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Reusing Mel's Mix?

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Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  Cropper2 on 7/11/2010, 7:36 pm

I know that the book says that Mel's mix can be reused, but I'm having some trouble. Can anyone help?

I planted a fall garden last August. When I'd finished harvesting that, I covered the boxes with garden fabric, just to keep the squirrels and other stuff out. This spring, I added some compost to each box and planted spring crops. Those plants aren't doing as well as the boxes in which I made up new Mel's Mix. Should I have added something else? Food of some sort. I'm always skiddish about fertilizer, because I have a habit of burning plants, although I'd have sworn to have read and followed instructions. Be that as it may, I have 12 boxes and I don't relish the thought of having to replace the Mel's Mix each year.

Anyone?

Thanks.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  Blackrose on 7/11/2010, 9:33 pm

Have you tried adding a different type of compost? Maybe it just needs something that the current composts that you have in your Mel's Mix doesn't have. If that makes any sense.. it made sense in my mind before I typed it.


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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  camprn on 7/11/2010, 9:40 pm

Hi there, are you having trouble with specific plants or everything? Did you use just one type of compost? Your plants may benefit from a dose of a miracle grow (or a generic), Garden-tone or something similar. Follow the label directions. If worried about burning, dilute a bit more and avoid getting it on the foliage.
When I made my mix I amended it by adding blood meal, bone meal & a bit of wood ash.

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Reusing Mel's Mix

Post  Garden Angel on 7/11/2010, 9:47 pm

I'm new at this but, I guess I would check the ph level. I haven't made the mix but used the store bought Mel's mix. I think adding compost is good, but does it change the soil ? Has there been alot of rain ? I wonder if the soil loses nutrients from too much rain. Just wondering.

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Compost

Post  ander217 on 7/12/2010, 9:32 am

I also think it depends on the compost you use.

Try adding some fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal, etc. - those don't usually burn the way some of the other fertilizers do - and see if things perk up.

You can also do a soil test, or go to one of those sites online that show how various deficiencies appear in plants. For example, if bean leaves are looking brown around the edges and aren't setting pods then you need - potassium, I think, or maybe phosphorus, - but if they are growing lush foliage but not setting pods you have too much nitrogen. If the leaves are yellow, you may need more nitrogen. Red veining can be a micronutrient deficiency.

Mel's Mix only has whatever we add to it, and if the plants use up a nutrient or micronutrient and it isn't replaced, then we have problems. I made my own compost pile over the summer and used it when doing second plantings. My recent plantings look better than some of those which I planted in spring in a mix made from three commercial composts.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  camprn on 7/12/2010, 9:39 am

+1 what Ander said. When I make my compost I add dried blood (as a booster for generating heat/nitrogen), coffee grounds & various yard waste. I will put spoiled milk into the compost pile too. All these things add nutrition to the soil once it is incorporated in as compost. What a Face

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milk in compost pile

Post  nursekat424 on 7/12/2010, 9:57 am

I will put spoiled milk into the compost pile too

do you have any problems with that, i havent been putting milk in mine because i thought dairy was a no no. every time i have to throw some out i wonder if it would hurt to put it in the compost pile.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  Cropper2 on 7/12/2010, 9:58 am

Thanks for all of the responses. As I am about to set forth on harvesting spring crops and planting those for fall, I'll incorporate these suggestions.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  camprn on 7/12/2010, 10:01 am

@nursekat424 wrote:
I will put spoiled milk into the compost pile too
do you have any problems with that, i havent been putting milk in mine because i thought dairy was a no no. every time i have to throw some out i wonder if it would hurt to put it in the compost pile.
It has not been a problem, I will also put old yogurt in the pile. I just stir it in a bit and cover it up. I do not add cheese rinds or anything dairy that is solid as that would attract critters to rummage through the pile.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  miinva on 7/12/2010, 12:38 pm

When we treated our beds this spring (they were new last year) we used a mix of five composts, just like we did when we initially mixed the soil, and it's doing great.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  LaFee on 7/12/2010, 6:07 pm

I thought you weren't supposed to put any sort of animal-based product into your compost -- because it increases the chance of bad odors, attracts animals, and increases the chances of contamination from microorganisms. I realize that a very hot pile will kill off most of the bad guys, but is it hot enough to kill off the bad guys in spoiled food? Is it worth the gamble of spreading a fresh batch of botulism over your SFG?

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  Chopper on 7/12/2010, 6:41 pm

@LaFee wrote:I thought you weren't supposed to put any sort of animal-based product into your compost -- because it increases the chance of bad odors, attracts animals, and increases the chances of contamination from microorganisms. I realize that a very hot pile will kill off most of the bad guys, but is it hot enough to kill off the bad guys in spoiled food? Is it worth the gamble of spreading a fresh batch of botulism over your SFG?

I don't think botulism is an issue in the compost pile simply because it isn't an animal-centric toxin. Botulism can be found in improperly canned green beans so it is everywhere anyway, I believe.

I found the following on two different web sites:

Negative
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/recycling/stories/30-things-you-should-never-compost-or-recycle

"Milk products: Refrain from composting milk, cheese, yogurt and cream. While they'll certainly degrade, they are attractive to pests."

AND

Positive
http://www.gardenmandy.com/yes-you-can-put-that-in-your-compost-pile/

"1. From your kitchen


You can compost just about anything from the kitchen, except meat
and grease products. Any and all vegetables, fruits, grains, breads,
pasta, eggs, milk, nuts, potato chips, breakfast cereals, crackers, and
canned goods that do not contain meat are all candidates for the
compost pile. Cheese can be included if you cut it into small pieces
first. Nut shells can also be included, minus walnut shells as these
are harmful to some kinds of plants. Coffee grounds, tea bags and cut
or dried herbs make excellent additions to the compost pile."

So if there is any issue it is smell and pest attractant. Meat and feces from meat eaters can carry illnesses that can infect humans. So the key to watch is "meat" rather than "animal" apparently.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  camprn on 7/12/2010, 7:08 pm

I believe that it is quite safe to add sour milk but there is an increased possibility that adding milk products to the compost pile will promote unwanted odor but that is why I stir it and cover the pile. My understanding of botulism is that the rods are everywhere in the soil. The bacteria can only reproduce in anaerobic, non-acidic conditions which is when the neurotoxin is produced. Hygiene and overall cleanliness in the kitchen, as well as following recommendations for processing during home canning is the best preventative measure against botulism. My compost pile functions best in an aerobic state, thus the frequent turning of the pile. My last compost pile reached temp of 143F (61.7C). I couldn't believe how hot it was. Shocked

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  LaFee on 7/12/2010, 8:07 pm

(and botulism is only the one of the dozens of varieties of meanyhead viruses and bacteria that fall under the category of food-borne illnesses....and neither I nor my neighbors really want to be outside enjoying a barbecue under the aroma of spoilt milk....!)

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  chocolatepop on 7/12/2010, 8:38 pm

I have a friend who uses L.bacilli, bet milk would do a similar thing with the bacteria. probably in small amounts it is fine. i found this


Lacto Bacilli
One of the major workhorse beneficial indigenous microorganism used in natural farming is lacto bacilli. This particular beneficial microorganism is popularly used in composting that specifically arrest foul odors associated with anaerobic decomposition. Lactic acid bacteria thrive and feed on the ammonia released in the decomposition normally associated with foul odors. So if you need to decompose or ferment wastes less foul odors, lactic acid bacteria is the specific bacteria to use. Its application in organic farming is enormous. In aquaculture, one of the problem is related to water quality. Poor water quality stresses the fish which in turn stunts their growth and affects their health. This is very evident specially on high density and tank aquaculture. The ammonia produced through fish excretions pollute the water and stress the fish. With regular addition of this beneficial microorganisms to the water, this ammonia problem is minimized, if not fully arrested. It helps hasten or complete the denitrification or converting wastes into forms not harmful to fish.
Spraying diluted solution of lactic acid bacteria serum to the plant and soil helps plant growth and makes them more healthy. As it is applied to the soil or the leaves, these beneficial bacteria aid in the decomposition process, thus allowing more food to be available and assimilated by the plant.
Lactic acid bacteria is also known to produce enzymes and natural antibiotics aiding effective digestion and has antibacterial properties, including control of salmonella and e. coli. To farmers, what are observed are the general health of the plants and animals, better nutrient assimilation, feed conversion and certain toxins eliminations.
Here’s a simple method of collecting this type of microorganism. Lactic acid bacteria can be collected from the air. Pour rice wash (solution generated when you wash the rice with water) on a container like plastic pot with lid. Allow air gap at least 50-75% of the container. The key here is the air space. Cover the (not vacuum tight, allowing air still to move into the container) container with lid loosely. Put the container in a quiet area with no direct sunlight. Allow the rice wash to ferment for at least 5-7 days. Lactic acid bacteria will gather in 5-7 days when temperature is 20-25 degrees C. Rice bran will be separated and float in the liquid, like a thin film, smelling sour. Strain and simply get the liquid. Put this liquid in a bigger container and pour ten parts milk. The original liquid has been infected with different type of microbes including lacto bacilli. And in order to get the pure lacto bacilli, saturation of milk will eliminate the other microorganisms and the pure lacto bacilli will be left. You may use skim or powdered milk, although fresh milk is best. In 5-7 days, carbohydrate, protein and fat will float leaving yellow liquid (serum), which contain the lactic acid bacteria. You can dispose the coagulated carbohydrate, protein and fat, add them to your compost pile or feed them to your animals. The pure lactic acid bacteria serum can be stored in the refrigerator or simply add equal amount of crude sugar (dilute with 1/3 water) or molasses. Do not use refined sugar as they are chemically bleached and may affect the lactic acid bacteria. The sugar or molasses will keep the lactic acid bacteria alive at room temperature. One to one ratio is suggested although sugar, regardless of quantity is meant simply, serving as food for the bacteria to keep them alive. Now, these lactic acid bacteria serum with sugar or molasses will be your pure culture. To use, you can dilute this pure culture with 20 parts water. Make sure water is not chemically treated with, like chlorine. Remember, we are dealing with live microorganisms and chlorine can kill them. This diluted form 1:20 ratio will be your basic lactic acid bacteria concoction. Two to four tablespoons added to water of one gallon can be used as your basic spray and can be added to water and feeds of animals. For bigger animals, the 2-4 tablespoons of this diluted lactic acid bacteria serum should be used without diluting it further with water. Lactic acid bacteria serum can be applied to plant leaves to fortify phyllosphere microbes, to soil and compost. Of course, it will help improve digestion and nutrient assimilation for animals and other applications mentioned before. For any kind of imbalance, be it in the soil or digestive system, lacto bacilli can be of help.
One of the popular beneficial microorganism innoculants from Japan (EM) contains lactic acid bacteria as its major component, including photosynthetic bacteria, yeasts, actinomycetes and fermenting fungi. These are pure culture imported from Japan and can be subcultured through the use of sugar or molasses. These other microbes can be cultured in several ways by farmers themselves.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

Post  camprn on 7/12/2010, 10:24 pm

A friend of mine was telling me that she is using raw milk for foliar feeding some of the vegetables in her garden. I cannot remember what she is putting it on, but she swears that it is helping the plants... :suspect: I'm going to visit her in a few days and see how she's doing that... interesting.

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Re: Reusing Mel's Mix?

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