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Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

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Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  Banned Member on 4/22/2017, 4:06 pm

Nashville has been blessed with abundant liquid sunshine the last 48 hours.  Our rain gauge for the last two days is pushing 5 inches.

Our yard is a muddy mess and held water all morning and early afternoon.  Our drainage ditches are full to the brim and beginning to flood into the side of the street.

Our old garden with the original square foot methods of 12 inches of highly improved soil is floating in water.

But, our raised beds with the Mel's Mix look like sponges.  They never flooded for a second, and I could go out and plant seeds right now and have no problem.  I might could even transplant the peppers and tomatoes.

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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  sanderson on 4/23/2017, 2:47 pm

What a testimony!

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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/23/2017, 3:34 pm

Mel, he was a genius!  Good for you!
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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  Banned Member on 4/23/2017, 5:14 pm

It's now 72 hours, and the rain continues.  The radar shows that it is actually wrapping around and coming back for an encore.

The flat part of our backyard is now a couple inches deep in water.  The Mel's Mix in the raised bed is still just wet, and actually not all that wet 6 inches deep.  I transplanted some banana peppers in there this afternoon and actually felt like I needed to water where the roots were, because it was not all that wet down at the bottom.

The SFG old style with 12 inches of improved soil is now more like 2 inches of soil and 10 inches of compost, and it too is not flooding.  In fact, I transplanted tomatoes and peppers into the old garden in the pouring rain this afternoon.

Here is what our yard looked like an hour ago after we approached 7 inches.



Here is a picture of some of the banana pepper transplants adjacent to some of the previously transplanted tomatoes.  Forgive the quality of the picture.  It was raining cats and dogs, with a windchill of 48.



Here is a picture of Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes transplanted in the old garden with the original improved soil-compost from the first book.



There is another foot in front reserved for winter squash to hopefully deter critters from the tomatoes.

And, here is the oldest square I have.  This square goes back to the very first year that SFG was on PBS TV.  I put the extra two California Wonder Bell Peppers in two of the squares.  This bed is so rich, you can put a yard stick in this ground when dry, and it will drop 26 inches before hitting an impediment.  We tried bio-intensive gardening in this square with very good results in past years.



No sign of flooding in any of the squares--old or new.  The DNR can come stock small-mouth bass and blue gill in about 2 more hours if the rain continues.

The only real issue is that the weeds are laughing at me.  The corn is about 2-3 inches high, and that part of the garden was totally weeded before being planted.  I just pulled a piece of Johnson grass out that was not there last week, and it was about 6 inches high.  It just became some good nitrogen for the next batch of compost.

I am going to go enjoy a large mug of rooibois chai tea and then get in bed with the covers and read, imagining that I am in Yuma, AZ.

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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  trolleydriver on 4/23/2017, 5:40 pm

That is impressive TNG.  As already mentioned it's a real testimony to the strength of SFG methods.  And wow that is a lot of rain.

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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  plantoid on 4/23/2017, 6:31 pm

TNG ,
That first square you started do you have any idea what year it was?


   I've tried several times to explain to folks on her about how the soil " builds " after many years of cultivation your statement covers most of it in just a few words .

 One of my mentors who taught me some gardening in the late 1950's & onwards ,  Uncle Jack had had the same garden since 1937 .
It was a five year bed rotation system , the fifth bed being heavily manured & left fallow for a year .

When he started it the ground was hard yellow & grey surface clay that turned to a sticky gum in wet periods .  In  1960 he showed me that he could easily dig down to nearly four feet deep before he came to clay again .
 I was gob-smacked ,  thinking just how much earth he'd have to moved to get everything that deep over his quarter acre .
So I did my sums on an old cardboard box & asked him to check the figures  .

He bust out laughing , " I didn't dig it that deep young David " he said , " The worms did it by taking rotting manure  down their holes in winter & summer , the deepest I've ever dug it was a single spades depth " .
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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  Banned Member on 4/24/2017, 6:44 am

I started that first square in the late summer or early fall of 1981.  I believe this was the first year the SFG program debuted on PBS.

I came home one Saturday afternoon and plopped down on the sofa to channel surf.  I came across the PBS station probably leaving it there to watch the McLaughlin Group later in the day. 

As a math nerd, when I saw the geometric wonders of Mel's gardens, I knew I had to try it myself, even though the growing season was coming to an end.

I went out and dug a 4 x 4 square next to our patio and then went to a garden center to buy things to improve the soil.  I remember overdoing it and having soil that was about 6 inches above the ground, wondering how I would keep it from washing away.

I planted a fall crop of lettuce, swiss chard, and some other cool weather crops.  It was a long winter that year, and when Spring arrived in 1982, I began digging more squares.  Those 1982 squares are gone now, since we added on to our house in 1984, but that 1981 square is still there.

I later dug three long rectangular areas on a chain length fence, 25 x 2, 20 x 2, and 12 x 2, around the three sides of the fence (fourth side is the house).

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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  plantoid on 4/24/2017, 7:57 am

You must be one of the longest serving /surviving original Square Foot gardeners then .

 My FIL introduced me to it in the early 1990's , he started it aged 52 yrs old after watching a repeat of the show on Canadian TV , then buying Mel first book in 1987 .
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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  Banned Member on 4/24/2017, 9:00 am

Or, it just means I am as old as dirt.  I love gardening, and I used to get a big kick out of engineering principles, so Mel was preaching to the right choir when I tuned in.

To the optimist, the glass is half-full. 
To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. 
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.



Hooray, Hooray--The rain has gone away.  There are trees down in the neighborhood, and there are creeks that have escaped their banks, but the SFG looks just fine.

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Re: Mel's Mix shows it is worth its weight in gold

Post  sanderson on 4/24/2017, 4:10 pm

TNGeezer wrote:Or, it just means I am as old as dirt.  I love gardening, and I used to get a big kick out of engineering principles, so Mel was preaching to the right choir when I tuned in.

To the optimist, the glass is half-full. 
To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. 
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

.
Very Happy

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