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Drastic settling of MM

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Drastic settling of MM

Post  milaneyjane on 10/8/2010, 7:58 pm

This year I made my beds and put in the mix. I filled the boxes to the tippy top, watered etc..... I am shocked by how much they have settled. Seriously, at least half the MM is gone/settled. There is no way I will have enough compost by spring for all the boxes so I will be purchasing bagged compost again. $$$$$$$ Tell me it won't be like this each spring!
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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  Megan on 10/8/2010, 8:04 pm

How much did you start with, and end up with? Mine did settle a bit.
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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  boffer on 10/8/2010, 8:12 pm

A 4x4 takes 8 cf of MM, mathematically, and that's what Mel suggests in his book. I have been recommending starting with 10 because I know it shrinks. But I've been starting with 11 or 12, because it does shrink as much as you say. Eventually, after adding compost each time I replant, the settling nearly stops.
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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  camprn on 10/8/2010, 9:28 pm

Mine didn't shrink too, too badly, but it was not true MM, there was a bit of the local soil mixed up from the bottom of the box. Not sure if that made the difference or not. :idea: Today's plan involves adding some worm rich local dairy compost into the beds with fresh grass clippings and shredded leaves this autumn. We'll see how that goes. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  Chopper on 10/8/2010, 10:49 pm

Mine settled quite a bit, too. It had a direct correlation to how strapped I was at the time I filled the box. Smile That is why I bought compost in bulk. Each bed will need 2-3 inches added if I want to bring it back to the top. I am also thinking of getting more vermiculite and adding it to each box as I did scrimp on that but I love it.

I wonder if you can get some free manure in your area. Most horse places welcome gardeners who are willing to haul it away. Some horse manure and maybe leaves and grass clippings should add a lot of bulk and nutrients to the box by next spring I would assume. That way if you still have to add compost then the amount would be minimized.

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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  CarolynPhillips on 10/8/2010, 11:10 pm

LOL Boffer------inquiring minds want to know
I say it is multitasking.



any bed with organic matter is goin to decompose and shrink to a certain point----like Boffer said......evenually the shrinkage lessons.... In the beginning we put a lot of organic matter into the bed and have big shrinkage..........later we only put a little at a time so the shrinkage looks less.
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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  sceleste54 on 10/8/2010, 11:56 pm

The level in my beds dropped 4 to 5 inches over the course of the summer. I've added 2 bags ( 2 cubic feet each) in each bed of a generic potting mix that looks just like the MM I made from scratch, except it has perlite in it instead of vermiculite. We'll see how it works for the fall season.

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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  milaneyjane on 10/9/2010, 11:46 am

Yep, mine settled 4-5 inches as well. Where I really see it is in the beds that are 16 inches tall......yikes!!! Shocked Mine is true MM and like I said, I watered and filled, watered and filled before planting to help with "shrinkage". My neighbor better watch his compost pile..... Wink
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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  LaFee on 10/9/2010, 11:50 am

plus it was all dry and fluffy when we first built our boxes...it's had time to settle over the summers, so just like that box of cereal that looks half full -- some settling may occur.

I've lost about 2" on mine...so I'll top it up some in the spring when I build my 2nd box.

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Re: Drastic settling of MM

Post  Retired Member 1 on 10/10/2010, 10:22 am

Mine settled about 1/3. I've added both purchased and homemade compost as I've harvested. Thankfully I started 4 compost piles, plus had two lasagna beds that were in a temporary place. So by next spring my boxes will be filled to the brim again, this time with some sandy loam mixed in to make the mix a bit heavier (and I hope more productive). It is disappointing to spend that much $$ to see it shrink away.

I found a bonanza last month -- Scotts humus and manure for 99 cents a bag. I purchased nine bags which is all the store had left. It has three different kinds of manure/compost, so mixed with my own, makes a good mix.

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shrinkage

Post  ander217 on 10/11/2010, 8:27 am

My beds shrank a lot, too. However, I don't think we watered ours enough when filling. I learned that it takes a LOT of water to hydrate some brands of peat moss. Ours must have been harvested from the Sahara. Smile

(I also learned too late that many folks with the deeper boxes fill the lower halves of them with things other than MM, such as straw. Wish I'd known that before I put 12 inches of MM in my first 4' x 4' x 12".)
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