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
» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by AtlantaMarie Today at 6:25 am

» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 10:32 pm

» Mid-South: December 2016
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 10:26 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 10:24 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 10:21 pm

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 10:15 pm

» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 8:06 pm

» Holy snow Batman!
by donnainzone5 Yesterday at 4:40 pm

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 4:06 pm

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 4:01 pm

» Amaranth
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 12:06 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 12:03 pm

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by donnainzone5 Yesterday at 11:14 am

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee Yesterday at 9:08 am

» New England, December 2016
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:09 am

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by countrynaturals 12/4/2016, 2:04 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by audrey.jeanne.roberts 12/4/2016, 1:28 pm

» December 2016 Avatar: Show your Winter Season Colors!
by Scorpio Rising 12/3/2016, 11:17 pm

» SFG not giving the results I expected
by No_Such_Reality 12/3/2016, 7:21 pm

» New Member
by trolleydriver 12/3/2016, 4:14 pm

» First season SFG results / lessons learned
by countrynaturals 12/3/2016, 10:36 am

» Eat Broccoli Leaves? Brussels Sprouts? Cauliflower?
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:55 am

» Winter's Coming!
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:53 am

» Dry versus fresh spices to infuse vinegar
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:50 am

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 1:28 am

» Senseless Banter...
by MrBooker 12/2/2016, 5:17 pm

» Blanching and Freezing Vegetables
by sanderson 12/2/2016, 4:59 pm

» Your Christmas wish list?
by sanderson 12/2/2016, 4:29 pm

» SFG Adventure of a first time gardener in ND
by sanderson 12/2/2016, 4:14 pm

» Fusion Life Brands Power XL pressure cooker
by CapeCoddess 12/2/2016, 2:39 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

"Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

View previous topic View next topic Go down

"Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Blackrose on 3/26/2011, 6:11 pm

Ok... Colour me confused! I'm trying my darndest to get 5 different types of compost this year. Last year I only had 3 and my SFG didn't do as well as I would have liked. I also noticed that the composts that I used last year were all blended with Peat. That means that my 1:1:1 ratio was off and may explain my problems last year.

Now, here is my current dilemma. Just about every bag of compost I can find has some sort of Peat in it. There are no percentages anywhere on the bag and the companies I have contacted for more information were not very helpful. So, when I make my MM I'm guessing I should leave some peat moss out? This totally throws the whole ratio out for me and I have no idea what to do.

Also, I have searched until I'm blue in the face about what Peat Humus is. Some say it is a type of compost - Fully composted Peat Moss. Others say it's fully composted organic matter. Other's say it's just like peat moss but broken down more. So I shouldn't count it as compost?

I have found a product called "Organic Compost" that contains Peat Humus, Peat Fibre, Horse Manure, Vegetable Compost and "may contain cattle manure". How many composts can I count this as? 2? 3?

Please help my awesome SFG friends! I love you I love you

Blackrose

Female Posts : 710
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 43
Location : Aurora, Ontario, Zone 5a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 7:45 pm

I would like to know about this too. I bought "organic humus" as 1/5 of my compost, so I hope I did right. Here is the Wikipedia article on humus, which I just found and read a moment ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humus

Megan

Female Posts : 3350
Join date : 2010-04-27
Age : 49
Location : Manassas, VA - Zone 7a

View user profile http://novasquarefootgardener.blogspot.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Blackrose on 3/26/2011, 7:54 pm

Thanks for the link Megan. Unfortunately, I think it confused me more. LOL! It would be really nice to get a straight answer about humus that makes sense. frustration

I think my main concern right now though is if I should be decreasing the amount of Peat Moss I add to my mix. Why do they have to mix it with the compost? I guess they can't trust the average gardener to figure out how to mix it themselves? dangit

Blackrose

Female Posts : 710
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 43
Location : Aurora, Ontario, Zone 5a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 7:58 pm

It sure does sound like they are trying to mix it for you. :scratch:

Once I get all my MM materials, I'll post the list and details. I'm not sure it's perfect, but it's "As Good as It Gets". (A very funny movie, by the way.) I do plan on getting it tested at my extension office to see if there are any glaring deficiencies.

Megan

Female Posts : 3350
Join date : 2010-04-27
Age : 49
Location : Manassas, VA - Zone 7a

View user profile http://novasquarefootgardener.blogspot.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Blackrose on 3/26/2011, 8:15 pm

It would just be nice if they put the percentages on the bag so us SFGers know how to adjust our mix! Twisted Evil

I think I'm going to put less peat moss into my mix to accommodate the peat that's already in the composts. I just haven't figured out how much less yet.

I'm looking forward to hearing if everyone thinks my "Organic Compost" is 2 or 3 types. And what the heck is Peat Humus????

Blackrose

Female Posts : 710
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 43
Location : Aurora, Ontario, Zone 5a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  walshevak on 3/26/2011, 8:31 pm

My vote is for 2 and that the majority of the stuff is peat. That's what I'm finding on so much of the "composts" and soil amendments - about 60-80% peat. Since my peat bales were 3.2 cu ft compressed, I left it at that and added extra bags of the other stuff. I was mixing 60 cu ft so needed 20-20-20 and wound up with 19.2-20-21

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

walshevak

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4310
Join date : 2010-10-17
Age : 73
Location : wilmington, nc zone 8

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  boffer on 3/26/2011, 8:36 pm

I vote for 2.
Remember that blends are heavy on the cheap stuff, but I don't know how to tell how much.
I think you should have swung by camprn's on the way home from Florida last summer and got some good stuff!

boffer

Male Posts : 7392
Join date : 2010-02-26
Age : 63
Location : yelm, wa, usa

View user profile http://boffer.us/

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Blackrose on 3/26/2011, 8:54 pm

Thanks for the replies! So are you voting that Peat Humus is NOT a type of compost then? I was planning on getting cattle manure, sheep manure, mushroom compost(if I can find it) and maybe one bag of that Magic Meeker's Mix (fish compost) for good measure. Am I just going too nuts now? Razz

I'm going with the more is more club and making 12 CF of MM for each 4x4 (6 inches). I know it's recommended to only put 8 CF, but I've read that adding more because of settling may be a good idea. So, if I make 12CF per 4x4 times 3, plus an extra 12CF to top up my two 3x4's from last year, that makes 48CF of MM that I need to make.

Knowing all that and the fact that all of my composts will probably have peat of some sort in them, how much peat should I use to make my mix? I have two 3.8CF bales, which doubles to approximately 8CF each for a total of 16CF of Peat Moss. Too much? I'm starting to think I may just use one bale and make up the rest in bags of compost.

Am I over thinking this??

Funny boffer!! Laughing

Blackrose

Female Posts : 710
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 43
Location : Aurora, Ontario, Zone 5a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  rowena___. on 3/26/2011, 9:33 pm

more compost is never a bad thing, in fact you could use all compost and no peat or vermiculite and grow a very happy, healthy garden.

rowena___.

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 438
Join date : 2011-01-06
Location : nashville, TN

View user profile http://www.romesticity.com, www.rostitchery.com, www.the-ella-ec

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Blackrose on 3/26/2011, 9:38 pm

@rowena___. wrote:more compost is never a bad thing, in fact you could use all compost and no peat or vermiculite and grow a very happy, healthy garden.

Thanks rowena, I know I can grow in just compost. But I want to stay true to SFG and use MM. And I know it's not an exact science, but I want to get it as close as I can. These compost manufacturers are just not making it easy by adding Peat as a filler.

Blackrose

Female Posts : 710
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 43
Location : Aurora, Ontario, Zone 5a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

compost

Post  westie42 on 3/27/2011, 12:17 am

Humus is a prime component of good topsoil. I would count that as 3 types. Peat that is composted to me is no longer peat but now is compost. I also found Mushroom compost, Cotton compost and worm casing compost at a local farm seed and feed store as well as the usual organic mix, sheep manure compost and cow.... I never realized how difficult it can be in some other places to find what we take for granted here in farm country. Good luck.

westie42

Male Posts : 512
Join date : 2011-03-22
Age : 74
Location : West Union, Iowa

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/27/2011, 12:33 am

Thanks Westie!
I just asked what humus was at Ohio Mulch last week and the guy said to be honest, I have no idea, I've always assumed it's sort of like compost. So much for knowing your inventory!

Glendale-gardener

Female Posts : 293
Join date : 2011-03-10
Age : 41
Location : Cincinnati Zone 6A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  rowena___. on 3/27/2011, 9:59 am

@Blackrose wrote:
Thanks rowena, I know I can grow in just compost. But I want to stay true to SFG and use MM.

you can stay "true" to SFG and use only compost, in fact in developing countries that is exactly what the foundation teaches, as they can't get peat moss or vermiculite readily in most third-world countries. and remember, mother nature doesn't mine or harvest anything, she just lets everything fall to the ground and in time it all becomes the rich, nutritious food that sustains an entire forest.

rowena___.

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 438
Join date : 2011-01-06
Location : nashville, TN

View user profile http://www.romesticity.com, www.rostitchery.com, www.the-ella-ec

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  boffer on 3/27/2011, 7:41 pm

I hope you stay on this blended stuff like stink on mushroom compost on a hot day!
It really is becoming a problem not having any consistencies or standards. Along the same vein, I had posted elsewhere that Wal-Mart had bags of 'chicken manure' and 'Mushroom compost'. Both bags stated right on the front, and I didn't have to put my glasses on: "Contents are not a nutritional source. They are for soil amending only."
Very disappointing, but I appreciated the honesty.

Maybe we can help by having a brain storming session: where to look for retail compost? I live 10 miles from a town of 5000. This am I went to a feedstore, two nurseries, and a general department store. I could have bought three different composts at each one, I didn't count how many manufacturers there were. Do you have feed stores? (One of ours is called "Yelm Farm and Pet, the Poop Starts Here" The owner is different to say the least!) Nurseries, stables (find the old stuff)
WHERE ELSE COULD BR GO LOOKING?


It will work out one way or another. But before the frustration and irritation subsides, and you forget the pain of childbirth, how about if you start thinking seriously about how to get started on a home compost program of your own. It is the best compost of all, and you know what's in it. I know you've read about lots of different ways it can be done. Wardinwake is so creative with the stuff he comes up with for free, hopefully he'll chime in soon. In the meantime...

WHAT ARE YOU HOME COMPOSTERS FINDING THIS YEAR TO PUT IN YOUR COMPOST PILE?
grass leaves and vegetable peelings I bet, what else?





boffer

Male Posts : 7392
Join date : 2010-02-26
Age : 63
Location : yelm, wa, usa

View user profile http://boffer.us/

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  walshevak on 3/27/2011, 7:51 pm

My county extension agent steered me to this. I have my boxes filled for now, but want to collect some of this to add to my compost pile for fall or next year. Other municipalities may also have something similiar.

Nearby Pasquotank County's park known as Fun Junktion you can get free mulch. In most mulch piles that have existed for some time, you can find rotted mulch similar to compost if you dig on the bottom. Beware of new weeds which may come from seeds that survive in the mulch. One weed out there in particular is hemp sesbania, which looks like small [color:90a0= ]mimosa trees when it grows. I suggest you compost any of Fun Junktion's mulch and any manures you gather in order to digest weed seeds which may be in the raw materials you collect

Kay

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

walshevak

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4310
Join date : 2010-10-17
Age : 73
Location : wilmington, nc zone 8

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  WardinWake on 3/27/2011, 9:53 pm

Howdy Folks:

Compost and compost makings are where you find it. Keep your eyes open as you travel in your home area and your own yard. Several years ago we saw a man and his 3 sons raking leaves. They had already bagged most of them up when I stopped and asked what they were going to do with them. "Take them to the dump" was the reply, so we asked and sure, "how many bags to you want"? "All of them? You need a bigger truck!" He and his sons filled my truck with their bagged leaves (from 6 different types of trees) and my 12 foot trailer to boot. They did all the hard work and we enjoyed the results. To the leaves we added several loads of horse manure which included spent hay and bedding along with our own leaves, grass clippings and kitchen wastes. The resulting compost was magic in the garden. And yes we do have 4 large compost bins that were built from mostly scrap material that we gathered in the same manner. That was year one.

Year two was more horse manure (3 truck loads) from one farm (free - and they loaded the truck) and leaves found raked and bagged in several cities in the area. We just watch the curb for thrown "a-ways". I figure leaves from different areas and different trees will have different micro-nutrients and can count as different sources.

Year three found that it was easier for the horse farmer to bring us the manure, spent hay and bedding then it was for them to load it in our truck (it was even their idea). And we have added yet another "free for the taking" source from a different horse farmer who also has goats. And this mix is already fully composted.

If you live in the city compost makings can be easy to find as well. Just ask your neighbors for their leaves and grass clippings. Let them know what you are looking for and they will be glad to assist you.

The only compost we have purchased was one bag of "Chicken Doo Doo"( because on the bag it said,
"Do not eat") and one pallet of heavily discounted mixed broken bags from one of the big box stores. There was even a couple of broken bags of peat moss in the mixed pallet and one truck load of compost from a municipal composting facility. That truck load cost $20.00. We mix the various composts by following Mel's plan by turning from one bin to another and get a wonderful blended compost.

As your pile becomes pure compost the leaves and your other items will shrink greatly in volume so keep plenty of items coming and yes, we have enough finished compost to just about go into business and our SFGs are full as well.

Square Foot Gardening does not have to be expensive and remember that
Mel's Mix does not wear out. Just add a little more compost when you
plant or replant. Chemical fertilizer has to be added year after year
and it just tears the heart out of your soil.

God Bless and keep your eyes open. Freebees are everywhere.

Ward and Mary.

Ward and Mary.

WardinWake

Certified SFG Instructor

Male Posts : 935
Join date : 2010-02-26
Age : 66
Location : Wake, VA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Blackrose on 3/27/2011, 11:41 pm

You are all amazing and I am soaking up every last bit of information you are all posting!

I already have plans to compost. At the moment all I have is one of those black, plastic compost bins that you can buy from HD or the town. It was given to me by my father. He has also offered me another, which I think I will definitely take off his hands. Last year, as I was just starting out and didn't want to go too crazy all at once, all we did was occasionally throw some old plants from the garden, some leaves and a bit of grass. It really was not much at all. By the end of the season, it was only 1/3 full. Recently, we have been adding kitchen scraps (veggies, fruit, egg shells) as well. But, it's still cold here for the most part, so I'm sure it's not doing much.

My plan when the weather warms up and everything starts to thaw is to move this composter behind the pool where it will be more in the sun. Right now, it's in a shady spot beside my garage. I will also setup the second composter next to it and start filling that one as well. The next step is I'm going to build another larger compost bin out of chicken wire or pallets, depending on which I can get my hands on for cheap/free.

We have plenty of leaves and grass clippings that we can fill all 3 of these compost bins with. Our property is pretty big. Also, we will be eating a lot more veggies since I have expanded my SFG this year. So, scraps from those will be going in as well.

So, to make a long story... long, I do have plans to compost this year and look forward to using my own compost in my SFG in the (hopefully) near future. In the meantime, I have to buy it and as you can tell, I'm obsessing a bit over what's in it. I don't want to mess up my MM. I want to get it as close as possible to what it's supposed to be.

1:1:1 Peat Moss, Compost and Vermiculite = SFG Gold!

Blackrose

Female Posts : 710
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 43
Location : Aurora, Ontario, Zone 5a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Miss Mousie on 5/6/2011, 1:28 pm

I too struggle with finding the ingredients for Mel's Mix. I can find the vermiculite and the peat moss but the composts are almost impossible to find. I can find Steer and Chicken manure at HD and Lowes and I can find worm castings at a local nursery but the bag is 20 dry qts or 22 liters for $9.99 which is pretty expensive. I've called a couple of nurseries in the big city and although one nurseries ad in the yellow pages advertised mushroom compost, they don't carry it anymore. I've used the blended composts in my mix last year and I was light on some nutrients because I had some issues with some of my veggies. I think I had too much peat. This year I may have to use some blends but I will not use as much peat. I may have to resort to some organic fertilizers too.

I have access to rabbit and horse manure but they need to be composted and I won't be able to get that done before I need to fill the boxes. I have started a compost pile with yard clippings (not lawn but other grasses and I guess weeds), kitchen scraps, wood chips, straw and leaves, oh and some horse manure. The compost is pretty chunky still and isn't done cooking so I'm looking forward to that for the fall planting season.

At Lowe's the other day I asked one of the guys in the garden center about other sources of compost. I told him what I was trying to do and of course he talked to me like I was a complete idiot and told me I didn't need to go to the trouble and expense of making the mix I was wanting. That all I needed was some potting soil and steer manure blah, blah, blah. He probably still does row gardening.....

Anyway, I feel your pain Blackrose......you're not alone.

Miss Mousie

Female Posts : 89
Join date : 2010-03-26
Location : Sierra Nevada Foothills, California | Sunset Zone 7

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/6/2011, 1:40 pm

Miss Mousey, rabbit manure can be added without being composted. The concern is that the manure may have straw and other litter in it that does need to be comosted.

Furbalsmom

Female Posts : 3141
Join date : 2010-06-10
Age : 69
Location : Coastal Oregon, Zone 9a, Heat Zone 2 :(

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Miss Mousie on 5/6/2011, 2:14 pm

Thanks Furbalsmom, I've heard that but how do I get it to not be so....uh, chunky? You know, how do I break it down? I guess we have a sifter that we made which is a piece of hardware cloth with 1/2" holes stapled to a frame of 2X4's. I guess I would sift it through that huh? How about worms and maggots that may be in the manure? I don't want to hurt the worms and I don't really want the maggots in the mix........I'm only assuming they are in there I don't actually have the rabbit manure yet. Any thoughts?

Thanks

Miss Mousie

Female Posts : 89
Join date : 2010-03-26
Location : Sierra Nevada Foothills, California | Sunset Zone 7

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Miss M on 5/7/2011, 2:25 am

@boffer wrote:...Wal-Mart had bags of 'chicken manure' and 'Mushroom compost'. Both bags stated right on the front, and I didn't have to put my glasses on: "Contents are not a nutritional source. They are for soil amending only."
Huh? Chicken manure is a very rich source of Nitrogen. How'd they remove the nutritional value? Shocked

Miss M

Posts : 343
Join date : 2011-03-08
Location : Zone 8b, Coastal & Tropical South

View user profile http://sithrahfarm.com

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  boffer on 5/7/2011, 3:17 am

CYA marketing: put an 8 ounce cup of chicken manure in a one cubic foot bag of filler and sell it as chicken manure. Who says they can't? State on the bag that it's not good for anything but as an amendment to 'lighten up your existing soil'. A perverted sense of truth in advertising.


boffer

Male Posts : 7392
Join date : 2010-02-26
Age : 63
Location : yelm, wa, usa

View user profile http://boffer.us/

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Miss M on 5/7/2011, 10:20 am

@boffer wrote:CYA marketing: put an 8 ounce cup of chicken manure in a one cubic foot bag of filler and sell it as chicken manure. Who says they can't? State on the bag that it's not good for anything but as an amendment to 'lighten up your existing soil'. A perverted sense of truth in advertising.

GRRRRRRRRRRRR! So that's how they do it. In the words of Daffy Duck, that's "dithpicable"! Evil or Very Mad

Miss M

Posts : 343
Join date : 2011-03-08
Location : Zone 8b, Coastal & Tropical South

View user profile http://sithrahfarm.com

Back to top Go down

Re: "Blended" Composts?? Help!!!

Post  Sponsored content Today at 11:01 am


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