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Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 3:50 pm

I have a question about Mel's mix. I talked to my local garden lady for awhile the other day, and she wasn't impressed with the idea of adding peet moss to the mix. She said that'll just make it loamy(?) but it'll suck up all the moisture and I'll have to water a lot and often. She said the vermiculite was good and that should make it plenty porous.
Did you skip the moss step if you're in a coastal humid location? Did you have to water often?
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/3/2013, 3:55 pm

I'm coastal and humid but didn't skip the peat. I think it's very important to follow the recipe for MM exactly as it's laid out for best results. Also, remember to fluff the peat up before adding it to your mix or too much will go in and the mix may be unbalanced when it fluffs up later.

OH, glad you\'re here to the forum! Yes, I agree with Plantoid in another thread, pics of your progress would be great if you can please.

CC
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  plantoid on 3/3/2013, 4:11 pm

Tris wrote:I have a question about Mel's mix. I talked to my local garden lady for awhile the other day, and she wasn't impressed with the idea of adding peet moss to the mix. She said that'll just make it loamy(?) but it'll suck up all the moisture and I'll have to water a lot and often. She said the vermiculite was good and that should make it plenty porous.
Did you skip the moss step if you're in a coastal humid location? Did you have to water often?

Indeed it will take in water that's one of the reasons we use it , it can never get too water logged for it will drain down readily and along with the vermiculite it will help stabilized the moisture level.

Stable moisture levels are almost the be all and end all if you want decent crops .. Erratic watering will give very erratic results like split root crops and weedy greens that are stressed and in turn very susceptible to disease after or without insect damage .

Perhaps go to the top of the page and in the green band click on gallery, look for my pictures in 2 Big stufff " .. that's what you get from stabilized moisture levels whilst the crop is growing.


Last edited by plantoid on 3/3/2013, 4:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 4:14 pm

Good to know Cape, thanks Very Happy How often are you watering a 4x4 plot?
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  camprn on 3/3/2013, 4:14 pm

CapeCoddess wrote: it's very important to follow the recipe for MM exactly as it's laid out for best results.

CC
HI Tris, welcome to the forum. If you go to the Main page of the Forum and look to the left, see the tab that says hover? Click on this for a drop down menu. All these threads, especially the how strong is your backbone, will flesh out the reasoning of Mel's mix and the 'why' of the ingredients.

I am curious if the nice lady at the garden store tried to sell you something instead of what you were asking for...

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 4:24 pm

camprn wrote:
CapeCoddess wrote: it's very important to follow the recipe for MM exactly as it's laid out for best results.

CC
HI Tris, welcome to the forum. If you go to the Main page of the Forum and look to the left, see the tab that says hover? Click on this for a drop down menu. All these threads, especially the how strong is your backbone, will flesh out the reasoning of Mel's mix and the 'why' of the ingredients.

I am curious if the nice lady at the garden store tried to sell you something instead of what you were asking for...
No she didn't sell me (or try to sell me) anything, actually. I picked her brain for about an hour, she was really awesome Smile
I've been reading the backbone thread, its still a bit convoluted to me. Is there no longer an issue of acidity or alkalinity with Mels mix since there is no soil?
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  plantoid on 3/3/2013, 4:42 pm

No probs .... its very slightly acidic good for spuds at 4.5 to 6.0 pH right up the the high enders at beans and cabbages at pH 6 to 7.5 .

It might even be that pH is not mentioned more than once in the book for if you make your own compost as indicated and as varied as can be it will not matter it will automatically be just slightly acidic no matter where you make it in the world

The pH thing is much more to do with the lime and rock content of mother earths own stuff not ours or if you over manured with acidic animal dung manure that has rotted down anaerobically .

Though if you want to grow azealea then you might want to emphasize the acidity or alkalinity of the stuff you are growing in to get the colour of flower you're after.
Same with erracious plants and a few other exceptions that thrive in fairly extreme Ph levels.
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 6:34 pm

Thanks Smile I'm thinking about doing a test, for money reason mostly, and do a mix of my soil (its 5-7, but I'll test it) and the vermiculite in 1 box and Mels mix in another. I want to do 2 4x4's and 1 8x4 but fill for that much is a lot more than I thought Shocked I know I have got good soil because my daughter keeps finding giant random turnips in the yard < funny! I'm also not sure about the 5 different composts, the garden center doesn't sell compost so I have to check home depot next weekend. Smile and I did the calculator but embarrassingly it confuses me, I wish it could say "for 1 box you need 1/3 a package of peet, 1/2 package of verm, and 1/2 of 5 different bags of compost" Laughing
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  camprn on 3/3/2013, 6:45 pm

Tris wrote: I'm also not sure about the 5 different composts, the garden center doesn't sell compost so I have to check home depot next weekend. Smile and I did the calculator but embarrassingly it confuses me, I wish it could say "for 1 box you need 1/3 a package of peet, 1/2 package of verm, and 1/2 of 5 different bags of compost" Laughing
FIrst off, there are many places to get compost a side from the box store or garden center. Try Local Craig's List., or Local Freecycle. Also any local dairy, horse, goat, chicken, llama farm.

on bale of peat should make about enough Mel's mix (MM) for 1 1/2 4x4. I'm just trying to remember from when I mixed it last.

I regards to the compost, the recommendation is to collect your 5 or more types and mix those together before you measure and mix the MM.

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/3/2013, 7:15 pm

Tris wrote:I wish it could say "for 1 box you need 1/3 a package of peet, 1/2 package of verm, and 1/2 of 5 different bags of compost" Laughing

I know what you mean. When I went to fill my last box, fortunately I'd recently read someones post that said they used a bucket to measure out their MM. It went something like this: into their box they added one bucket peat, then one bucket compost, then one bucket vermiculite, mixed it up, then started the whole process over again until the box was full. So I decided to do that, except with my wheel borrow, and I plopped it onto a tarp for easier mixing, as suggested in the book. It worked great!

CC
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 7:39 pm

Craigslist and freecycle are out, there is nothing on either. The freecycle is incredibly slow. Small town life Smile Home depot has mushroom compost, and eco white compost? I can get the manure compost at tractor supply. So there's 3 of 5...
Worm casting soil is expensive Shocked 17 bucks for less than 1ft3
I can't tell what other compost options there are, the picture is angled too much.
Oh, and the compost pile in his book, how does he turn that? I was thinking something simple like that would work well, but couldn't figure out the logistics.
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 7:39 pm

Oh the bucket idea is brilliant!!!
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Kelejan on 3/3/2013, 8:19 pm

Tris, don't forget that worm castings are much more nutrient dense than most other nabures, a little goes a long way. Read the worm threads and you will get an idea of how powerful they can be. Very Happy
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Lindacol on 3/3/2013, 9:48 pm

Tris wrote:Craigslist and freecycle are out, there is nothing on either. The freecycle is incredibly slow. Small town life Smile Home depot has mushroom compost, and eco white compost? I can get the manure compost at tractor supply. So there's 3 of 5...
Worm casting soil is expensive Shocked 17 bucks for less than 1ft3
I can't tell what other compost options there are, the picture is angled too much.
Oh, and the compost pile in his book, how does he turn that? I was thinking something simple like that would work well, but couldn't figure out the logistics.

Tris, What area are you in? Did you look for manure and for compost on Craigslist. I was just looking in the Charlotte Craigslist and see a number of possibilities and this caught my eye for vermiculite:
http://charlotte.craigslist.org/grd/3637791202.html

Sounds like a really good deal especially if you need several bags.
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  camprn on 3/3/2013, 9:54 pm

Lindacol wrote:
Tris wrote:Craigslist and freecycle are out, there is nothing on either. The freecycle is incredibly slow. Small town life Smile Home depot has mushroom compost, and eco white compost? I can get the manure compost at tractor supply. So there's 3 of 5...
Worm casting soil is expensive Shocked 17 bucks for less than 1ft3
I can't tell what other compost options there are, the picture is angled too much.
Oh, and the compost pile in his book, how does he turn that? I was thinking something simple like that would work well, but couldn't figure out the logistics.

Tris, What area are you in? Did you look for manure and for compost on Craigslist. I was just looking in the Charlotte Craigslist and see a number of possibilities and this caught my eye for vermiculite:
http://charlotte.craigslist.org/grd/3637791202.html

Sounds like a really good deal especially if you need several bags.
Tris, did you click the link I put in my previous post? There are several listings there for compost and composted manure. Of course I am not sure how far away from you they are. Look under farm and garden.

as far as making your own compost, check out the Compost 101 thread.

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/3/2013, 10:28 pm

Charlotte is about 6 hours, Raleigh is 3. I did get in contact with another member here though who gave me a local store so I'll head down there and see what I can work out Very Happy
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/3/2013, 10:59 pm

I'm just now into my second year. My first box and soil was created prior to finding this website and the book. I ordered a truck load of raised bed soil from a local nursery sight unseen. It had a lot of wood chips and is too sandy. Everything grew really well last year but took a lot of water and I'm sure it grew so well because of the timed release fertilizer I could see in it. I'm now working on the process of amending the soil.

I just really encourage anyone new to trust the formula - it really works and there's a reason for absolutely everything that's part of it. I know that it feels overwhelming to work on when your first start but you only do it once for a lifetime (or for any new boxes you make).

It's like building a house and not paying adequate attention to your foundation. If you cut corners anywhere, you end up paying for it twice and having to redo your foundation down the road. It's not fun to discover your mix doesn't work half way into a growing season No
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  walshevak on 3/4/2013, 7:27 am

Tris, I'm in your location and followed the MM formula exactly. Had great success. Kenyon Bailey also has vermiculite and peat moss. You have to ask at the desk for the vermiculite.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5250p45-i-m-making-progress-and-gardens?highlight=making+progress+++++gardens

When I return home in May, I'll share some red wigglers if you want to start a worm bin

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/4/2013, 11:08 am

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I'm just now into my second year. My first box and soil was created prior to finding this website and the book. I ordered a truck load of raised bed soil from a local nursery sight unseen. It had a lot of wood chips and is too sandy. Everything grew really well last year but took a lot of water and I'm sure it grew so well because of the timed release fertilizer I could see in it. I'm now working on the process of amending the soil.

I just really encourage anyone new to trust the formula - it really works and there's a reason for absolutely everything that's part of it. I know that it feels overwhelming to work on when your first start but you only do it once for a lifetime (or for any new boxes you make).
It's like building a house and not paying adequate attention to your foundation. If you cut corners anywhere, you end up paying for it twice and having to redo your foundation down the road. It's not fun to discover your mix doesn't work half way into a growing season No

Excellent post! Great advice right here to new gardeners, and seasoned gardeners as well.


Last edited by RoOsTeR on 3/6/2013, 7:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/4/2013, 3:39 pm

Thank you Kay! I'm heading down there tomorrow Smile
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/5/2013, 2:17 pm

Alright it's too expensive. I wanted to do 2 boxes to start, but 10 cubic feet of vermiculite is going to be 60 bucks, and peet moss another 60, and then I did buy 3 bags of compost today, 1 cow compost(50lb), 1 hen compost(25lb), and one mushroom compost(25lb) cost 27 bucks and its not nearly enough Sad
The taylors near me has hummus compost for cheap, less than 3 a bag (25lb I believe). I've only about 50 more bucks to put into this, any ideas on how to stretch it? Next year won't be so tight, so while I get doing it right the first time is best, is there a second best option?
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/5/2013, 2:20 pm

You can always save your money and do it right next year. Cutting corners will cost you more in the long run.

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/5/2013, 2:28 pm

Ok I think I did my math wrong, I forgot 1 bale of peet will double I'm volume, so I'd only need one of those and 2 vermiculite it looks like. I'm still a bit confused on the compost, Mel's "forget weight and go by volume" makes it a bit difficult to shop.


Hopefully someday money won't be as much of a consideration as it is now. I was just hoping I'm not the only one in the position of needing alterations due to financial restraints Smile
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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  walshevak on 3/5/2013, 4:50 pm

For 2 boxes and a bit extra for pots or buckets I use 2 bags vermiculite, 1 3.8 cu ft bale of peat, 2 black kow, 2 mushroom, 3 black hen, 2 moo-nure from Lowes and 2 of a Scots product that seems to be forest fines from Lowes. Total is around $65 per bed.

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Re: Mel's mix question

Post  Tris on 3/5/2013, 5:16 pm

Kay doesn't the 3 animal waste composts just add up to one though according to Mel's mix? That's been part of my struggle.
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