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Year five results / report on my MM & how it looks & feels .

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Year five results / report on my MM & how it looks & feels .

Post  plantoid on 4/13/2016, 7:16 pm

My how time flies when you're getting towards the end of the old birth certificate . Wink 

 I am reporting as to how my MM filled beds have turned out .

 Due to difficulties in obtaining a decent cheap  enough peat to make my MM  , I used chopped sterilised compressed coir waste.@ £ 30 per 9 sq ft bed ( $45.00 USD ) in my 250 sq feet of beds
Everything else was as near as I could get to the rest of Mel's recipe /list.but a little heavy on animal dungs & associated beddings ( nine types Laughing ) .

 My vermiculite is now breaking down into single flakes or smaller bits from the original 1/4 " to 3/16 th " chunks .
 
My beds are 900 mm ( 36 inches ) deep of which the top 18 inches is filled with my MM .

This top 18 inches has now started to degrade , in the bottom 6 inches its turned into a dark gray sticky firm pastry quality , it holds a lot of water there are little recogniseable vermiculite chips or flakes in it .  Ther are no striped muck worms innh=this overly wetness.

In the top 12 inch ( 300 mm) layer there is less vermiculite , the stickiness is much  reduced even though we had rain all day yesterday & in the early hours of today . I've been seeing about a dozen 2 " long night crawler type worms in this level in each bed .. so I conclude there is little currently new  rotting green material in my beds

 All my beds have now had at least one three inch layer of four year old home made compost ( I practice growing a single crop in each 9 sq feet so that I am able to pressure  can 15 or so pound batches of home grown veg )

As I've turned over all the empty beds in readiness for the crazy week or two of seed sowing & transplanting ahead of me now the weather has suddenly warmed up , I noticed that the easier turned beds had something different in them .

 These easier beds had a lot of home made compost that had a tremendous amount of chopped /mulched wood / hedge trimmings in  the basic compost making bins 4 years ago .

The hedge trimmings were semi hard woods &  so took a long time to compost , even when throughly mixed with my other green composting materials & mulched dead leaves .

 The beds where I put this woody compost have become quite fiberous but have still retained some of the woody fibre quality to allow further slow decay & nutrient production.
They have produced some good crops of cabbages , garlic , leeks & surprise , surprise even a couple of decent cauliflowers ( something I was having great difficulty in growing )

This year will be the first time I will be growing carrots & other roots in these woody compost beds as they haven't been fed for two years,  so they  won't be too rich for the root crops .

I now have 16 strong tied off rubble bags of more composting mulched hedge trimmings and mulched branches from when the hedge was severely pruned ( twelve foot of cuttings lopped out the tops by 40 or so feet long)  I've also got several bags of year old mulched oak leaves .
These decomposing woody browns will be used as part of the ingredients during year to make my 2016 batch of homemade compost .( ready for use in 2020 ? )
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Re: Year five results / report on my MM & how it looks & feels .

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2016, 3:57 am

Plantoid, Nice report. What is the lower 18" fill in your extra deep beds? Interesting about the 6" layer of grey pastry. Is it anaerobic at all?

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Re: Year five results / report on my MM & how it looks & feels .

Post  plantoid on 4/14/2016, 11:56 am

It seems to be it's got a lot of very fine particles of glistening vermiculite in it  so as the weather warms & dries ( if ever ) is should be less sticky /soggy . As it does not have th sewage stink or look anaerobic coloured I think it is aerobic and still decaying very very slowly .

Under that layer  in most of the beds was an eventually well  compressed 36 inches layer  of stable muck & the straw bedding , on top of that whenit became settled down matter was a 12 inch or so thick layer of 30 yr or more apple leaf compost that came out an 80 more year old working apple orchard when it was removed to make way for a small local to the area rich seam , quality welsh steam coal , open cast coal mine .

 I came along 30 years after this leaf mould  heap had been made , talked to the guy who owned the land where the well composted leaf mould was and found none of the locals would use it because it needed manuring .

 If I get a handfull of it , I can rub it away and not find any grit on my hands . After washing my hands after handling they will go all dry and rough for the particles are as good as any quality  commercial ladies mud face pack .

 In some of the beds I put a six inch layer of sharp sand over this ancient leaf mould material to try and make a reference level from which to build an agreeable depth of  my MM bed up .

 In most cases there is little evidence of the sharp sand being left ..I suspect that the bigger worms have used it as grinding materials for their stomachs or it has drained down the larger  wormholes to a much deeper level & got mixed in with whatever is in the lower levels.
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Re: Year five results / report on my MM & how it looks & feels .

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2016, 4:18 am

Thanks

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Re: Year five results / report on my MM & how it looks & feels .

Post  Kelejan on 4/15/2016, 9:05 am

That is an interesting report, Plantoid. Is there anything you would have done differently?

Your deep beds were built to enable you to continue gardening, so if the deeper layers  are draining well and causing no problems then all must be well.
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