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Mixing up your Mel's Mix

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Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  quiltbea on 2/1/2013, 1:02 pm

I found this video on utube and thought it might be helpful for those that are mixing their own MM.

Note: They got their compost from the city (which may or may not have all the diverse ingredients in your area), because you all know that to have a successful garden, you want at least 5 kinds of compost mixed together as your compost base.



They are in Canada.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/1/2013, 1:33 pm

As planting (and expansion!) time approaches, I'm in the market for an easier way to mix my MM. I can no longer easily use the tarp method to mix even 3 cubic feet at a time! Last summer, I nearly killed my back doing so.

Unless I can lasso a neighbor to help.... Any suggestions are welcome.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  CindiLou on 2/1/2013, 1:35 pm

Rofl..
first I put the peat moss on a tarp and as I add water the grandkid mix it in with their feet! Then I add the vermiculite and they mix it.

At the same time the daughters are mixing the 5 composts on another tarp.

Add the two together and as your adding water make sure the kids and grands are walking around in it to mix! Then we turn it back and forth with the tarp.


When using a 5 gal bucket as measure it takes two batches for my 4x4, three for 4x6.

The three year old was very particular on HIS job! If we tried to help "I do it!" He really made sure there were NO clumps lol..



The 6 yr old preferred the messy job of making sure the mix was LEVEL in the garden after EACH batch lol...



If I had not had the help I would have done MUCH smaller batches at a time!

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/1/2013, 1:52 pm

Well, I have neither kids nor grandkids to conscript, and my three cats, while no doubt willing to scratch and mix, might just assume they were free to do their usual business! Laughing

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  JackieB999 on 2/1/2013, 2:06 pm

I didnt use the tarp method and I could only find 4 different kinds of compost, so I'm hoping that works just as well. If I find a 5th kind, I will add some in.

Donna ~ to mix my MM, I used a 1 gallon bucket that I found at the dollar store, and also a bigger 20 gallon bucket. I sat in a chair with all my bags around me. Then I filled the one gallon bucket with with each item and mixed everything into the 20 gallon bucket. Use your trowel to mix after every 3-4 gallons you put in the big bucket. Keep in mind that the total compost is only 1/3 of the mix, so 5 gallons of compost, plus 5 gallons of peat, plus 5 gallons of vermiculite.

I was able to fill several planting containers with soil this way. The 20 gallon bucket is also small enough, and not too heavy, to pour into your SFG. It may be more time consuming but easier on the back! The hard part is assembling all your bags in one place. Compost is pretty heavy as you know!

Hope that helps bounce

PS... I also saw onine a while ago that Mel sold Mel's Mix already pre-mixed in a bag. I could never locate it in my area tho. Maybe he tried it and found the compost should be different for different areas?

The pre-bagged Mels Mix looks like this. It's pick-up only in most places. Maybe if you asked your local Home Depot they could order it for you.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/garden-accessories/mels-mix/


Last edited by JackieB999 on 2/1/2013, 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  CindiLou on 2/1/2013, 3:50 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Well, I have neither kids nor grandkids to conscript, and my three cats, while no doubt willing to scratch and mix, might just assume they were free to do their usual business! Laughing
rofl undoubtedly

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  yolos on 2/1/2013, 3:55 pm

I use the tarp method for a big batch. Then for a small batch I use my wheel barrow. 1 gallon of each of the 5 types of compost, 5 gallons of vermiculite and 5 gallons of peat. Put them all in the wheel barrow and mix with a hoe.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  CindiLou on 2/1/2013, 3:58 pm

I have also used ice cream buckets and my concrete mixing tub! I can do that for mm and for mixing up compost...

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/1/2013, 4:17 pm

Yolos,

You have a 15-gallon wheelbarrow??? The ones I've looked at are usually 6-8 gallons....

And what do you use to mix the ingredients? Hands, or what?

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  Lindacol on 2/1/2013, 4:56 pm

I have EZ Haul carts, a utility and a jumbo cart. They are expensive but oh so much easier to use than a wheebarrow and hold so much more. But then I have goats so these carts get lots of use hauling feed and manure.
http://www.ezhaulcart.com/our_products.php
But when I made my beds on the ground I just dumped in the ingredients by the bucket then used a shovel to mix as I went. For the tabletops I used a bucket and a muck bucket (tub that holds about 20 gals). Dump the ingredients by the bucketful into the muck bucket and mix, then dump into your bed.


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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  yolos on 2/1/2013, 5:03 pm

donnainzone10 Today at 4:17 pm
.Yolos,
You have a 15-gallon wheelbarrow??? The ones I've looked at are usually 6-8 gallons....
And what do you use to mix the ingredients? Hands, or what?

Yes my wheelbarrow has deep sides. You can hardly push it when it is full. I use a hoe with a short handle (broken handle) to mix the ingredients. First put in the 5 composts, mix them up, then add the peat and mix it up then add the vermiculite and mix again. Then keep adding water and mixing until the peat is thouroughly wet.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/1/2013, 5:08 pm

Yolos,

I think I should look for a wheelbarrow with a 10-cubic foot capacity; then I should be able to move it. Or find one of those tubs.

I had fantastic luck with my Mel's Mix last summer, despite my back pain, and I think that part of it had to do with the fact that I thoroughly wetted it down, an inch or two at a time, as I filled the bed.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  camprn on 2/1/2013, 5:35 pm

I mix in a wheel barrow the dump and water. affraid

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  littlejo on 2/1/2013, 5:45 pm

I have a garden wagon which I can pull in the garden which has a dump bed. I sort of 'borrowed' my dh cement mixer for the last of the beds, since my back would not do the tarp method. I told him that I should have used it right up front!
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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  JackieB999 on 2/1/2013, 9:55 pm

Great idea with the wheelbarrow, now why didnt I think of that? LOL

And Jo... a cement mixer is even better, youre a lucky girl to have one!

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  CindiLou on 2/2/2013, 12:37 am

I tried with my cement mixer..but it is only a 2cf one...soo little!

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  Lemonie on 2/2/2013, 2:53 pm

While my hubs did help me do the first big batch in the tarp and shovel it in the boxes, he was not available for the next 2 batches. I mixed a smaller, more manageable size (enough to fill my 2x12 almost completely). First, I dumped the ingredients in layers instead of one type all at once. Then, I used a metal garden rake backwards (tines pointing up so as to not tear the tarp) and moved it around quite a bit more to mix. Lastly, I kept folding the tarp back and forth until it looked about right. To keep it lighter, I didn't water it at all until it was in the box. (FYI- if you have a big dog like my pittie mix who likes to play tug, tie some rope on each tarp corner and get them to help. They're not called a working breed for nothing! )

To add it to the box by myself, I pulled the tarp to the box and hung about 1ft of the tarp over, into the box and used some sturdy clamps to hold in place. Then, I tugged and pushed and lifted to dump it all. Since my box is long and narrow, I just spread the MM out on the tarp and worked one section at a time. It did take a few watering sessions to get it good and soaked through.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/2/2013, 3:50 pm

I did mine totally wrong but lucked out. We mixed them dry in the table tops all at once just before 3 days of a gentle soaking rain, so everything got uniformly moist.

I learned later that I should have mixed them and moistened them as I went.

Because the table tops are at such a nice height we got our arms deep into the mix and just kept blending and blending. We also used rakes.


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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  Lindacol on 2/2/2013, 4:13 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I did mine totally wrong but lucked out. We mixed them dry in the table tops all at once just before 3 days of a gentle soaking rain, so everything got uniformly moist.

I learned later that I should have mixed them and moistened them as I went.

Because the table tops are at such a nice height we got our arms deep into the mix and just kept blending and blending. We also used rakes.


That is basically how I filled & mixed my table tops. It cuts out lots of steps and effort for me. If I were to try the tarp method it would have to be outside my fenced garden area, then put the MM in buckets and carry into the garden. Instead I have all my components right next to the beds in the garden and fill buckets of each and dump into the bed and mix however I feel like doing it and water in the bed.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  Goosegirl on 2/2/2013, 6:33 pm

I seem to do OK standing and using a shovel, but bending for long periods is not good on this old back, and the tarp method just about killed me! So I just backed my pick-up right to the box and opened the bags of peat and vermiculite from the tailgate. Then getting the loads of poo from friends, I would just shovel it into the beds and then stir it all up with the shovel right in the box. Of course, this method only works if you have vehicle access to the beds! rofl

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  bnoles on 2/2/2013, 6:56 pm

Now GG.... I am going to remember this when I do another bed and or table top. Live and learn they say.

Great tip!

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  Goosegirl on 2/3/2013, 8:10 am

@bnoles wrote:Now GG.... I am going to remember this when I do another bed and or table top. Live and learn they say.

Great tip!

Word of warning - do not do this on a windy day!

Also, if you are doing the 'eyeball' method off the tailgate for our 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, do the peat first so you can break up those bales before dumping and get a good 'read' on the volume

GG

PS - Yes, my cooking is the 'eyeball' method as well - Poor Hubby!

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  JackieB999 on 2/3/2013, 8:50 am

@Goosegirl wrote:
PS - Yes, my cooking is the 'eyeball' method as well - Poor Hubby!

Rachel Ray "eyeballs' it all the time! Must be something to it cheers

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  JohnIII on 2/3/2013, 8:07 pm

@quiltbea wrote:I found this video on utube and thought it might be helpful for those that are mixing their own MM.

Note: They got their compost from the city (which may or may not have all the diverse ingredients in your area), because you all know that to have a successful garden, you want at least 5 kinds of compost mixed together as your compost base.



They are in Canada.

LOL, seen this one the other day. Cute couple........whatever you say Randy (rolls eyes)..........I'm Da Boss.........more eye rolls from Amanda......LOL.

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Re: Mixing up your Mel's Mix

Post  toledobend on 2/4/2013, 12:47 pm

I don't trust my ability to eye-ball it. I use a five gallon bucket as my measuring tool.

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