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Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

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Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  jymarino on 3/29/2011, 11:30 am

I just used the MM calculator on the forum and it said that I need a total of 8 cubic feet of MM for my 4' x 4' x 6" boxes. Is that accurate? So I would need about 206 quarts of MM total? This may be a much more expensive endeavor that I originally thought.

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  Blackrose on 3/29/2011, 12:52 pm

8 cubic feet is what is recommended to fill one 4x4. It seems expensive to start, but remember, you don't have to replace it next year. Just add a trowel full of compost in each square before you plant again. So it is a one time expense and totally worth it!

You may want to start out with one 4x4 this year and then expand later to stretch out the costs.

Have fun with it! This a great way to grow your own food! Very Happy

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  boffer on 3/29/2011, 1:01 pm

Buying by the quart doesn't sound cost effective. Just to see if your shopping numbers are in the ballpark: I figure that if I have to buy vermiculite, peat, and 5 composts, that MM costs me $5 per sf. Since I make my own 5 way compost, it costs me $2 per sf for vermiculite and peat.

I know that I pay a higher price for vermiculite than a lot of members across the country.


Yes, a 4x4 box takes a minimum of 8 cf

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  Miss M on 3/29/2011, 1:04 pm

Yes, it would take 8 cubic feet... if you were making a bed that was one foot deep, then 4 feet x 4 feet x 1 foot deep would be 16 cubic feet. Cut it in half, since the bed is only half a foot deep, and you get 8 cubic feet.

It is expensive right off the top, but when you consider the results you are supposed to get (this is my first year, so I can't speak from experience yet), and when you consider the years of soil amending you are bypassing, it is worth it.

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/29/2011, 6:30 pm

You won't be wrong in doing it correctly the first year.

I know people want to play around with the mixture. All for different reasons. But, I would tell you to get it right, and keep it right, for your first few seasons. You will then know what to tweak and why.

But, for anyone starting out, I think they should strive to get to the "baseline" first. If you don't get to at least that point, how do you know the method is better?

I'm a chronic tweaker. But, I haven't played with the MM yet....and don't need to. Why reinvent the wheel?

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  middlemamma on 3/29/2011, 6:33 pm



All of the above. Smile

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  Old Hippie on 3/30/2011, 3:02 am

It seems no matter what we are doing, as humans, even though we are doing something for the very first time, we just don't want to follow instructions. And guess what........it all started in a GARDEN of all places.......so is it any wonder that as gardeners, we still are trying to do things our own way?

But I work in a paint store. Have done for 10 years. People who are painting always want to cut corners too. They want to do the paint job in one day without the proper prep and only want to pay $20.00 for a gal. of paint. Some of my customers call me "The Paint Goddess". They have learned that I will not tell them to do something the wrong way. Many of them have learned the hard way, that there is a reason we clean, rinse, sand and prime before we paint. They come to me asking, "If I prime do I have to sand?" "do I really have to do four coats of this bright red?" "Can't I have this cover in ONE if I put it on really thick?" They will not believe me that you should not paint if the overnight temp. drops below +8 Celsius. They will not believe me when I tell them that pressure treated wood should be left to weather for a season before coating it with anything. The list goes on. So in spite of everything I tell them, no matter how many data sheets I show them, many of them still walk out of the store with their paint and proceed to do things their own way. When the project turns into a disaster, some have come back to me in anger, telling me I sold them a bad product. Others have come back in tears saying "I was in a hurry and tried to do this a different way and now it is a mess. How can I fix it?" And then, at greater expense both in labour and product, they proceed to follow instructions. Sometimes the bill ends up being thousands of dollars like the guy who built a $15,000.00 deck and refused to listen when we told him not to put any coating on it the first year.

The staff at the store where I work do not tell people to buy products that they do not need. If they do not need a primer, we will tell them so, but if they need one we will also tell them so. Our job is not just to sell paint and paint brushes but to see to it that they get the very best paint job they possibly can. We go over a list and will sell them all the tools they need to do the job so they don't get halfway through the job and realize they have to stop and go to the nearest store to get something they need. We will make sure they get what they need at the best possible price we can give them. We take their purchases to their car for them. We tell them to call us if they have trouble of any kind. We have a reputation for being the best.

I have said all of that to say that Mel has worked this all out for us. He has reasons for this in the book. I know that it always seems like we have good reasons to NOT follow instructions. It takes too long. It is too expensive. It doesn't make sense to waste perfectly good soil. The list goes on. If we really want to give SFG a fair shake, we owe it to ourselves and to Mel, to try at least one 4'x4' square exactly like the book tells us to. Start small and work up from that. You can plant a lot of stuff in one square.

Happy Gardening.

Gwynn

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  middlemamma on 3/30/2011, 4:32 pm

Great example Old Hippie! What an awesome example.

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  genes on 3/30/2011, 4:44 pm

@Old Hippie wrote:It seems no matter what we are doing, as humans, even though we are doing something for the very first time, we just don't want to follow instructions. And guess what........it all started in a GARDEN of all places.......so is it any wonder that as gardeners, we still are trying to do things our own way?

That is worth needlepointing.

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/30/2011, 5:38 pm

Gwynn for SFG Goddess! Great example. Great post.

Now, how can I tweak it and make it even better?

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Re: Do I really only need 8 cu ft of Mel's mix for a 4x4x6 box??

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