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Crusty Mel's Mix

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Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  worthingtonSFG on 6/21/2010, 8:15 pm

I noticed yesterday that the soil wasn't soaking up the water I was putting down, it was pooling on top. My Mel's Mix has formed a kind of hard crust on the top. In order to get water to soak in I had to poke several holes around each plant, thru the "crust". There wasn't any mention of this in the book. Maybe if I used mulch? Has anyone else had this experience?

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  silverbug on 6/21/2010, 9:15 pm

Yeah, initially it sort of compacted like that and seemed like it was going to pool too much, but I've had no adverse affects and a LOT of rain lately. It's all good and doesn't seem to be a problem. I chalked it up to NOT using coarse vermiculite, and not enough variety of compost. I used two types, mostly composted cow manure, a humus, whatever small bags of vermiculite I could get my hands on (yes, it was OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive that way, and not enough of it) and I had/have a mild bit of what you talked about, but really, it soaks right in.

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  Shoda on 6/21/2010, 10:36 pm

I know what you mean about the water not seeming to soak in. I may be wrong, but I think of this crust as a sort of protection against evaporation too. If the water takes a while to soak in, maybe it takes a while to leave the bed too. I use the pooling time to determine if my bed has enough water. When it is dry, the water just stays on the top. As the bed becomes saturated, the Mel's mix takes on a deeper color and there is a shine on the bed that lasts several seconds (without the pooling affect of a dry bed.)

One of my beds does less pooling but then I messed up my recipe and included extra compost. (ratio was 2:2:3 ) Oops! Extra compost. I will have to see what happens with that bed down the road.

For now, I wouldn't lose sleep over it. It is completely normal and your plants will do fine.

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  SirTravers on 6/21/2010, 11:40 pm

I've noticed that my beds get a "skin" on them when it's hot and windy while I'm at work, but if I poke through everything underneath is still moist like it should be. Honestly you could work the bed up with a handheld garden fork, but that's gonna just allow more moisture to evaporate while you're away from the house during the day.
I only work up the squares when I have to replant them just to get the new compost mixed in. Maybe it's good...maybe not.... I'll keep a watch to see what happens hehe.

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  Chopper on 6/22/2010, 2:33 am

I think the crustiness is all peat moss. And I am not sure if it means there is too much, or if it is just the way it is.

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  hookilau on 6/22/2010, 9:18 am

While poking around my raised beds yesterday, I observed the same thing. I also chalked it up to peat moss and thought maybe I'd added too much. Plants seem none the worse for wear though

Nette

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  NitrouStang96 on 6/22/2010, 8:25 pm

I know the guy is getting up there in years, but to call him crusty?

For shame.


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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  hookilau on 6/23/2010, 9:13 am



@NitrouStang96 wrote:I know the guy is getting up there in years, but to call him crusty?

For shame.


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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  NitrouStang96 on 6/24/2010, 12:43 pm

On another note...

I was at Lowes yesterday, had some vermiculite, peat, and manure but was having a hard time finding any other sources of compost.

An older gentleman walked up to me and asked, "have you found everything?"
I said, "No. See, I'm looking for 5 different kinds of compost, and this one right here sa --"
(he cuts me off) "Are you building a square foot garden?"
" . . . Y - Yes, I am."
"Follow me."

Dude takes me around to the front of the store to a new pile of bags with Mel's picture on the front. Premade "Crusty" ol' Mel's Mix, ready to go! Stellar! It was $13 per 2 cubic feet, saved me a bunch of time trying to find the proper vermiculite, multiple composts, etc.

Thanks Mel!

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  Shoda on 6/24/2010, 12:47 pm

Way cool. I wonder if it is going to make it to the northern california Lowe's stores.

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  NitrouStang96 on 6/24/2010, 12:49 pm

Click my link, put in your zip, and find out!

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  kimbertangleknot on 6/24/2010, 2:00 pm

That's awesome. Wish it would be out here in the south, just checked for fun. Nothing within any place close to me Sad

*jealous in NC*

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  hookilau on 6/24/2010, 2:17 pm

=(
Same here. No ready-made crusty Mel's mix for me here on LI.

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

Post  Wyldflower on 6/24/2010, 3:48 pm

Not in Colorado yet, either... but I keep checking - and asking the garden department managers at my two local Lowes....

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Re: Crusty Mel's Mix

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