Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» What are you eating from your garden today?
by Cajun Cappy Today at 9:40 am

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals Today at 9:14 am

» Root Knot Nematodes - PROGRESS!
by dstack Today at 6:02 am

» Our 2017 garden makeover
by sanderson Today at 1:17 am

» How's the Weather Where You're At?
by sanderson Yesterday at 10:55 pm

» Plant ID
by No_Such_Reality Yesterday at 8:24 pm

» Senseless Banter...
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 3:44 pm

» Third Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 2:04 pm

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing February 2017?
by Kelejan Yesterday at 1:07 pm

» Western Mount/High Plains: Seed Planting Dates zone 5b
by RoOsTeR Yesterday at 8:58 am

» I'll get my Texas garden right yet
by RoOsTeR Yesterday at 8:57 am

» Roots...information....
by MrBooker Yesterday at 6:19 am

» Is this wood correct for building box?
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:42 am

» Hello from IA Zone 5
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:38 am

» Feedback for my 2017 garden plan
by sanderson Yesterday at 2:10 am

» ticks
by camprn 2/20/2017, 11:18 pm

» N&C Midwest: February 2017
by CitizenKate 2/20/2017, 10:58 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG
by BeetlesPerSqFt 2/20/2017, 10:15 pm

» Peppers with black spots
by camprn 2/20/2017, 10:10 pm

» February 2017 Avatar: Time to Wake Up!
by sanderson 2/20/2017, 9:37 pm

» broccoli stunted
by yolos 2/20/2017, 9:34 pm

» Butterfly Junction
by countrynaturals 2/20/2017, 6:10 pm

» Sanderson - Virtual Roadtrip Flyover
by trolleydriver 2/20/2017, 4:24 pm

» Carrot Week 2017!
by Goosegirl 2/20/2017, 3:53 pm

» Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...
by trolleydriver 2/20/2017, 3:52 pm

» Spring Fever Anyone?
by newbeone 2/20/2017, 3:15 pm

» The raised bed of my dreams!
by ralitaco 2/19/2017, 9:20 pm

» Help - Building new raised beds
by ralitaco 2/19/2017, 9:06 pm

» Microbes...you gotta see this one !!!
by jimmy cee 2/19/2017, 8:20 pm

» 2017 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by yolos 2/19/2017, 5:41 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

How to start with your own dirt...

View previous topic View next topic Go down

How to start with your own dirt...

Post  Jenny on 3/4/2011, 6:37 pm

I have a home where the boxes are already built. I have three boxes that are 10 feet by 4 feet. I want to use one of them for SFG (this is my first time trying it). Since they already have dirt in them, how do I incorporate MM? Should I dig out a bunch of the dirt and add the new stuff or can I mix them together or what?
I know that the soil is not great - I tried tomatoes last year and they had problems! I'm hoping that I can perk that area back up and get some great yields!
Thanks.

Jenny

Posts : 2
Join date : 2011-03-04
Location : Chico, CA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  kimbertangleknot on 3/4/2011, 6:56 pm

What I've had to do with fill dirt in our yard when my garden was in the ground:

I used a tiller (so slightly different but bear with me) and tilled up the ground a little. I then bought some rich cow manure and a few bags of miracle grow soil, spread half of what I had on top of the tilled earth, tilled it again. Then I did the process with the rest and just used a garden rake to even it all out.

It worked like a charm and I had so many tomatoes that I couldn't keep up with it all. I actually just tried to give up and neglect them towards the end but they wouldn't stop producing until I ripped them up or frost took them.

In your case, I think doing something similar would work and it's pretty cost effective to do more than making Mel's Mix from scratch (if you don't have the money up front to do it, it's pretty pricy off the bat). It'll give you time to figure out if you want to make Mel's Mix for the next year or just work with what you have. If you want to take the time to remove the dirt fully and mix it up well, the more power to you! But if you want to do it easily and work on it year after year until the dirt is nice and rich it's a good way to go.

Just my opinion though!

kimbertangleknot

Female Posts : 274
Join date : 2010-06-21
Age : 35
Location : Charlotte, NC -+- Zone 7

View user profile http://www.moonflyart.com

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/4/2011, 7:02 pm

Jenny

We are really glad you joined us.

@Jenny wrote:I want to use one of them for SFG (this is my first time trying it). Since they already have dirt in them, how do I incorporate MM? Should I dig out a bunch of the dirt and add the new stuff or can I mix them together or what?


If you have Mel's Mix, it would be better not to mix it with your existing soil if you can avoid it. Mixing MM with your soil would dilute the proportion of nutrients from your compost, fluffiness of your peat and water retention of your vermiculite, it could also bring in unwanted weed seeds.

To use your Mel's Mix and get great results, you could dig out the dirt already in the selected bed, place a layer of weed barrier, fill the bed with MM and top with a grid. Then you are ready to roll. Digging is really hard work!

Another option would be to build up the height of your existing box by adding an additional row of 2" X 6" lumber, adding a layer of weed block and filling the box with your Mel's Mix. Top it with a grid and get ready to plant!

I made an assumption that the bed is surrounded by wood. We have other members that have used cinder blocks, plastic panels and other materials.


I hope you find an easy solution to your situation.

Furbalsmom

Female Posts : 3141
Join date : 2010-06-10
Age : 70
Location : Coastal Oregon, Zone 9a, Heat Zone 2 :(

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/4/2011, 8:24 pm

I was thinking the exact same thing. Like Mel says, "Build up."

You already have dirt you don't want to deal with. So, just take one of your "extra" boxes and put it on top of your existing box. Fill with MM, and you've done all you need to do.

However, if $$ is an issue, you could do something really fun. 1) amend the soil you have with some versions of potting soil, top soil, composts, manures, peat moss, vermiculite, etc, and see how close you get. And, 2) start saving for MM ingredients. When you have the cash, move one of the extra boxes, or build one (the wood is the cheapest part of the SFG), and put MM in that one.

Compare the two over a growing season, and see which outperforms which.

My first year with SFG, I had to modify things slightly. I added some river top soil as "filler" and mixed it in. I still got a great yield, but it wasn't "true SFG" according to Mel. So, this year, I banked some gift cards for Christmas and bought the proper ratios. Now, I don't have that on my mind. But, I totally understand for those that do.

Choice is yours. Try and show us a picture...whatever you decide. And, welcome.

BackyardBirdGardner

Male Posts : 2727
Join date : 2010-12-25
Age : 43
Location : St. Louis, MO

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  camprn on 3/4/2011, 10:31 pm

Hi Jenny, to the forum. I have gardened for many years and all the ingredients used in Mel's Mix are classic soil amendments and conditioners. If you are not up for removing the existing soil, you may opt to add the peat, vermiculite, but add more importantly compost, to the bed and mix it with your existing dirt. There is no doubt that you will get better results than you had last year. Here are a few informational links
soil amendments

more

Soil Health

I would encourage you to avoid adding anything sold as Potting soil, top soil or garden soil.

All the best for your Happy garden! sunny

camprn

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 14075
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 54
Location : Keene, NH, USA ~ Zone 5a

View user profile http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-week

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  windrider1967 on 3/10/2011, 3:08 pm

This has been a real question of mine. I was having problems finding the vermiculite, and now that I have it is $30 for 4cf. I was planning on using my existing soil, adding 2 of bags of manure and 3 cf of peat moss. Would it be a waste to buy a bag or two of the verm and split it between the 9 beds, or just get it as I can and save for next year. If a little would be a waste then it really isn't worth doing it.

windrider1967

Female Posts : 87
Join date : 2011-03-03
Age : 49
Location : delmarva peninsula

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Experiment

Post  Jenny on 3/10/2011, 3:29 pm

I decided to do a little experiment. I have three 4x10 beds. In one, I used just regular 10-10-10 fertilizer. In one I did it exactly as it explains it in the book - 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost. With the left over mixture, I put it in with the dirt in my third box. It is too expensive this year for me to do all three boxes with the good stuff, so I figure if all goes as well as the book says it will, I can do one box each year.

Jenny

Posts : 2
Join date : 2011-03-04
Location : Chico, CA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  camprn on 3/10/2011, 6:17 pm

I could not afford the Vermiculite either, so that is why I bought the seed starting mix, which is made from peat and vermiculite and perlite. I added that and compost together right on top of the dirt I put the boxes upon. It worked quite well for me. Mel advises in his book that if you cannot get vermiculite or perlite, extra compost is the way to go. If you can get a hold of leaf mold that would be great too. The idea about adding the V. or P. is to help the mix hold water. If you choose to go with extra compost instead, you can always use mulch to help the bed retain water.

camprn

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 14075
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 54
Location : Keene, NH, USA ~ Zone 5a

View user profile http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-week

Back to top Go down

Re: How to start with your own dirt...

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum