Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» Garbanzo (Chickpeas, Cicer arietinum) and Kidney Beans
by sanderson Today at 3:27 am

» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by GardenGal Today at 12:15 am

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by yolos Today at 12:13 am

» CHALLENGE - Smallest possible footprint
by sfg4uKim Yesterday at 10:14 pm

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 9:02 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 6:24 pm

» Holy snow Batman!
by llama momma Yesterday at 4:52 pm

» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by llama momma Yesterday at 4:35 pm

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by CapeCoddess Yesterday at 4:02 pm

» New England, December 2016
by CapeCoddess Yesterday at 3:27 pm

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 1:04 pm

» Bon fires on the Levee
by Cajun Cappy Yesterday at 12:17 pm

» Mid-South: December 2016
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:26 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:24 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:21 pm

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:15 pm

» Amaranth
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:06 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:03 pm

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by donnainzone5 12/5/2016, 11:14 am

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee 12/5/2016, 9:08 am

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by countrynaturals 12/4/2016, 2:04 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by audrey.jeanne.roberts 12/4/2016, 1:28 pm

» December 2016 Avatar: Show your Winter Season Colors!
by Scorpio Rising 12/3/2016, 11:17 pm

» SFG not giving the results I expected
by No_Such_Reality 12/3/2016, 7:21 pm

» New Member
by trolleydriver 12/3/2016, 4:14 pm

» First season SFG results / lessons learned
by countrynaturals 12/3/2016, 10:36 am

» Eat Broccoli Leaves? Brussels Sprouts? Cauliflower?
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:55 am

» Winter's Coming!
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:53 am

» Dry versus fresh spices to infuse vinegar
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:50 am

» Senseless Banter...
by MrBooker 12/2/2016, 5:17 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

Base soil for my raised garden beds

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  efirvin on 3/19/2012, 1:15 pm

Good morning everyone!

I am building raised beds for my new sfg garden plot. (I can't get down on my hands and knees anymore!) They are 16 inches tall. I am going to make 1 4x4 bed all Mel's mix so I can plant potatoes and carrots there.

My question is what to use as the 8 inch base for my other raised beds. I can buy compost from the city at $18 per square yard. Is compost ok to use as the base soil? I will be buying that compost to mix with peat moss and vermiculite to make Mel's mix but don't know if its the right thing to use for my base soil.

Thanks for all the great info and support I have found here! You guys are good!

efirvin

Female Posts : 146
Join date : 2012-01-08
Location : Casper Wyoming

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  Danni on 3/19/2012, 2:23 pm

Mel's mix is usually 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost using 5 different types of compost.

Danni

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-03-08
Age : 43
Location : NE Poland, but from Michigan Zone 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/19/2012, 3:23 pm

@efirvin wrote:Good morning everyone!

I am building raised beds for my new sfg garden plot. (I can't get down on my hands and knees anymore!) They are 16 inches tall. I am going to make 1 4x4 bed all Mel's mix so I can plant potatoes and carrots there.

My question is what to use as the 8 inch base for my other raised beds. I can buy compost from the city at $18 per square yard. Is compost ok to use as the base soil? I will be buying that compost to mix with peat moss and vermiculite to make Mel's mix but don't know if its the right thing to use for my base soil.

Thanks for all the great info and support I have found here! You guys are good!

I haven't built my boxes yet. My boxes will be 12 inches deep at the top end of the slope and 20 inches deep at the bottom end of the slope. People here have suggested that I could either add compost or topsoil to the boxes so that there's an even 12 inches(I'm going with 12 inches) of space across the boxes to fill in with Mel's Mix.

Sorry about the little ramble. Anyway, I'd fill in the bottom 8 inches with topsoil. You can certainly use compost but topsoil may be cheaper. If you have the extra compost, you can certainly use that elsewhere.

Too Tall Tomatoes

Male Posts : 1069
Join date : 2011-10-24
Age : 46
Location : Pennsylvania, Zone 6A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  quiltbea on 3/19/2012, 4:01 pm

I'd start with garden loam, that can be delivered cheaper by the truck-load, if you want to fill in the bottoms of your boxes and then just put Mel's Mix on the top 6".

If you can't get the garden loam, get some top soil for the bottoms. There are some pretty inexpensive bags available at most nursery centers.

Not many can afford to fill their boxes with 18" of Mel's Mix. Remember, a 4 x 4 box only 6" deep takes 8 cu feet of MM. Double it for a 12" box and it becomes ultra costly.

Just my itty bitty purse talking.

quiltbea

Female Posts : 4613
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 74
Location : Southwestern Maine Zone 5A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  Danni on 3/19/2012, 4:26 pm

I just realized that I read the OP's question wrong. Forget my post.

Danni

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-03-08
Age : 43
Location : NE Poland, but from Michigan Zone 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/19/2012, 7:28 pm

Remember, you only really need 6" of Mel's Mix for most things. You can always use top hats where you want to plant things like carrots and potatoes if you don't want the added expense of filling the entire 18" with Mel's Mix. 18" deep is 3 times deeper than what is really needed. If you went only 6" as Mel suggests, you could fill 2 additional boxes with Mel's Mix just to put it in to perspective.
It cost me right at $90 to fill one 6" deep 4x4 box. I went by the book and purchased 5 different composts, coarse vermiculite, and peat. Your area prices may be higher or lower, but I would much rather fill 3 boxes for $270 than one. Very Happy Not to mention all the more I could grow.
As for filler, if its just to take up space at the bottom, you don't need anything special. Sand, rocks, bricks, limbs, lumber, etc. You could even place a false bottom in there with plywood and drainage holes. I guess if compost is cheap, why not

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7708-new-garden-from-dartmouthma-pics

____________________________


I am my gardens worst enemy.

RoOsTeR

Forum Administrator

Male Posts : 3879
Join date : 2011-10-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/20/2012, 1:47 am

@efirvin wrote:Good morning everyone!

I am building raised beds for my new sfg garden plot. (I can't get down on my hands and knees anymore!) They are 16 inches tall. I am going to make 1 4x4 bed all Mel's mix so I can plant potatoes and carrots there.

My question is what to use as the 8 inch base for my other raised beds. I can buy compost from the city at $18 per square yard. Is compost ok to use as the base soil? I will be buying that compost to mix with peat moss and vermiculite to make Mel's mix but don't know if its the right thing to use for my base soil.

Thanks for all the great info and support I have found here! You guys are good!

No, I would not use it. MM is mix of 5 manures for a reason - they all bring something different to the solution. City compost is similar to home compost in that is made from cuttings and 'green trash' but it can be created in a number of ways. You don't know what's in it, or what you'll get out of it, or how it was made or what it will do to your MM.

We get city compost at the garden, and I'm not impressed with it. Your results may vary.

I'd stick with 5 manures.

AvaDGardner

Female Posts : 631
Join date : 2012-02-17
Location : Garden Grove, CA (still Zone 10b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  shannon1 on 3/20/2012, 2:08 am

@quiltbea wrote:I'd start with garden loam, that can be delivered cheaper by the truck-load, if you want to fill in the bottoms of your boxes and then just put Mel's Mix on the top 6".

If you can't get the garden loam, get some top soil for the bottoms. There are some pretty inexpensive bags available at most nursery centers.

Not many can afford to fill their boxes with 18" of Mel's Mix. Remember, a 4 x 4 box only 6" deep takes 8 cu feet of MM. Double it for a 12" box and it becomes ultra costly.

Just my itty bitty purse talking.
+1:D I'm planting a extra large pot of pole beans tomorrow and will only be putting MM in the top 6" the rest will be filler some potting soil my neighbor gave me.

shannon1

Posts : 1697
Join date : 2011-04-01
Location : zone 9a St.Johns county FL

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/20/2012, 7:21 am

@AvaDGardner wrote:
@efirvin wrote:Good morning everyone!

I am building raised beds for my new sfg garden plot. (I can't get down on my hands and knees anymore!) They are 16 inches tall. I am going to make 1 4x4 bed all Mel's mix so I can plant potatoes and carrots there.

My question is what to use as the 8 inch base for my other raised beds. I can buy compost from the city at $18 per square yard. Is compost ok to use as the base soil? I will be buying that compost to mix with peat moss and vermiculite to make Mel's mix but don't know if its the right thing to use for my base soil.

Thanks for all the great info and support I have found here! You guys are good!

No, I would not use it. MM is mix of 5 manures for a reason - they all bring something different to the solution. City compost is similar to home compost in that is made from cuttings and 'green trash' but it can be created in a number of ways. You don't know what's in it, or what you'll get out of it, or how it was made or what it will do to your MM.

We get city compost at the garden, and I'm not impressed with it. Your results may vary.

I'd stick with 5 manures.

Actually, Mel's Mix consists of 5 different KINDS of composts, not just manures.

____________________________


I am my gardens worst enemy.

RoOsTeR

Forum Administrator

Male Posts : 3879
Join date : 2011-10-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  rrsmith60 on 3/20/2012, 7:47 am

It appears that this one is about put to bed, but I thought I’d put in my 2 cents.

First, I think the advice to use 5 different forms of composted manure is spot on, if one can find it.

Quitbee, is correct as usual, regarding placing a base into the boxes. I’ve several boxes from 16” to 24” deep and they all have a cheaper non-Mel’s Mix base. I also use 6-8” of Mel’s mix on my top of my base. My base was made up of high grade top soil, humus and compost. It’s worked great for me for years. Mel’s mix is great but expensive; there’s no sense in putting it in an area where it’s not needed.

Also, a quick tip about mixing Mel’s Mix; if you have a tumbling composter (such as a Tumbleweed) empty your winter compost and use it to mix the MM. I place equal amounts of my compost, vermiculite and peat in the tumble and give it three spins one way and three the other. This produces a very well mixed lot of MM.

rrsmith60

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-01-25
Location : Georgetown, KY

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/20/2012, 8:43 am

@AvaDGardner wrote:
@efirvin wrote:Good morning everyone!

I am building raised beds for my new sfg garden plot. (I can't get down on my hands and knees anymore!) They are 16 inches tall. I am going to make 1 4x4 bed all Mel's mix so I can plant potatoes and carrots there.

My question is what to use as the 8 inch base for my other raised beds. I can buy compost from the city at $18 per square yard. Is compost ok to use as the base soil? I will be buying that compost to mix with peat moss and vermiculite to make Mel's mix but don't know if its the right thing to use for my base soil.

Thanks for all the great info and support I have found here! You guys are good!

No, I would not use it. MM is mix of 5 manures for a reason - they all bring something different to the solution. City compost is similar to home compost in that is made from cuttings and 'green trash' but it can be created in a number of ways. You don't know what's in it, or what you'll get out of it, or how it was made or what it will do to your MM.

We get city compost at the garden, and I'm not impressed with it. Your results may vary.

I'd stick with 5 manures.

You're right about not really knowing what's in city compost but I think he would be fine to use it as the base and then Mel's Mix(made with 5 quality composts) on the top.

Just my opinion. What a Face

Too Tall Tomatoes

Male Posts : 1069
Join date : 2011-10-24
Age : 46
Location : Pennsylvania, Zone 6A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/20/2012, 8:46 am

@rrsmith60 wrote:Also, a quick tip about mixing Mel’s Mix; if you have a tumbling composter (such as a Tumbleweed) empty your winter compost and use it to mix the MM. I place equal amounts of my compost, vermiculite and peat in the tumble and give it three spins one way and three the other. This produces a very well mixed lot of MM.

OMG rrsmith60.....you just gave me the best idea I've heard in ages..........using a compost tumbler to make my Mel's Mix. I'm doing away with my compost bin and getting a tumbler. Why not use it to make Mel's Mix?
My back thanks you!

Too Tall Tomatoes

Male Posts : 1069
Join date : 2011-10-24
Age : 46
Location : Pennsylvania, Zone 6A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  efirvin on 3/20/2012, 3:44 pm

I haven't built my boxes yet. My boxes will be 12 inches deep at the top end of the slope and 20 inches deep at the bottom end of the slope. People here have suggested that I could either add compost or topsoil to the boxes so that there's an even 12 inches(I'm going with 12 inches) of space across the boxes to fill in with Mel's Mix.

Sorry about the little ramble. Anyway, I'd fill in the bottom 8 inches with topsoil. You can certainly use compost but topsoil may be cheaper. If you have the extra compost, you can certainly use that elsewhere.

Thanks TTT!

I am looking at all options for that bottom half of my raised beds. Thanks for recommending topsoil. I need to price that from a local nursery.

efirvin

Female Posts : 146
Join date : 2012-01-08
Location : Casper Wyoming

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  efirvin on 3/20/2012, 3:50 pm

I'd start with garden loam, that can be delivered cheaper by the truck-load, if you want to fill in the bottoms of your boxes and then just put Mel's Mix on the top 6".

If you can't get the garden loam, get some top soil for the bottoms. There are some pretty inexpensive bags available at most nursery centers.

Not many can afford to fill their boxes with 18" of Mel's Mix. Remember, a 4 x 4 box only 6" deep takes 8 cu feet of MM. Double it for a 12" box and it becomes ultra costly.

Just my itty bitty purse talking.

Thanks Quiltbea!

I have bought the vermiculite and peat moss, now all I need is a good mixed compost. I will buy some from the city but will probably add more to it to make sure I get a good mix. And yes, I'm only filling one box full of Mel Mix, thats where my potatoes and carrots will be planted.

efirvin

Female Posts : 146
Join date : 2012-01-08
Location : Casper Wyoming

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  efirvin on 3/20/2012, 4:01 pm

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies! I definitely will take all your suggestions in consideration as I prepare my sfg boxes.


efirvin

Female Posts : 146
Join date : 2012-01-08
Location : Casper Wyoming

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  efirvin on 3/20/2012, 4:55 pm

Dang! I tried to post a pix of my sfg raised beds being made but it didn't post!

efirvin

Female Posts : 146
Join date : 2012-01-08
Location : Casper Wyoming

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/20/2012, 10:38 pm


UnderTheBlackWalnut

Female Posts : 559
Join date : 2011-04-18
Age : 50
Location : Springfield (central), IL, on the line between 5b and 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Base soil for my raised garden beds

Post  Sponsored content Today at 3:40 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum