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Help with compost please

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Help with compost please

Post  Karl.Gibbs on 3/20/2010, 11:29 pm

Did any of you purchase your compost when you started SFG? My boxes are built and I'm ready to start, but I am having trouble finding 5 different kinds of compost, which is what Mel recommends.

If you did purchase your compost, what kinds and where? So far I have only been able to track down Mushroom, Cow Manure, and Hummus.

Thanks for any help you can offer this beginner.

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Different stores, different brands

Post  SirTravers on 3/20/2010, 11:35 pm

There's not a whole lot of choice here in my corner of NM so here's what I did. I got a bag of compost and a bag of steer manure at Walmart, got a bag of Hummus from Lowes, got a bag of composted cottonseed hulls and a bag of mixed chicken poo/worm castings at my local garden center. I could have gotten another bag of compost at Home Depot, but it seemed to be the same stuff that Walmart had this year so I opted not to. If you know of any stables or dairies around you might talk to them as I'm sure they'll let you have all the "byproduct" you can handle.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  mckr3441 on 3/21/2010, 12:00 am

Welcome Karl, to the SFG Forums.
This is a very good place to post questions. Usually they get lots of responses! Let me be the first.

You are on your way to a good Mel's Mix. Have you tried looking in different kinds of stores? I go around to the nurseries, WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot and local hardware stores. You can also try country feed stores. They often have unexpected kinds. Pine-fines are one I found. Chicken manure is good, also worm castings (which have another name and I can't remember what it is). I checked on Craigs List once and found free aged horse manure! Once you get going, you will probably want to start a compost pile. Then next year you will have at least one less type to find. I compost kitchen scraps, leaves and garden waste -- no weeds though. That gives me three kinds right there.

Don't forget the spaghnum peat moss and the dreaded vermiculite. Look for the ver. at all those places too.

Keep us posted on how you fare. I'm pretty certain you'll get more advice here.

Happy Gardening.

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Compost

Post  chexmix on 3/21/2010, 12:42 am

I found three different kinds at Lowe's. They had cow compost and mushroom compost made by black gold (I think) and they also have there own brand of compost. I purchased my 4th brand at Wal-Mart. I could not find a fifth kind.

This is my first year doing SFG and it has been fun. I planted about 1 week ago and my radishes are starting to sprout. Found first bit of life today.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  LupinFarm on 3/21/2010, 1:25 am

I couldn't find more than "3" composts. I'm not sure what the Vigoro has in it, but it says "all natural material" so I'm thinking its something of a green-matter compost. I could get Sheep, Cow, and a "All-purpose" compost and that was it! I do have on hand some horse, goat, chicken, and duck poo-tea but most of it, aside from the duck, isn't all the way composted unfortunately. Although I did put some of the horse in my carrot bed...

If you live in a rural area you will have an easy time talking to riding schools, and people on *small* plots of land who keep horses or goats about taking away some manure. Those living on smaller plots will have a harder time hiding the poop and may even have signs up. Like for instance, if you lived around here I'd move the big mare and say have at it so you could start your own manure pile. Dairies and cow farms are highly unlikely to give away manure, these people rely on the poop to dress and augment their fields. I know this, I live adjacent to about 250 arcres of hay and corn fields that get spread with cow manure regularly Smile

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Karl.Gibbs on 3/21/2010, 7:38 am

So far we have shopped the local Garden center, Lowes, and Wal-Mart. Those are the only stores in our immediate area.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  mckr3441 on 3/21/2010, 12:18 pm

@Karl.Gibbs wrote:So far we have shopped the local Garden center, Lowes, and Wal-Mart. Those are the only stores in our immediate area.

Ou... that's not good. Have they put out all their spring/summer inventory yet? Maybe you are just too early. I can't remember where you are located. I'm in 5b/Northern Ohio and our stuff isn't all out yet at those stores.

If you can get to the country, try feed and seed stores.

Keep checking back here for more input and let us know where you finally pick this stuff up. It's time-consuming, I know. Can you look at it as a good scavenger hunt and have some fun with it??? Or do you feel like this:

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Karl.Gibbs on 3/21/2010, 4:40 pm

I'm located in Southern IL--Zone 5. Believe I have located some horse manure. That will make 4 kinds and I'm thinking of going ahead and mixing, rather than hunting for a fifth kind.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  mckr3441 on 3/21/2010, 6:04 pm

Oh! I'm so glad you didn't give up . I would go ahead at this point to if I were you. You can add a fifth kind to the leftover soil when you find it. Then when you amend the soil during replanting you'll be good to go for sure.

Have you found vermiculite? And I'm sure you have your peat moss too. Right.

Happy Gardening. It really is fun. Keep coming back.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/21/2010, 10:56 pm

This may seem odd, but try calling your local dump and sewer plant. They tend to have compost for really low prices that's made from various sources in order to reduce filling up the landfills. Don't worry about it being nasty, before they sell it they have to make sure there are no pathogens any other nasty stuff.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Cross_stitcher on 3/22/2010, 12:05 am

Regarding the use of end-product from the sewage treatment plant, I did just that in the 1970s. This plant was in Santa Barbara, CA. The sludge was dried and sort of clumpy. (btw, there was no odor, but plenty of bandaids and later, tomato volunteers.) Before I could load the sludge, I had to sign an agreement that I would NOT grow root crops that were to be eaten raw. Since my SFG is a table-top style, growing radishes, onions and carrots, I won't be using sewage sludge any more. but when I did, I filled two long beds beside my driveway with the sludge. I grew fabulous beans and a climbling rose in this bed grew 25'. I remember this was 1976 (bicentennial year) and I planted it with red-white-blue annuals. The flowers were tremendous.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  WardinWake on 3/22/2010, 6:23 am

Howdy:

Many municipal dumps have a composting facility that do not have sewage sludge. It is made from leaves, grass, and other brown and green items brought in by folks who don't do their own composting. Check with the facility and they will tell you the sources of their compost.

God Bless, Ward.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/22/2010, 10:37 pm

@Cross_stitcher wrote:Regarding the use of end-product from the sewage treatment plant, I did just that in the 1970s. This plant was in Santa Barbara, CA. The sludge was dried and sort of clumpy. (btw, there was no odor, but plenty of bandaids and later, tomato volunteers.) Before I could load the sludge, I had to sign an agreement that I would NOT grow root crops that were to be eaten raw. Since my SFG is a table-top style, growing radishes, onions and carrots, I won't be using sewage sludge any more. but when I did, I filled two long beds beside my driveway with the sludge. I grew fabulous beans and a climbling rose in this bed grew 25'. I remember this was 1976 (bicentennial year) and I planted it with red-white-blue annuals. The flowers were tremendous.

That's interesting to hear your experience with it. I've never tried the sewer compost myself, but I have a friend that gets it every year for his garden and loves it. In my mind I've always seen it as the same as using manure from other animals, just more controlled because of the sitgma.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  beagle love on 3/23/2010, 12:15 am

I used this commercial compost it has various sources, it's by Gardner and Bloome. I also used the N'Rich from the same manufacture but I liked the Gardner and Bloome stuff much better. I also added some horse manure compost too just in case. I think I had more than five sources, the Gardner and Bloome stuff too care of like 4 sources. Everything is growing great so far. Here is the link.

http://www.kellogggarden.com/gardner-bloome-products?q=gardner-bloome-soil#farm

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  beagle love on 3/23/2010, 12:19 am

No not horse stuff, but Steer Manure. Here is what I used, not sure if its ok to post the pics. If it is not ok I apologize. [img][/img][img][/img][img][/img]

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Gardner & Bloome

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/23/2010, 10:48 am

I purchased a bag of this company's Soil-Building Compost last fall and was somewhat disappointed to find that it contained lots of uncomposted wood products. The bed I used it in has not performed as well as usual. Perhaps I purchased the wrong product?

I've had good luck with Armstrong Garden Center's Planting Compost, which contains eight ingredients and no peat moss. To that I add worm castings, Armstrong's Top Coat product (composted wood products + mushroom compost), and sometimes a supermarket organic compost made from composted forest products, yard waste, and the market's own discarded produce. Try looking at outdoor garden displays at your local grocery stores!

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  succotash on 3/10/2011, 6:42 pm

My son-in-law and I just finished building our raised garden, 24' x 24'. Unfortunately we purchased 12 cu. yards of soil upon the recommendation of a friend, which turned out to be silty loam with very little organic matter. Now I am looking for a compost to improve the condition of the soil. I tried purchasing bags of composted cow manure from Lowes. A bag covers about a sq yard of area 6 inches deep. Mixing it in with the silty loam. At 4$ a bag, it is very expensive compared to bagging compost yourself at the local nursery.

We decided to stop nickle and dime'n this to death so I just ordered 6 yards of composted soil from one of the soil companies near my home. I have a number of choices, composted horse manure, composted human waste, composted vegetable matter with sour milk, and something they call container mix, which they say is good for vegetable gardens. I do not recall everything they say is in the mix but it's all organic with nut shells, manure and vegetable matter. They also have an acid mix. That
would probably be great for potatoes.

I am thinking about going with 3 cu yards of the container mix and 3 cu yards of the sour milk compost.

I smelled all of their soils and they seem fine, no foul odors.

Do you know anything about the sour milk compost?

Am I making the proper adjustments?

Thanks,
Richard

I am also building a large flower bed near the house. Not all six yards is going in the garden.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  camprn on 3/10/2011, 7:07 pm

@succotash wrote:

I am thinking about going with 3 cu yards of the container mix and 3 cu yards of the sour milk compost.

I smelled all of their soils and they seem fine, no foul odors.

Do you know anything about the sour milk compost?

Am I making the proper adjustments?

Thanks,
Richard

I am also building a large flower bed near the house. Not all six yards is going in the garden.

That sounds like a great solution. I regularly add sour milk to my compost, I cover it when I our it in and odor is rarely a problem. I have friends that add milk to their gardens and I use dried milk and epsom salt when I transplant my tomatoes and eggplants. Good luck with your garden!

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  succotash on 3/10/2011, 7:39 pm

Thanks for the quick reply. What does the epson salt do for the plants? What amounts do you use?

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  camprn on 3/10/2011, 8:06 pm

well I use a handful (Tablespoon) of powdered milk (calcium) and a handful epsom salts (magnesium) and a match head (sulfur) in the hole before setting in the tomatoes and eggplants. Adding these I hope to ward off things like blossom end rot.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Goosegirl on 3/10/2011, 8:14 pm

@camprn wrote:well I use a handful (Tablespoon) of powdered milk (calcium) and a handful epsom salts (magnesium) and a match head (sulfur) in the hole before setting in the tomatoes and eggplants. Adding these I hope to ward off things like blossom end rot.

Great Idea! The first time I planted tomatoes in my yard here in SD I put 1 TBSP of epsom salts at the bottom of each hole and had the most beautiful plants with lots of fruit. I have not tried powdered milk and match heads, but I think I will give it a try this year!

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Lindacol on 3/11/2011, 12:16 am

I would also like more information on using milk in compost and directly in the garden. I often have extra milk from my goats. I've read some interesting articles on using it on pastures and in the garden.

I have dumped extra on trees & bushes once in a while. Last year I dumped my wash water from washing the milking machine on bushes that did well til the gophers got them. This water contains clorox and milk in small amounts and I let it set for about 8-12 hours for the chlorine to disapate before using it. Would it be ok to occassionaly use it on the SFG beds? When I use stronger chemicasl for cleaning I do not reuse that water.




@camprn wrote:
@succotash wrote:

I am thinking about going with 3 cu yards of the container mix and 3 cu yards of the sour milk compost.

I smelled all of their soils and they seem fine, no foul odors.

Do you know anything about the sour milk compost?

Am I making the proper adjustments?

Thanks,
Richard

I am also building a large flower bed near the house. Not all six yards is going in the garden.

That sounds like a great solution. I regularly add sour milk to my compost, I cover it when I our it in and odor is rarely a problem. I have friends that add milk to their gardens and I use dried milk and epsom salt when I transplant my tomatoes and eggplants. Good luck with your garden!

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  succotash on 3/11/2011, 7:09 pm

I purchased epsom salt, Nonfat powdered milk and a box of kitchen matches today.

I searched the internet to see what I could find about the use of epsom salt. I wanted to see if there are any other plants that benefit from it. I found a good explanation and research on its use. http://www.garden.org/subchannels/flowers/roses?q=show&id=68

It appears Peppers and Roses benefit from it as well. In the article, testers use it as a foliar spray at bloom time and again 10 days later (1 tablespoon Epsom Salt to a gallon of water). Established rose bushes were sprayed at 6 week intervals, starting when leaves came out and continuing through the summer (about 4 applications). Here is an excerpt from the article.

"Four out of the six testers reported that the Epsom salts-treated pepper plants and fruits were larger than the controls. For the treated roses,
testers reported greener foliage, bushier plants, and more roses than on the control plants."

Composted Soil arrives tomorrow, so I will plant tomatoes, Egg plant, and Red bell peppers just as soon as the soil is in place. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you very much for the advice.

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Re: Help with compost please

Post  Megan on 3/11/2011, 7:57 pm

I used crushed up Tums for my tomatoes and squash when I had trouble with BER last year. Seemed to help just fine.

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