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MM Settling

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MM Settling

Post  greatgranny on 4/21/2013, 7:59 pm

Last year I had added quite a few new boxes. They looked normal the entire season. Now that there has been a very snowy winter, the MM has settled quite a bit. Haven't been able to fluff it up yet due to more snow this past week. The mix is very wet and some is still frozen. When it is not - I will fluff it up. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not going to get it up to the 6 inches. Yes, I know I need to add compost but am wondering if I added only compost to the beds would that throw off the balance. Should I mix more MM first and add it to the boxes that have settled too much?
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Re: MM Settling

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/21/2013, 8:07 pm

No, just compost Very Happy.

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Re: MM Settling

Post  camprn on 4/21/2013, 8:08 pm

Typically my MM settles by an inch or two each season. I simply add enough homemade compost to get it to the level of the tops of the boxes, mix it up, then I plant.

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Re: MM Settling

Post  yolos on 4/21/2013, 8:13 pm

@greatgranny wrote: Should I mix more MM first and add it to the boxes that have settled too much?
The typical answer for your question is to just add compost. But, after the first year, when my MM had settled, I fluffed it up and then topped off with MM. Now I just add compost to each square before I put in the new planting.

I figure if MM is so great, why not top of after the first year after settling has occured (if you have the money and time to make more MM).
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Re: MM Settling

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/21/2013, 8:24 pm

Yolos, you add only compost because that's where all the nutrients come from. Vermiculite and peat basically remain the same and if you add Mel's Mix, you will be throwing the balance off. Very Happy

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Re: MM Settling

Post  yolos on 4/21/2013, 8:48 pm

I understand your principle Rooster. But I think you are assuming that the settling is all due to compost further decomposing or being used up as nutrients. But I believe that part of the settling is due to just that, settling. I filled my new bed up to the top on Thursday, this evening it had already settled 1 inch.

According to Mel, we are to add a trowel of compost in each square after harvesting (or before planting our next crop). So, if you add a trowel of compost to each square and fluff up your MM and if it is still lower than what you want to grow in, then adding MM seems like it would not throw off the mix.
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Re: MM Settling

Post  greatgranny on 4/21/2013, 9:08 pm

Okay, what would be the amount of settling that would warrant adding more MM?

Like I said previous, I have not been able to do anything due to weather. When I can get to it, what ratio of settling, after I fluff it up, should I use as a deciding factor for adding more MM or just adding compost?

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Re: MM Settling

Post  yolos on 4/21/2013, 9:10 pm

I think you should follow Rooster's and camprn's suggestion as they are much more knowledgeable and experienced with SFG than I am.


Last edited by yolos on 4/21/2013, 9:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: MM Settling

Post  camprn on 4/21/2013, 9:12 pm

@yolos wrote:I understand your principle Rooster. But I think you are assuming that the settling is all due to compost further decomposing or being used up as nutrients. But I believe that part of the settling is due to just that, settling. I filled my new bed up to the top on Thursday, this evening it had already settled 1 inch.

According to Mel, we are to add a trowel of compost in each square after harvesting (or before planting our next crop). So, if you add a trowel of compost to each square and fluff up your MM and if it is still lower than what you want to grow in, then adding MM seems like it would not throw off the mix.

If the level of the growing medium is not up to fluff, or where you want it, adding more compost is the way to go. Mel's stated purpose for his current MM formula is to get a 'Perfect soil mix'. But it doesn't stay that way. As previously stated in this thread and also in the ANSFG book, The repeated refrain is don't skimp on the compost. Mel goes on to say on page 92, 'Compost is absolutely the best material in which to grow your plants.'

For optimal results with your next crop, after harvest there should be added to the square at least a trowel full (or more) of compost, not a trowel of Mel's mix. At least that's Mel's theory.

Horticultural science backs up this theory. There are no nutrients in sphagnum peat nor vermiculite, nor perlite. They are a vehicle within the mix for holding and transferring the nutrients, air and water to the plant roots.


That's my two cents.


Last edited by camprn on 4/21/2013, 9:22 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: MM Settling

Post  greatgranny on 4/21/2013, 9:17 pm

@camprn wrote:
@yolos wrote:I understand your principle Rooster. But I think you are assuming that the settling is all due to compost further decomposing or being used up as nutrients. But I believe that part of the settling is due to just that, settling. I filled my new bed up to the top on Thursday, this evening it had already settled 1 inch.

According to Mel, we are to add a trowel of compost in each square after harvesting (or before planting our next crop). So, if you add a trowel of compost to each square and fluff up your MM and if it is still lower than what you want to grow in, then adding MM seems like it would not throw off the mix.

If the level of the growing medium is not up to fluff, or where you want it, adding more compost is the way to go. Mel's stated purpose for his current MM formula is to get a 'Perfect soil mix'. But it doesn't stay that way. As previously stated in this thread and also in the ANSFG book, The repeated refrain is don't skimp on the compost. Mel goes on to say on page 92, 'Compost is absolutely the best material in which to grow your plants.'

For optimal results with your next crop, after harvest there should be added to the square at least a trowel full (or more) of compost, not a trowel of Mel's mix. At least that's Mel's theory.


Thanks to all of you. I think I will use compost to refill and yes, mix it well. Much easier than more MM, for sure.
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Re: MM Settling

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/21/2013, 9:19 pm

@yolos wrote:I understand your principle Rooster. But I think you are assuming that the settling is all due to compost further decomposing or being used up as nutrients. But I believe that part of the settling is due to just that, settling. I filled my new bed up to the top on Thursday, this evening it had already settled 1 inch.

According to Mel, we are to add a trowel of compost in each square after harvesting (or before planting our next crop). So, if you add a trowel of compost to each square and fluff up your MM and if it is still lower than what you want to grow in, then adding MM seems like it would not throw off the mix.

Actually, it's not my principle yolos, but Mel's/part of the method.
The details in your last paragraph should suffice, provided you made your beds the proper depth (6") to begin with.

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Re: MM Settling

Post  yolos on 4/21/2013, 9:29 pm

@yolos wrote:I think you should follow Rooster's and camprn's suggestion as they are much more knowledgeable and experienced with SFG than I am.
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