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Making Mel's Mix

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Making Mel's Mix

Post  scmelik on 4/7/2011, 10:35 pm

I am sure this has been hashed out 1000 times but please induldge me for another one. I have all my materials:

4 cubic feet of vermiculite
HUGE bale of peat (not sure if i will ever get it all used but the price was super cheap)
40lbs of steer manure
40lbs of humus/manure mix
40lbs of sheep manure
40 lbs of chicken manure
as much city compost (grass, leaves, wood chips etc.) as I want

right now my plan is to make

1 4'x4'
2 1'x2'

my question is how do I make the mix and make sure my measurements are correct? How do you mix it all up? Tiller? Rake? Shovel?

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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  middlemamma on 4/7/2011, 10:41 pm

Fluff your peat...it will expand to double the compressed size.

I use a bucket....I put 1 bucket of each of my composts, then 5 buckets of vermiculite and 5 buckets of FLUFFED peat. Smile then I stir it up in a huge Rubbermaid tub (too windy on the prairie where I am to do the tarp method in the book) and go dump it in my box, then I do it again.

And again.
And again.
LOL

I am a very weak girl...so I do it this way...a strong man, or woman, or a couple of people could do it more efficiently for sure.

Happy Mixing!!!
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/7/2011, 11:45 pm

Jennie, do you water/mist each "batch" immediately after dumping so you saturate your peat moss?
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  kerriejo1961 on 4/7/2011, 11:51 pm

Thanks, middlemamma, for sharing your way of mixing the MM!! I nearly killed myself trying to do the tarp thing alone. My mother finally brought me a shovel, LOL... She is 81 and weakened from stroke so she couldn't help and we were the only ones at home at the time. I made a note to wait till someone's home who can help me next time!! But I think your way is brilliant, so thanks for sharing!!
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  ashort on 4/7/2011, 11:56 pm

@middlemamma wrote:Fluff your peat...it will expand to double the compressed size.

I use a bucket....I put 1 bucket of each of my composts, then 5 buckets of vermiculite and 5 buckets of FLUFFED peat. Smile then I stir it up in a huge Rubbermaid tub (too windy on the prairie where I am to do the tarp method in the book) and go dump it in my box, then I do it again.

And again.
And again.
LOL

I am a very weak girl...so I do it this way...a strong man, or woman, or a couple of people could do it more efficiently for sure.

Happy Mixing!!!

That's good advice - the tarp method doesn't work real well for me as I have a slopped yard....
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  kerriejo1961 on 4/7/2011, 11:59 pm

I have a sloped yard, too, ashort, well, gently sloped, but sloped enough to make pulling the tarp over ... HEAVY and awkward... never do it alone!!! Laughing
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  middlemamma on 4/8/2011, 12:07 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:Jennie, do you water/mist each "batch" immediately after dumping so you saturate your peat moss?

No... Embarassed Embarassed I didn't.

I just took a light hose sprayer and sprayed several times over a couple of days...stuck my finger in various spots to test it and it was fine....I never had a problem.

I actually forgot Mel's advice in the book about misting down the ingredients too. Embarassed
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  pattipan on 4/8/2011, 12:45 am

We used to do the tarp method, but we use this now:


The wheelbarrow is only 4 cubic feet, so even I can handle it. It's also
a help in figuring out how much it takes to fill a box. A real back
saver!

My hubby also bought a large feed scoop from the local ag store and we use that to measure out the mix similar to Jen. One scoop from each of our five composts, 5 scoops vermiculite, and 5 scoops peat. Then we mix it with hand and trowel.



pattipan


Last edited by pattipan on 4/8/2011, 12:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  middlemamma on 4/8/2011, 12:46 am

Ooooooh Patti I like that idea...the scoop! Hmmmm....may have to retire my milk jug! LOL
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  Old Hippie on 4/8/2011, 1:55 am

@middlemamma wrote:Ooooooh Patti I like that idea...the scoop! Hmmmm....may have to retire my milk jug! LOL

Oh....right through the heart!!! Milk jugs are FREE!! I thought I taught you better girl!

Gwynn
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  middlemamma on 4/8/2011, 2:08 am

ooooooo.....BUSTED! Shocked
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  camprn on 4/8/2011, 7:01 am

I mixed mine right in the box.
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  Barkie on 4/8/2011, 12:36 pm

Yeah, not a prairie here but I can see half the vermiculite ending up next door if I did it on a tarp. Good idea to scoop or shovel into bucket, tip buckets into wheelbarrow, mix, I'll try that then see if I can get the barrow up a scaffolding plank to tip the load in.

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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 12:46 pm

@Barkie wrote:I'll try that then see if I can get the barrow up a scaffolding plank to tip the load in.

At least you have decent barrows to do so! How is it that you guys (Brits) ended up with practical barrows like this..



And in the States we are cursed with a stupid design like this...



I'm looking primarily at the front end for pouring purposes. That's another thing I learned watching Ground Force. I've been complaining about our barrows ever since!
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/8/2011, 12:49 pm

As long as it isn't too windy, I find the tarp method to be the fastest. Maybe not the best on your back, but faster! I dump out 5 bags of compost onto a tarp and mix it with a pitchfork. After it is mixed, I use the pitchfork to load the compost into a large garbage can(the big 45 gal I think). I fill it about halfway then I use a china marking crayon to mark the inside of the can where the compost comes up to. Then I dump that compost onto another tarp. Then I measure out the verm and fluffed peat using the line I marked on the inside of the can, and dump those onto the tarp. Using the tarp to mix it can be tough if you don't have a helper but it can be done. I just use the pitchfork to spread it out a bit, then start on one side lifting the tarp up and even kicking at it from below until I couldn't lift it anymore. Then I would pitchfork again and do it from the other side. this is how I did it the first 2 times, the third time, I had my much stronger husband help! It's hard work and probably amuses the neighbors but I got it done way faster than when I was mixing in the wheelbarrow. When I was all finished, I used a transfer shovel to load it into my beds and pots and put the leftover back in the garbage can.
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  MasonGarden on 4/8/2011, 12:51 pm

Maybe those of us who live near each other can do the equivalent of a good-old fashioned barn raising, and have "Mel's Mixing Parties" to help each other out!
smiles
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Re: Making Mel's Mix

Post  Lindacol on 4/8/2011, 1:09 pm

I will never go back to using a single wheel wheelbarrow after using these:

http://www.ezhaulcart.com/our_products.php

They are expensive but worth it. I have the Utility Cart and the Jumbo cart. I use them daily for moving hay, feed and pen cleaning. They are so much easier to use and carry so much more than regular wheelbarrows.

But for mixing my MM I used 5 gal buckets and mix in a muck bucket dump in the bed.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/livestock-buckets-tubs/buckets-pails/70-quart-muck-bucket-burgandy-red-2229286

You can find similiar, cheaper buckets but these last so much longer.
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