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Compost: Getting Started

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Compost: Getting Started

Post  rjbokleman on 3/8/2010, 11:57 am

I read Mel's book over the winter. Got my 6 - 4' x 4' beds in place this past weekend. I found the reference to Griffin's in Tewksbury and got my grade 4 Vermiculite, but am trying to find a good source for composting material in the Mansfield area.If not compost material, how about using other soils like "Garden Soil" from Scotts. Would the be an alternative or is this a bad idea.

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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  creddy on 3/8/2010, 3:29 pm

Hi there. I'm in about the same position as rjbokleman, but am in Somerville. We got our frames made, got the vermiculite and peat moss, but can't seem to source much compost this early in the season. Found some bags of Maine Coast (?) brand lobster/shellfish compost, but nothing else yet. Tried the usual big boxes and three or four most local sources. No one has anything in yet. Everyone says end of March/early April. Can we use composted manure as one component of the blend? Any suggestions from more experienced growers out there?

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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/8/2010, 4:05 pm

I am NOT too smart about these things. It is my first year SFG.

I have had all kinds of container gardens. I do not really trust bagged compost. You never know what you are going to get. That said, every year I run out of home grown. I end up doctoring some up each Spring and spreading it like mulch about an inch or so thick in my pots, on my roses and berries, some herbs (comfrey LOVES the stuff) and will probably use this in my SFG next spring.

Got the idea from Seattle's Ann Lovejoy.
I mix up.... (measure by the cup or bucket full)

2 parts alfalfa pellets or meal (unmedicated rabbit food or unmedicated calf manna)
1 part bagged cow manure
1 part mature compost (bagged is fine)

If your bagged compost is from seafood, so much the better!
If my soil tests sour (acid ph) I mix in a bit of Dolomite lime.

Mix that with equal parts peat and vermiculite. The green alfalfa will counter act the atmospheric power of the manure.

Deborah ...who believes that life is like a bag of compost ....you never know what you’re gonna get.
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Found a few sources...

Post  rjbokleman on 3/9/2010, 7:54 am

Ok, I keep doing research and here's what I've found so far.

If you visit http://www.farmfresh.org/ you can put in your city/town, state and zipcode and come up with a list of sources that have compost.

In addition I found a good source for organic compost http://www.sevenarrowsfarm.com/nursery/organic%20compost.html which says: "We offer premium quality Shellfish (lobster & crab only) Compost from Winterwood Farm both in bagged form and in bulk, picked up here at the farm or delivered to you. We can also supply you with a compost based Raised Bed Mix."

I'm going to call them today and see when I can pick some up.

I also spoke to a "Butch" over at http://www.groundscapesexpress.com/ who said they have compost as well for pickup only in smaller sized loads. They only deliver 4 yards or more. His # is 1-508-400-5366, and the address is 715 East Street, Wrentham, MA by appointment only. Total cost from him for 16 cubic feet would be $28.00.

Hope this helps.

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Compost Sources

Post  creddy on 3/9/2010, 11:02 am

Thanks rjbokleman and lavender. I'll look into some of these options. Think I probably shouldn't get more lobster/shellfish, since I already have a few bags of those already. Too bad our home pile isn't ready for prime time quite yet. Cheers.

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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  boffer on 3/9/2010, 11:11 am

@rjbokleman wrote:Ok, I keep doing research and here's what I've found so far.

If you visit http://www.farmfresh.org/ you can put in your city/town, state and zipcode and come up with a list of sources that have compost.

Thanks for posting the link; it's a good resource for folks in the area. I put my zip code in, and the nearest source was 2394 miles from me!
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/9/2010, 11:19 am

They deliver.

Deborah ....thinking, "Road Trip!"
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  martha on 3/9/2010, 12:54 pm

Hi, I'm probably being redundant and repetitive. I wouldn't use the garden soil. Last year, I was browbeaten into adding some topsoil in with my mixed composts, and I really wish I hadn't.

Last year was my first SFG year. The book made so much sense to me, that my goal is/was to follow Mel's plans to the letter. If I have failures, I don't want to have lots of variables to have to figure out - well, I didn't do this quite the way he said, and well, I changed this a little.

I am going to check out the link that rjbokleman posted - thank you!

This year I should have enough home grown compost to meet my needs for the four or five new beds I am adding. But I am also thinking I should combine new Mel's mix, made with all homegrown, with old Mel's mix, made with mostly purchased, so that all the beds have some homegrown.


Martha, whose fingers are very, very itchy.
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/9/2010, 1:00 pm

HA! Great pic Boff!!

Deborah ...happy for Martha's fingers. My nails are already full of dirt.
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  boffer on 3/9/2010, 1:10 pm

Deb,

If your nails are full of dirt, they must be frostbit too! It was darn cold this morning. I tucked my peas in with a blankie last night, just to be on the safe side. (I know they don't need it, but it made me feel good)

road trip? Shotgun!
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/9/2010, 1:20 pm

Haha Boff...I actually pay big bucks for good gloves.

I've already been out taking pictures and wrote about our frosty morning in the PNW forum (the toy box). Made the coffee taste extra yum. Thought about singing to you but settled for eating cake and trying to remember that it wasn't about me (grin).


Deborah ....do all old hippies, sing, "When I get older losing my hair... many years from now .....will you still be sending me a val-en-tine, birthday greeting, bottle of wine" ?


Last edited by Lavender Debs on 3/9/2010, 1:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : funky font issues)
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  rjbokleman on 3/9/2010, 4:04 pm

@boffer wrote:
@rjbokleman wrote:Ok, I keep doing research and here's what I've found so far.

If you visit http://www.farmfresh.org/ you can put in your city/town, state and zipcode and come up with a list of sources that have compost.

Thanks for posting the link; it's a good resource for folks in the area. I put my zip code in, and the nearest source was 2394 miles from me!

This is the New England Forum, right?

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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  boffer on 3/9/2010, 4:08 pm

uh, I think you're right, now that I look
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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  martha on 3/10/2010, 6:25 pm

Dear Deborah,


Yes.


Martha
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Still looking for compost sources in Boston

Post  creddy on 3/19/2010, 1:32 pm

Back again. I'm still having trouble sourcing compost near Boston, MA. We've got our boxes built, protection in case of cold nights, and most of our Mel's Mix supplies. We seem to have lucked out with the vermiculite. Peat moss wasn't hard to find. But we're still having trouble finding enough compost sources. We have lobster and composted cow manure, but can't find anything else. I've called the first 15 places nearest us on the list at www.farmfresh, but they 1) aren't yet open for business for the season, 2) don't have any in yet, or 3) only sell it loose (we don't have a pick-up). Aargh! Am I crazy to think that we can get going this early? We're right by the coast, our regular garden soil isn't frozen, and we're eager to plant some early stuff in our new SFG. And this weekend is supposed to be beautiful. Are we just going to have to wait? Any other suggestions out there? Has anyone within, say, 40 miles of Boston been able to find bagged compost yet? Sorry for the rant, but we're impatient...we just know we could have some radishes soon. (We'll probably break down and plant them in our old spot, non-SFG, for now...)

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Mahoneys

Post  FoxTracks on 3/19/2010, 3:27 pm

Creddy,
New England Nurseries at 216 Concord Road (Rte.62W) Bedford, MA Tel. 781-275-2525 has bagged compost available. You could also try Mahoneys Garden Centers next week...they had expected the compost last week, but the supplier is running late (Brighton & Winchester are the closest to
you) http://www.mahoneysgarden.com. They
carry great Coast of Maine Compost and Compost blends.

FoxTracks


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Mahoney's et al.

Post  creddy on 3/19/2010, 3:36 pm

Dear FoxTracks,

Thanks for the tips. I tried Mahoney's earlier in the week (Brighton and Winchester), but I've already got the Coast of Maine stuff and some composted manure. They didn't mention the compost blends. They also said that they had some unbagged but that we'd need a pick-up. Will try New England Nurseries and ask Mahoney's again about the blends.

Ceallaigh
(pronounced "Kelly"--the Irish spelling, in case anyone is curious...)

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Re: Compost: Getting Started

Post  camprn on 3/20/2010, 4:37 pm

Creddy here is a source near you for locally made compost:
http://www.tsoil.com/index.htm
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