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Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

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Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  joy.cheri on 3/5/2016, 12:37 am

So I went to my nursery and they didn't have any straight compost, so I bought the closest thing. One is called a Soil Amendment and one is called a Soil Conditioner. The first is Black Gold Worm Castings Blend. Here's the amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Gold-1390302-16-Quart-Earthworm/dp/B005H78ZOE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457155971&sr=8-1&keywords=black+gold+worm+castings

And the second:

http://www.kellogggarden.com/products/gborganics/soils/?s=harvest-supreme


Are these acceptable as one of my five composts? My other three are Mushroom Compost (free from the organic mushroom farm a mile away!!), our household compost, and another??? What do you think? I could return them and try another nursery, but I'd I'd love not to have to! Smile Thank you for your time and advice!

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2016, 12:52 am

glad you\'re here joy! Sounds like you have a great start on making your Mel's Mix! I know I did not have that diverse of a compost source, I was in a hurry !

Lots of folks on here are from Cali, so I am sure you will get more guidance, but to me, sounds like a bumper crop! You will LOVE SFG

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/5/2016, 1:25 am

Joy,  I don't know exactly where you live, but Home Depot carries Ecoscraps Compost made from veggies.  Whole Foods also has a veggie based compost that is probably the only thing they carry at a good price! Wink  Bagged chicken or steer manure can be found at HD or Lowes.  The only problem with the bagged manures is that they have small wood chips (bottle cap, rocks) that I screen out by sifting the manures through a screen  with 1/4" hardware cloth.

You can also check Craig's List for a local worm farmer for pure worm castings and for a stable/farm with aged horse or cow manure.  If you are close to the coast, maybe you can collect washed up sea weed to add to a compost pile.  There is nothing better than making your own compost for future use.  Right now you are just trying to get started.  The Mel's Mix only improves with time, like a fine wine.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  joy.cheri on 3/5/2016, 1:39 am

Thank you so much! I will definitely check those out. I always have two babies in tow, so trips are difficult! It's always good to know what exactly people carry so I can get in and out quickly! Smile Sanderson, do you think the two products I mentioned are worthy of using or should I return them? I'm going back there tomorrow, so I could...

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/5/2016, 2:20 am

Last week, my son built a 2' x 4' bed on wheels.  The wood was free from a construction site.  He only had to pay for 4 wheels.  I brought him the vermiculite and fluffed peat moss from my supply and he bought some Ecoscraps Compost.  He is very limited on what he can afford and haul in his car.  No, he does not have 5 different composts but at least he has one good one.

From product reviews, the Black Gold is heavy on peat moss, which you definitely don't need more of at an expensive price.  The Kellogg product is 15% chicken manure, which is by itself, dirt cheap by the bag.  What makes up the other 85%?  Wood, forest products, peat moss, perlite?  You will already be adding fluffed peat moss and vermiculite so you don't want to want to pay for any more.  Also, pm and V do not add any nutrients to the mix.  Wood chips tie up nitrogen until it is finished composting.  Both of your products would be great to AMEND dirt for a flower garden, but not for MM.

I would consider returning the products.  Search Craig's List tonight, and make some phone calls before you go back to the store.  Does this help?

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/5/2016, 11:20 am

Actually, I've had good luck using Harvest Supreme in my SFG. 

This product also contains bat guano, worm castings, and kelp meal.  Although composted forest products are the main ingredient, I've never found excessive amounts of wood in it.  (I just went out to the garage and pinched the bag I have, but could detect no large pieces.)

Although Harvest Supreme does contain rice hulls, no peat moss is listed.

By the way, this is the only Kellogg's/B&G product I use in my SFG.  However, I do find that Kellogg's Patio Plus works well in flower beds.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  joy.cheri on 3/11/2016, 2:04 am

Thank you so much for your responses! Well, it was easy to use one bag of the Harvest Supreme and the Worm Casting blend on other areas of my garden. I may still use some in my mel's mix, if I still have some when I start mixing. I did buy chicken and steer manure. However, these are not composted, right? The sales person made sure to tell me to let them sit for five days or they will burn my plants. I thought I was supposed to get compost, should I let these sit for a while to compost? I am hoping to mix and plant in the next week or two. Thanks for your expertise! Smile

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/11/2016, 2:32 am

Photo of the bags? What do the labels state? Composted ___ manure? Then they are good. Chicken is a little stronger than steer but you will be mixing it with other products and it will only make up 1 of 15 parts.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  camprn on 3/11/2016, 6:14 am

@joy.cheri wrote:Thank you so much for your responses! Well, it was easy to use one bag of the Harvest Supreme and the Worm Casting blend on other areas of my garden. I may still use some in my mel's mix, if I still have some when I start mixing. I did buy chicken and steer manure. However, these are not composted, right? The sales person made sure to tell me to let them sit for five days or they will burn my plants. I thought I was supposed to get compost, should I let these sit for a while to compost? I am hoping to mix and plant in the next week or two. Thanks for your expertise! Smile
Most all bagged commercial compost has already been composted and aged, so 5days will make no difference. I would use it right away.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  joy.cheri on 3/14/2016, 10:22 pm





This is the chicken manure. The steer manure is the same brand.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/15/2016, 2:08 am

The chicken manure looks good.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  Yardslave on 3/15/2016, 1:40 pm

It is wise to read the back of the bags. I bought a bag of "steer manure" at the local Home Despot that was really a blend- lots of dirt, rocks, and cow manure- but was mostly clay based, urea soaked soil with a touch of manure in it. Looked like the tractor scraped the pen of the local dairy and bagged it. I think I bought a bag of lousy dirt, not steer manure.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/15/2016, 3:24 pm

I agree that reading the label can help determine what a product really is. And even then, there can be surprises. Rocks, wood, bottle caps . . .

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  Roseinarosecity on 3/16/2016, 8:44 pm

I found an excellent compost at my Armstrong Nursery.  It's EB Stone Organic compost.  Do you live near Novato, San Anselmo or Dublin, California where there is an Armstrong Nursery?

This is the description:
"E.B. Stone Organic Compost is an invaluable addition to any garden. Composts and the organic matter they contain are the foundation of rich garden soils and a key component of successful organic gardens of all kinds. E.B. Stone Organic Compost is ideal for use in vegetable gardens and flower beds, around trees and shrubs, and even on lawns. It can be added to the soil at time of planting or used as a surface mulch later on. Contains: Composted Green Waste."

EB Stone has a website to find a retailer near you.
http://www.ebstone.org/

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/16/2016, 11:47 pm

Joy, Here's one within driving distance.

Kirk's Windmill Farms, LLC
P.O. Box 1503
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
(805) 489-1000

Thanks Rose.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  joy.cheri on 3/17/2016, 1:09 am

Thank you! I will definitely have to get some! I also picked up some compost from Whole Foods today. Now to pick up the insanely expensive vermiculite that I had to special order... Sigh...  Razz

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/17/2016, 3:46 am

Don't forget Ecoscraps Compost available at HD if you need another compost.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/17/2016, 8:33 am

And we found the Ecoscraps at Wallyworld yesterday too.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 3/18/2016, 2:44 am

Marie, How do you like it?

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/18/2016, 9:51 am

Haven't tried it yet... Still trying to get grass & weeds out of beds and get plants acclimated for the year.

I bought it based on what I've seen on here. But I'll let you know how it works for me...

:-)

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  MrBooker on 8/28/2016, 11:42 am

@sanderson wrote:The chicken manure looks good.
SANDERSON.....   "The chicken manure looks good."  I NEVER thought I'd EVER see those five words together in ONE sentence...   rofl

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  yolos on 8/28/2016, 12:36 pm

@sanderson wrote:Don't forget Ecoscraps Compost available at HD if you need another compost.
I tried this and it was pretty good.  I will use it again.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  MrBooker on 8/28/2016, 12:53 pm

@yolos wrote:
@sanderson wrote:Don't forget Ecoscraps Compost available at HD if you need another compost.
I tried this and it was pretty good.  I will use it again.
I tried the Ecoscraps Compost from HD and it was just one big block of MUD and what looked like large balls of clay.

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  sanderson on 8/28/2016, 3:41 pm

Sounds like my experience with "On Sale" Double Doody" composted horse and cow manure. Unfortunately, large pallets of product are often stored outside, exposed to the elements.

I spread the contents of the 5 soggy, deteriorated bags on a tarp and used a bow rake to break it up over 3 days of sun. Don't do what I did and run it through a shredder. tongue I, and every thing around me for 20 feet, was covered in fine powder. Embarassed

If there are really balls of clay in the product, the Company should be notified. I'm guessing that there are regional manufacturers/producers of the product and that one may have dropped the ball. Dry it out a bit and see if it is really clay. I had a nice conversation with the company when I started using and recommending it. Give them a jingle if there is clay. The ingredients of the lime green bag of Ecoscraps Compost should be only veggie scraps and green waste. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t14403-ecoscraps?highlight=ecoscraps

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Re: Soil Amendment/Conditioner vs Compost

Post  jimmy cee on 8/28/2016, 7:47 pm

For those who have access to forests / woods, etc. take a walk out in them and scrape off some of that great nature's soil. Those areas are growing with 80% fungi dominated soil...some of the finest you will get.

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