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ok, so what's with the soil?

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ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  veggiegardener on 4/9/2011, 1:37 am

I decided to plant a raised veggie bed this summer for my first attempt at a veggie garden. I built boxes, bought a five-way mix from a local, reputable source, shoveled it all into my raised beds....THEN I learnd about Mel's mix. So, my question is...Can I still plant a SFG with the soil I have, or do I need to revert to the old-fahioned row method? PS...I;m planning on adding chicken manure or Gardner & Bloome Harvest Supreme. I appreciate your feedback!

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  shannon1 on 4/9/2011, 1:45 am

I sounds like what is missing most is vermiculite and peat moss. If it is a choice between amending what you have and row gardening ammend what you have and stick to beds. Mels Mix would be best but if you can't do that add vermiculite and peat moss instead of just more compost. That's what I would do anyway. Very Happy

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ok, thanks! Anybody else have any suggestions?

Post  veggiegardener on 4/9/2011, 1:57 am

I would love to get some more ideas on the soil question....

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  sistabelle on 4/9/2011, 2:05 am

I'm new at this too, but if I were you, I'd make another bed! Put Mel's mix in there and then see what happens! OR mix the both of them and then go. Each year you add anyway right?

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  shannon1 on 4/9/2011, 2:07 am

I just read about Gardener and Bloom Harvest Supreme and it sounds like good stuff one of the key things about mels mix is that it doesn't get compacted it is light and fluffy. I an no expert by any means and I am eager to see what others have to say.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  boffer on 4/9/2011, 2:12 am

Hi VG, welcome to the forum. It's always nice to see another rusty gardener speaking up!

First things first. Have you read the ALL NEW SFG? It explains a lot of things in more detail than I can offer here.

A five way mix from a soil/gravel supplier is nothing like the blend of five composts that goes into Mel's Mix. The blended compost is then mixed with vermiculite and peat moss. Mel's Mix is the backbone of the SFG method, and it doesn't have soil in it. One really needs to start from scratch.

I don't understand the part about reverting to row gardening.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/9/2011, 2:54 am

@veggiegardener wrote:I decided to plant a raised veggie bed this summer for my first attempt at a veggie garden. I built boxes, bought a five-way mix from a local, reputable source, shoveled it all into my raised beds....THEN I learnd about Mel's mix. So, my question is...Can I still plant a SFG with the soil I have, or do I need to revert to the old-fahioned row method? PS...I;m planning on adding chicken manure or Gardner & Bloome Harvest Supreme. I appreciate your feedback!

Veggiegardener

Sorry you did not get a chance to find out about Mel's Mix until after you had already filled your raised beds. I am sure that was a lot of work.

Mel says, forget what your soil is like, you won't use it. Instead, you use Mel's Mix, which as Boffer stated, is a combination of Vermiculite, Peat Moss and a blend of at least five types of compost.

Adding vermiculite and peat moss to those existing beds is only going to amend your soil, not give you the friable, loose, nutritious growing medium that is provided by Mel's Mix.

Here's hoping you can start at least one bed with Mel's Mix.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  shannon1 on 4/9/2011, 3:01 am

I agree with Furbalsmom "Adding vermiculite and peat moss to those existing beds is only going to amend your soil, not give you the friable, loose, nutritious growing medium that is provided by Mel's Mix." I was just saying if it was that or row gardening I would not go back to row gardening. sunny

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  middlemamma on 4/9/2011, 3:37 am

oh no!!! What a pain. I am so sorry!!!

Well, you have some choices. If you add vermiculite and peat to the blend you have there is a chance you may be amending with blood meal, bone meal and other fertilizers to make up for anything that blend may be lacking. What is in the 5 way mix? Is it 5 composts?

How many beds are we talking about? Could you take what you have, blend with 4 other compost sources add the equal parts of peat and vermiculite and then just have a lot of Mel's Mix for maybe other containers? Or maybe another box?

I hate to see you miss out on the wonderful benefits of Mel's Mix...but I also understand how frustrated it must be.

I honestly think if it were me I would go that extra mile, bite the bullet, make the Mel's Mix and use what you have as 1 source of your 5 composts(if it is a compost). I would curse a lot though....LOL. But when I started eating fresh veggies...I would calm down! Smile

Let us know hoe many beds you have and what you decide to do.

Jennie

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  camprn on 4/9/2011, 9:15 am

@veggiegardener wrote:I decided to plant a raised veggie bed this summer for my first attempt at a veggie garden. I built boxes, bought a five-way mix from a local, reputable source, shoveled it all into my raised beds....THEN I learnd about Mel's mix. So, my question is...Can I still plant a SFG with the soil I have, or do I need to revert to the old-fahioned row method? PS...I;m planning on adding chicken manure or Gardner & Bloome Harvest Supreme. I appreciate your feedback!
What was in this 5 way mix? This information would help me make an appropriate recommendation.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  laurieann on 4/9/2011, 9:48 am

veggiegardener, I have not yet had the opportunity to try Mel's Mix, but have been growing veggies in a compost mix for years successfully. Since you've already set up your beds, it wouldn't hurt to try what you have. And, like was suggested, you could always put in another bed with the Mel's Mix and experiment between the two this season to see the difference MM makes.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  myhouseofBOYS on 4/9/2011, 10:01 am

There is no reason to revert to row gardening. You can plant in raised beds using the spacing Mel reccomends without having Mel's in your boxes. Is it ideal? No. Is it real "SFGing" in every aspect? No. but it beats the wasted space of row gardening. Then either next year you can try using Mel's mix or you could do one box this year using Mel's and see if you can see a difference. While not ideal what you have is probably okay and will produce results if you can't afford to start over right now.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  martha on 4/9/2011, 1:07 pm

What is the status of your garden?

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thanks for all of the feedback!

Post  veggiegardener on 4/9/2011, 3:25 pm

So, for those who asked, my 5-way mix is topsoil,sawdust, composted cow manure, sand, amusroom compost. I was planning to supplement that with either chicken manure or Harvst Supreme. I also have my own kitchen/garden waste compost to add. I can't afford to start over, or add another bed. the mix I have is pretty light and, once I add the ammendments, I think it will be nutritious for the plants.

I wonder if the more intensive planting requires more compost than regular gardening? Also, we live a very rainy part of the world and I'm a little concerned that the peat moss will retain too much moisture...or does the vermiculite offset that?

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  camprn on 4/9/2011, 4:12 pm

Ok, so here is what I would do if I was in your shoes... I would open a bag or 3 of compost, 1/3 bale of peat, several scoops of vermiculite (if you can afford it) and dump it all in the bed with the mix you have bought. Mix it up, level it out, place your grid and plant it. It aint gonna be Mel's mix but it will have Mel's mix in there. Don't fret, there is always next year (fingers crossed). sunny

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/9/2011, 9:18 pm

Peat moss and vermiculite will help retain moisture during those time of the year when you don't have a lot of rain.
They both are compared to sponges, absorbing moisture, but letting the excess drain away, so they are not holding too much during the heavy rain. They are a good thing to have in a Pacific North West Garden.

We have members in the PNW that have used Mel's Mix for at least a couple of years and the only thing they add is a bit of compost after they harvest every square.

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Re: ok, so what's with the soil?

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