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Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

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Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  pforrester1 on 10/25/2016, 8:50 pm

I am starting year 3 of SFG. Ihave a new 10 X 4' box. Is there a reason it is recommended to mix it on a tarp and shovel it in?
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/25/2016, 9:24 pm

I assume it is ease and complete mixing of the components.  It is work any way you do it!
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  sanderson on 10/25/2016, 10:33 pm

Forrester, Welcome to the Forum from Fresno! glad you\'re here One problem I see is that with all the mixing (and it should be thoroughly mixed) is that the trowel/shovel could tear the weed fabric. ?? Breaking up the mixing into small units should ensure that everything is mixed AND watered well.

Photos of your existing beds?? Very Happy

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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  trolleydriver on 10/25/2016, 11:16 pm

I think it will be difficult to get a consistent mix by doing it right in the box. It will be much easier to get the correct volumes of the components by mixing smaller batches outside the box and making sure they are thoroughly mixed together before putting the MM into the box. 

I start by mixing up five different types of compost. Then I use a 5 gallon bucket to measure out equal parts of compost, vermiculite and peat moss by volume (e.g., it may be 2 or more buckets of each depending on how much I want to mix in each batch). I mix the materials on a tarp, then I drag the tarp over to the box and dump it right into the box directly from the tarp. I then make sure the batch is well watered before adding the next batch to the box.

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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/25/2016, 11:20 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:I think it will be difficult to get a consistent mix by doing it right in the box. It will be much easier to get the correct volumes of the components by mixing smaller batches outside the box and making sure they are thoroughly mixed together before putting the MM into the box. 

I start by mixing up five different types of compost. Then I use a 5 gallon bucket to measure out equal parts of compost, vermiculite and peat moss by volume (e.g., it may be 2 or more buckets of each depending on how much I want to mix in each batch). I mix the materials on a tarp, then I drag the tarp over to the box and dump it right into the box directly from the tarp. I then make sure the batch is well watered before adding the next batch to the box.
That is exactly what I do.
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  yolos on 10/26/2016, 12:13 am

I usually mix small amounts in a wheel barrow and then just dump the wheel barrow directly in the bed.  And then keep mixing small amounts until I fill the bed.

But I just made a new 4 x 8 foot bed and I am thinking about mixing everything directly in the bed.  It will not have any weed fabric or cardboard in the bottom so I won't have a problem with that.  I plan to empty all my bags and trash cans full of stuff I have acquired over the years into that bed and see what happens.
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 10/26/2016, 7:39 am

Hi PForrester. Welcome from Atlanta, GA! Glad you've joined us.

Like Yolos, I mix mine (well.... DH mixes it.... But you know what I mean, lol) in a wheelbarrow and dump it in. Just easier for us. We've also got fears of ripping our weed fabric.
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  trolleydriver on 10/26/2016, 9:01 am

pforrestor ... A warm welcome from Ottawa, Canada.   

Thanks for asking a very appropriate question concerning MM. It's great to see new people joining the forum and jumping into the discussion. As you can see, there are many wonderful people on the forum who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with others. We look forward to hearing and seeing (photos) more about your SFG journey. 


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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 10/26/2016, 9:29 am

Hi PForrestor!

All of my beds have been mixed by hand -- using my hands/arms, no trowel or shovel used. It's a very dirty process...don't wear a white shirt. blush
I filled the beds in thirds so that each 2" level was thoroughly mixed before I added the ingredients for the next. The order peat, vermiculite, composts seemed to work best -- each sprinkled spread in an even-ish layer on top of the other before mixing. The vermiculite liked the come to the top, yet was hard to stir up off the bottom, so middle placement seemed best. BUT - I used 8" tall boards for my 4x8' beds - and even then I had to be careful mixing the last layer. If I had used the recommended 6" boards, much like not being able to fill your blender to the top, stirring that last part would have resulted in losing MM over the sides. I think that there not being room for mixing is why the instructions use a tarp.

I figure being in San Diego you'll be planting something soon? I'm in central Pennsylvania, and just had the first freeze, so I'm mostly done with the 'fun' gardening. Not that I don't appreciate my kale, but I'm looking forward to reading posts by people who are actively gardening while I hibernate and plan for spring.
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/26/2016, 12:42 pm

happy hi pforrester1!
I find it easiest to use the tarp.  Dump everything into the center, pull corner to corner, back and forth spraying with water now and then, and watch it roll and mix.  Very satisfying.  Laughing   No tools needed.

Do you have any photos of your SFG that you could share with us?  We love photos!
CC
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Garden Pics

Post  pforrester1 on 10/26/2016, 3:17 pm

I can't post a picture link for 7 days. But thanks everyone for your advice. Now if I can just get the peat wet!


Last edited by pforrester1 on 10/26/2016, 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add note)
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  Kelejan on 10/26/2016, 6:15 pm

glad you\'re here  pforrester1  happy hi 
from Kelejan :canada: in British Columbia, Canada.

Mix your MM any way you want. Very Happy  We will only give our opinion of what works for us.

We look forward to seeing your results.

We here in Canada are now looking ahead to our longer winters while we read of your activities and look at your pictures of green stuff and growing veggies etc.  We need pictures of green to feed our starving souls.  OK, a bit dramatic but you get the picture.
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  donnainzone5 on 10/27/2016, 11:50 am

I find it difficult to "mix the Mix" on a tarp, at least for more than two cubic feet at a time.

So far, my best solution has been to use five-gallon buckets to measure out 1/3 each of the three ingredients (combining the 5+ composts first), dump into a wheelbarrow, mix with a LARGE trowel, dump into the bed.  I then smooth it out a bit and water.  The process is repeated a couple of more times, until the bed is full and thoroughly soaked.
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5 gallon buckets

Post  pforrester1 on 10/30/2016, 11:01 am

@Donnainzone5: I just filled my new raised garden with MM and I used the 5 gallon bucket method..tarp method, plus shovel, plus hand to mix the mix.I mixed it all dry and wet it once in the box. 

In my 1st box (8X4) I did not do it right with authentic MM. I tried but......I bought a truck load of potting soil from a compost outfit. Added some pumice and fine/medium vermiculite from Home Depot (all I could find) (fine compared to the coarse from Uline) and some other compost. It has produced lots of kale and swiss chard and a few other crops but it DID NOT STAY HYDRATED. I have added and filled in with worm castings and other composts, including Happy Frog and cow manure. But now I really want to add the coarse vermiculite along with more compost to the squares. there are only two empty squares, presently. Here in San Diego county what is planted is kind of perennial  Kale, Swiss Chard, oregano, fennel....

Here is my new SFG Box.  Both are 18" high. this one is 10X4. i filled the first foot with junky dirt from around my yard and put a layer of cardboard down before adding MM.

I have now filled it with authentic MM and planted 6 broccoli and 6 cauliflower. Should I dig and transplant the kale and 
Swiss Chard from my 1st box to the new garden box? Or just try to dig in more compost and vermiculite around existing plants?
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Pictures didn't load

Post  pforrester1 on 10/30/2016, 4:57 pm

My new SFG



And the 1st one.


Last edited by trolleydriver on 11/2/2016, 11:10 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Cropped and rotated the photos.)
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/30/2016, 5:28 pm

Beautiful!  Makes me want to plant something.

I've always wondered why that sideways thing happens sometimes...
thinking

Why not wait to see how you do with the MM before you transplant those healthy looking veggies? The water issue may be climate related in which case shade cloths and the like, along with lots of mulch,  are helpful.

CC
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/30/2016, 7:00 pm

Nice!  I think it looks great!  Mix of sun and shade.  You will learn a lot.  Keep notes about what works, when, etc.  

Looking good!  
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Thanks! Trolley

Post  pforrester1 on 10/30/2016, 8:46 pm

How did you do that? I looked and looked for a way to rotate them....
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  trolleydriver on 10/30/2016, 8:51 pm

@pforrester1 wrote:How did you do that? I looked and looked for a way to rotate them....
I saved your photos to my desktop then brought them into Picasa. In Picasa I cropped them and exported them back to the desktop.  Finally I edited your post and imported them back into your post using the forum facility for posting photos.  This time it did not rotate them. There may be an easier way.

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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/31/2016, 11:36 am

Look at you getting all Moderater-y, TD.  okay
We are very lucky to have you!
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Re: Can i just mix up the Mel's mix right in the garden box?

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