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Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

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Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  jewlz2121 on 4/3/2013, 5:10 pm

I am filling 3 beds that are 10' x 4' and 10" tall. I'm also filling 2 beds that are 8' x 4' and 8 inches tall. I'd also like to have some "dirt" leftover to fill some containers. After doing the math, I need 48 cubic ft. of Vermiculite (yikes, it was $350!). I also need 48 cubic ft. of Peat...but I'm only buying 24 cubic feet because it doubles....this is correct, right?
So now for the difficult part, I need 9.5 cubic feet, well lets just say 10 so I'll have extra for containers, of 5 different types of compost. That is a lot of bags!!! There is a nearby nursery that sells bulk compost. One they called mushroom compost containing mushrooms, horse/chicken manure, hay, and peat. I haven't seen it yet but she said it was kind of chunky and stringy? Another nursery sells "premium" compost that consists of lawn/leaf cuttings as well as "waste" from the sanitation department. Are either of these bulk items something that I could use as part of my 5 types of compost? Or do I really need to buy all bags? I'm ok buying some bags, but I was trying to get away with trying to buy a half cubic yard of something in bulk to save a bit. Thanks for any help you give!!!!
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Re: Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  Pollinator on 4/3/2013, 5:26 pm

You might check with your municipality. Ours gives compost away, free of charge - and they'll even load it on your truck or trailer.
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Re: Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  camprn on 4/3/2013, 5:29 pm

I would encourage you to consider putting the bulk compost in the bottom 4"-5" then having the top 5"-6" as the Mels Mix, as that will certainly cut down on the initial expense and the garden will be fine. You will grow some spectacular vegetables.

I would steer clear of 'lawn' and 'Municipal waste' compost as you run the risk of having residual broad leaf herbicide in there, which will not help your vegetables. Ask them for info about where it came from. They may or may not know.

Check any local farms, like dairy, goat, chicken, llama, bunny or horse stables. Check Craigslist and free cycle too.

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Re: Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  jewlz2121 on 4/3/2013, 6:14 pm

@camprn wrote:I would encourage you to consider putting the bulk compost in the bottom 4"-5" then having the top 5"-6" as the Mels Mix, as that will certainly cut down on the initial expense and the garden will be fine. You will grow some spectacular vegetables.

Thank you! So, if I am using their "mushroom compost" for the bottom 4-5", should there be any vermiculite or peat added to that bottom layer? Or just refigure all amounts needed based on half the height of the beds and stack mel's mix on top?
Can this mushroom compost also be mixed into that top layer as one of the five composts needed?

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Re: Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  camprn on 4/3/2013, 6:24 pm

Naw, just the compost in the bottom, though you may want to find some other types to make a good blend for the lower portion.
Yes, redo the the math for 5" for the Mel's mix on the top. make enough so you know you are going to have extra. as the mix in the box WILL settle.

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Re: Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  jewlz2121 on 4/3/2013, 8:02 pm

Thanks for the help. Just so I'm sure I've prepared correctly before adding the mix....Do I need to remove the grass before laying down cardboard/newspaper as my weed barrier?
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Re: Help me fill my beds...bulk compost?

Post  camprn on 4/3/2013, 8:18 pm

@jewlz2121 wrote:Thanks for the help. Just so I'm sure I've prepared correctly before adding the mix....Do I need to remove the grass before laying down cardboard/newspaper as my weed barrier?
Well, it depends upon what type of grass. I removed all the sod under my beds just for added insurance that it wouldn't grow up through the mix. Some folks have had great success with laying down a few layers of cardboard right on to p of the grass and some had miserable failure doing the same thing.

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