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Excited!! (and a little unsure)

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Excited!! (and a little unsure)

Post  Lyveno on 4/10/2010, 12:12 am

Well, I picked up peat moss, composted cow manure and some composted humus today at Lowe's. I had a really hard time finding the other 3 types of compost and the course vermiculite. My local farmer's co-op was sold out, and only had the fine. After doing some research online, I found Fox Farm Planting Mix. It has earthworm castings, bat guano, Norwegian kelp meal, composted forest humus, and sphagnum peat moss, so I thought that would probably work. It was a 1 cu ft bag, so I also got some "Chickity Doo Doo", a pack of 4 different types of bat guano, and a few 1 lb bags of earthworm castings to add

I plan on making my mix tomorrow. The compost I got at Lowe's were in 1 cu ft bags, and with the planting mix, I have the 3 cu ft that is required, and more than 5 types of compost, if I add some of the chicken manure. But the question I have is how much should I add, and do you think it's really necessary?

Thanks for the advice!

Lyveno

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Re: Excited!! (and a little unsure)

Post  timwardell on 4/10/2010, 8:55 am

Lyveno,
Sounds like you've got your bases more than covered on the compost. Mel's Mix is (as you probably know) is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, & 1/3 blended compost. Blended being the operative word. What I did was dump a bucket of each type of compost I had onto a tarp (a large bin, tub, bucket, or wheel barrow will work as well) and mix (blended) the different compost together before adding the peat and vermiculite. If you find that you have more compost than peat or vermiculite set some blended compost aside using the empty bags. You can use this to replenish the nutrients in your SFG when you harvest your squares. What I did was turned my empty bags inside out and used a sharpie to mark them as "blended compost". - From everyone's experience here on the forum Mel's Mix works best when it's made "by the book" with all three ingredients mixed in equal parts by volume.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your SFG! Very Happy
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Re: Excited!! (and a little unsure)

Post  Momma Pajama on 4/10/2010, 9:01 am

Lay out a big tarp and start by dumping on SOME of each compost/manure in a pile (sounds like you'll have leftovers). Then make a pile of peat (it expands to double what is in the bag), and a pile of vermiculite. It's better to mix up a smaller batch of Mel's Mix than to throw out your batch doing all of it at once! It is really easy to mix if you use the tarp method described in the book and have someone to help you pull the tarp corners.

I think that using a variety of manures and compost is to your advantage. The peat and vermiculite in the Mix have NO NUTRIENTS. They are for drainage and texture in the soil, so that your soil is light and not compacted. The manure/peat is what your veggies will be living off of, so the more variety the better they'll be "eating" all season.

I can't find many types of manure available around here yet so far in early spring. For my new beds I am using steer manure plus homemade organic veggie compost (I get produce aisle "garbage" from a local organic health food store) and rabbit manure (from my bunny).

Keep us posted! I'd love to see pics later!

P.S. Good idea on saving the leftovers, timwardell!
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Re: Excited!! (and a little unsure)

Post  Lyveno on 4/10/2010, 11:01 am

Thanks for the advice! I was worried that I had gone a little overboard. I didn't even think about saving some. What a great idea! I will definitely try mixing in small batches too--I will probably recruit my boys to help me. Thanks again.

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Re: Excited!! (and a little unsure)

Post  Momma Pajama on 4/10/2010, 12:23 pm

Ha! I've got a couple of boys too - eating machines! Make them EARN a little of their food!!
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Re: Excited!! (and a little unsure)

Post  Kabaju42 on 4/10/2010, 4:35 pm

@Lyveno wrote:Thanks for the advice! I was worried that I had gone a little overboard. I didn't even think about saving some. What a great idea! I will definitely try mixing in small batches too--I will probably recruit my boys to help me. Thanks again.

Overboard, nah that couldn't happen.

Get the boys to help for sure, it builds character after all. Also my sister found the best way to get her boys to eat their veggies, was when they helped grow them. Her boys are toddlers, so I don't know if it would work with older boys, but it's worth a try.
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