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Need Mel's Mix help

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Need Mel's Mix help

Post  arcendis on 5/2/2012, 6:53 pm

This is my first year doing SFG and my 2 4x4 boxes are built and ready to go! I calculated that I needed 16 cubic ft of Mel's Mix for the 2 boxes. I bought 2 bales of peat moss and 2-4 cubic ft bags of coarse vermiculite.

I decided to just make an 8-8-8 mix. That will be enough to fill my boxes and have some leftovers. That was much easier than trying to do 16/3=5.333 etc..

Now to the hard part: I am also going to begin composting this year. What that means is that I don't have any yet to put in the Mel's mix. I have to buy. Sad My main problem is that I can't figure out how much is a cubic foot if it doesn't say so on the bag! HELP!!

So, I bought the following:

2 bags of Mushroom Compost (1 cubic ft ea)
2 bags of Purple cow compost--I am told this is a yard waste and brush mix (1 cubic ft ea)
1 bag Cow Manure Compost (40lbs)
1 bag Compost w/ Manure--no specific manure (40lbs)
1 bag Worm Castings (15lbs)
1 bag Chickity Doo Doo (25lbs)

I don't know if that is enough compost? I don't know if it is varied enough? I need help!
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arcendis

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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 5/2/2012, 7:06 pm

LOL "Purple Cow" compost is yard waste and brush mix?!! Smile

Oh and BTW - WELCOME! Near as I can tell, you have roughly between 6-7 cu ft of compost. Since I can't see the volume, I'm going by a ROUGH estimate of weight where 40 lbs is ROUGHLY .75 cu ft. However, it can vary greatly based on the compost, moisture content, etc. Your list looks fairly varied, but if it were me I would pick up another couple of bags of manures.... Lots of folks love seaweed or lobster compost, but in our neck of the woods, that can be hard to obtain.

ETA - Look at the ingredients of your composts and make sure they aren't heavy on peat - if so, you'll have to adjust the peat and not add as much. Smile

When you go to mix, use a standard mixing bucket (lots of folks use a 5 gallon pail). Mix one bucketful of each of the five composts you have. (You may want to keep the worm castings for tea or to top dress with since you don't have much of that, and I know they can be pricey.) That becomes a five-compost blend. Then mix a bucket of that with a bucket of FLUFFED peat, and a bucket of vermiculite and dump in bed. Fill the bed in layers and water every layer to make sure you get the peat really saturated.

I'm sure others will come along with some more and better ideas...but it does sound like you are getting off to a great start! Smile
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  walshevak on 5/2/2012, 9:25 pm

+1 and if there is a mistake or fudge factor, make it with too much compost rather than too little.

Kay

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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  Jordan on 5/4/2012, 10:43 am

I'm new to this as well, and I'm having a hard time finding a decent variety of compost. I can find all the cow manure stuff I could ever want, but the variety is more difficult.

On the other hand, I can make a suggestion about measurements. This is all about volume conversions, and a 5 gallon bucket holds 0.67 cubic feet (liquid measure) and 0.78 cubic feet (dry) or roughly 2/3 to 3/4 cu ft. I'm sure there's some good historical reason why 1 US dry gallon can't be the same as 1 US liquid gallon, but I don't know it off hand. That may make the proportioning easier. To complicate that


Last edited by Jordan on 5/4/2012, 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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conversion craziness

Post  hruten on 5/4/2012, 10:50 am

Me too...

1 cubic foot = 30 quarts

4 quarts to a gal

5 gal bucket = 20quarts

good luck! BTW, google will usually do the conversions for you if you type in the amount to be converted.
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  Kelejan on 5/4/2012, 2:59 pm

Jordan

How far have you progressed with SFG?
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  Jordan on 5/4/2012, 4:47 pm

I'm getting set up.

I have my boxes set to go. I've got vermiculite and peat moss, but I'm still collecting compost. I have a compost pile working at home, but it doesn't look as though it will be ready for a couple more weeks, so I'm still looking for commercially available compost. It's like a quest...
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  givvmistamps on 5/4/2012, 5:16 pm

@Jordan wrote:I'm getting set up.

I have my boxes set to go. I've got vermiculite and peat moss, but I'm still collecting compost. I have a compost pile working at home, but it doesn't look as though it will be ready for a couple more weeks, so I'm still looking for commercially available compost. It's like a quest...

Welcome Jordan! I'm going to suggest that you try to find a hydroponics store. I found one that carried not only worm castings, but of the other ingredients I needed to get my mix going. You may not be *quite* that lucky, but it might at least give you worm castings for your mix.

You might also look around for organic farms, too. I used to buy compost at a farm near Waynesville, NC; it was a complete, balanced compost which needed no other composts added to it. (Not only did they use leaves, garden waste etc, they had cows, chickens, turkeys, and a few rabbits on their farm.)
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  claudiamedic on 5/4/2012, 5:51 pm

arcendis --

Where did you find all your supplies (manure/compost)? I have searched high and low and it is like a SFG black hole here! Menard's only had 8 qt bags of vermiculite (I ordered medium -- didn't have coarse -- online from HomeDepot.com). I can only find "New Plant Life Compost Manure" after checking at Menard's, Lowe's, WalMart, Rural King and the local garden shop (they didn't know what SFG was).

Thanks!!
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  chjbr63 on 5/4/2012, 6:27 pm

Hey Claudia,

I'm not from your area but the forum database for vermiculite says to look in the insulation dept at Menard's for it not the garden center.
3cu.ft bag
Model Number: 1611650
Menards® SKU: 1611650

And have you done a Craigslist search for compost/manure? I got all 5 of mine for free on it.
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  Jordan on 5/4/2012, 9:11 pm

Ooh, good thought. A hydroponics store is a good idea. I really appreciate everyone's help. Thanks!
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Re: Need Mel's Mix help

Post  arcendis on 5/5/2012, 10:00 am

I found some horse manure compost online and am waiting for it to ship. I re-checked Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Menards, two local greenhouses, and a Hyvee garden center. Only cow and mushroom compost. Sad

I am hoping the horse manure will be enough. I did check Craigslist and it was a pretty far drive to pick up the compost and I don't have a truck to transport it. Oh well.

Thanks for the help! Very Happy
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