Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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.


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How much soil/compost to buy?

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How much soil/compost to buy?

Post  hazystargazer on 3/5/2010, 9:36 am

How much or how many bags do you need for one 4x4 (6 inch high) bed??? Also, can I use maybe a combination of potting soil mix and compost? Would that work? I'm a member of the SFG group on Facebook, and there seem to be many people that have trouble finding vermiculite. Please, tell me what and how much you use!!! (I have the originial SFG book; I think I need to get the new book!)

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Re: How much soil/compost to buy?

Post  hazystargazer on 3/5/2010, 9:37 am

I should mention that I have my own compost pile started, but it's very small and not nearly ready yet!!!

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Re: How much soil/compost to buy?

Post  boffer on 3/5/2010, 11:45 am

Mathematically it works out to about 8 cf of total soil. Here's a picture of a box just filled with 10 cf. When it is wet down, it will be level just under the top edge of the box. Mel recommends wetting the soil as you add it to the box.





That works out to 3.3 cf of peat, 3.3cf of vermiculite, 3.3cf of 5 way compost mix. A heaping 5 gallon is close to a cubic foot.

Definitely get your hands on a copy of the new book, as there is updated info that makes SFG even easier.

Where to find vermiculite is probably one of the most frequently asked questions anywhere SFG is being discussed. We're kicking around some ideas as to how to accumulate, and make available to forum members, that information here on the new forum.

Maybe someone else can offer their experience with substitutions in Mel's mix.


Last edited by boffer on 3/5/2010, 11:47 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fix spelling)
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Re: How much soil/compost to buy?

Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 2:05 pm

what a great pic!!

and i do concur - i found i used more mel's mix than was projected with the calculators. so i just plan on making more than i need and saving the 'extra' in the bags i emptied. trust me, you'll find uses for the 'extra' dirt. . . comes in real handy all summer - i use it like potting soil.

perlite is a sub for vermiculite. mel just prefers vermiculite.

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Re: How much soil/compost to buy?

Post  boffer on 3/5/2010, 2:13 pm

[quote="happyfrog"].

so i just plan on making more than i need and saving the 'extra' in the bags i emptied. trust me, you'll find uses for the 'extra' dirt. .

absolutely


Last edited by boffer on 3/5/2010, 4:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spell fix)
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Re: How much soil/compost to buy?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/5/2010, 4:17 pm

I remember seeing somewhere that when Mel teaches square meter gardening in the poorer areas, he tells them to use 100% compost. So I wonder if you could do half compost and half peat moss. Might be worth trying.

I was also talking with a friend about the square foot gardening, and she told me about a potting soil that she gets at Big Lots (the brand is Black Magic), and that she loves. She said that it should work just as well as Mel's mix, so I looked at the ingredients and it was basically compost, peat moss and perilite (which is like vermiculite). So I think you could use it too.
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