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My Great Experiment

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My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/16/2013, 6:11 pm

And thus it begins!

Today, I carefully mixed 1/4 cup each (dry measure) of the following composts:

Whole Foods
Mushroom
Chicken
Mint
Bark fines + cow
Vital Earth
Supreme Harvest

I added a dash each of worm castings and bat guano, but purposely left out llama compost and oak leaf mold, other ingredients to which I have access.

I took photos of the bags, as well as the ingredients listed, as available.

Tomorrow, I'll plant some lettuce and radish seeds.

I'll also start a control experiment with my own not-so-great homemade compost.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  FamilyGardening on 3/16/2013, 11:36 pm

keep us posted and love to see pic's Very Happy

happy gardening
rose
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/23/2013, 2:45 pm

I haven't transferred any pictures to my computer yet, but so far, my 7-way mix is ahead of last year's homemade compost by 2-0 (two sprouts to none). I planted radish and lettuce seeds on Monday, 03/18.

The first sprout appeared on Day 5, the second, this morning.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  plantoid on 3/23/2013, 2:50 pm

Be careful you don't start your seeds off in too rich a mixture , they don't usualy need a full strength source of nutrients till a decent root system is in place.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/25/2013, 12:44 pm

Plantoid,

I generally start my seeds in vermiculite. This time, however, I thought I'd respond to Mel's suggestions and experiment with a 7-way compost comprised of bagged composts vs. a bit of last year's homemade brew as a control.

Today, which is Day 8, I have 10 radish/lettuce seeds sprouted in the 7-way blend to ONE in my own compost. I'm not using special lighting or heating mats.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/12/2013, 11:41 am

And the winner is....

7-way bagged compost!

(on left)

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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/12/2013, 1:18 pm

Here are the composts I used, with the exception of local mint, which is in an unlabeled bucket:

The purple package is bark fines and cow manure.

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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  plantoid on 4/12/2013, 1:55 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:And the winner is....

7-way bagged compost!

(on left)


Multi source finished compost does indeed give great results as usually there will be no excessive amounts of one sort of nutrient etc.

Do me a favour please and continue growing the raddish on the left , to me they look rather leggy in the picture .

I also see what appears to be bare seeds in the right hand container were the ones on the left also not covered over ?
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/12/2013, 2:12 pm

Plantoid,

There were no uncovered seeds; they were gently buried beneath tiny amounts of compost.

The container to the right holds last year's homemade compost. There were actually three sprouts, which promptly keeled over and died. What may appear to be bare seeds are probably uncomposted fragments.

And yes, the radishes are leggy because they weren't grown under lights and were reaching for sunlight on the windowsills. There really isn't room in those containers for the roots to keep growing, although I could add some mix to bring up the level.

Thanks for your interest.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/12/2013, 7:54 pm

Looks like you have a great selection of composts
Best of luck with your new mix!

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I am my gardens worst enemy.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/16/2013, 5:14 pm

So far, my new mix appears to be a winner!

On May 10, I planted peas, radishes, chard, and spinach. On the 12th, mizuna, tatsoi, and more radishes were planted.

On May 15, one pea broke the surface, as did two radishes and a spinach.

Today, May 16, I noticed two more peas, one mizuna, one chard, six more radishes, and SIX more spinach.


Last edited by donnainzone10 on 5/16/2013, 5:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected info)
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/10/2013, 4:20 pm

Well....

I'm trying to post a June 28 update on my 8-way bagged compost mixture for my Mel's Mix.  If I can get it to work, I'll post another from a few days ago.

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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  LittleGardener on 7/10/2013, 4:41 pm

Hurrah! cheers for you Smile

Were you to combine all those 7 purchased composts, with the peat moss & advised vermiculite, how much would it all cost for one 4x4 bed?
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/10/2013, 4:50 pm

Ahem.

I didn't bother with the cost. The bed pictured is 4'x4'x6". It would be the usual cost for 2.67 cubic feet each of vermiculite and peat moss. The individual composts varied in cost, I think, from about $5 per bag to around $10. Some bags were 1 cubic foot, some 1.5, and some 2. Naturally, I didn't use complete bags for the one bed.

That bed contained the bagged composts, plus llama and mint. The mint was $3 per 5-gal. pail, and the llama was free.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/10/2013, 4:58 pm

Sure looks pretty. Where did you get the mint?
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/10/2013, 5:03 pm

Marc,

There's a rustic western nursery in La Pine, about 30 miles from here, called L&S Gardens. The mint is one of the composts they sell.
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/10/2013, 6:02 pm

Here, I hope, are more photos!



Well, I got one in, at least!
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  grownsunshine on 7/10/2013, 6:27 pm

Nice! Your garden looks great! Maybe the neighbors will want to start making gardens of their own. Everything looks like its coming in nice and full. Congratulations! cheers  Try to send periodic updated pics when you can.

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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  southern gardener on 7/10/2013, 8:12 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Here, I hope, are more photos!



Well, I got one in, at least!

You did it!! posted pics! lol congrats Smile
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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/11/2013, 11:34 am

Trying again to post more photos:





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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  grownsunshine on 7/11/2013, 12:34 pm

Your garden looks so green, rich and full. When I see pics like this I want to go straight home and work on my garden.

I bought some Pho (vietnamese soup) soup base from Costco last week. I went to Little Saigon and bought Thai mint leaves and found Thai basil at a Mexican grocery store...only in LA. I'll add the mint and basil to my garden. Hope to make some Pho soup soon - YUMMMYYY!!!!!!

...slowly I'm figuring out what to plant in the rest of my squares.

...as I fill out my squares, I hope my garden looks as nice as yours.

...quality compost seems to be the secret.

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Re: My Great Experiment

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/11/2013, 12:46 pm

Grownsunshine,

I'm glad you enjoyed the photos!  Thanks for your comments.

Yes, I agree that quality compost is key.  In this case, all but two (plus small amounts of bat guano and worm castings) were bagged composts.  Have you seen the pictures I posted earlier in this thread?

I'd be happy to help with any SFG-related issues you may encounter.  I'm very familiar with the L.A. area, since I lived there for 40 endless years until I could move here.
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