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I'm so ignorant....

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I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 4:36 pm

...but theoretically, I can be taught...

So...Stupid
question about the 1/3 'compost' component of Mel's Mix...if I had a backyard compost ready,
I'd be set but I'm buying my ingredients...are "horse manure",
"compost", "humus" and "composted manure" all qualified as the compost
component? Would they count as different sources if they are each from
different companies?

I don't want to assume and kill everything. I'd never live it down with my son’s 4-H advisor! No

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  kittykat on 5/5/2012, 5:34 pm

LOL! The pressure... the pressure...

SFG'ing has actually been a good lesson for the kids... Some things (plants) work, some things don't... If they don't work, we try some more seeds. I seeded a bunch of annuals about 10 days ago and had some pretty good germination going on - and then I over-watered a tray and drowned them, and then fried another tray on a hot sunny day... We're learning a LOT about the ebb and flow of life...


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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  plantoid on 5/5/2012, 5:40 pm

No , five different sources not five differet suppilers.

The reason for the five different sources a.k.a. types is to give you as large a range of diffferent nutrients as reasonalby possible in purchased composted materials.



Some of the purchased stuff leaves a lot to be desired as the the worthwhile nutritional content of the bags.

May I offer that whatever you do don't skimp on the suggestions of Mel for it is not a sound thing to do , there are no real short cuts in this area of making your MM it is the back bone of the mix and the whole All New Square Foot Gardening ethos.

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  cheyannarach on 5/5/2012, 5:46 pm

@claudiamedic wrote:...but theoretically, I can be taught...

So...Stupid
question about the 1/3 'compost' component of Mel's Mix...if I had a backyard compost ready,
I'd be set but I'm buying my ingredients...are "horse manure",
"compost", "humus" and "composted manure" all qualified as the compost
component? Would they count as different sources if they are each from
different companies?

I don't want to assume and kill everything. I'd never live it down with my son’s 4-H advisor! No

So you need 5 different types all from different sources. Horse manure would be one type, humus would be one (you need to check the ingredients on this because humus composts are usually not the best and are notorious for containing a lot of filler ie wood chips, peat moss) You will also want to check the plain "compost" to see what it's made of for the same reasons and if it is made of one of the types you already have it doesn't count as a third. Is the composted manure cow? I am assuming it is because that seems to be one of the most popular composted manures. I will just make a list of some different types of compost that are good to use then you can try to find those!

Black Hen

Composted sheep manure

Worm castings

Black Kow

Cotton burr compost

Mushroom Compost

LLama manure and Rabbit can be used without being composted too if you know anyone that could help you out with this?

I don't know where you are shopping for it but I had the best luck at local greenhouses than I did at the big box stores! There are more than this so more people will probably be of more help and continue to add to this list but just make sure you find 5 different types. And if any of yours have peat in them be sure and account for that when you are making you MM so you don't have too much peat! Good luck I am in the same boat as you and the 4H guy with my father in law Razz

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This is all the "compost"/"humus"/"manure" I've been able to find....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 6:26 pm



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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 6:35 pm

The "New Plant Life" (brown bag) lists ingredients as "composted manure, peat" and is described as a "blend of manure and top soil". Total nitrogen 0.5%.

The Earthgro (yellow bag) is "not more than 90% humus and not less than 10% manure" (unless you'r ein Texas, evidently, where it is at least 80/20 -- insert Texas joke here). Total nitrogen 0.5%. (.5-.5-.5).

The Butterfield Farms (pink bag) is just cow manure with a 1-1-1 profile (or whatever you call it).

:scratch:

So...what do y'all think? Suggest?

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  Turan on 5/5/2012, 7:06 pm

I think from the ingredients that you should go for it. Try to find a composted chicken manure to add to it. Use no peat because there is already a lot in your composts and it is always good to be high on compost. Add a bit of bonemeal and greensand because those look a little low on the mineral end of things.
What you have in hand is stuff that plants can grow in. It is never ideal but we all work toward that. cheers

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  camprn on 5/5/2012, 7:16 pm

I respectfully disagree with Turan, there is not a lot of peat in the compost/blends that you are showing. Even adding a bit of peat will loosen up all that heavy compost and make it more friable, which is what one is looking for with the Mel's Mix; I would encourage you to continue to make Mel's mix as described in the book, if you can. Please be mindful that cutting corners with the growing medium will yield less than desirable results in the garden. Have you managed to find the vermiculite or perlite?

I was going to do a search for composts for you, but you have not listed a town. Have you checked the Craigslist, Farm/Garden lists for compost? Freecycle is also a good place to post about looking for composted manures. Very Happy

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 7:29 pm

I'm all for a healthy discussion of the pros and cons of my mix!!!

The stuff I have all feels really dense and heavy. I do have plenty of peat and managed to find (medium, not coarse) vermiculite on the internet (got plenty). The issue has been finding an adequate assortment of "compost" -- and actually making my brain understand what does and does not qualify! What a Face

I'm finding manure on Craigslist but no compost. Maybe it is actually a detriment to be in the midwest/farmland? After all, people growing acres and acres of corn or soybean don't need to buy compost!

I'm in Muncie, Indiana... I'll have to update my profile to be more specific.

Keep the commentary/suggestions/critique coming! While you're at it, check out my garden plan on the "garden plan" forum section.

Thank you!!

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/5/2012, 7:29 pm

@camprn wrote:I respectfully disagree with Turan, there is not a lot of peat in the compost/blends that you are showing. Even adding a bit of peat will loosen up all that heavy compost and make it more friable, which is what one is looking for with the Mel's Mix; I would encourage you to continue to make Mel's mix as described in the book, if you can. Please be mindful that cutting corners with the growing medium will yield less than desirable results in the garden. Have you managed to find the vermiculite or perlite?

I was going to do a search for composts for you, but you have not listed a town. Have you checked the Craigslist, Farm/Garden lists for compost? Freecycle is also a good place to post about looking for composted manures. Very Happy

It was mentioned in a previous thread that the Earthgro Hummus and Manure Mixture by Scotts could contain up to 90% peat (much of the stuff sold commercially "humus" is in fact peat derived) ....

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10134-earthgro-organic-humus

With that and the New Life Product I think there is good chance the mix could come out peat heavy.....

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  camprn on 5/5/2012, 7:36 pm

If the folks listing manure on craigslist are listing composted manure, that may be a win for you! Very Happy I am looking at google and there are a few goat and dairy farms in your area, if you contact them they may have some composted manure.

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  Turan on 5/5/2012, 7:36 pm

I was trying to judge the amounts of peat versus manure versus humus versus topsoil listed for those bags. I suspect it is a little light on compost, which is what you want to err heavy on the side of. Peat is a humus and that is 90% in one bag, that does not mean the humus in that bag is peat but it does suggest they can be substitutes for each other. But it is what is in hand.

I wish I lived near enough to bring over a truck load of barn yard compost.

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 7:45 pm

Keep the suggestions coming. I confuse easily, but I do try tongue to understand. The greatest frustration is that I'm not able to go out and search on my own (I'm disabled) and my helpers are getting conflicting advice at the garden stores (not just the big box ones) so they're looking at me like "Seriously?! What do you want me to do here?"

I'll have some of my "worker bees" *said with affection* check out the "composted manure on Craigslist for me. They'll be thrilled! Rolling Eyes

You guys are wonderful! Thank you for all your help!

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 7:46 pm

Turan, if you start now you might get here before my growing season is totally over!

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  camprn on 5/5/2012, 8:02 pm

I love me a truck load of barnyard compost. I have a friend who keeps horses, there is a dairy in town and there's a lady the next town over with llamas: this is where I get my composted manures. Keep looking there are places around. Wink


Last edited by camprn on 5/5/2012, 8:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/5/2012, 8:12 pm

I put a "wanted" ad on Craigslist. The sources are in all directions out in the county (or adjacent ones). Maybe someone will come to me since I don't have a way to get transportation into the county. Laughing


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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/5/2012, 8:16 pm

@camprn wrote:I love me a truck load of barnyard compost. I have a friend who keeps horses, there is a dairy in town and there's a lady the next town over with llamas: this is where I get my composted manures. Keep looking there are places around. Wink

Indeed...you might be surprised at what you can find....I just found out today that my local Water and Soil Conservation District has a manure exchange program and that I could have all the Lllama and Alpaca manure I want for free if I find a way to haul it all!

http://www.marionswcd.net/downloads/programs/MEP/Manure_Exchange_Program_List_2012-02.pdf

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yikes!

Post  dsmdeb on 5/5/2012, 10:55 pm

I have the same first 2 products as the OP, plus Oma-gro and another city's recycled compost:


Yesterday I mixed these 4 together and put them in Rubbermaid containers. So, after doing more forum reading last night, I decided to see if I could find any of the other products others had found. The only thing I found different was the Chickity Doo Doo. I bought 2 bags of that and divided it up between the compost mix containers. I haven't added the vermiculite or peat yet.

After reading these posts, I just keep feeling like it's not enough. frustration

Do I really need anything more than the 5 I have? If what I have will work, how much should I reduce the amount of peat to be mixed in? So frustrated... huh?

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  plantoid on 5/6/2012, 4:21 am

Deb and all others struggling to get your beds up and running. ,

Reading the blurb on the bag, even the worst nutritious product could be described as per that labelling and be thought the bees knees.

Look for animal dung based manures/composts.

Keep clear of anything that mentions top soil as that does not make for good MM. Mel's mix is in infact a soil less growth medium that's why it is so successful all round the world .



I'd offer that your better to not get your beds going if you don't have all the correct ingredients for you can never make a good bed out of inferior components.

One route you could take is to use the patio grow bags to get the basic fibrous material that is high in peat, coir or leaf mould ( they give around six weeks of plant friendly nutrients to allow you to grow things like tomatoes , aubergenes & salad crops ) open them and add vermiculite if you have it and over the course of several week locate your dung based composts then add them & any vermiculite if you couldn't get it early on to the beds in the correct ratios and mix it in the beds .

Do be aware that these bags can & often do usually have weeds seeds in them and have liquid nutrients added that can be made from all sorts of sources including human waste sludge out the sewage works. Once the nutrients have been consumed by the plants or leeched out, the remanants can still be decomposing woody materials that rob the nitrogen out of the compost for a long time .

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  dsmdeb on 5/6/2012, 10:40 am

Wow! So disappointing - almost wish I hadn't started this endeavor. I've spent a lot of time, effort and money to get started, and really can't afford to spend any more money to start over. Actually, the first two bags, as shown in claudiamedic's first post, are manure-based, and of course Chickity Doo Doo is as well. The other two I have, including the pictured one in my last post, are composted lawn waste collected by the city. This is from the Omagro web site:


Oma-Gro® is:
A 100% natural organic soil amendment.
Produced from domestic turf grass clippings, aged leaves, and ground wood.
Oma-Gro® typically has the following analysis
Total Nitrogen 1.0%
Phosphorus (as P2O5) 0.5%
Potassium (as K2O) 0.9%
pH between 7.3 and 8.3

Note: Oma-Gro is somewhat alkaline. It may be necessary to add aluminum sulfate or some other form of water soluble acidifier in potting mixes for pH sensitive plants.


I think the other one (Midwest Compost) is going to have a similar composition.

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  claudiamedic on 5/6/2012, 11:49 am

dsmdeb, you've gotten this far....keep going.

So, if I come down to a choice of non-composted manure vs. the stuff I have --- which do I pick (I know I can get some non-composted fresh manure)? I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that....but at some point I have to 'make manure' or get off the pot (how's that for a poop pun?). Note to self...next year have your OWN compost ready! Problem solved.

I'm not giving up. My helpers may put me down for a dirt nap sawing logs before it's all over (and use the soil they dig up in my -- their -- six foot garden) but it's all about learning and growing!

It's a beautiful day here in Muncie. sunny Time to get off the computer for a while!

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/6/2012, 12:13 pm

It really doesn't have to be as complicated as some make it out to be. Have you read the book All New Square Foot Gardening? That should be step one Very Happy
Also, here is what our forums Mission Statement states:

The purpose of this forum is to teach, support and encourage the use of the gardening method presented by Mel Bartholomew in his book ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, copyright 2006. We are mandated to maintain the integrity of the method as defined, approved, and taught by Mel himself. The Forum is monitored, maintained and managed by unpaid volunteers who donate their time and expertise to the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and all who would enjoy this gardening method.

We try to accommodate and help any gardener we can. We have tons of knowledgeable folks here from all over the world with lots of experience using different methods and gardening styles. That being said, our main focus here is to promote the All New method to cut down on some of that confusion for those just starting out, because yes, it can get expensive and the method has been simplified as much as possible for beginners to be successful. With so many factors being eliminated and simplified to the point that it has been, it's important to stick to the method as it's detailed in the book.
Other gardening methods do work. There are lot's of folks right here on the forum that use other methods besides the Square Foot Gardening Method with great success. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you do want to use, or try the sfg method, I suggest really sticking to it as it's laid out or you wont get the true benefits, or if you start having problems it will be easier for others to help Very Happy Plus the fact that you really wont know how simple it can actually be!
I'll be the first to admit, it does hurt the ole pocket book! I just bought more vermiculite and peat yesterday to finish my last beds of the season. But luckily, by following the method and the great advice here on the forum, I've finally been able to omit the cost and search of the different types of compost. One less step! The next years will be lot's easier with the extra effort put forth now.
Don't give up dsmdeb Very Happy There might be some adjusting and tweaking here and there, but eventually you'll be on the right track, and your efforts in the future will only be that much easier!
You too claudiamedic Wink You're both trying to arm yourselves with knowledge and learn! That's key. We can work through the rest

Here's some great materials to help you:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t12041-from-a-year-2-novice-to-all-the-new-sfgers-or-how-to-get-past-the-fear-factor#118167

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7023-mel-s-mix-pyramid

We also have many Certified Teachers here on the forum that can probably offer up lots more better advice than I. Very Happy




Last edited by RoOsTeR on 5/6/2012, 12:51 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  chjbr63 on 5/6/2012, 12:33 pm

dsmdeb & claudiamedic

I had the same frustration with the compost part. But with all the advice from the forum I got through it and so will you. The best advice I got was to check Craigslist. There are a lot of listing in your areas for free compost/manure. You don't need a truck just some large garbage bags(double them up), a shovel and a bucket. I have very small car and was able to get 8-10 cu.ft. in with no problem. With what you have already have and a bag from each of 2 or 3 places that should cover you compost needs.

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  cheyannarach on 5/6/2012, 12:42 pm

You can use uncomposted llama and rabbit manure Very Happy

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

Post  camprn on 5/6/2012, 12:45 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:You can use uncomposted llama and rabbit manure Very Happy
+1
And +1 to Roosters post, keeping it simple for the first year is great advice. Wink


Last edited by camprn on 5/6/2012, 12:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: I'm so ignorant....

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