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Mel's Mix compost

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Mel's Mix compost

Post  jplee3 on 10/17/2012, 9:25 pm

Hey guys,

New to the forums here and had a quick question on compost. I recently received a 4lb box (not very big) of Whitney Farms bulb food, which is a 4-6-4 mix derived from "dried poultry manure, bone meal, sulfate and potash, feather meal, alfafa meal, and kelp meal"

Would it hurt to add this into the compost mixture I'm going to make? I know I need five types, and based on my calculations for a 4'x4'x6" box I'll need .5 of each type of compost. So far I have steer manure but I'm also planning to pickup some free [at least I was told] compost from a local facility which I think might be comprised of the clippings from the city beautification work. I was also considering just buying food scrap compost and chicken manure.

Anyway, would adding in the bulb food mixture be OK or beneficial? Or would it screw things up?

TIA!
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  Turan on 10/17/2012, 10:34 pm

The compost will love it. It is not hot enough to burn anything but will help give the compost a bump up.

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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  jplee3 on 10/18/2012, 3:18 am

@Turan wrote:The compost will love it. It is not hot enough to burn anything but will help give the compost a bump up.

Thanks for the info! Looking forward to mixing it in. My wife won it at a local gardening workshop and I wasn't sure what we were gonna do with it - good to know it can be put to good use!
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 10/18/2012, 9:14 am

@jplee3 wrote:Hey guys,

New to the forums here and had a quick question on compost. I recently received a 4lb box (not very big) of Whitney Farms bulb food, which is a 4-6-4 mix derived from "dried poultry manure, bone meal, sulfate and potash, feather meal, alfafa meal, and kelp meal"

Would it hurt to add this into the compost mixture I'm going to make? I know I need five types, and based on my calculations for a 4'x4'x6" box I'll need .5 of each type of compost. So far I have steer manure but I'm also planning to pickup some free [at least I was told] compost from a local facility which I think might be comprised of the clippings from the city beautification work. I was also considering just buying food scrap compost and chicken manure.

Anyway, would adding in the bulb food mixture be OK or beneficial? Or would it screw things up?

TIA!

I'm a purist when it comes to making Mel's Mix. Save your bulb food for when you plant bulbs or add it to your compost heap.
If you follow the recipe for Mel's Mix properly, you'll have everything you need! Nice and simple! Very Happy

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

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/h22-mel-s-mix-calculator

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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  jplee3 on 10/19/2012, 6:55 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:
I'm a purist when it comes to making Mel's Mix. Save your bulb food for when you plant bulbs or add it to your compost heap.
If you follow the recipe for Mel's Mix properly, you'll have everything you need! Nice and simple! Very Happy

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

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/h22-mel-s-mix-calculator

Thanks for the reply! I'm assuming "bulbs" also include garlic, onions, etc right? If I'm planning to plant those things in my SFG anyway, would it hurt to mix it in? Or maybe just save it for the spots that I actually plant the bulbs in and scoop it in with some compost?

One other question - if I bought a 2cu foot bag of vermiculite, would that not be enough for a 4'x4'x6" box (8cu ft so 1/3 parts = 2.5cu ft of each material). I'd technically be short half a cubic foot. Would that really mess things up? Or is it not a big deal?
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Mel's Mix

Post  cyclonegardener on 10/19/2012, 11:48 pm

Not a big deal.

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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 10/20/2012, 9:36 am

@jplee3 wrote:
@RoOsTeR wrote:
I'm a purist when it comes to making Mel's Mix. Save your bulb food for when you plant bulbs or add it to your compost heap.
If you follow the recipe for Mel's Mix properly, you'll have everything you need! Nice and simple! Very Happy

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

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/h22-mel-s-mix-calculator

Thanks for the reply! I'm assuming "bulbs" also include garlic, onions, etc right? If I'm planning to plant those things in my SFG anyway, would it hurt to mix it in? Or maybe just save it for the spots that I actually plant the bulbs in and scoop it in with some compost?

One other question - if I bought a 2cu foot bag of vermiculite, would that not be enough for a 4'x4'x6" box (8cu ft so 1/3 parts = 2.5cu ft of each material). I'd technically be short half a cubic foot. Would that really mess things up? Or is it not a big deal?


Sounds like you're trying to convince yourself thinking
Like I said, I'm a purist when I make my Mel's Mix. The square foot garden method was designed for the beginner in mind and trimmed down to be simple and effective. I've chosen to make my Mel's Mix by the book. Why? Because I know it works! I don't have time for failures. It gives me peace of mind knowing I can blend my 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite and be done with it.
Question. What will you be adding to make up for the short on vermiculite? Wink

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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  Turan on 10/20/2012, 1:41 pm

Whitney Farms bulb food 4 lbs is a cereal box size. Its directions say 4 cups mixed into the top 2 inches of a 5'X10' area. The ingredients seem compatible with what I remember of a list of MM composts some one had here (it was an addendum to what is in the book and now I can not find it on Mels blog). Added to that this has a whole bunch of good mycorrhizal inoculants. If there is a problem it would be with the not fully composted poultry products being too hot if too concentrated. So if you use 4 cups mixed into the 6 inches of MM you should be fine. However it will also be a good boost for your home compost pile. And a sprinkling around the onions next summer will give them a boost too.

As you read the 'how strong is your back bone thread (highly recommended) you will see talk of how difficult bought bagged commercial composts are. This mixture you have is something that can help such a mixture of composts while you get your home compost pile working.

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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  1airdoc on 10/21/2012, 4:34 pm

jplee3 - The ingredients in your box sound excellent for adding to the compost (as opposed to the MM). There's nothing artificial or unnatural about them, and they should provide a nice variety of nutrients not always found in other components added to compost. There's nothing contrary to Mel's advice in using that for your compost pile - sounds like a great idea to me!
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  jplee3 on 10/21/2012, 8:16 pm

Thanks guys! I'll see about adding some to the compost pile. I've been trying to rake up all the loose ground cover that's in the yard but it's pretty crazy. A lot of it is tiny leaves, twigs, and old pods, from the Jacaranda tree just outside the yard walls. I've found that I'm mostly raking dirt and rocks up with the small leaves and twigs. Anyway, I ended up adding it dirt clumps (the soil is very clay-like here) and all. Will this be OK adding to the compost pile I've started? Or should I try to separate the dirt clumps out from it? It would be overwhelming trying to do that and I don't know of any other easy way to sift through the ground cover.

So overall, it sounds like this mixture is something that might be better-suited for adding to the compost pile I've got - would it help speed the composting process up or something?
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  Goosegirl on 10/22/2012, 9:55 am

Honestly, the dirt clumps will just add native soil organisms to your compost pile, which is a good thing unless it is contaminated with chemicals or some other kind of waste that you do not want in your compost. Some of those 'locals' can give a boost to your compost process.

GG
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  jplee3 on 10/24/2012, 4:08 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:Honestly, the dirt clumps will just add native soil organisms to your compost pile, which is a good thing unless it is contaminated with chemicals or some other kind of waste that you do not want in your compost. Some of those 'locals' can give a boost to your compost process.

GG

I started reading around more on "hole composting" or "pit composting" -seems like it's semi-popular and works but just takes a longer time. Most sites I've read say to cover the compost with dirt too. But what if I want to continuously add to the pile? So far, I've added a few kitchen scraps and greens, but most of the pile is browned yard waste. I've been raking up loose dirt + leaves/shedded material from the jacarandas and dumping it on top of the current pile. It's definitely getting closer to around 3'x3' now.

I know the internal temps are supposed to be around 130 degrees. I haven't really checked as I don't have a thermometer for that - I suppose I could check while I turn the pile though Smile Lately, we've been getting a bit more rain around here as well - will that slow down the process?
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  Goosegirl on 10/24/2012, 5:01 pm

Eventually you will have to stop adding to the pile if you want your compost to finish. If you continually add to it, you will always have uncomposted material in the mix. Once it gets to a size you find manageable (either for leaving to sit or for turning) you will need to start another for new materials and let the old one finish up.

Personally, I have a tumbler made out of barrel which is filled up and allowed to finish, and an upright barrel next to it with the bottom cut off so what I continuously add gets the benefit of the dirt below and worm activity. As the tumbler finishes, I can empty it of black gold and refill it with some of the unfinished contents of the barrel.

GG
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Re: Mel's Mix compost

Post  jplee3 on 10/24/2012, 5:40 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:Eventually you will have to stop adding to the pile if you want your compost to finish. If you continually add to it, you will always have uncomposted material in the mix. Once it gets to a size you find manageable (either for leaving to sit or for turning) you will need to start another for new materials and let the old one finish up.

Personally, I have a tumbler made out of barrel which is filled up and allowed to finish, and an upright barrel next to it with the bottom cut off so what I continuously add gets the benefit of the dirt below and worm activity. As the tumbler finishes, I can empty it of black gold and refill it with some of the unfinished contents of the barrel.

GG

That makes sense. I don't have much space in my yard so I'm afraid of getting a tumbler or anything similar. Maybe eventually but the yard is a crazy mess right now and I have a bunch of plants in pots that I transplanted from the ground since I've been clearing out space for my two SFGs. I'll probably get one SFG started soon with the various store-bought composts I picked up. I'm also trying to get a hold of some course vermiculite. Once I've got one box going, I think I can focus on that while I wait for the homegrown compost and then start the second box with that.
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