm just not going to have enough compost ready. It will be interesting to see which does better. I'll check the Lowes around here and see if they carry it. Has anyone ever used gin trash as one of their sources? This is the part that is way down at the bottom of the pile, so it would be decomposed.

Thanks,

Lee Anne
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Question?

Post  CharlesB on 2/27/2012, 10:51 am

Hard part of Mel's mix for us is the compost, not so much the vermiculite or peat moss. Anyone know why Mel doesn't just put out a product that is the compost we can mix with our own sources of vermiculite and peat moss?

Vermiculite isn't easy to find but it easy to find in comparison to diverse compost sources.
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GREAT idea

Post  curio on 2/27/2012, 11:14 am

@CharlesB wrote:Hard part of Mel's mix for us is the compost, not so much the vermiculite or peat moss. Anyone know why Mel doesn't just put out a product that is the compost we can mix with our own sources of vermiculite and peat moss?

Vermiculite isn't easy to find but it easy to find in comparison to diverse compost sources.

Now this is an item that I would buy in half a heartbeat!!
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to mix or not to mix

Post  curio on 2/27/2012, 11:19 am

I was referring to the idea of the blended compost more than the mix itself. Unfortunately, the mix is not available anywhere in our area (according to Mel's website "dealers" tab)
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/27/2012, 6:03 pm

Leanne

Has anyone ever used gin trash as one of their sources?
What is gin trash?

I went to a nursery, a hardware, our local grange, a wal mart, a farm and garden store,as well as a county agricultural co-op, every place that would have composts. Some had the same limited types so I ended up going to all of these stores in order to get a good assortment of composts. I did end up with more than 5 types, but to me that was a bonus. Any excess blended compost is useful after harvesting each square, for replenishing the nutrients before replanting the square.
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  walshevak on 2/27/2012, 6:51 pm

If gin trash is the remains of the cotton gin process, than yes it is good for the garden after composting. Cotton boll compost is sold in the south. My local cotton gin has a mountain of leavings behind it and I'm waiting for dryer weather to go get some FREE or $15 if I get them to fire up the front end loader and scoop it into my truck. The stuff near the bottom of the pile looks really good. I talked to an employee at the gin and he said he gets a truck full every year for his garden and gets good tomatos.

Kay

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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  Beav395 on 2/27/2012, 8:33 pm

@curio wrote:I was referring to the idea of the blended compost more than the mix itself. Unfortunately, the mix is not available anywhere in our area (according to Mel's website "dealers" tab)

Gardner & Bloome soil building compost is a good blended compost with more than 5 different types of compost in it.

It's what I used. It was $8.99 for a 3 cuft bag at a nursery.

I've read from other experienced SFG'ers that if you have to buy compost its a good choice.



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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/27/2012, 10:19 pm

@Beav395 wrote:
@curio wrote:I was referring to the idea of the blended compost more than the mix itself. Unfortunately, the mix is not available anywhere in our area (according to Mel's website "dealers" tab)

Gardner & Bloome soil building compost is a good blended compost with more than 5 different types of compost in it.

It's what I used. It was $8.99 for a 3 cuft bag at a nursery.

I've read from other experienced SFG'ers that if you have to buy compost its a good choice.

I agree that Gardner and Bloome soil building compost is a good choice, check this link > Gardner and Bloome soil building compost but I want my compost to be different types and different sources too. I would add at least a couple types of compost from different sources (brands) to Gardner and Bloome.
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/28/2012, 3:55 am

I found a picture of preparing my first batch of Mel's Mix, Gardner and Bloome was one of the sources/types of compost I used, along with composted steer manure, composted chicken manure, mushroom compost and another titled "garden" compost and less than 1 cubic foot of my own homemade compost.

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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  shannon1 on 2/28/2012, 4:08 am

@walshevak wrote:If gin trash is the remains of the cotton gin process, than yes it is good for the garden after composting. Cotton boll compost is sold in the south. My local cotton gin has a mountain of leavings behind it and I'm waiting for dryer weather to go get some FREE or $15 if I get them to fire up the front end loader and scoop it into my truck. The stuff near the bottom of the pile looks really good. I talked to an employee at the gin and he said he gets a truck full every year for his garden and gets good tomatos.

Kay
What about all the pestiside they spray on that stuff?pale That is why I get organic compost. Just thinking
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  LeeAnne12 on 2/28/2012, 8:15 am

Shannon, that's the thing I worry about. I don't know enough about the pesticides/herbicides to know whether they are still there once it turns to compost. My brother gardens and he uses it and loves it. We're having "garden wars" this year. LOL He's not trying to garden organically, so it's really not an issue with him.

Lee Anne
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  shannon1 on 3/2/2012, 3:45 am

Cotton is one of the most sprayed crops so if I were you I would skip that one just to be on the safe side. I have found my ag. extention office to be a big help. You could call yours and see if the chem. persist after composting they may even be able to track down some compost for you.Very Happy
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  LeeAnne12 on 3/3/2012, 9:02 pm

Shannon, would you believe I found five different kinds all at one place? I'm so happy. I'm going to order asparagus next week and get one box going. When you are mixing it up, do you just kind of "eyeball" the piles of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite?
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  shannon1 on 3/4/2012, 1:21 am

I use a bucket to measure them out. I'm no good at the e-ball thing. Make sure you fluff up the peat before mixing and wet the mix down in layers in the box rather than filling it with mix and then wetting it down. I use the tarp method. I put one bucket of 5-way compost, one bucket of fluffed peat and one bucket of vermiculite on to the tarp, spray just enough water to keep the dust down and mix it on the tarp buy holding the ends and drawing it this way and that way. Then when the box is 1/3 filled with mix I soak the h*ll out of it and repeat until the box is filled to the brim. The mix will settle a bit so I have some MM ready to top it off. This IMHO is the hardest part of square foot gardening. I'm not in the best of shape and mixing all that stuff is not easy for one person so if you can snag a person or two to help do it.Very Happy
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  jdnetone on 3/5/2012, 11:49 am

LeeAnne12 - Did you go to Dan West garden center on 4763 Poplar Ave Memphis, TN 38117 (Corner of Poplar and Colonial)

Or the one on 12061 Highway 64 Eads, TN 38028 (12 minutes from Wolfchase)

My wife and I are planning a trip to pick up a load of the five composts needed and may go this weekend. Thanks you so much for posting this information on my introduction page this really helped.

We live in Obion County and have been gardening for a long time but we are just starting our SFG trial.


James
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  LeeAnne12 on 3/5/2012, 6:11 pm

LeeAnne12 - Did you go to Dan West garden center on 4763 Poplar Ave Memphis, TN 38117 (Corner of Poplar and Colonial)

James, it's the one on Poplar. I don't know whether the other one has it or not. Do you come down I-40 to get to Memphis, because if you do, the other one would be more convenient. Anyway, the lady I talked to was named Vada...long "a" on the first syllable. She was really nice and helpful. Don't get it all because I haven't made it down there, yet. Smile Have a safe trip!

Lee Anne
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Re: Finding Mel's Mix

Post  jdnetone on 3/6/2012, 9:20 am

Thanks LeeAnne12

I will come down 40 and I see it on the map I will call and see if they have it it would be closer for sure.

James

PS I will be sure to save you some Wink
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