Square Foot Gardening Forum
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My Mel's mix formula

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My Mel's mix formula

Post  plantoid on 3/21/2015, 7:52 pm

Due to the difficulties in being able to source sphagnum moss for a sensible price I started my square foot MM off almost five years ago using a mix of sedge peat , coir waste and a tiny bit of sphagnum moss in a product labeled as " Verve " here in the united Kingdom it is /was available from B&Q stores.

 The MM was made with 1/3 of "Verve" , 1/3 of  about nine different composted animal dungs & their associates bedding and finall 1/3 coarse vermiculite.

 Today I give a report of how it fared after being in seven 3 x 3 foot beds @18 inches deep ...It is DISMAL!  It shrank by nearly 9 inches & had become very sticky & dense , the original vermiculite content  is only partly in evidence .

 We have a fairly high rainfall here in South wales , this appears to have speed up the decay of the MM in the beds . Today I  tried " Fluffing up " three  beds ready for seeds & plants in a few weeks time .... it was like trying to fork chewing gum /putty over.   Once worked about it started to crumb up into sticky crumbs .

 
 To try and over come this sticky dense growth medium problem I've added three buckets of vermiculite to each bed and forked it in . I've also added three buckets of fine chopped coir waste as I discovered that the old coir hanging basket liners that I put in a composter have not rotted to nothing despite being in the composter for 2 years this May .

It's raised the reduced MM levels by about nine inches . In a couple for days time I will be adding a half bucket of my three year old home made compost to two of the beds  as they have not had any replacement compost or additional nutrients for 18 months . 
 

So it's fingers crossed that I don't have to start the beds again now I've found a source of pure sphagnum moss.
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Re: My Mel's mix formula

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/21/2015, 8:19 pm

@plantoid wrote:...1/3 of  about nine different composted animal dungs & their associates bedding...

I feel like if I did that I would probably have a gummy sticky mess on my hands...and in the beds. Does todays compost have lots of other stuff in it...like garden waste and kitchen scraps and such?
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Re: My Mel's mix formula

Post  sanderson on 3/21/2015, 11:23 pm

@plantoid wrote:  Today I give a report of how it fared after being in seven 3 x 3 foot beds @18 inches deep ...It is DISMAL!  It shrank by nearly 9 inches & had become very sticky & dense , the original vermiculite content  is only partly in evidence .
 
 To try and over come this sticky dense growth medium problem I've added three buckets of vermiculite to each bed and forked it in . . 
 

Plaintoid, I've also found a little problem in my deeper beds and containers. The MM in is quite soggy and a little septic smelling. I'm adding some perlite to make it a little airier.

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Re: My Mel's mix formula

Post  plantoid on 3/22/2015, 5:52 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@plantoid wrote:...1/3 of  about nine different composted animal dungs & their associates bedding...

I feel like if I did that I would probably have a gummy sticky mess on my hands...and in the beds.  Does todays compost have lots of other stuff in it...like garden waste and kitchen scraps and such?
 Yep once I'd got my initial  fill for the new  high raised beds  I resorted to a making a much gentler formula for my MM .

My home made MM for the last three years is a lot more balanced :- all the kitchen & kitchen veg waste , all garden waste  , a fraction of the animal dungs & associated bedding , plenty of mulched oak leaves from our oak trees ,  a bale each year of wet straw & every lawn cutting that is first part dried  by being dumped on the concrete path for a day or so then swept up and put in the bins .  Finally a fair amount of torn up into small pieces brown corrugated cardboard boxes and some sprinklings of cross cut paper , all watered in with a 20 :1 dilution of my urine & rain water .

 The 1/2 cubic yard  barrow of home made I've been using to reinvigorate the beds this year is  dry & quite fibrous .

 I hope to combine three 1/3  bins of different composts to make another full bin of balanced mix ready for later on this in year .
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