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Advice needed

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Advice needed

Post  Veggiesaurus on 4/4/2016, 7:18 pm

1st a little background: My wife and I are brand new to gardening so we are learning as we go. We have a small to average backyard so we decided to try SFG. We bought a copy of ANSFG and constructed our box. We planned out our entire years planting and already started some plants inside which are doing great. We will be using 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost. I wish we came across this site sooner, we have already learned a lot since visiting a few days ago. The problem we have is with the compost, 1 brand in particular (It was an organic compost with chicken manure). When we opened the bag its was very wet and clumpy. It smelled just like manure. Now being are 1st time using compost we didn't know that it wasn't supposed to smell like this until doing some research later that night. So we mixed it with 20% of our vermiculite and peat moss and loaded up the box. Now we did know it was really wet so we stopped after using all of the entire 1st compost to let it dry out a little. We did not mix the rest of our MM. we still have 80% of vermiculite and Peat Moss and 4 other kinds of compost (Mushroom, Black Kow, Shrimp and seaweed, veggie Organic Mix). We don't know what to do next. Is this safe to keep in our garden for us and the plants? The bag says completely composted. The bags were stored outdoors at our local store. Any advise on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/4/2016, 7:31 pm

Hi!  Welcome Veggiesaurus!  Love your moniker, lol!  So, is it fair to say that the chicken based compost smelled like raw chicken poo?  If it is mixed as stated and located in the bottom of the box, it may be OK.  Won't burn if buffered by the rest of the MM that you have the stuff to make, sounds like.  You are a lot better situated than I was, I had already planted last year when I found this site!  

Your biggest worry is nitrogen burn, so if you have a layer of MM or leaves, or whatever between your seedlings and the raw (?) chicken poo, it will give it time to mellow.  A layer of leaves would be great, and then your MM.  IMHO.  

There are many more experienced SFGers here.  Glad you found us!  From Ohio!  Where in PA are ya?  I am northwest, and it is COLD here tonight!  

glad you\'re here


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 4/4/2016, 7:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : A lawyer of leaves....no.)

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Re: Advice needed

Post  camprn on 4/4/2016, 7:33 pm

My recommendation, if the chicken manure bag wasn't hot you're all set. My recommendation is to mix everything up and put it into the boxes you'll be fine. Be careful to measure you sphagnum peat after you have fluffed it up.

glad you\'re here to the SFG Forum!

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Re: Advice needed

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/4/2016, 9:46 pm

Hi Veggiesaurus. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

I agree with Camprn - If the bag wasn't physically warm to the touch, it should be fine.

Warning - this is addictive stuff! :-)

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Re: Advice needed

Post  ralitaco on 4/5/2016, 12:20 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Warning - this is addictive stuff!  :-)
I hope you are referring to SFG and not chicken poo Razz

Welcome Veggiesaurus. You have come to the right place for kind and helpful advice.

Regarding the chicken compost - I used black hen and it really stinks when I first open the bag but goes away once it's mixed in with the other components.

Good luck and keep us posted

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Kelejan on 4/5/2016, 12:30 am

glad you\'re here veggiesaurus happy hi 
from Kelejan :canada: in British Columbus.

As above, mix it all together and fluff the  peat as suggested by Camprn as the ingredients are measured by volume not weight.

You will enjoy eating stuff you grow yourself.  Somehow it just tastes better. hungry

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Re: Advice needed

Post  sanderson on 4/5/2016, 3:44 am

veggiesaurus, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here I read your introduction again and I'm not sure I understand correctly. Did you mix all 5 of the composts together? Then add the mixture to the equal amounts of fluffed peat moss and vermiculite? It sounds like you added just the composted chicken manure to equal parts of PM and Verm and put that in the box. Were you going to repeat that process with each bag of compost variety?

Don't worry about the chicken manure because you will have 4 other sources of compost in the box. Do you mind telling us what the composts are? Even a photo of the bags? Other new gardeners have done this to make sure they are using good composts.

Let me put the measurements of products in a different way. Say you have 5 gallons of fluffed up peat moss. You will then add 5 gallons of vermiculite. Then you will add 1 gallon from each bag of compost for a total of 5 gallons of compost. Now you have a total of 15 gallons of ingredients to wet down and mix thoroughly. Dump in box and repeat whole process.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  jimmy cee on 4/5/2016, 9:09 am

Hi Veggie.....my humble advice to you
Learn composting your own as soon as possible. In my opinion compost is the heart of growing.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Veggiesaurus on 4/5/2016, 2:35 pm

Thank you all for the quick replies. I now feel comfortable filling up the rest of our SFG.
Here is a view of our garden with just the questionable compost mixed with vermiculite and peat moss. Hopefully tomorrow we will finish mixing and filling with our MM.


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Re: Advice needed

Post  Veggiesaurus on 4/5/2016, 2:42 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:There are many more experienced SFGers here.  Glad you found us!  From Ohio!  Where in PA are ya?  I am northwest, and it is COLD here tonight!  


I'm in eastern PA about an hour north of Philly. Its been cold and windy here for the past few days. Can't wait for warmer days.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Veggiesaurus on 4/5/2016, 2:59 pm

@sanderson wrote:Let me put the measurements of products in a different way.  Say you have 5 gallons of fluffed up peat moss.  You will then add 5 gallons of vermiculite.  Then you will add 1 gallon from each bag of compost for a total of 5 gallons of compost.  Now you have a total of 15 gallons of ingredients to wet down and mix thoroughly.  Dump in box and repeat whole process.  

Thanks, this is how we are planning to do the rest. We just did the 1st compost that way because it was soaking wet(you could wring it out) and very clumpy. We thought it might help to air it out a day or two in the sun. I will post pictures of the compost we are using soon. Thanks again for everybody's help.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  sanderson on 4/5/2016, 3:11 pm

Nice looking bed!

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/5/2016, 7:02 pm

@sanderson wrote:Nice looking bed!

Only in SFG Land!

https://www.google.com/search?q=comfy+bed&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari#imgrc=0aFXoZzOACgb5M%3A

It really is a great design!

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Re: Advice needed

Post  jimmy cee on 4/5/2016, 9:18 pm

@Veggiesaurus wrote:
@sanderson wrote:Let me put the measurements of products in a different way.  Say you have 5 gallons of fluffed up peat moss.  You will then add 5 gallons of vermiculite.  Then you will add 1 gallon from each bag of compost for a total of 5 gallons of compost.  Now you have a total of 15 gallons of ingredients to wet down and mix thoroughly.  Dump in box and repeat whole process.  

Thanks, this is how we are planning to do the rest. We just did the 1st compost that way because it was soaking wet(you could wring it out) and very clumpy. We thought it might help to air it out a day or two in the sun. I will post pictures of the compost we are using soon. Thanks again for everybody's help.

We thought it might help to air it out a day or two in the sun

Not a good idea, The suns rays will kill off any microbes living there and nullify that compost.
Understand, compost according to what I have learned is not about nutrients. It's all about the microbes that live within the compost. Once their in position in respective plants location they go to work providing nutrients for the plants. Nutrients collected by plants from microbes are more readily accepted by plants than fertilizer chemicals of which destroys all microbes.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  ralitaco on 4/6/2016, 12:22 am

@Veggiesaurus wrote:Thank you all for the quick replies. I now feel comfortable filling up the rest of our SFG.
Here is a view of our garden with just the questionable compost mixed with vermiculite and peat moss. Hopefully tomorrow we will finish mixing and filling with our MM.

With that bed, your avatar name could be veg-E-saurus Smile

The MM looks really good...you can see the vermiculite and how loose it is.

Is there a particular reason for making that shape and having the 2 keyholes only 1' wide? I am thinking you will have a hard time getting in there to work, especially once plants start spreading their leaves.
You may want to consider a redesign before you fill it up all the way.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  sanderson on 4/6/2016, 1:19 am

@ralitaco wrote:Is there a particular reason for making that shape and having the 2 keyholes only 1' wide? I am thinking you will have a hard time getting in there to work, especially once plants start spreading their leaves.
You may want to consider a redesign before you fill it up all the way.

Veggiesaurus, I didn't want to rain on your parade, but ralitaco has a good point. A U-shape with a 3 foot wide center key hole will make gardening so, so much easier. If you modify it now, before it is finished, you will never be sorry. Just a thought.

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Re: Advice needed

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