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Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

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In a pinch

Post  Windmere on 4/6/2015, 2:39 pm

I worked with 6 bags of pre-mixed MM last year.  First, I have to agree with sfg4youkim where she says that the biggest impediment for new SFG gardeners is the Mel's Mix.  At first, mixing all those items to make the mix is a bit daunting.  If working with pre-mixed is more feasible, then go for it.

For me, the pre-mixed MM made me think of the old adage, "There's no such thing as a home-cooked meal."  I absolutely prefer my own MM because I can mix it exactly the way I like it.  I prefer more vermiculite and peat moss instead of coconut coir (I found that coir dries out more quickly).  Also, I did have some anemic seedlings because of apparent lack of adequate compost... after adding more compost, the seedlings thrived.  (Perhaps the compost issue has been resolved for this year or maybe I just got some bad batches).

This is what I ended up doing:  I mixed the pre-mixed MM with my own MM in order to "stretch it."  To this mixture, I added a little more than normal 5 compost blend. That worked out beautifully for me.
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  Judy McConnell on 4/6/2015, 4:13 pm

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  TinySpock on 4/6/2015, 8:19 pm

I filled my 8' x 2' SFG bed with Nature's Way raised bed soil this weekend, just to see what it was like, as opposed to MM.  The only difference that I could tell (smell, lol) between N'sW and Mel's (pre)Mix was a slight odor of manure in the N'sW, which was fine with me.  I planted seedlings of cukes, hot peppers, green peppers, two tomato varieties and the ubiquitous marigolds.  
 
One of the tomatoes was "Early Girl Bush" on the label stick and the same label also said Indeterminate.  I didn't know what to make of that, so I planted it near the trellis frame, instead of a container. 

I dipped the other tomato seedling in sun-warmed water and pinched off the lower leaves and planted it sideways in a trench so that the upper leaves came up in the middle of a square.  Oh-oh, I thought, by the time I was finished it was all droopy and sad, but by the time I finished other planting and garden chores (about 3/4ths hour) it was starting to straighten up already and looked much happier.  Boy, those tomato plants are tough!  So, I'll report back about this block planted with Nature's Way compared to MM.  

My TT's (table-tops) are looking good, too!! flower
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Mels premix

Post  kauairosina on 4/6/2015, 9:31 pm

Ah!!Thank you for the TT explanation.  Nan from Kailua are you listening?
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  sanderson on 4/7/2015, 1:59 am

TT = Table top bed (raised on some kind of legs)

Spock, Please, update us on your results with the new Nature's Way Mel's Mix.

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  TinySpock on 4/7/2015, 8:06 pm

Only Day 3 of Nature's Way and things are looking good.




So far, so good!
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  sanderson on 4/8/2015, 12:55 am

Matching blue water bucket and spade? Have you decided on a mulch?

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  TinySpock on 4/8/2015, 1:52 am

A happy coincidence, the bucket and trowel!  
 
I'm calling the nurseries in town to see who carries pine mulch.  In the meantime, I thought I'd tell disabled neighbor with the big pine tree in her front yard that I'd be sweeping and raking her yard on Saturday.   
 
What do you think?  I also like the idea of compost/tulle/woodchips.  But not cedar, correct?
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  sanderson on 4/8/2015, 3:09 am

I'm very reactive to redwood and cedar. Lucky neighbor to have you cleaning up her pine needles. A win-win.

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  TinySpock on 4/8/2015, 7:51 pm

She hates that tree but I've always loved it.  So, pine needles are an acceptable mulch and how deep?



I'll have a LOT of pine needles, LOL!
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  sanderson on 4/8/2015, 9:12 pm

You get snow!

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  TinySpock on 4/8/2015, 9:35 pm

Yeah, we're at a pretty high elevation, 3300 ft and it does snow once or twice a year.  It doesn't last - it was all gone in two days.  I'm from Northern New Jersey, so I've been through 4-5 ft snowfalls.  This is better.  If we want more snow, the Hualapai Mountains are just a 15 minute ride to the top of the mountain. 

Oh, I don't know if that bush in the neighbor's yard is actually lilac, or if it's that other plant that looks and smells like lilacs, but it's not.  I'll find the name of the plant or you can look online.  Maybe it would grow for you! 

Tinyspock (Mary, if you like).
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/9/2015, 8:33 am

Just keep in mind that pine needles are acidic.  Great for blueberries & azaleas, but not so good for other things...
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  camprn on 4/9/2015, 8:55 am

I put pine needles into my home made compost all the time, which is what i use in my homemade Mels mix.  The  idea  that pine needles are acidic is a myth.  The are a bit higher whilst green. So I would not be unhappy if I saw those on a label of pre made mix.

also, used coffee grounds are relatively neutral pH.

http://www.gardenmyths.com/pine-needles-acidify-soil/

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2702/

http://faq.gardenweb.com/discussions/2766671/coffee-grounds-and-composting

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t16901-truth-or-myth-garden-lore-explored?highlight=myth

Spock have you decided about using pre made mix?


Last edited by camprn on 4/9/2015, 2:07 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Trying to fix troublesome links)

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/9/2015, 11:47 am

Oh, that's good to know!  Thanks, Camp!!
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  Windmere on 4/9/2015, 12:26 pm

TinySpock, things are looking really good!  I think you'll be very successful with such a good start.
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  southern gardener on 4/11/2015, 1:08 pm

We tried multiple times with the pre made mix. Terrible results. Hope your garden does well tho. The pre-made didn't even have what Mel recommends, had coconut coir instead of peat moss, had TINY vermiculite instead of coarse and the compost part, I don't know...we couldn't get anything to grow Sad You can PM me if you'd like Good luck!!
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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/11/2015, 1:47 pm

@southern gardener wrote:We tried multiple times with the pre made mix. Terrible results. Hope your garden does well tho. The pre-made didn't even have what Mel recommends, had coconut coir instead of peat moss, had TINY vermiculite instead of coarse and the compost part, I don't know...we couldn't get anything to grow Sad You can PM me if you'd like Good luck!!
Actually Mel says coco coir is OK to use for all or part of the peat moss if one is concerned about using peat.

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Re: Did I hear correctly? Mel's (pre)Mix - not so much?

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