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Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  CNida89 on 2/7/2016, 7:25 pm

Here's two pictures of my completed beds. It's hard to see, but there is some thin netting on there which I am hoping will keep out birds and pesky little pet dachshunds.

Long wise:



And from the side...

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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  CNida89 on 2/7/2016, 7:44 pm

Jimmy Cee...

There's actually a place in a city close to mine that has compost for sale. I will probably make good use of that. I've also shopped around and found some things other than mushroom.

So as it stands, here is my planned compost usage. Mushroom compost, cow manure+compost mix, that compost from the city recycling center that I mentioned above, and whatever other composts I can get my hands on...

From my understanding, I would just mix those things together and use the combined mixture as the 'compost' portion of Mel's Mix?

Also, in regards to starting my own compost pile.... I am not sure I want to do that. As of right now, these gardens are more of a hobby, so I will have to resort to what I can buy from stores in the area.

One question, though. I have skimmed through some other posts and got a partial answer to this question already, but I will ask it anyway so I can be 100% certain...

Are nonorganic substances really that bad? If I wanted to use some other fertilizers or something like miracle gro, is that such a terrible thing? I would prefer to keep everything organic, if at all possible, but I am not so picky that I wouldn't use other non-organic things, provided they won't kill my garden or damage my yield.

Thoughts? Recommendations?
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  jimmy cee on 2/7/2016, 10:45 pm

From information recently learned about nutrients.... Fertilizers , etc etc, may be used and one can get good results.
Plants, however, will then become dependent on the chemical methods of growing.
When dependent on these the soil food web as it's called becomes non existent, or very narrow.
It just depends on the direction one would like to take.
I was one who did it all the chemical way, now that I have the time I'm exploring the other way...
Good luck and you'll do fine.
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/7/2016, 10:59 pm

CNida, the beds look great!

I agree with Jimmy - the plants will become dependent on the fertilizers... But in small amounts and used only occasionally, it should be okay....
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  CNida89 on 2/8/2016, 1:42 am

Thanks again.

It wasn't my intention to use non-organic fertilizers, and right now it still isn't, but I worry about the variety of compost I will be able to get my hands on, and I don't want my plants or their yield to suffer because they don't get fed enough. So, if needed, I might supplement what compost I use with some non-organic fertilizer...

I realize this is only my first time gardening so I shouldn't expect perfect results, but I don't want it to be something that I am doing 'just because'. I actually want a good enough yield that my family and friends can actually enjoy some fresh, garden grown veggies. Very Happy

Two more questions:

The compost I am finding around here only comes measured in weight... i.e. 40 lbs. bags.....
Vermiculite and Peat Moss here comes measured in cubic feet, which is what I need. But how do I convert the weight of the compost into cubic feet? Also, do I want multiple types of compost in the Mel's Mix when I am mixing it for the first time? Or do I just add different composts to the garden as time goes on?

And finally - whats a good way to get the temperature of the gardens? Is it as simple as sticking a thermometer in the dirt?
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  sanderson on 2/8/2016, 3:01 am

Nida,  the 2 beds look great!

There are organic fertilizers such as Espoma and Nature's Way if you really need to add fertilizers.  Let your plants tell you if they need to be fertilized.  They may do just fine in the Mel's Mix.

I just went outside to look at a bag of Ecoscraps, a veggie-based compost I bought from Home Depot.  I have used it to build up the organic matter in the flower beds and have also used it in a emergency when I didn't have enough home made compost.  On the bag it states 1 cu. ft, 23 lbs.  So a 40 lb. bag should be around 2 cubic feet.

Yes, you want to mix up all the composts you can find and then measure the mixture for the 1/3 part compost for the Mel's Mix.  Each time you amend the beds or individual square, you will add a blended compost mixture. Don't forget that peat moss needs to be fluffed up before measuring and it will almost double in size when fluffed.

A long probe compost thermometer.  I also use it to check the warmth of the beds before planting in the spring. Here's mine in a compost pile.

PS Having your own compost pile can be almost as exciting as SFG. You can always use the final product in flower beds, also.

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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/9/2016, 8:01 pm

CN, your beds are super nice! Just get the thing going for your first year. Do the best you can. We all learned soooo much from the start-up. I think you will have a great season! I do shun the chemical fertilizers, because there are so many options. Even without your own compost, like Sanderson said, there are organic options. I personally find that organic blood (nitrogen) and bone (phosphorus/calcium) meals do a nice, balanced, slow-release job in the organic garden. I have used them for. Ev. ER. (Added plus, varmints think something is killing animals and tend to avoid the beds!) Lol, all that blood and bones....

You may come to the realization, as many of us have, that all that kitchen scraps could be of value in your garden....but really, just relax, plan, get some MM in those nice boxes and grow some stuff! Your plants will show you the way!
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  plantoid on 2/10/2016, 9:25 pm

CN ,
I might be in for a kicking on this one ..
 See if you can locate a 3 pound pack of Dried .." Blood , fish & bone meal "  sprinkle it liberally through your first batch of compost . It is not expensive.
 
As it decays it will give a massive boost to your first batch of purchased commercial compost that it may well be lacking . As it decays it feeds the beneficial fungi & bacteria , these in turn produce /release nutrients & trace elements for your plants to take up in their fine hair roots .

 Do read the instructions , wear rubber gloves and don't breath in the dust as it's not so good in the old lung department . Wash well or shower after using it .
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/10/2016, 10:39 pm

@plantoid wrote:CN ,
I might be in for a kicking on this one ..
 See if you can locate a 3 pound pack of Dried .." Blood , fish & bone meal "  sprinkle it liberally through your first batch of compost . It is not expensive.
 
As it decays it will give a massive boost to your first batch of purchased commercial compost that it may well be lacking . As it decays it feeds the beneficial fungi & bacteria , these in turn produce /release nutrients & trace elements for your plants to take up in their fine hair roots .

 Do read the instructions , wear rubber gloves and don't breath in the dust as it's not so good in the old lung department . Wash well or shower after using it .

Yep. Agree.
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  CNida89 on 2/11/2016, 5:48 am

@plantoid wrote:CN ,
I might be in for a kicking on this one ..
 See if you can locate a 3 pound pack of Dried .." Blood , fish & bone meal "  sprinkle it liberally through your first batch of compost . It is not expensive.
 
As it decays it will give a massive boost to your first batch of purchased commercial compost that it may well be lacking . As it decays it feeds the beneficial fungi & bacteria , these in turn produce /release nutrients & trace elements for your plants to take up in their fine hair roots .

 Do read the instructions , wear rubber gloves and don't breath in the dust as it's not so good in the old lung department . Wash well or shower after using it .

Thanks for the tip! I will most definitely do that, if I can find some.

Is there a "rule" for how much I should spread? I don't want to risk overdoing it...

Same for compost. Is there such a thing as too much? Or will the plants take only what they need from it and avoid overeating? (Wish it was that easy for me!)
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  sanderson on 2/11/2016, 2:44 pm

I don't think one can over do the amount of compost. After all, peat moss and vermiculite are not options in many areas of the world.

Regarding the amount of natural "fertilizers," the bag should have directions, such as one tablespoon per X plant or sq ft. I have used Espoma products and I sprinkle the square or pot and wash it in. That's one of the neat things about SFG, you can tend square by square. Since you have new MM, I would get it into the boxes and then sprinkle per instruction and work/water it in.

Others??

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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/12/2016, 10:15 am

I agree. Just follow the instructions on the package. It certainly helped what little I had in the garden last year. Plan to use it again this year as well.
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/12/2016, 7:53 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:I agree.  Just follow the instructions on the package.  It certainly helped what little I had in the garden last year.  Plan to use it again this year as well.

+1!
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Re: Anyone have tips for a new gardener?

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