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RATS!!!!

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RATS!!!!

Post  obrdrln on 3/23/2012, 5:37 pm

Well, starting to mix my MM and, as I've found in the past-----

I have the BRAINS

I have the BEAUTY

I DO NOT have the BRAUN!!!!!!

Needed, stong kid who isn't afraid of some work-----I'll bake you a cake?????

Judy

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/23/2012, 5:47 pm

I'm on vacation in Williamsburg. Just a bit too far away.

May I suggest smaller batches. That's what I have to do.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  B maier on 3/23/2012, 6:41 pm

Yeah.... I don't like the recomeeded method. I dumped my stuff diectly into the boxes in layers and then just casually mixed it together with a large fork like object. Stab, twist, lift. It worked ok and didn't break my back... might have taken me longer though.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  obrdrln on 3/23/2012, 7:50 pm

Ended up mixing the compost(s) with the vermiculite then shoveling some of that into a galvanized tub and adding the peat until it was, what I thought to be, the right color (remember, I'm a quilter!!). Got the 4 x 4 and one 2 x 4 filled. I have what appears to be a 2/3 mix of compost and vermiculite and a wheelbarrow of peat to make up the remaining 1/3 of the mix left to combine.

Just got in there with our hands and a hoe and rake to mix it all up. Rollin the tarp around proved to be cumbersome!

If it isn't pouring tomorrow, I'll put the lathing on. YIPPEEEE!!!! Oh, and do one more 2 x 4--the Harvest Table.

We're on our way!

Judy

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  Joyce_S on 3/23/2012, 8:47 pm

I purchased a rolling composter (drum) to start composting. I plan to use it to mix my Mel's Mix. That project will start as soon as I find my 5th type of compost; hopefully, sometime this weekend. I'll let you know how it works out.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  camprn on 3/23/2012, 8:50 pm

@B maier wrote:Yeah.... I don't like the recomeeded method. I dumped my stuff diectly into the boxes in layers and then just casually mixed it together with a large fork like object. Stab, twist, lift. It worked ok and didn't break my back... might have taken me longer though.
Me too, or by the wheel barrow full. Boffer the Gadget Master uses a cement mixer. Smart fella!!!
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t867-cement-mixer-mixing-mels-mix

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  GWN on 3/23/2012, 8:54 pm

I measured it all onto a large piece of plastic and then alternating corners, I pulled the corner towards the corner kitty corner to it. I just kept going around and around. I found by pulling I was using my weight instead of my arms.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  ksbmom on 3/23/2012, 8:57 pm

We dump everything in the back of hubby's pickup truck, mix with shovels, then back the truck up to the bed and dump! Well, actually it's more like pushing it out the back, but it's pretty quick. (Good thing he's in the driver's seat, 'cuz the beds are right by the pond and if I were driving, I'm afraid we'd all end up in the water.....) Laughing

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  llama momma on 3/24/2012, 7:21 am

I'm a sit-down gardener whenever I can. So with a padded footstool, bucket, tarp, trowel and gloves, I have the ingredients next to me and measure, mix and spray a bucket at a time. Feel I can control a more thorough mixing. It works better for me than flipping a tarp around as the book describes. When the pile is a size I can comfortably manage then it's time to stand up and shovel it into the box. It's slow going but who cares. The oldies radio station helps pass the time.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  kittykat on 3/24/2012, 11:15 am

I read somewhere around here that someone mixes up their 5 composts first, then has the vermiculite separate and the fluffed peat separate... from there, it's just a matter of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, by whatever size bucket or scoop works for you. I like that idea, as I will be able to scoop it in a 5-gallon bucket and mix in a wheelbarrow.

I'm working with existing raised garden beds that I had filled with the local "garden mix" before I realized about Mel's Mix. Our garden mix is peat, composted chicken manure and sand. I realize now that it's going to be lacking. I'll find some vermiculite to add to it before I plant any more (only peas so far), and I'll top-dress with a mixed manure as I can and also feed with compost tea. I'll have to make do with that for this year. Not perfect, but it's what I have...

edited to add: Oh - and my worm tubes - that should help with the lack of mixed compost, too...




Last edited by kittykat on 3/24/2012, 11:33 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  obrdrln on 3/24/2012, 11:33 am

I've done what I've done----can't imagine I've done anything horribly *wrong*. I guess time will tell, huh? The mixture looks to be 1/3-1/3-1/3, so......

Judy

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  Lindacol on 3/24/2012, 12:37 pm

Because of the way my garden is layed out it is easier for me to mix in the bed, especially the tabletops.

I use a 5 gallon bucket. I add one bucket of compost (homemade with a little added worm castings) and one bucket of peat(fluffed as I fill the bucket) and one bucket of vermiculite. Then mix in the bed using my hands or a grain scoop, spread out in a flat layer then add water. Repeat till full. If I have different composts in a larger bed I have used seperate composts in each layer, then more mixing as I go.

This way I have only lifted each bucket amount one time. Easier for me and most is done standing up.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/24/2012, 1:06 pm

The very first time made Mel's Mix I eye-balled 1/3 each of peat, vermiculite and homegrown compost into my puppy's pool. Walked a circle around it twice while using a flat nose shovel, turning as I walked. Shoveled that into the box. Seems like it took to pools worth of mix to fill a box. Toughest part was starting where I wanted to work instead of trying to drag a full pool of mix to where I could walk around it or get it into the box. I would still be doing this if my husband had not read the book, bought a tarp and came out to help me. Two people and a tarp make the job much faster.



Pool idea from Donnas Square Foot Garden videos

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  walshevak on 3/24/2012, 3:08 pm

Last year it took me 3 days to mix up the 60 cu ft of MM I needed for my beds. I just couldn't do it all in one day. Used a very large tarp and garden rake.

Day 1 mixed all the composts till well blended.

Day 2 spread the blended composts out over tarp and covered with peat, fluffing as I pulled it out of the bales. Blended all together

Day 3 spread out the above blend and pour vermiculite over it all. Then more pushing and pulling the rake.

Day 4. I just left it wrapped up cause it rained.

Then 2 weeks later I repeated it all at my son's house while he built beds.

Kay

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  Lindacol on 3/24/2012, 3:23 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:The very first time made Mel's Mix I eye-balled 1/3 each of peat, vermiculite and homegrown compost into my puppy's pool. Walked a circle around it twice while using a flat nose shovel, turning as I walked. Shoveled that into the box. Seems like it took to pools worth of mix to fill a box. Toughest part was starting where I wanted to work instead of trying to drag a full pool of mix to where I could walk around it or get it into the box. I would still be doing this if my husband had not read the book, bought a tarp and came out to help me. Two people and a tarp make the job much faster.


For 2 people the tarp makes sense but for one person a bucket into the bed works better. I look at it this way: Scooping the materials (compost, vermiculite & peat) into a bucket & putting it directly in the bed means I have to move it only one time. Using the tarp I have to scoop into something ( a bucket) to measure, then dump on the trap and mix, then scoop it up somehow again and get it into the bed. Also if I used a tarp I would have to mix it outside my fenced in garden area and then carry it further to the beds. Plus I can not just leave it out on a tarp because my dogs would destroy it.

Each of us will have different situations and limitations to work with. But once the beds are filled, the hard part is done. Next year you only need to add more compost and mix it in. That is if you are not adding more beeds but then you will have figured out the easiest way to do it to fit your situation.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  Joyce_S on 3/27/2012, 5:34 pm

@Joyce_S wrote:I purchased a rolling composter (drum) to start composting. I plan to use it to mix my Mel's Mix. That project will start as soon as I find my 5th type of compost; hopefully, sometime this weekend. I'll let you know how it works out.

Mixing with the rolling composter worked well. I used a plastic flower pot to measure out a potful each of the composts which turned out to be about 3/4 of a plastic kitty litter (PKL) bucket. Added to the composter, then added 3/4 PKL bucket of vermiculite and 3/4 PKL bucket of fluffed peat moss. Four turns of the composter and, voila, awesomely mixed MM. Scoop MM out of composter into PKL buckets, carry to squares and dump. Repeat until squares are full.

It took more of everything than I had calculated. The last square is a bit heavy on compost and light on vermiculite and peat moss. Oh, well.

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Re: RATS!!!!

Post  walshevak on 3/27/2012, 9:53 pm

If you are forced to make an error, heavy on compost is the one to make.

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Re: RATS!!!!

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