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Too Late to Start??

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Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/25/2012, 12:16 am

Hey everyone. I just bought all the supplies for my SFG, but I read earlier that a lot of people planted back in August and earlier. I'm wondering if it's too late for me to start planting? I appreciate any advice.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  Nymiko on 11/25/2012, 12:58 am

EggplantWizard wrote:Hey everyone. I just bought all the supplies for my SFG, but I read earlier that a lot of people planted back in August and earlier. I'm wondering if it's too late for me to start planting? I appreciate any advice.

What are you planning to grow? I just started my seeds indoor for a mid-jan transplant and I'm in zone 10.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/25/2012, 1:02 am

I also have a question on the mix. Here's my list (not including the peat moss and vermiculite) of the composts I bought:

Black Kow manure
Black Velvet mushroom compost
Just Natural mushroom compost
Gardeners Pride compost and manure
Earthgro compost and manure

Will this be okay? To be honest it's really hard to find 5 different sources of compost. I thought perhaps if the composts were made from different companies, then each one is from a different source. Is there a flaw in my logic? Lol.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/25/2012, 1:24 am

Nymiko wrote:
EggplantWizard wrote:Hey everyone. I just bought all the supplies for my SFG, but I read earlier that a lot of people planted back in August and earlier. I'm wondering if it's too late for me to start planting? I appreciate any advice.

What are you planning to grow? I just started my seeds indoor for a mid-jan transplant and I'm in zone 10.

Hey Nymiko! Well, Home Depot and Lowe's seem to have been depleted for the most part (some tomato varieties, lettuce, gourd, and hybrid seeds were my options). But I did manage to find:

- Stringless green beans
- Cucumbers
- Watermelon (bush sugar baby)
- Valenica Onions
- Mesclun (spicy salad blend?)
- Cascabella Peppers
- Roma Tomatoes

I also plan to grow broccoli, cantaloupe, and corn. That's my list so far. I'm going to continue hunting for seeds tomorrow and see if I can find a better variety.

I'm in zone 9b.

I apologize if my posts seem incoherent, my brain is telling me to go to sleep, lol.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/25/2012, 10:19 am

EggplantWizard wrote:I also have a question on the mix. Here's my list (not including the peat moss and vermiculite) of the composts I bought:

Black Kow manure
Black Velvet mushroom compost
Just Natural mushroom compost
Gardeners Pride compost and manure
Earthgro compost and manure

Will this be okay? To be honest it's really hard to find 5 different sources of compost. I thought perhaps if the composts were made from different companies, then each one is from a different source. Is there a flaw in my logic? Lol.

Welcome to the forum!
The composts you decide to use in your square foot garden are the backbone of success. Careful attention and every effort should be made to make the correct choices here.
Some good information:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone (this is a very valuable and informative read)

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t2079-what-s-in-store-bought-manure

Black Velvet and Black Cow are made by the same company. I would venture to say the main ingredient of each is cow manure.
Earthgro is also made from cow manure.
Garden Pride is made from a Peat manufacturer. I would venture to say peat is the main ingredient in this compost.

Guessing at best you have 2 composts and need to also factor in the additions of peat in these composts.

My question to you is, have you researched these composts as I did and know what ingredients are in each bag? Remember, what you put in your boxes today, could mean the success or failure of your harvests tomorrow.

My suggestion: find 3 more quality composts/manures, ie. chicken, horse, lobster etc. Search our forums on composts and bagged composts for tons of information.

Here is a link to a whole forum dedicated to composts:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/f53-forum


EggplantWizard wrote:Hello! I'm not exactly new, but it's been a long time since I've posted here--so long that my old account got deleted (d'oh)!!

I tried making a SFG a few years ago but it turned out to be a bust mainly because I started too late. Sad I'm debating about giving it a go once more, but my drawback is that I'm living in a condo, instead of a house with a spacious backyard....I also can't seem to find my SFG book since we moved!

Anyways, I'm living in South Florida for the time being for all you South Floridians. Smile Nice too meet you all, and I look forward to seeing you all in the forums!

You've already had one failure. Obtain quality ingredients to help ensure it doesn't happen again I hope you've re-purchased the book so you can reference it frequently and follow along with the suggestions here on the forum.

Welcome back!

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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  walshevak on 11/25/2012, 2:45 pm

Black Kow, Black Velvet Mushroom and Black Hen are my workhorse 3. Then I add what ever else I can find. Cottonboll, lobster, swine, forest products usually. I just watch out for blends that are mostly peat because they throw off the ratios.

Kay.

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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  quiltbea on 11/25/2012, 3:43 pm

Remember, too much peat lowers your PH so that its more acid and better for blueberries and potatoes than growing anything else. Always check the peat percentages in any bagged compost.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/25/2012, 8:54 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone! Yeah, after researching the forums and digging a little deeper I returned 3 out of the 5 bags earlier today and kept the black kow brands. I don't want a repeat of 3 years ago. Laughing I'm not having much luck finding different kinds of composts here though and it's starting to become frustrating.

As far as my book, I found it the other day, so no need to re-buy it. Laughing

I also returned the vermiculite back to home depot because I found a nursery (thanks to this forum) that sells it at a MUCH better price.

So, can anyone in the Orlando area point me in the right direction to find a variety of composts?
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  camprn on 11/25/2012, 9:13 pm

Eggplant wizard, what is your location, maybe I can help you find some other source of compost.
.

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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/25/2012, 9:28 pm

camprn wrote:Eggplant wizard, what is your location, maybe I can help you find some other source of compost.
.

I'm in the Orlando area.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/25/2012, 9:32 pm

Also, how much "Florida sun" is recommended? My fiance read somewhere that we should halve the required amount of sunlight since it can be brutal here.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  camprn on 11/25/2012, 9:47 pm

EggplantWizard wrote:
camprn wrote:Eggplant wizard, what is your location, maybe I can help you find some other source of compost.
.

I'm in the Orlando area.
There are some worm castings listed here.
http://orlando.craigslist.org/search/gra?query=compost&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=


Here is a listing for goats. These farmers may be interested in parting with some manure/compost too.

http://orlando.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=goats&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=

There is bunny manure here.
http://orlando.craigslist.org/search/?areaID=39&subAreaID=&query=manure&catAbb=sss

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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/26/2012, 10:26 pm

camprn wrote:
EggplantWizard wrote:
camprn wrote:Eggplant wizard, what is your location, maybe I can help you find some other source of compost.
.

I'm in the Orlando area.
There are some worm castings listed here.
http://orlando.craigslist.org/search/gra?query=compost&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=


Here is a listing for goats. These farmers may be interested in parting with some manure/compost too.

http://orlando.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=goats&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=

There is bunny manure here.
http://orlando.craigslist.org/search/?areaID=39&subAreaID=&query=manure&catAbb=sss

Were those a specific ads you were trying to link? Because I got a whole slew of posts ranging from compost tumblers to fertilizers to composts. lol Anyhoo, after looking through the ads I found a place about 45 minutes away from here that sells a compost which consists of chicken, llama, horse, goat, and some other type of manure. How would you rate that type of compost? Is it sweeping and can I just use that exclusively, or should I look around for other types?
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  quiltbea on 11/27/2012, 11:52 am

I've been researching growing in the Central Fla area since we might make the big move in less than 2 years........and I've found this interesting info from the Fla University regarding Mel's spacing for tomatoes.
Even in a SFG, the needs have to be increased. Tomatoes grow much larger and for a longer period in Fla than space suggested in Mel's book. For Fla they suggest 4 squares to allow for good air circulation to reduce diseases for a staked/caged plant. At the very least, 2 squares but only if the plant is heavily trimmed. Something to think about.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  plantoid on 11/27/2012, 5:57 pm

EPW if that mixture is in even quantities per bag with no wood chip or peat fillers but also made with the animals urine soaked beddings included I'd go and take a big truck to bring back as much as I could afford . That list is excactly the 1/3 rd element of what is needed to make your first MM , you can always add other important materials as well if you can locate them at the right price .

If the material is neat composted animal droppings with out beddings ...such as horses cobbles , slurry out the milking parlour or from under chickens raised in cages I suspect you will need quite a dilution using things like corn straw and recompost it , else it will be a little too concentrated with NPK and other valuable nutirents .
The plants will try to out grow themselves.... strange as it sounds with lots of top growth at the wrong time of their development .

Perhaps go there for a sunny day out and read the labels or email them and ask for the approximate percentages
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/27/2012, 10:01 pm

plantoid wrote:EPW if that mixture is in even quantities per bag with no wood chip or peat fillers but also made with the animals urine soaked beddings included I'd go and take a big truck to bring back as much as I could afford . That list is excactly the 1/3 rd element of what is needed to make your first MM , you can always add other important materials as well if you can locate them at the right price .

If the material is neat composted animal droppings with out beddings ...such as horses cobbles , slurry out the milking parlour or from under chickens raised in cages I suspect you will need quite a dilution using things like corn straw and recompost it , else it will be a little too concentrated with NPK and other valuable nutirents .
The plants will try to out grow themselves.... strange as it sounds with lots of top growth at the wrong time of their development .

Perhaps go there for a sunny day out and read the labels or email them and ask for the approximate percentages

Her accent was really thick so I had to really listen to understand what she was saying. lol Not sure if she uses the urine soaked beddings, but she said it's really good stuff. I'm going there this Saturday a.m. and I'll ask her more questions about it.

I get peat filler is not a good thing, but what about peat hummus? I bought my vermiculite from this hydroponics store and one of the bags they were selling seemed to have a good mix of materials including peat hummus. Should I stay away from that?
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/29/2012, 6:47 pm

walshevak wrote:Black Kow, Black Velvet Mushroom and Black Hen are my workhorse 3. Then I add what ever else I can find. Cottonboll, lobster, swine, forest products usually. I just watch out for blends that are mostly peat because they throw off the ratios.

Kay.

Kay,

I actually found some black hen in my area and I'm stoked!! How many bags of black hen do you use in your mix?? I only bought one bag because the ratio seemed high (2-3-2?) and lady at the nursery said I should use only half of it when I throw everything together because chicken poo is potent. What's your personal experience?
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  donnainzone5 on 11/29/2012, 8:32 pm

As long as the chicken poo is already composted, I wouldn't worry about its potency. After all, you'll be blending it with 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and at least four other composts. Therefore, your mix will be sufficiently diluted to avoid any such problems.

And remember, very few nursery employees are at all familiar with SFG, so they often provide incorrect information for our purposes.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 11/29/2012, 10:32 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:As long as the chicken poo is already composted, I wouldn't worry about its potency. After all, you'll be blending it with 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and at least four other composts. Therefore, your mix will be sufficiently diluted to avoid any such problems.

And remember, very few nursery employees are at all familiar with SFG, so they often provide incorrect information for our purposes.

Cool, thanks for the info. I guess I'll be making another trip to that place within the next few days, lol. Razz They were also selling "Hu-More" which is one of the mixes shown on pg. 90-91 in the book, but they were charging $20 a bag! Shocked
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Post  plantoid on 11/30/2012, 5:48 pm

Peat humus.. a weird term ....
Without looking it up ,with respect to each individual manufacturer of each product .
To my mind humus is rotting veg matter that has the live fungi , spores , nutrients and chemicals released during the rotting still there in micro scopic damp droplets or crystals attached to the rotted/rotting fibres .. so take your guesses as to what they are referring to .
Humus it is usually not identifiable as to what has been used in it's making as it is very dark brown , well composted, crumbly and has very little odour.


The peat in MM is basically to hold water /moisture , provide an anchor point for roots and also to allow air passages and drainage so in itself it is a useful thing to have.
I use part composted chopped coir instead as it is cheap and easily available around here in my locality in the UK at half the price of peat volume for volume.
It also decays at a similar rate over the years and has a similar PH

It is when you get it in bagged , made up blended compost that it throws thing out, in the MM formula especially if the blended made up compost are only made from a narrow range of materials . Thats why Mel offers .. " use five different sources of composts " ( meaning :- Five different materials not five different trade names or five different shops Wink )

Somewhere in my posts on compost or in the monthly beginners themes I have put up a list of percentages of N ,P&K in various substances that we can easily compost or obtain .
You will be surprised to find some of the levels are quite high ... much higher than a chemical factory made one called " GROWMORE " Which I believe in the early days of production in the 1930's was a straignt chemical formula that gave N7 , P7 , & K7 though now it is available in all sorts of combinations depending on what crop is it intended for .

The big advantage of our type of home made compost it that it is not fully composted out ...in that it can still rot down and give out a long term slow release of quality nutrients usually around seven years till every thing is totally gone .
Chemical factory stuff does not tend to have that and so leaches out the soil or is used up very quickly, thus needing further applications every season of cultivation ...but it will not " build up the soil " with useful bacteria or nutrients & trace elements like a well made compost will.
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 12/1/2012, 3:43 pm

plantoid wrote:Peat humus.. a weird term ....
Without looking it up ,with respect to each individual manufacturer of each product .
To my mind humus is rotting veg matter that has the live fungi , spores , nutrients and chemicals released during the rotting still there in micro scopic damp droplets or crystals attached to the rotted/rotting fibres .. so take your guesses as to what they are referring to .
Humus it is usually not identifiable as to what has been used in it's making as it is very dark brown , well composted, crumbly and has very little odour.


The peat in MM is basically to hold water /moisture , provide an anchor point for roots and also to allow air passages and drainage so in itself it is a useful thing to have.
I use part composted chopped coir instead as it is cheap and easily available around here in my locality in the UK at half the price of peat volume for volume.
It also decays at a similar rate over the years and has a similar PH

It is when you get it in bagged , made up blended compost that it throws thing out, in the MM formula especially if the blended made up compost are only made from a narrow range of materials . Thats why Mel offers .. " use five different sources of composts " ( meaning :- Five different materials not five different trade names or five different shops Wink )

Somewhere in my posts on compost or in the monthly beginners themes I have put up a list of percentages of N ,P&K in various substances that we can easily compost or obtain .
You will be surprised to find some of the levels are quite high ... much higher than a chemical factory made one called " GROWMORE " Which I believe in the early days of production in the 1930's was a straignt chemical formula that gave N7 , P7 , & K7 though now it is available in all sorts of combinations depending on what crop is it intended for .

The big advantage of our type of home made compost it that it is not fully composted out ...in that it can still rot down and give out a long term slow release of quality nutrients usually around seven years till every thing is totally gone .
Chemical factory stuff does not tend to have that and so leaches out the soil or is used up very quickly, thus needing further applications every season of cultivation ...but it will not " build up the soil " with useful bacteria or nutrients & trace elements like a well made compost will.

From what I remember the guy at the hydro store said something in the ballpark of what you said but with less words, lol. Basically that humus is even more broken down than moss.

I was also going to head back to the nursery to get more Black Hen, but after talking with the folks with the mixed manure compost I think I'll be okay without it. They were great people and super nice!

They used the following manures to make their compost: Sheep, chicken, horse, goat, and some llama. And I say "some llama" because from what they showed me, they shovel the llama beans (poop) from their pens and use what's left over from that in add it in the compost. Essentially a mix of llama manure and dirt. I still think the mix is really good because it has a good variety of animal waste.

They also don't use bedding in the pens because they said it may contain chemicals and they want to keep everything natural. As for the animal urine, they don't specifically collect it, but more than likely it's in the mix from when they clean out the pens.

I also bought some llama beans and will use it to make a tea to water my plants.

All in all I believe the Mel's mix I'm concocting this time around will be more than sufficient enough to make a SFG with some pretty decent yields!
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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  walshevak on 12/4/2012, 7:09 pm

EggplantWizard wrote:
walshevak wrote:Black Kow, Black Velvet Mushroom and Black Hen are my workhorse 3. Then I add what ever else I can find. Cottonboll, lobster, swine, forest products usually. I just watch out for blends that are mostly peat because they throw off the ratios.

Kay.

Kay,

I actually found some black hen in my area and I'm stoked!! How many bags of black hen do you use in your mix?? I only bought one bag because the ratio seemed high (2-3-2?) and lady at the nursery said I should use only half of it when I throw everything together because chicken poo is potent. What's your personal experience?

Since black hen is in 20 lb bags, I use 2 black hen to match up with the four 40 or 50 lb bags in my blend making a total of five fairly evenly matched composts in the blend.

Kay
Kay

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Re: Too Late to Start??

Post  EggplantWizard on 12/15/2012, 2:49 pm

Thanks for the input Kay!
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