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Mel's Mix question

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Mel's Mix question

Post  gardenofseeding on 3/10/2013, 4:34 pm

I've spent some time pricing out what I need to make Mel's Mix for my two raised beds (2 beds x 4'x8'x11" = 54 cu feet). I was a little surprised to find the price was about $275. I could save a lot of money by going to my local landscape supply company. However their "compost" is made of food-grade production residuals, yard trimmings, and aged saw dust. Other companies just say "certified compost" -- whatever that means. I hear the city sells compost but it's usually too "fresh" and is really just leaf compost. In short, none of these suppliers are going to sell a compost made up of five different kinds of compost.

So, I thought I'd ask if anyone has tried an alternate formula? I was thinking the following:

25% peat moss
50% certified compost
25% blend of vermiculite, mushroom, chicken and cow compost


Any thoughts? This would save me over $100.
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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/10/2013, 5:20 pm

Wow! That's a lot of money to fork over all at once. The general response is to start smaller, with 1 bed this year.

Or, without doing the math, did you consider that the first 5" of your boxes don't have to be MM? Your beds are 11" high and you only need 6" of MM. I layered my 12" boxes with sticks then leaves then compost then seaweed to add some height first. Some use just leaves or sand. The bed sinks over time, but by then I can afford more vermiculite. Altho in my case, I found I actually like having a sunken bed for protection as I'm in a hi wind area. What a Face

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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  gardenofseeding on 3/10/2013, 5:40 pm

I think I figured it out. I didn't realize only the top 6" were Mel's mix. Now I think I can fill the bottom 5" with the cheaper certified compost and then do the proper Mel's Mix for the top 6". Still comes out to $180 but that sounds a lot better than $275!

And yes, I'm starting to realize that beginning this hobby with two 4'x8' beds was overkill, but hey that's me Shocked

Thanks for your help.
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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/10/2013, 6:36 pm

No problem, glad I could help. You may get more answers so check back occasionally.

Have you read the book, All New Square Foot Gardening?

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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  edfhinton on 3/10/2013, 8:00 pm

The tip on only the top 6" needing to be high quality Mel's Mix helps me a lot too. I, too, will have 11" deep beds, for a variety of reasons. Just doing the mix in the top 6" will save me over $250 (I have 76 square feet of beds I am doing.) Pricing out the vermiculite, peat moss, and finding the 5 different composts locally, I am concluding mixing my own is pointless. The vermiculite prices I am finding are so high it all adds up to being cheaper for me to order the Mel's Mix from Home Depot and have it delivered (thank goodness they carry it nationwide for delivery now.)

-Ed
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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  quiltbea on 3/11/2013, 12:26 pm

Ed....check you PMs above please.
quiltbea
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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  gardenofseeding on 3/14/2013, 6:21 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I layered my 12" boxes with sticks then leaves then compost then seaweed to add some height first. Some use just leaves or sand.

Does it matter what you use as filler? I was going to pickup a cubic yard of compost at my local landscape supply company and use that as the bottom tier. Is there any reason I should get something else instead? Pro-mix? landscape soil?
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Re: Mel's Mix question

Post  camprn on 3/14/2013, 6:29 pm

@gardenofseeding wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:I layered my 12" boxes with sticks then leaves then compost then seaweed to add some height first. Some use just leaves or sand.

Does it matter what you use as filler? I was going to pickup a cubic yard of compost at my local landscape supply company and use that as the bottom tier. Is there any reason I should get something else instead? Pro-mix? landscape soil?
If the compost is cheap I would go with that. May want to ask for references, compost is not all created equal.

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