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Hopefully - this is bad advice

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Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  1orangething on 4/13/2011, 8:03 pm

In my search for 5 different kinds of compost, people have advised against MM.
They say the heat in southern Fl is too much. I'M SO CONFUSED !!
Any southern SFG advice needed in Spring Hill Fl.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  WardinWake on 4/13/2011, 8:22 pm

@1orangething wrote:In my search for 5 different kinds of compost, people have advised against MM.
They say the heat in southern Fl is too much. I'M SO CONFUSED !!
Any southern SFG advice needed in Spring Hill Fl.

Howdy Orange:

MM is used worldwide. From the deepest cold to the hottest hot. And it works in all places. We have Square Foot Gardeners in the most southern parts of Texas and in South America, India, Africa and many other hot (and humid) areas as well.

What do the "advisers" site as their reasoning?

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  Ha-v-v on 4/13/2011, 8:31 pm

@1orangething wrote:In my search for 5 different kinds of compost, people have advised against MM.
They say the heat in southern Fl is too much. I'M SO CONFUSED !!
Any southern SFG advice needed in Spring Hill Fl.

Mel's Mix to me is the ultimate in water retention. I would think it would work perfectly in the heat. I live in Southwest Mississippi and I can go a day or two in the hottest days of summer to not water. I wouldnt do it any other way now Smile
Ha-v-v

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  boffer on 4/13/2011, 9:04 pm

@1orangething wrote:In my search for 5 different kinds of compost, people have advised against MM.
They say the heat in southern Fl is too much. I'M SO CONFUSED !!
Any southern SFG advice needed in Spring Hill Fl.

My first thought was: 'What are they selling?' My second thought was: 'I bet they've never used MM.'

A square foot of MM, 6 inches deep, holds over a gallon of water without getting soggy or muddy, and without losing it's air holding capacity. The plants can use the water, or it can evaporate off the surface. Those are the only reasons the water goes away! In the SW areas of the U.S. that are so arid, mulch is often used to help reduce the evaporation rate. Mulching might be an option for you for peace of mind, but I haven't heard complaints on the forum from your part of the country.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/13/2011, 9:21 pm

Doesn't the SFG Foundation have a training center in Homestead, FL?

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  martha on 4/13/2011, 10:00 pm

My question would be - who is telling you?

My very favorite line from the book is "It will take a beginner two hours to learn SFGing, but it will take an experienced gardener 2 weeks."

My first year I had so many experienced gardeners telling me that I had to have soil, they had to have soil, they had to have soil.......except that they don't need to have soil!

My guess is the people are telling the truth based on their gardening approach, and they don't SFG.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  camprn on 4/13/2011, 10:07 pm

There were several Southern gardeners last year complaining of this very thing with their Mel's mix. I believe a few solutions were to water deeply, water often, mulch and more compost used as topdressing will help overcome the drying effects of the weather down there.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  middlemamma on 4/13/2011, 11:31 pm

I would be interested in knowing if any of them were a little too heavy on the peat? Peat if not in the right ratio could create a problem?

Make sure the peat is fluffed! flower

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  acara on 4/14/2011, 7:15 am

@1orangething wrote:In my search for 5 different kinds of compost, people have advised against MM.
They say the heat in southern Fl is too much. I'M SO CONFUSED !!
Any southern SFG advice needed in Spring Hill Fl.

It's just the area .... "new" and "change" are dirty words around here Very Happy

As far as MM being unsuitable for our area ...... thats just not my experience with it.

Not only do I find it extremely suitable for our area in SFG's, I'm actually having good luck using it in other gardening applications (like containers/pots) & have retrofitted almost all of my growing media with MM at this point.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  1orangething on 4/14/2011, 7:34 am

Spring Hill Fl thanks all SFG members for the positive advice. I'll be making my bed this week. I will try the 5-gal bucket for getting the soil right.

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Re: HOPEFULLY - THIS IS BAD ADVICE

Post  graficow on 4/14/2011, 7:35 am

I am in your area and believe me you WONT be sorry.
This is my 3rd year using MM and it is the greatest.
Ive never had a problem. I do use shade cloth
over some of my plants but as far as the MM goes,
you should try it - and stay with us on the forum.

By the way, we love pictures here.

Please pardon my poor manners,
Welcome to our Forum and do ask questions,
we will do whatever we can to help you.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  dizzygardener on 4/14/2011, 9:38 am

glad you\'re here glad you\'re here glad you\'re here

Glad to have ya!

You've already gotten great advice in this thread.

I just want to add a general caution: BEWARE OF THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER TRIED SFG OR READ THE BOOK BUT ARE QUICK TO CONDEMN SFG. THEY WILL ALMOST ALWAYS STEER YOU WRONG!

Forget about getting advice from staff members at the big box stores or anywhere else. They often pretend/convince themselves that they know what SFG is, but if you question them you quickly figure out that they haven't the slightest idea about what is going on.

Rely on the book and ask other SFGers for advice. Very Happy

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/14/2011, 9:55 am

My SFG hero is a woman on you-tube that started in Florida. She reminded viewers that they MUST have mels mix to garden and compost to refresh after each crop. She did not say this, but her attitude seemed to be, "just add water"

Her gardens had sprinkler heads. Her lawn grew in sand. Donna's gardens were beautiful. She had issues with different bugs but not with the soil. You can still watch her videos (there are about 50 from three or so years of SFG in Florida before her family moved to South Carolina).

Donna's SFG part 1 of 50 (you can start here)

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/14/2011, 4:01 pm

Another thing about employees at big box stores is that most are not looking for a career, just a job (some just a paycheck) so although the company does try somewhat to train them, their current profession is just a stepping stone, so they don't learn all they can about it. They also probably don't have much experience in that area, many times if my husband is in Lowe's the employee will seek him out to help a customer in the plumbing, electrical, or other department.... So just keep that in mind when they advise you on YOUR garden.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  acara on 4/14/2011, 5:33 pm

+1 to that

Gardening advice in our area = find someone with a orange apron

Gardening advice just outside our area = find someone who failed at orange growing 20 years ago, but still thinks they are gods gift to gardening, thinks red clay is the best thing to grow stuff in, buries their bass fishing scraps for fertilizer and pees on their plans to keep the bugs off (a.k.a. my entire family line Embarassed....welcome to being a native Florida Cracker ).

Gardening advice is plentiful is our area ..... good gardening advice ...... not-so-much.

Gardening opinions in Central FL are like armpits .....everyones got a couple and most of them stink.

My suggestion would be to try it for yourself & make your own opinion ...... Very Happy

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  martha on 4/14/2011, 10:44 pm

that peed on the garden...but then I am a little sexist and am thinking that IF it is a good idea, maybe only the men should do it?

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  middlemamma on 4/14/2011, 11:48 pm

I'm with you martha....and don't tell me about it. What I don't know won't hurt me.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  acara on 4/15/2011, 1:17 am

Trust me ... I've spent 20 years realizing that coming from a long line of Florida farmers farmers is probably the biggest handicap I would ever have to overcome in my gardening career.

No insult meant to any other native (or good farmers) in Florida, but some of the most jacked-up & gardening bizarre gardening advice I've ever heard has been at an Acara-family gathering affraid

Its a miracle my famly line wasn't extinguished by starvation (or food poisoning) decades ago Very Happy

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  Miss M on 4/15/2011, 2:58 am

About "water deeply, water often"... it's consistently in the 80s here now, and the only time I've needed to water deeply was when we put the the garden together. Watering lightly every day or two keeps it as wet as it needs to be -- any more than that, and I have runoff. I have to wet only the top inch or so of MM... the rest of it is still plenty damp. Very Happy

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  middlemamma on 4/15/2011, 3:04 am

@Miss M wrote:About "water deeply, water often"... it's consistently in the 80s here now, and the only time I've needed to water deeply was when we put the the garden together. Watering lightly every day or two keeps it as wet as it needs to be -- any more than that, and I have runoff. I have to wet only the top inch or so of MM... the rest of it is still plenty damp. Very Happy


This was my experience as well last summer. Smile

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  acara on 4/15/2011, 3:31 am

I intentionally tried to dry out a box of my MM last week (so it would weigh less and I could move it).

3 days in direct FL sun, no water ..... only dried out the top 2 inches. 7 days later, it's still not bone-dry all the way down.

I think the trick is a good initial mix when your mixing the MM and getting it saturated initially ....... from there it's just watering maintenance.

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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

Post  Ha-v-v on 4/15/2011, 5:33 am

@acara wrote:I intentionally tried to dry out a box of my MM last week (so it would weigh less and I could move it).

3 days in direct FL sun, no water ..... only dried out the top 2 inches. 7 days later, it's still not bone-dry all the way down.

I think the trick is a good initial mix when your mixing the MM and getting it saturated initially ....... from there it's just watering maintenance.


I agree, watering is just maintenance Smile Getting it wet is the thing, thats why when I transplant I water daily, it takes time but if I didnt soak the mel's mix before hand like this year. My MM was in there all winter with no one tending it, I just transplanted and watered and then the next day I watered until I think the transplant has caught on, then I know the square is full of water after a few days. This takes away the standing time to water Smile Me standing there with a water wand. Darn I cant find a real wand and have to pretend all the time.
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Re: Hopefully - this is bad advice

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