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New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  camprn on 4/13/2014, 9:25 am

I use a small paint bucket to measure ingredients and then mix small amounts in the wheelbarrow.

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  sanderson on 4/13/2014, 2:31 pm

Catbranch,  I wrote a reply for you but I never sent it after previewing it.  There were 2 subjects:

1.  I use the smaller cement tub (18" x 24") to mix MM.  I set it on the picnic table with a 33 gallon rolling garbage can next to it.  I use the equivalent of a small round mop bucket to measure one of fluffed peat moss, one of perlite or vermiculite and one of blended compost.  I water as I mix, then slide the tub over and dump into the garbage can.  Then I can roll the garbage can over to the bed that needs filling.  In this photo taken last spring when I was just getting started with SFG, my compost was all Kellogg"s compost, which will lead to subject #2 below:


2.  Compost.  Last spring I used Kellogg's compost because it had at least 5 different ingredients.  I was wrong and I spent the rest of the season playing catch up on nutrition for the plants. It contained mostly wood sources and peat moss. Which means my compost had one source (tree) and too much total peat moss.  That's why I asked you what 5 different sources of compost you located.  If you list by name (EX: "Joe's" worm castings, "Tom's" composted chicken manure, Whole Foods composted veggies, etc.) we will be able to help advise you before you open the bags and make the compost.  I've listed 3 sources:  worm, veggie and animal (manure).

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  catbranch on 4/13/2014, 5:59 pm

Hey there sanderson!

I love every single aspect of your methods used in mixing your ingredients. I read it aloud to my husband and I could see the wheels turning while he mentally cataloged things in the yard and basement that he could use to make the job easier. Thanks for that!

Regarding compost.. here is what I have purchased:

Wiggle Worm: Earthworm Castings
Black Velvet: Mushroom Compost
Black Gold Composting Company: Black Kow
Black Gold Composting Company: Black Hen
Farmer D: Biodynamic Blend Organic Compost 

I also have, but not sure I should use... MooNure and some Organic Humus & Manure mixture. Pardon the pun, but along with the main stuff I listed above, that just sounded like a lot of sh!t to be adding.  Shocked 

I hope that Farmer D one is okay because it was rather costly and I really liked the sound of it. 

On the bag it says: wrote:Farmer D Organics Biodynamic Blend Compost is made from a combination of green waste from the prepared food and produce departments of Whole Foods Markets and byproducts from pine forests, cotton gins, peanuts, chicken litter, granite dust and biodynamic soil preparations creating and an abundance of beneficial micro-organisms for continuous soil improvement. 

Let me know what you think and if I should use the other stuff too, just go with my main 5 or get something different.


Thanks so much sanderson!

Cathy

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  walshevak on 4/13/2014, 9:45 pm

Sounds good to me and Whole Foods is very organic minded.  What you have is enough But if the others go on a clearance sale, pick it up and add to any homemade compost you make.  I like  to blend types and brands and sometime wind up with 6 or 7 brand names but really only 5 types.  IE   I picked up 2 Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend the last time I visited my daughter.  I'll use it with all my other stuff and my homemade, just not at the 20% level.

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  68carguy on 4/13/2014, 10:02 pm

I picked up 2 bags of the Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend for my first ever batch of MM but have not got it mixed yet. So you believe the Quoddy Blend is really the best? I had to go to 3 Wegman store before I found it at the Leesburg location. I hope they keep carrying it.

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  walshevak on 4/13/2014, 10:10 pm

The New England gang swear by it, so when I was in Leesburg I stopped in and bought 2 bags.  A support broke underneath one of my TTs and I had to empty it out to make the repair.  Moved all the MM from that box into other boxes and mixed up a fresh batch using the Quoddy Blend just today.  

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  catbranch on 4/13/2014, 11:33 pm

Thanks for the advise Kay!

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2014, 12:31 am

Catbranch, The five types sound good to me.  Congrats on finding them.  You can always use the MooNure as top dressing later in the season.

Here's a little more on how I set up making my MM.  Wear a mask!   I used a tarp on which I broke up the peat moss.  Now I have a screen that really speeds it up:  I only used Kellogg's  Embarassed but it was clumpy so I broke it up on another area of the tarp.  So, check the contents of your 4 composts (worm casting are loose like coffee grounds) to set if they are loose enough to scoop out or if they need some breaking up.  The vermiculite and perlite bags were opened and the sides rolled down so the contents were easily accessible.  I used a black plastic 1-gallon nursery pot to measure the height of 5 pots worth of material in the bucket.  Knowing the height meant I could use the bucket directly to scoop up verm/perl and peat moss for the pan.  Then I would collect one pot of each (just pretend I did) of the 4 composts and the worm castings.  With the hose wand to water, I mixed by bare hands with a trowel in one hand.  Slide it over, dump and repeat.

I've read that worm castings should be less than 1/5 of the mixed composts.  If true, I would make that pot a little short and heap the 4 pots of composts a tad higher.

Here's a photo of my screens made of 1/4" hardware cloth.  For the smaller one, the hardware bends over to the outside and screwed in place.  Then, strips of wood were screwed over that.  I saw the design on this Forum!



The little one is lighter weight for me.  In the photo it is upside down.  You can use a set up like this for breaking up the peat moss.  Build a larger screen box (seen under the small one in the photo) and straddle a wheel barrel.  That will actually make scooping the peat moss easier. Also in the photo is the small metal horse water bucket I personally use. I said use a small mop bucket because not everyone has a left over horse bucket.  Very Happy 

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  catbranch on 4/14/2014, 10:59 am

sanderson, I love the whole buckets to measure things out idea. I think I'm good on the amount of worm castings as I bought less of it than I did the other 4 composts. Unfortunately, that was not based on any profound knowledge of what I needed, but because of the cost.

Another couple of questions for you if you don't mind...

1. We own a swimming pool and spa company and have access to HUGE quantities of buckets in every size imaginable. They have been cleaned, but I'm scared to use them because they did contain pool products at one time (chlorine, soda ash, sodium bicarb, DE powder, etc.). Am I right about not using these or would they be safe? My husband looks at me like I'm a nut every time I buy a bucket.

2. We also have a steady supply of pallets in various sizes. Is there anything cool I could do with them garden-wise? I think the wood is untreated; however, they were used to ship the above mentioned chemicals/products and huge ones that the spas/hot tubs were shipped on. 

Thanks!
Cathy

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2014, 2:57 pm

Catbranch, Good questions.

Chemical containers are "soapy", power triple-washed for re-use. However, your buckets never contained petroleum products so you don't have to be as diligent. As a retired health inspector, this is what I would do if I wanted to use the buckets for growing veggies. DE buckets can be scrubbed with water and a rough rag to physically remove product. Liquid chlorine buckets: scrub with soap and water and rinse. until you can no longer detect any odor. Fill with water and let the sun and warmth volatilize whatever chlorine is left, like one day. Powdered stabilized chlorine:. also soapy scrub and rinse well. Also fill with water and set in sun. Soda ash, sodium bicarb : soapy scrub and rinse until clean. Discharge the soapy product waters per local regulations.

Pallets: Wow!  Shocked  You can sell them, hammer them apart as free lumber or use the 3'-4' ones to build a 2-stall compost bin, especially the DE pallets! Or build above ground beds on top if you have noxious weeds or grass that might punch through the weed fabric. If you use good pieces of wood to build boxes, thoroughly power spray the chlorine and soda/sodium ones and let dry.

These are my answers. Others may have another take.  Very Happy 

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  walshevak on 4/14/2014, 3:29 pm

+1

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/14/2014, 4:06 pm

Cathy - here's a really good video on pallet gardening, too.  I'm planning on doing this using MM.

Episode 221 is the video.

http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/search/?q=pallet+gardening

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  68carguy on 4/14/2014, 6:08 pm

Always do research for yourself before using an unknow item such as a pallet that could be in contact with something you are going to eat. You are the one that has to decide if it is really safe for you and your family. Might want to do a google search on used pallets. This is just one item I found.
"" In 2010, after an outbreak of E. coli on romaine lettuce, the Washington-based National Consumers League (NCL) called for stricter safety standards for the pallets used to transport food throughout the United States

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/14/2014, 7:13 pm

GOOD point!  Thanks 68CarGuy!

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  boffer on 4/14/2014, 7:49 pm

@catbranch wrote:...I think the wood is untreated; however, they were used to ship the above mentioned chemicals/products and huge ones that the spas/hot tubs were shipped on...

Yolos had some important info regarding chemically treated pallet wood:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t11182-do-pallets-contain-pressure-treated-wood#108376

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  catbranch on 4/15/2014, 1:39 am

Thanks for all the advise on getting the buckets cleaned properly sanderson. With your past profession and my husband saying the same thing, I feel much more confident about using them now. For the pallets, I have actually thought about the compost bin idea, so glad to have that thought seconded as well, or thirded.. thank you walshevak.

AtlantaMarie, 68carguy and boffer... I appreciate the advise and the links which I am going to check out right now. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

I am amazed by the number of people here who have taken time and gone to the trouble of helping me out. You people rock in a truly serious way!

Thanks again!

Cathy

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/15/2014, 9:03 am

That's the really nice thing about this forum.  Everyone wants everyone to succeed!

 

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  walshevak on 4/15/2014, 9:09 am

I saw this and thought of your steady supply of pallets.

http://www.diyhomeworld.com/19-wonderful-diy-garden-planters-from-pallets/

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/15/2014, 9:14 am

Nice article, Kay.  I had never thought about the mini-window box idea.  That's really cute.  Might have to try it.

#15 is a shot from the show I attached.  The host of the show is really nice.  Turns out he lives not too far from me.   Was happy to let me use the show/his info in our classes.

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  catbranch on 4/15/2014, 1:16 pm

Kay: Thanks for the link! I love all of the ideas on there and am really interested in #8. It sounds like something I can do solo. Strawberries maybe.. yum! I like the table top planter too, maybe figure out a way to attach it to the deck railing for a convenient herb garden.

AtlantaMarie: Wow! What a ton of information found on the link you sent. #221 the living wall was super interesting, as was another another link on there that had my immediate attention, Building a Pallet Compost Bin. I'm gonna do that one.

Checked the pallets and most of the standard sized ones are marked HT for heat treated, so I'm good to go there. Some others and all of larger ones that the spas are shipped on have no obvious marking and until we know for sure we aren't willing to take a chance on them. Regardless... I have tons of ideas now thanks to you ladies and lots of free pallets/wood!

Thanks!

Cathy

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  Kelejan on 4/15/2014, 1:33 pm

Cathy, look forward to seeing your results. I am finding that there are so many ideas I want to try out, I gotta live to 110, at least.

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/15/2014, 1:47 pm

Again, Cathy, just make sure they're not pressure treated or anything.

Yeah, I've found their website/shows to be very interesting & informative.  Found them doing research on small garden techniques.

On your deck railing - What DH (Mike) did was wrap chain around the top/sides of my window-box planters and screw both ends of the chain into the deck railing.  I'll try to get you a  pic.  Works very well and looks pretty good.

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2014, 4:44 pm

Marie, Photos, please!

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/15/2014, 4:48 pm

I'm trying, Sanderson!!!!  Unfortunately, I don't know how to reduce the size of my photos from 3+ MB each! 

   Mike says he'll show me.  Or can someone tell me how?  I have a Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

 SOS

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Re: New to Gardening, Tomato Planting Question

Post  catbranch on 4/16/2014, 5:43 pm

Looking forward to seeing the photos myself! For years I have used a free program called ifranview that you download to your computer. It's safe, gets great reviews and does lots of cool things. A Google search pulls it right up. I'm not allowed to post links yet since I'm still new to the forum. 

If you don't want to download any new programs you should be able to use Paint that comes standard on Windows 7 or wait for Mike hahaha. 

Cathy

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