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I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

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I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  FLgirl-in-SC on 3/22/2011, 8:57 pm

Help! I am new to the area (Beaufort SC) and the only compost that I can find is cow and mushroom!!! I spent the entire day last Saturday driving around Beaufort and Bluffton only to find that most of the stores only carry the two choices. I need to get my veggies in the ground and ordering from online is totally out of the question. I actually found vermiculite at a little feed and seed but they did not carry any compost. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? If I use only two different kinds of compost is my garden going to suffer? affraid

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  walshevak on 3/22/2011, 9:42 pm

check the labels on the bags of composts/soil amendments. Lowes carries one that is a blend of chicken and wood products. Also, mushroom compost is usually a blend as well. http://www.mushroomcompost.org/

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  WardinWake on 3/22/2011, 10:28 pm

@FLgirl-in-SC wrote:Help! I am new to the area (Beaufort SC) and the only compost that I can find is cow and mushroom!!! I spent the entire day last Saturday driving around Beaufort and Bluffton only to find that most of the stores only carry the two choices. I need to get my veggies in the ground and ordering from online is totally out of the question. I actually found vermiculite at a little feed and seed but they did not carry any compost. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? If I use only two different kinds of compost is my garden going to suffer? affraid

Howdy FL:

Check with your local horse farms. Many times they will have lots and lots of composted manure that is ready to go. Many will also give it away and some will also load it for free. Take a truck! Many times horse manure can be counted as three sources as you will have the manure, shavings (bedding), and spent hay in their compost. Check with the county folks as some counties now have a composting facility near the main dump/landfill. If you have a zoo nearby check and see if they have or sell zoo-poo. Elephants make big piles! If you do find zoo-poo make sure it is from non-meat eating animals only. No Lions, Tigers or Bears oh-my.

If you cannot find any other sources than two you are ahead of the game by one. In other words two beats one. Go ahead and use the two you have and add more as you find it. Just mix the other types in your Mel's Mix by placing it near your plant's roots or add as a top dressing. The roots will find the nutrients they need. When you harvest a square then mix that square and replant with the next seasons plants or seeds. So if you harvest spring veggies and follow that with summer veggies mix the square before re-planting.

Do your best and God Will Do the Rest.
Ward Barnes
SFG Teacher
Vermont Class 2010

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  boffer on 3/22/2011, 10:33 pm

@FLgirl-in-SC wrote:If I use only two different kinds of compost is my garden going to suffer? affraid

Welcome to the forum.

One compost=potatoes
Two composts=potatoes and veggies
Three composts=potatoes, veggies, and fruit
Four composts=potatoes, veggies, fruit, and dairy
Five composts=potatoes, veggies, fruit, dairy and meat
Six composts=potatoes, veggies, fruit, dairy, meat and dessert Very Happy

Healthy living, for plants or people, is about having a balanced diet. The less effort you put into finding composts, the more effort you'll put into learning about and how to use amendments.

SFG is a type of intensive gardening system: growing more produce in less space. A quality soil medium is critical to your success. I'm sure someone in your area will have some suggestions about where you can find composts.

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  middlemamma on 3/22/2011, 10:53 pm

You have to think outside the box in order to grow veggies IN the box! Smile

Try your local craigslist...sometimes farms/dairies etc will beg you to come haul their piles away. You are going to be warned about chemicals that may have been sprayed on the grass the animal ate so be sure to ask.

Call your local 4 H group and see if they have a meeting you can come to and ask for compost, try your local ag department at a college or high school if they have one.

The poo is out there....many times in a huge pile off to the side of a guys property and has been sitting there FOREVER and is free for the taking....you just have to think outside the box!

Mels Mix can be an undertaking to get it made but it is so worth it in the end. Keep trying, you will find the ingredients.
Jen

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  staf74 on 3/22/2011, 11:24 pm

I really would not get hung up on the five types of compost. You really are only looking for a nutrient source for the plants to complete the medium you have built with peat moss and vermiculite. I have mentioned this somewhere before (i think but too lazy to search posts) but go for as many compost types as you can, then look for some other organic balanced fertilizers to supplement that list. I too had this exact issue but then found the Espoma line of veggie fertilizer to answer my prayers (so many varied ingredients: cottonseed meal, composted poultry manure, bone meal, beneficial bacteria etc...all great additions in one bag.) Now you only need a few cups or so per box so you will need to add a little more peat moss and vermiculite to bulk the medium or perhaps more of the particular compost you found (still aim as close as you can for thirds of each though) but there are so many great varieties of "veggie food" out there even at Lowes (who sells Espoma amongst others). Fish emulsion and Kelp meal are great and also sold at Lowes (at least my one does:) and you can use some of these as a liquid fertilizer adding to watering to periodically boost your plants if they need it for lack of original compost types. I only had composted cow manure, mushroom compost and the "black cow" available to me but used the others mentioned and then found some worm castings at a local nursery also. Suddenly I had too many sources !!!

So my compost types were only three (of which two were cow) but my nutritional variety was waayyy beyond 5 in the end. Perhaps closer to 10 with all the ingredients combined in the balanced fertilizer and perhaps overkill but garden went nuts and clearly loved it.

Like Middlemama said, think outside the box (or outside the compost box that is) and widen your search to include other proven organic nutritional sources. You then will be spoiled for choice. After all, hydroponic growers don't even use soil and claim outstanding results. As Boffer said, its simply about providing the balance they need.

my 2 Cents for what its worth. Good luck Smile

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  middlemamma on 3/23/2011, 3:11 am

Yes you can fertilize etc...but if you have five composts to begin with and you do whatever you have to do to get them, you will spend a lot less $ on the organic fertilizers and time applying them in the long run. 5 really is important. Can you do it without the 5? Yes of course. But if you are trying Mel's way...then try it Mel's way. Don't change the recipe before you even get a chance to try it and see how great it works. ESPECIALLY if you have already obtained Vermiculite and Peat...you are on the home stretch now! Don't give up!

If I told you to go ahead and make whatever changes you want to make it easy as possible for you I would be doing you a disservice. I will instead encourage you to find the 5 composts come heck or high water and see how wonderful your results are. Smile

Mel is no different than any other professional you might seek advice from. He gave his advice in the book. It's up to you to take or leave the advice...but like if your doctor tells you you need to do X or Z will happen, if you don't take the advice then you probably shouldn't complain to the Dr. that Z happened, right?

Jen
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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

Post  staf74 on 3/23/2011, 7:56 am

What happened to me is something I see in others reporting here on the forum "desperate" to get going. You first get your beds built and squared away, you search and eventually find the peat moss and vermicu-who? as some of the various garden centers replied. Then, and only then, do you struggle to find 5 sources of compost BUT need to start because the season is rapidly approaching or has already begun and mother nature is not waiting for you. In a frenzied panic you troll everywhere in vain to find the blended compost needed only to max out on two or three for some reason. AGH...now what?

If you have time, go for it. Keep looking because being as close to Mel's Mix as you can is where you ought to be, no doubt. However, you can make it through the season to get you going by supplementing what you missed out on but be sure to search for it during the season to add it the next.

Following the book is the recipe for success with a couple of tweaks here and there for your own personal success.

Good Luck Very Happy

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Re: I can't find 5 different types of compost where I live!

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