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Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

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Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  gspoerke on 4/16/2018, 3:28 pm

Has anyone ever tried adding regular soil to Mel's mix?
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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  trolleydriver on 4/16/2018, 3:56 pm

Why would you want to do that?  I would advise against it.

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Reasons Why

Post  gspoerke on 4/16/2018, 4:25 pm

As I was researching the topic of raised bed soil mixes I came across a couple of articles that recommended using some top soil. They said that it would add some beneficial microbes and trace nutrients. In transplanting bedding plants into my regular garden (which I no longer have) I used a soil similar to MM except I added about 1/4 of regular garden soil. It seemed to work very well on transplants! It is also a lot cheaper than the other suggested ingredients in MM.
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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  trolleydriver on 4/16/2018, 5:52 pm

It's your garden to do with as you please but I don't think Mel Bartholomew (if he were alive) would agree with using garden soil in the MM.  What you really need is good compost, preferably home made. All the goodness is in the compost. By the way, Mel's original Square Foot Gardening technique used amended soil rather than Mel's Mix.

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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  Turan on 4/16/2018, 9:03 pm

I prefer good garden soil to which I add compost, and sometimes sand. Last year in the greenhouse I added peat to lower the pH, and perlite as a light substitute to sand. I guess that is approaching MM, but it still is not MM, and I do not call it that. If weight is not an issue (not for table tops) then I suspect a bed mix including good soil is better than strict MM. But I have not done the testing to prove that. Over the years the old compost becomes humus and old MM becomes basically good garden soil, especially if the some of the composts are mineral rich enough.

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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  countrynaturals on 4/17/2018, 1:51 am

@gspoerke wrote:As I was researching the topic of raised bed soil mixes I came across a couple of articles that recommended using some top soil. They said that it would add some beneficial microbes and trace nutrients. In transplanting bedding plants into my regular garden (which I no longer have) I used a soil similar to MM except I added about 1/4 of regular garden soil. It seemed to work very well on transplants! It is also a lot cheaper than the other suggested ingredients in MM.
I thought microbes were missing in topsoil and that's why my first year garden was so pitiful. 2nd year was much better, after compost and leaf mulch had a chance to do their thing. (That garden is old school SFG -- no MM.) I have one ANSFG bed, but after that I went to "humanitarian" which is what Mel calls it when we use whatever we can get instead of expensive MM. In my case that meant leaves and rabbit poo. That bed has peas in it right now.
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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 4/17/2018, 2:32 am

GS, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here All New SFG does not use dirt. That said, it is your garden and if you want to add some, that's your choice, of course. It is true that dirt contains microorganisms, but Mel's Mix will also develop lots of microorganism as it "matures". If you want to add a hand full or two of your dirt to a bed to inoculate it, that would make sense.

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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/17/2018, 7:39 am

Hi Gspoerke. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

My take is that if you have GOOD garden soil to begin with, there's no harm in adding a little to the mix. But if you've got something like mine (red clay), it's not worth it...

I'll certainly encourage you to start your own compost pile! :-) That's where a LOT of good nutrients are going to come from.
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Re: Adding Soil to Mel's Mix

Post  trolleydriver on 4/17/2018, 8:38 am

My apologies Gspoerke ... I should have welcomed you to the forum before responding to your question. So here it is "a big warm welcome from Ottawa, Canada".

I also hope my somewhat terse response to your question does not stop you from asking more questions and contributing to the forum.

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