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skip the vermiculite?

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skip the vermiculite?

Post  cjrweb on 4/14/2012, 11:21 pm

Hi,

We did our first SFG last summer and it went well and loved having nearly no weeds. But I wasn't crazy about seeing vermiculite all over the root vegetables. I felt uneasy about accidently missing a piece and someone eating it. I was wondering about trying in our next 4x4 just doing half compost and half peat moss for any root crops. Has anyone tried this? What challenges would you forsee?

Thanks.

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/15/2012, 12:18 am

@cjrweb wrote:Hi,

We did our first SFG last summer and it went well and loved having nearly no weeds. But I wasn't crazy about seeing vermiculite all over the root vegetables. I felt uneasy about accidently missing a piece and someone eating it. I was wondering about trying in our next 4x4 just doing half compost and half peat moss for any root crops. Has anyone tried this? What challenges would you forsee?

Thanks.

I've not tried it but the obvious problem is the lack of water retention/conservation that vermiculite gives you.

It also gives you air space. Peat & compost is easily compressed, and medium needs space for air and water.

JMHO

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  walshevak on 4/15/2012, 2:18 am

Somebody chime in here, but does perlite stick as badly. If not, then substitute perlite for the vermiculite. Perfectly legal in MM.

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  Kelejan on 4/15/2012, 2:21 am

I think perlite kinda rises to the top of the box. Anyway, what's up with rinsing the root veggies?Very Happy

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  givvmistamps on 4/15/2012, 2:59 am

Perlite does float to the top of the box, more every time you give it a good watering. Very irritating when it's supposed to be holding open the air pockets. Vermiculite won't hurt you, and if you're having trouble washing it off, give the veggies a spritz with some nice organic veggie wash, rub it all over the veggie, then rinse. It saves water, and it's a natural surfactant to help get any unwanted things off. (My big "eew" moment is when flies land on my food or I find bird poo on a fresh-grown veggie or herb, which is why I use veggie wash.)

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  happycamper on 4/15/2012, 5:39 am

I have never had Perlite stick to turnips, beets, radish, carrots or garlic. I have 15 large 24" self watering pots that contain 1/3 peat, 1/3 compost and 1/3 Perlite. I have only had the float issue in the past when I watered with a hose and the pressure too high. I use watering cans since using the cup method was taking a very long time. As a reminder, Peat Moss and Perlite hold moisture. I hope this helps, Happy Gardening!

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  camprn on 4/15/2012, 6:54 am

I have used both perlite and vermiculite. Both are good, they don't really get stuck to plant roots and one doesn't seem to float more than the other. I wouldn't make a new bed of Mel's mix without one or the other, if I had a choice.

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  Goosegirl on 4/15/2012, 7:26 am

If you decide to do a box with and a box without, remember the ratio! 1/3,1/3,1/3. If you change it to 1/2 peat and 1/2 compost it will be too much peat. Too much peat can make your mix too acidic (blueberries LOVE peat) and if it dries out it crusts and water rolls off instead of soaking in (don't ask how I know Embarassed ) Make it 1/3 peat and 2/3 compost. Remember, Mel said that if we couldn't find all the components to use straight compost. If you have to change it at all, go heavy on COMPOST!

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  Turan on 4/15/2012, 11:52 am

I am assuming your beds are on the ground so weight is not a factor? I do not use perlite or vermeculite, just a lot of compost, some native soil, and a bit of peat and sand. Peat and compost are water sponges. Sand helps keep the soil friable and provides minerals.

I am dawdling this morning. I made a new bed yesterday, 4'X8.5' and now to fill it! It is on the old compost heap so it is just a matter of shoveling from around it into it and adding a bag of sand from last winter. What a Face

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/15/2012, 4:47 pm

If I absolutely didn't want to use vermiculite I'd substitute perlite first or go to 2/3 compost and 1/3 peat. It will still compact more than if you use verm/per but at least you'd have a little water retention from the peat.

Of course there's usually peat in bagged compost, so if you go with just bagged "compost" you probably wouldn't want to add more peat.

I'm not sure how big a problem vermiculite sticking to the root veggies is as I've never had a problem with it. Frankly I'd be more concerned at missing some of the COMPOST when I'm cleaning my veggies. Wink

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  Goosegirl on 4/15/2012, 7:48 pm

@sfg4uKim wrote: Frankly I'd be more concerned at missing some of the COMPOST when I'm cleaning my veggies. Wink

Awww, what's a little rotted vegetation among friends? tongue

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/15/2012, 8:12 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:
@sfg4uKim wrote: Frankly I'd be more concerned at missing some of the COMPOST when I'm cleaning my veggies. Wink

Awww, what's a little rotted vegetation among friends? tongue

GG

LOL It's not the rotted veggies I'm worried about. What a Face

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Re: skip the vermiculite?

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