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I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

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I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

Post  Judy McConnell on 1/20/2015, 8:58 am

My homemade compost will NOT fill the new beds that I'm planning for 2015:
2 - 4'x4'x10"
4 - table tops - 2'x4'x 6-7"
maybe another ground bed??

So I've looked at:
1) mels mix from home depot - will need additional material to bring it up to standards
2) Veteran's compost - a bit more expense but reported GREAT
3) making my own from store bought materials, including the rabbit poo and leaf mold that I have on hand

Making my own?  I can purchase:
Black Kow
Chickity Doo Doo
Blue Ridge super compost (unknown total ingredients)
Crab shell
Fish Meal
Cotton seed meal
Coarse Vermiculite
Peat

I've read everything here, dealing with compost and reviewed:
1)   2nd ed ANSFG     and   2) Rodale Book of Composting

My conclusions:
1) whatever of the above ingredients should be 20% of the compost - is this correct?
    Should CHickity Doo Doo, cotton seed meal, crab shell (or fish meal) be reduced in the mix because they are so strong??
2) This mix can be used right away? No waiting after mixing??

Thanks for any help or suggestions.  I suspect my thinking is off somewhere.

Judy McConnell

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Age : 76
Location : Manassas, VA(7a) and Riner, VA (7a)

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Re: I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

Post  sanderson on 1/20/2015, 4:00 pm

1)  Mel's Mix should be good.*
2)  Veteran's Compost should be good.*
3)  Making from store bought ingredients can be good.

* Personal readings:  I incorrectly posted that bagged compost was sterilized.  Camp called me on it and asked for references.   Embarassed   So what my further readings seemed to indicate is that purchased bagged composts/ mixes/ ingredients may have had a long "road trip" to the store shelf.  No fault of the manufacturer.  Once the product leaves the manufacturer, they no longer have control of their product.  It may be stored at a distribution point or final destination for months, stored in the heat, outdoors under plastic wrap or tarps, etc.  Consequently, beneficial organisms may have been killed off or greatly reduced.  Mixing in a little homemade compost should help by introducing live organisms, introducing oxygen, and time and watering will give them a chance to multiply.

1)  You listed vermiculite and peat moss with the composts.  (Typo?)  The vermiculite should be 33% of total mix.  The fluffed peat moss should be 33% (or less if the bagged composts seem to have significant peat moss as part of their ingredients).  The five composts you select should total 33% (or more if the purchased compost has significant amount of peat moss.
2)  You should be able to use it right away.  (I mean, who can wait to start? Very Happy )  It will just get better over time.

I sure hope I got all this correct? Embarassed

sanderson

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Re: I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

Post  Judy McConnell on 1/20/2015, 5:43 pm

Thanks, Sanderson = you cleared up my fuzziness.

Judy McConnell

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Re: I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

Post  plantoid on 1/20/2015, 5:43 pm

It seems spot on to me .

Judy

 See if this clarifies things

Lets pretend that the final mix for the first batch of of your bed filing MM equals 15  buckets of mixed ingredients.
The build up should follow the lines of the recipe below to give you a " balanced "  bed filler .


5 of peat ( not negotiable )

5 of vermiculite ( not negotiable )

 the five remaining buckets of composted matter to build the mix may consist of .....single buckets of :-

1 of chickity do do  
1 of black kow
1 crab shell     or   fish meal ( both are about as good as each other
1 cotton seed 
1 of some other composted matter other than forest floor /wood particles products , say a bucket of well rotted pig muck & associated bedding.

Note :-
1/2 a bucket of pure worm castings seems to be a good substitute for a single bucket of any of the other full buckets of composts as it is so highly nutritious .

 Just be aware that some of the so called composted materials kicking around as " soil improvers " & often called compost , may   contain a high level of partly composted wood products ..
This unbalances  the mix as the decaying wood steals lots of the available nitrogen for several years before it fully breaks down and then & only then starts to produce nitrogen itself .  Having a high level of these partly composted materials leads to not so good levels of crops & other problems such as weak plants  succumbing to insect and bacterial attacks  ...so it imperative to get it as close as you can to Mel's suggestions .

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Re: I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

Post  Judy McConnell on 1/20/2015, 7:15 pm

Thank you so much, Dave.

This is exactly what I needed - a straightforward "count".  Won't need the commercial compost mixes because I do have rabbit poo and will be able to obtain the "stuff" that I listed above.

Sanderson - sorry for the mis-understanding about vermiculite and peat.  I was just listing what I knew I could get.

Thank you both!!  Was I overthinking - not certain, but you two helped clear out my fuzzy mind

Judy McConnell

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Re: I've read and I've read and still have a couple of questions

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