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soil question

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soil question

Post  peachiee77 on 4/24/2013, 6:56 pm

I am brand new to SFG (and gardening in general!) and have decided to do some raised beds this year! Unfortunately, money is a bit tight and I was offered some soil for a great price and was wondering everyone's thoughts here. I know the discussion on on Mel's Mix and I feel like thats a huge point in the gardening, but I am doing it wiht a couple other people and we are splitting costs and such and the others really want to go with this mix because of the price. Here's what the soil is:

Plant’s ChoiceTM Garden Blend
Plant’s ChoiceTM Garden Blend is a mixture of compost and sandy loam topsoil. The ratio is approximately 80% compost blended with 20% sandy loam. The mixture is then screened through our ½” screening plant and ready for sale.

Uses: Plant’s ChoiceTM Garden Blend is an excellent additive for bulking up existing flower gardens and /or vegetable gardens due to its high nutrient content.


Thoughts? Any info is appreciated - even if I can use this and maybe add to it?

Thanks in advance!
Laura
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Re: soil question

Post  plantoid on 4/24/2013, 7:08 pm

Welcome Laura ,
Someone more local to you with the right knowledge will be along soon ..... hopefully Wink .

I hope you enjoy your time here and eventually manage to move over to your own beds filled with Mels Mix as it's the bees knees for growing flowers and veg .

Perhaps consider starting the compost heap as you go along & keep it totally soil free .
Your own well made balanced home made compost is the biggest success of the MM .
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Re: soil question

Post  camprn on 4/24/2013, 7:32 pm

If you can get it, buy bulk compost and use that. My recommendation is to stay away from anything that say 'topsoil'. Welcome to the forum. happy hi

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Re: soil question

Post  peachiee77 on 4/24/2013, 7:39 pm

I know you can get compost from the dump here in town - would that be something good?
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Re: soil question

Post  camprn on 4/24/2013, 7:48 pm

@peachiee77 wrote:I know you can get compost from the dump here in town - would that be something good?
It's always questionable, because folks bring in yard debris and you never really know what they all use in their yards. I would go look at it and see if there is stuff growing on it, it would probably be OK.

As with anything, if you cut corners often the end result is less than desired. Perhaps it would be better to start small with one box and buy or find everything per Mel's recipe.

I totally understand the limited funds thing! Try craigslist and freecycle for farm and garden compost.

Also, you are in Hardiness zone 6. http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-new-york-usda-plant-zone-hardiness-map.php

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Re: soil question

Post  littlesapphire on 4/25/2013, 9:51 am

Hi Peachiee! happy hi Glad you came to the forum. The folks here are very friendly and always willing to help when they can.

That's a pretty interesting question. I know this forum is specifically for SFG, which uses only Mel's Mix (or sometimes all compost). But I'm not against the idea of starting a garden with something else. I feel like the really important thing here is to start a garden, get some experience and a love of gardening.

I understand the cost problem. I put in a new 4x12 garden box at my mom's place a couple of weeks ago, and I spent at least $100 on it. That's a one time fee though. Once your box is set up, the only thing you have to add is compost, which is awesome.

If you decide you can't afford MM this year, don't fret. My thoughts are, use as much compost as you can. Check out the compost they have at your dump. It should be dark and rich and smell like nice earth. If it's mostly wood chips or big pieces you can identify, don't put it in your garden box (you might think about getting some to put in your compost pile, though). If the dump doesn't have good compost, go pick up some from the store and mix it with the topsoil you were thinking about buying. This soil mix isn't going to be perfect. Soil compacts really easily, dries out fast, and it turns really hard and crusty when it's dry too. Use lots of mulch over top of it to keep it from drying out.

Mel's mix really is worth the trouble. I've tried growing in lots of different mediums, and it's by far the best. Well worth the extra initial expense. Good luck and let us know what happens!
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