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Compost for Mel's Mix

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Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  wombocombo626 on 2/25/2017, 1:18 am

Hi, I live in the Los angeles area, the san gabriel valley area to be specific. I am currently getting the things needed for mel's mix and I was able to find some course vermiculite and peat moss today. However, I am now looking for the 5 types of compost needed. I asked the guy at he place where I got my vermiculite and peat moss if they had different types of compost, but he told me he only had one so I didn't get any from there. I was looking at the home depot site and they have this and this steer manure. Would those work? I am also a bit confused about the steer manure. Is that considered compost? Anyone know of any other places to get compost around the east los angeles area? Thanks!
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  yolos on 2/25/2017, 2:25 am

I don't know about the Natures Care compost.  But I bought Steer Compost before (not this brand) and it was the worst compost I have ever bought.  I don't know if you have a Lowe's nearby, but they usually have better compost than Home Depot.  Here are two examples:

The Black Kow is my favorite:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Black-Kow-50-lb-Organic-Manure/304733


Another one is Mushroom Compost:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Black-Velvet-40-lb-Organic-Compost/3082893

The local Lowe's has a few other types but they are not listed in the online site.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 2/25/2017, 3:50 am

What ever you buy, check the ingredients.  You want just compost, not sand, peat moss, perlite or other fillers.

Nature's Care compost: read in ingredients.  If it has uncomposted wood, screen with 1/4" hardware cloth/metal mesh.  See manure compost below.
Veggie-based compost:  Ecoscraps Compost, or Whole Foods veggie-based compost.
Manure compost:  Again, read the label.  I have found that there are a lot of uncomposted wood chips in them, so I screen with 1/4" hardware cloth/mesh screen.  Also have found rocks and bottle caps!  Just screen.
City/County green-waste compost: a crap shoot
Mushroom compost:  no more than 1/5 of the blended compost

More expensive and used in smaller volume:  kelp meal, crab meal, worm castings

Photos of small and large screens. In the beginning, I used wood chips in my homemade compost (never again) and had to sift it out! I still sift chicken or steer manure if I have to use it when I run out of my compost. I have used some City green waste compost,but again, I sifted it.


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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  MrBooker on 2/25/2017, 5:11 am

yolos wrote:I don't know about the Natures Care compost.  But I bought Steer Compost before (not this brand) and it was the worst compost I have ever bought.  I don't know if you have a Lowe's nearby, but they usually have better compost than Home Depot.  Here are two examples:

The Black Kow is my favorite:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Black-Kow-50-lb-Organic-Manure/304733


Another one is Mushroom Compost:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Black-Velvet-40-lb-Organic-Compost/3082893

The local Lowe's has a few other types but they are not listed in the online site.
I have never been able to find Mushroom compost at my local Lowe's. I just checked online and they have 188 bags of it this year. I'll be there when they open this morning. Thanks Yolos.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  CitizenKate on 2/25/2017, 10:04 am

Around here, the local nurseries and garden centers carry a wider variety and better brands of compost products. The cow manure compost I got was pretty much pure composted cow manure, and had a nice fine texture. They also carry a brand called Purple Cow, which I've used on occasion - along with a lot of other stuff, of course - and my plants have done very well in mixes that included it. It's a bit pricey, though, which is why I don't use more of it.

We're also very fortunate to have a university that has herds of cattle and horses, and are all too happy to give away their composted manure, so that's becoming my main source of manure compost. You can't get any more "pure" than that! If you don't have the aggie-U thing going on in your town, check your local craigslist.org to see if any local ranchers are offering cow or horse manure to the public.

The "cow manure" compost I got at Menards was labeled as "containing" cow manure and "organic" compost, whatever that means. Of course, you don't get to know how much of each, but when I opened the bag, I found a bunch of sticks and other matter that was not fully composted. I would say it was mostly the "other". I was not impressed.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  MrBooker on 2/25/2017, 11:03 am

CitizenKate wrote:Around here, the local nurseries and garden centers carry a wider variety and better brands of compost products.  The cow manure compost I got was pretty much pure composted cow manure, and had a nice fine texture.  They also carry a brand called Purple Cow, which I've used on occasion - along with a lot of other stuff, of course - and my plants have done very well in mixes that included it.  It's a bit pricey, though, which is why I don't use more of it.

We're also very fortunate to have a university that has herds of cattle and horses, and are all too happy to give away their composted manure, so that's becoming my main source of manure compost.  You can't get any more "pure" than that!  If you don't have the aggie-U thing going on in your town, check your local craigslist.org to see if any local ranchers are offering cow or horse manure to the public.

The "cow manure" compost I got at Menards was labeled as "containing" cow manure and "organic" compost, whatever that means.  Of course, you don't get to know how much of each, but when I opened the bag, I found a bunch of sticks and other matter that was not fully composted.  I would say it was mostly the "other".  I was not impressed.
CK. We live in a farming community and while riding the countryside a few weeks ago, I found three different places within 5 miles of me giving away horse poop.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  RoOsTeR on 2/25/2017, 11:14 am

MrBooker wrote:
CitizenKate wrote:Around here, the local nurseries and garden centers carry a wider variety and better brands of compost products.  The cow manure compost I got was pretty much pure composted cow manure, and had a nice fine texture.  They also carry a brand called Purple Cow, which I've used on occasion - along with a lot of other stuff, of course - and my plants have done very well in mixes that included it.  It's a bit pricey, though, which is why I don't use more of it.

We're also very fortunate to have a university that has herds of cattle and horses, and are all too happy to give away their composted manure, so that's becoming my main source of manure compost.  You can't get any more "pure" than that!  If you don't have the aggie-U thing going on in your town, check your local craigslist.org to see if any local ranchers are offering cow or horse manure to the public.

The "cow manure" compost I got at Menards was labeled as "containing" cow manure and "organic" compost, whatever that means.  Of course, you don't get to know how much of each, but when I opened the bag, I found a bunch of sticks and other matter that was not fully composted.  I would say it was mostly the "other".  I was not impressed.
CK. We live in a farming community and while riding the countryside a few weeks ago, I found three different places within 5 miles of me giving away horse poop.

If using horse manure, make sure and hot compost. Horses pass weed and grass seed that will grow in your sfg beds.

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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  ralitaco on 2/25/2017, 11:23 am

WomboCombo, finding the 5 sources of compost was the hardest thing for me too. (Maybe we need a compost database like the one for vermiculite  Very Happy )

I used Black Kow, Mushroom & Black Hen from Lowe's in my first beds. I have been able to find some others and have started making my own, although not lately. A local company sold leaf compost but it ended up being a lot of twigs, rocks, cigarette butts, etc.
With that said, I agree with Sanderson, you should screen your compost regardless of where you get it. I was shocked at how many rocks and trash were in mine. Of course the key to successfully screening is to use a dry material.

There are lots of threads on compost so do a search and read, read, read.
If you can't find 5 sources, don't fret, just use what you can and be on the lookout throughout the season. Remember, the peat moss and vermiculite will remain fairly constant. The compost will breakdown and need to be replenished every time you pull a plant and re-plant, so if you only found 3 to start, but a month later you find another, you can add that into the mix for your backfilling.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/25/2017, 11:45 am

I think that Nature's Care is a Miracle Gro product.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  MrBooker on 2/25/2017, 12:04 pm

I just went to Lowe's and bought 8 bags of mushroom compost and 2 bags of stay green.
My Lowe's has never had mushroom compost until this year. At least, that I could find.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  wombocombo626 on 2/25/2017, 12:29 pm

I checked the Lowe's website and they don't seem to have any of the black cow or mushroom compost anywhere around my area. I will probably visit some of the local nurseries around my area and see if have different types of compost.

Also I am a bit confused about compost. When I asked the gentleman who sold me the vermiculite yesterday if they carried compost he told me he does and he only has one type and he showed me. I asked what type of compost it was and he seemed kind of confused so I asked if there was cow manure in it he told me I would have to add it in myself. Now I am wondering what type of compost he might have been carrying.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  RoOsTeR on 2/25/2017, 1:28 pm

Best way to ensure you're getting quality compost...compost your own Very Happy

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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 2/25/2017, 4:10 pm

donnainzone5 wrote:I think that Nature's Care is a Miracle Gro product.
Yes, but I think they are trying to get their share of "Organic."

Don't forget Home Depot. I looked on Craig's List for East LA (?) listings. The first got my heart beating!

South Pasadena, San Gabriel - whole shebang plus worm bin! https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6012165474.html

Fully composted chicken manure: https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6018321145.html

Horse manure with wood shavings. Maybe screen out the remaining wood shavings. https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/grd/6019107190.html

Worming castings, Orange County: https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/grd/6008333324.html

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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  CitizenKate on 2/26/2017, 1:10 am

MrBooker wrote:
CK. We live in a farming community and while riding the countryside a few weeks ago, I found three different places within 5 miles of me giving away horse poop.
Ha! Who knew such a thing could be so thrilling? cheers
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  MrBooker on 2/26/2017, 6:16 am

sanderson wrote:
donnainzone5 wrote:I think that Nature's Care is a Miracle Gro product.
Yes, but I think they are trying to get their share of "Organic."

Don't forget Home Depot.  I looked on Craig's List for East LA (?) listings.  The first got my heart beating!

South Pasadena, San Gabriel - whole shebang plus worm bin!  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6012165474.html

Fully composted chicken manure:  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6018321145.html

Horse manure with wood shavings.  Maybe screen out the remaining wood shavings.  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/grd/6019107190.html

Worming castings, Orange County:  https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/grd/6008333324.html
I found this "Rabbit poop" on Craigslist. This guy lives 50 miles from me. I'm planning on going down their on Wed and get a few 50 lb bags.

https://stlouis.craigslist.org/grd/5988937385.html
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  ralitaco on 2/26/2017, 5:16 pm

CitizenKate wrote:
MrBooker wrote:
CK. We live in a farming community and while riding the countryside a few weeks ago, I found three different places within 5 miles of me giving away horse poop.
Ha!  Who knew such a thing could be so thrilling?  cheers
+1
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  ralitaco on 2/26/2017, 5:18 pm

One thing I ran into with the mushroom compost was that mushrooms started popping up in my beds. You may want to be careful with the amount you use in your mix.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  MrBooker on 2/26/2017, 5:54 pm

ralitaco wrote:One thing I ran into with the mushroom compost was that mushrooms started popping up in my beds. You may want to be careful with the amount you use in your mix.
I HOPE I see mushrooms in my garden. I'll eet'em up....  Very Happy
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  CitizenKate on 2/26/2017, 7:42 pm

MrBooker wrote:
ralitaco wrote:One thing I ran into with the mushroom compost was that mushrooms started popping up in my beds. You may want to be careful with the amount you use in your mix.
I HOPE I see mushrooms in my garden. I'll eet'em up....  Very Happy
They may not be edible mushrooms. Don't eat them without being very sure what kind they are.

I've used mushroom compost in equal proportions with the other types of compost. I get a few little mushrooms coming up, but they haven't caused any problems that I can tell.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  CitizenKate on 2/26/2017, 7:44 pm

sanderson wrote:I looked on Craig's List for East LA (?) listings.  The first got my heart beating!

South Pasadena, San Gabriel - whole shebang plus worm bin!  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6012165474.html

Fully composted chicken manure:  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6018321145.html

Horse manure with wood shavings.  Maybe screen out the remaining wood shavings.  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/grd/6019107190.html

Worming castings, Orange County:  https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/grd/6008333324.html
Yeah, huh? cheers
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  wombocombo626 on 2/26/2017, 8:27 pm

So I visited the nursery today and I was able to get some EB stone chicken and steer manure and also a bag of worm castings. While I was at the nursery I also saw boxes of bloodmeal, bone meal, bat guano, and lobster meal. Do those count as compost or are they more of a fertilizer?

While I had the 3 bags of compost in my car, I noticed a faint manure smell. Does that mean it is not fully composted? Would it be safe to use in my mix?

I also have a friend that has bunnies and they use this in their cage. Would I be able to put that stuff directly in my mix or would I need to furthur compost it before it is safe to put in my mix?
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 2/27/2017, 3:55 am

The bunny litter is recycled newspaper - a wood product. It needs composting.

Blood meal, bone meal, bat guano, and lobster meal are more like fertilizers to be used if needed. However, I do add crab meal and kelp meal to my beds for trace minerals. About a teaspoon per square. After 3 years, I had my Mel's Mix tested and it was low in trace minerals.

I find bagged chicken or steer manures to still have mild manure odors. But, nothing like the raw, straight from the source smell!

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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  wombocombo626 on 2/27/2017, 4:18 am

I guess it wouldn't hurt to add a teaspoon to each of my square too.

I went to move the bags of manure earlier and the bags were quite warm even with the cold temperatures outside.
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 2/27/2017, 8:05 am

sanderson wrote:
donnainzone5 wrote:I think that Nature's Care is a Miracle Gro product.
Yes, but I think they are trying to get their share of "Organic."

Don't forget Home Depot.  I looked on Craig's List for East LA (?) listings.  The first got my heart beating!

South Pasadena, San Gabriel - whole shebang plus worm bin!  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6012165474.html

Fully composted chicken manure:  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/grd/6018321145.html

Horse manure with wood shavings.  Maybe screen out the remaining wood shavings.  https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/grd/6019107190.html

Worming castings, Orange County:  https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/grd/6008333324.html
Thanks for this thought! Scored some free rabbit manure off CL, but it was a bit of a drive. I may do a web search for rabbitries that are closer to me...
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Re: Compost for Mel's Mix

Post  ChasingAnnie on 4/27/2017, 12:11 am

I've had terrible luck with Nature's Care. It was donated by Miracle Gro to our community garden, so it's difficult to complain about something that's free... but we have not been happy gardeners.
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