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I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

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I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  thelastemotion on 4/21/2012, 9:59 pm

It's my first time ever making a garden and I'd like to go about this all organic for I don't like the idea of crazy pesticides and chemicals going into my food. My mum's friend gave me sheep and chicken compost ( four or five: five gallon buckets, which I think is a bit much for a 4 foot by 8 foot garden ) but I don't quite know what else I should use and most of the references I've been looking at tend to use a ton of numbers and well, to be honest I am REALLY not good at math (I have dyscalculia, just like dyslexia only with numbers).

It's an assorted vegetable garden, mostly lettuces, cucumbers, carrots, beets and green beans with some assorted herbs and I may add a strawberry plant.

I have the seedlings all germinated and happy I just need to figure out what else to put into the garden besides the vermiculite, peat and the composts I have thus far - it'd be nice to get a good yield.

So any help and insight would be greatly appreciated - thank you. =]

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  thelastemotion on 4/21/2012, 10:02 pm

Oh to add onto what I was saying earlier, I am going for things I can buy because it's quite late to be starting a compost that I can use this season. (I will be starting one, but I know it takes weeks so it's not something I can use at the moment)

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  philct on 4/22/2012, 1:30 am

Here's what I did. I hope it helps...

To make the mix, get 5 different kinds of compost. In my area I got cow manure, cow manure with humus, chicken manure, shrimp and seaweed compost, and leaf compost. Mix them all together on a tarp. If you don't have these types, at least get different brands of compost, or if you can get it, gardentime mel's mix from your home depot. If all else fails, try a local nursery and buy some of their compost and mix with manures. The more types of compost the better. I found mine at my local Agway and local nursery.

Then buy a 5 gallon bucket. then mix the following:

1 bucket coarse vermiculite

1 bucket fluffed up peat moss

1 bucket of your compost mix

Mix them together and dump in your raised bed... rinse and repeat until its full. The nice part of Mel's Mix (MM) is that there is really no math other than making it a 1/3 of each (compost, vermiculite, and peat)

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  walshevak on 4/22/2012, 7:29 am

The amount of compost you have been given is going to be a great start on your 4x8 bed and also a supply of 5 blend compost for replenishing squares when replanting. Take those buckets full and add purchased composts - cow manure, mushroom compost and another kind. Maybe 2 bags of each to balance out the amount of sheep and chicken you alrealy have. Get a tarp and blend all of the bags and buckets together. Then follow the 1 bucket of blend, 1 bucket of vermiculite and 1 bucket of fluffed up peat formula. Save the remainder of the compost blend in covered buckets until you need them for replenishment or top dressing (or the start of another bed). Most people can find 4 composts easily, the 5th is the problem. You already have that covered with that lovely sheep compost.

Happy gardening,

Kay

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  Cincinnati on 4/22/2012, 7:56 am

@thelastemotion wrote:It's my first time ever making a garden and I'd like to go about this all organic for I don't like the idea of crazy pesticides and chemicals going into my food. My mum's friend gave me sheep and chicken compost ( four or five: five gallon buckets, which I think is a bit much for a 4 foot by 8 foot garden ) but I don't quite know what else I should use and most of the references I've been looking at tend to use a ton of numbers and well, to be honest I am REALLY not good at math (I have dyscalculia, just like dyslexia only with numbers).

It's an assorted vegetable garden, mostly lettuces, cucumbers, carrots, beets and green beans with some assorted herbs and I may add a strawberry plant.

I have the seedlings all germinated and happy I just need to figure out what else to put into the garden besides the vermiculite, peat and the composts I have thus far - it'd be nice to get a good yield.

So any help and insight would be greatly appreciated - thank you. =]
I'm assuming by sheep compost you mean composted sheep manure and not sheep manure + other various browns and greens that were composted. Likewise with the chicken compost.

A 4' X 8' X 6" GARDEN REQUIRES 16 cu ft of MM. w/5.3 cu ft of compost. 5.3 cu ft of Vermiculite, and 5.3 cu ft of peat moss.

A 5 gal bucket is 2/3 cu ft. so your four buckets is 2.67 cu ft. (5 buckets is 3.3 cu ft).

The balance that you must purchase should be compost made from 3 different sources. To have exactly 1/5 of each source, you'd need 1.3 cu ft from each of these additional 3 composts. (This would give you some extra compost to use when replanting). After mixing this with your manure composts you'd have between 6.5 and 7.2 cu ft of mixed compost.

I'd probably just buy three 1 cu ft bags of various composts and call it balanced. I assure you with the homemade manure composts, this would be nutrient rich.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  thelastemotion on 4/22/2012, 11:37 pm

I greatly appreciate the responses thus far, it's nice to know that I have a good head start with the sheep and chicken manure.

I have been looking at the local Home Depot, Sears, Walmart & Tractor Supply stores for the extra few composts required - though most are not organic and the ones that are seem to come in quart bags.

Would Bovung work or would I better off going with something like Penobscot Blend Compost & Peat by Coast of Maine?

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  Turan on 4/23/2012, 12:45 am

Get the one that is from the most different environment from your own. Maybe the sea one from Maine? You want as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  Cincinnati on 4/23/2012, 6:51 am

@thelastemotion wrote: Would Bovung work or would I better off going with something like Penobscot Blend Compost & Peat by Coast of Maine?

I would stay away from the one containing peat. It messes up your MM ratio.

Sonds like Bovung would work. If I had the sheep and chicken manures, I think I would add mushroom compost, Bovung, and Black Cow if I had to purchase three types. I have purchased both Scott and Scotch pine bark and forrest floor "composts" but both brands had large buts of incompletely composted stuff in it. I have tried a few other brands too. I ended up putting the pallet next to my composter, and add a bag of these to every batch I make.

If you have access to sheep and chicken manures, Sounds like you live close to farming country. Do you have any contacts to get horse or cow manure too? Local livestock auction or county fairgrounds also come to mind. Of course you can't use it "green", but I am thinking towards next year.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  camprn on 4/23/2012, 6:55 am

The lobster compost is fabulous. If you can get it, pick some up.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  PeggyC on 4/23/2012, 8:14 am

People will disagree with me, but when I get frustrated in the compost/vermiculite hunt, I remind myself that the Perfect Mel's Mix is an ideal. On page 25 of the ANSFG book (whole one, not dollar store one), it talks about how in foreign countries, there is no peat or vermiculite, so the people are taught to SFG in PURE COMPOST from their community compost piles. They don't have walmart bringing in truckloads of Peat, Vermiculite and Lobster poo. They use the best that they can find and go from there, growing food for their families. What I take from that is that IF I can add various compost sources, plus find, but not exceed 1/3 peat and 1/3 vermiculite, great, but if my mix is heavy on the compost side, the tomatoes will survive...and still be better off than in a traditional garden.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  offtheporch on 4/23/2012, 10:14 am

@PeggyC wrote:People will disagree with me, but when I get frustrated in the compost/vermiculite hunt, I remind myself that the Perfect Mel's Mix is an ideal. What I take from that is that IF I can add various compost sources, plus find, but not exceed 1/3 peat and 1/3 vermiculite, great, but if my mix is heavy on the compost side, the tomatoes will survive...and still be better off than in a traditional garden.

I tend to agree with you. I am buying and mixing the best I can. It will be better than the native soil here, and I hope for the best.

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"sneaking little composties"

Post  hruten on 4/23/2012, 11:28 am

Hi, I'm new too. Compost was a worry for me as well. You can find a lot of manure composts and some humus/peat mixes at the big box stores, but where is the "GOOD" stuff you ask....

I finally did ask at our local farm store. The things I was looking for like: Chickety Doo, Bat Guano, Composted alfalfa, worm castings, composted kelp, and others were not found or listed with compost in the computer but with the FERTILIZER section of products. I was like a kid in a candy store!!

So, check the fertilizer sections of the stores you visit. It is likely that some of the organic fertilizer ingredients are just what you are looking for!!

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  walshevak on 4/23/2012, 4:29 pm

You are so right. Black Hen is listed as a fertilizer.

Kay

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  kbb964 on 4/23/2012, 4:43 pm

I have also done the best I can with the compost types. one bed has 4 types, one has 3 types and the bed i want to do this week is going to have to do with 3 also. I went all out for the first bed looking for the types. cost me a long drive and a pretty penny. this weekend i went out to buy compost /manure and could only get cow manure which will mix with a small bag of worm castings and some regular compost. I am taking careful notes as to which beds do better!

Bottom line is that whatever we can get our hands on is surely better than the soil our garden was originally !

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  TejasTerry on 4/23/2012, 6:34 pm

I was very fortunate when I placed an ad on Craigslist in the farm and ranch section that I was looking for manure for my garden. A lady that has rabbits contacted me, as well as guy with llamas. Both of these people were fairly close to me, so I scored 2 of my composts from local farmers for free. As much as I wanted....

So check Craigslist and put an ad out there of what you are looking for. LLama and rabbit do not have to compost and can go straight into your beds, as they are not hot like chicken manure, etc.
They will also be a good addition to your home compost pile when you get started.


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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  thelastemotion on 4/24/2012, 10:06 pm

Thanks =] I am going to call around the local farms and see if anyone has any compost for sale or to pick up if not, then I will go to farm & tractor stores and if all else fails I'll check deeper into the local Home Depot.


How long does it take for leaves and grass clippings to compost?

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  Unmutual on 4/24/2012, 10:34 pm

@PeggyC wrote:People will disagree with me, but when I get frustrated in the compost/vermiculite hunt, I remind myself that the Perfect Mel's Mix is an ideal. On page 25 of the ANSFG book (whole one, not dollar store one), it talks about how in foreign countries, there is no peat or vermiculite, so the people are taught to SFG in PURE COMPOST from their community compost piles. They don't have walmart bringing in truckloads of Peat, Vermiculite and Lobster poo. They use the best that they can find and go from there, growing food for their families. What I take from that is that IF I can add various compost sources, plus find, but not exceed 1/3 peat and 1/3 vermiculite, great, but if my mix is heavy on the compost side, the tomatoes will survive...and still be better off than in a traditional garden.

Actually, I agree. The only problem with a 100% compost mix is seedlings damping off, so it may be necessary to either buy starts or start seeds elsewhere.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  JustMe on 4/25/2012, 12:39 am

Check the local garden centers.

I'm building new boxes and didn't have enough homemade compost. A chain garden center in our area carried:

Purple Cow (mix of leaf & vermicompost)
mushroom compost
leaf compost
manure

I stopped by a local garden shop and found duck compost, which has duck droppings and cranberry composted together. Can't tell you how excited I was to purchase something called Duck Doo, lol. The employee said I was the third person in a week who mentioned SFG.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

Post  plantoid on 4/25/2012, 6:38 am

@Unmutual wrote:
@PeggyC wrote:People will disagree with me, but when I get frustrated in the compost/vermiculite hunt, I remind myself that the Perfect Mel's Mix is an ideal. On page 25 of the ANSFG book (whole one, not dollar store one), it talks about how in foreign countries, there is no peat or vermiculite, so the people are taught to SFG in PURE COMPOST from their community compost piles. They don't have walmart bringing in truckloads of Peat, Vermiculite and Lobster poo. They use the best that they can find and go from there, growing food for their families. What I take from that is that IF I can add various compost sources, plus find, but not exceed 1/3 peat and 1/3 vermiculite, great, but if my mix is heavy on the compost side, the tomatoes will survive...and still be better off than in a traditional garden.

Actually, I agree. The only problem with a 100% compost mix is seedlings damping off, so it may be necessary to either buy starts or start seeds elsewhere.



For those seeds affected by damping off when you direct sow into MM or compost .

Perhaps use fine grade vermiculite or silver sand , make a pencil hole where you want to sow the seed . Fill to level with the fine vermiculite / ss , make an indenttion with the pencil , sow the seed in it & lightly cover it up with more vermiculite /ss then water it in .

This is an experiment I'm hoping to carry out in a few days time direct into MM and a box of neat compost sat on the bed box with carrot seeds if it ever stops raining long enough to get out and do it.

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Re: I have manure, what else should I use? Newbie here.

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