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combining compost

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combining compost

Post  tegaan on 4/22/2011, 10:37 pm

Hi,

I am wanting to start a SFG. I know I need 5 types of compost. How long does it take before cow/chicken/horse, etc manure is compost? Won't it create weeds in the garden. Will mushroom compost grow mushrooms as "weeds". I am very new to this and want to get the best types of compost. I plan on getting worm castings and what else should I get? I live in the okanagan. I want my garden as organic as possible.

Thanks for your help, Kari

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Re: combining compost

Post  altagarden on 4/23/2011, 12:05 am

Welcome. We are neighbours...

If you buy the bagged stuff at the nursery or store it should already be ready to use and not "fresh." But check with the staff. I added some mushroom compost and did get mushrooms in August, but I realize now I was overwatering. You are not supposed to get mushrooms and it might have been a coincidence.

You can find out more about this stuff at a GOOD nursery or ask a real gardener at a chain store like Canadian Tire or Walmart.

That worm stuff might do wonders when mixed with 4 other types of compost. Ship some east...
Smile

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Re: combining compost

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/23/2011, 2:18 am

@tegaan wrote:Hi,

I am wanting to start a SFG. I know I need 5 types of compost. How long does it take before cow/chicken/horse, etc manure is compost? Won't it create weeds in the garden. Will mushroom compost grow mushrooms as "weeds". I am very new to this and want to get the best types of compost. I plan on getting worm castings and what else should I get? I live in the okanagan. I want my garden as organic as possible.

Thanks for your help, Kari

Kari

Thanks for joining us. Hope you have finished reading the ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING book. It is so full of easy to understand information and instructions.

As altagarden stated, when you purchase cow/chicken/horse manure in packages at a nursery or Big Box Store, it is usually fully composted. Check the labels on the bags.

Mushroom compost is not made of mushrooms, it was used as the growing medium for mushrooms and may contain mushroom mycileum, which is unlikely to grow. Even if it did, it would not create a problem in your Mel's Mix. Check this link for more information on MUSHROOM COMPOST . There is a warning about using straight mushroom compost to grow seedlings in this article, but remember that this would be 1/5 of your compost and your total compost is 1/3 of your Mel's Mix, so only 1/15th of your Mel's Mix would be Mushroom Compost. I use it and I like it.

I have not composted fresh manures, so I don't know how long they take to compost completely. Perhaps someone else will chime in with that information, in case you have access to fresh manures and want to compost them.

Again, Welcome, and please keep us posted on your progress.

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Re: combining compost

Post  shannon1 on 4/23/2011, 5:01 am

Kari, I had mushrooms come up in a pot that was straight cow compost so I guess that can happen no matter what you use. It was imposible to find r different composts where I live 3 was the most I could get and one of them is mushroom so I will let you know how it works out. Black hen composted chix manure was another and although it smelled strong it did not burn any plants. My TT SFG (table top square foot garden) is not complete but used some of the MM (Mel's mix) I mixed up in containers and the plants are doing great. I just could not wait to start growing things most of the pots are at least 12", does that make it a round foot garden?
I am excited for you because I know how much fun you will have.

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Re: combining compost

Post  Old Hippie on 4/23/2011, 10:15 am

Yayyyyyy! Another Canadian on the forum!!!! How nice to have you on board. I am up in Prince George.

I compost a lot. I love composting. When I can get fresh manure, (we have special rules about that at my house) I like to add it to my compost in the fall so it has plenty of time to mix with the other stuff and age before I use it. Sometimes you can get weeds from it if the pile has not gotten hot enough to kill the weed seeds. Turning the pile often, daily or every other day, gets it heating up and if you can get it to over 60C for us Canadians or 140F for the US people it should kill most of the weed seeds. The problem with that is that it kills off most of the beneficial organisms in the compost as well so you need to let it cure for a couple of weeks during which time you can add a couple of handfuls of other compost to it to re-introduce those beneficials that you need to make your compost useful.

There is a slow method that works too and isn't such hard work. Fill a five gallon pail 3/4 full with moist compost. Take any worms out and return them to the main heap. Put the lid on tight and place in a sunny spot. It will heat up during the day, causing any seeds that require heat to sprout. Cooler temps at night will cause the ones that require cooler temperatures for germination to sprout. Roll the can around on the ground every day for a two to three weeks. Agitating it causes terminal damage to fragile sprouts. After about three weeks, you have compost that is mostly weed free.

Compost that you buy in bags at the store is usually fine to use the same year. At least I have never had any problem with it. I have never had any trouble with mushrooms growing from mushroom compost. Others may have.

I am off to work now so if you have any other questions, I am sure there are others on board today who will be able to help.

I am tickled pink to see you on board. Again, WELCOME.

Gwynn

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thanks

Post  tegaan on 4/23/2011, 10:55 pm

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. I just bought the book today and we went and looked for some different composts. So I think that should work out ok. Might have trouble finding vermiculite in bigger bags, need to call around.

I have another compost question.....When it is time to add more compost will worm castings be enough (I am going to buy a worm composter) or do I need to also add yard type compost too?

Thanks everyone, I am very excited to see how this all works.
kari

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Re: combining compost

Post  altagarden on 4/24/2011, 11:06 pm

In my second year I added some bagged compost and it wasn't enough. This year I am adding lots of types of compost and some organic fertilizer.

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Re:combining-compost#59471

Post  Bristow on 5/7/2011, 5:15 pm

Hello all you wonderful people on this website! Very Happy

My wife and I are in Quebec, in the Montreal area and this year decided to forget the "old ways" of gardening and chose the Square Foot Gardening method instead. We're getting on in years and thought it probably a good idea to start sparing our backs from all that digging etc. and try Mel's way which seems ideal for all ages but particularly for the older set Late 50s, early 60s.

We are at the stage of gathering all that we'll need and got stumped (temporarily) when looking for vermiculite in large quantity as there was none to be found around here. We came to this site and found a supplier in Brampton, Ontario, thanks to a post we found on this site. What a relief that was as we were starting to doubt being able to carry through with our project because of our inability to locate the stuff.

We have been making our own compost for the past 24 years so that isn't a problem. And we did find peat moss sold in 3.9 cu F at our local nursery.

So tomorrow we're off to buy our wood, tubing, chicken wire et al. And we'll be sure to come back here and check what else we can learn from you wonderful people!

Thanks for being here bounce ! Feeling like new members of a great family!

Bristow


Last edited by Bristow on 5/7/2011, 5:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Wrong title)

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Re: combining compost

Post  Miss M on 5/7/2011, 5:44 pm

@tegaan wrote:When it is time to add more compost will worm castings be enough (I am going to buy a worm composter) or do I need to also add yard type compost too?
Worm castings are garden gold. Especially if your initial 5 composts are good, rich ones (a couple of 100% manures, mushroom compost), then adding worm castings after that should be plenty.

Even if your initial composts weren't as rich, worm castings can do nothing but improve the situation. Very Happy

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Re: combining compost

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/7/2011, 6:23 pm

Bristow

So glad you joined us. This is a great group of people.

How wonderful to have your own compost. Many first time SFG have never tried to make their own and struggle to find sufficient kinds of good compost.

Have you looked into table top SFG's? For ease of use, especially for those of us who have trouble bending or kneeling, it is a great solution. Check this thread Table Top Ideas

I have TTs and love them.

Good luck on your new SFGs and please keep us updated on your progress. In case you did not know, we I love you pictures. Feel free to ask if you have questions.

Again, Welcome Bristow

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Re: combining compost

Post  stripesmom on 5/7/2011, 7:19 pm

Very Happy Just wanted to say welcome, Bristrow! I just finished my boxes and can tell you, take it easy and don't hurry. I'm in my early 50's and am so happy to have this way of gardening set up now. This is my first year too. I went out this morning to water my plants, seeds and plant some more. What a joy! So much easier on the back, legs and every thing else.

Last night, after I spent most of the afternoon, planting here and there, recording what I planted and when it should germinate/mature, I sat back and just smiled at my boxes. Must have sat there for a good hour, just grinning from ear to ear.

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Re: combining compost

Post  Bristow on 5/10/2011, 1:53 pm

Hello Furballsmom (I get a feeling you have a cat) :cat: ?

This is Dee, Bristow's wife. I will be writing here on occasion if it's ok. Thank you for the lovely welcome! It warms the heart to be able to connect with fellow gardeners and exchange ideas and tips.

Table Top might be something worth looking into at some point but we're fine for now. I guess posting after a whole day at building boxes and being somewhat sore was not such a good idea Laughing ! A little aching will be easy to take once we see the results of our labours, I'm sure!

We started composting when we bought our first house after we built our composter in one afternoon, back in 1987, when we were...younger! But it had to stay behind when we downsized and moved to this house 11 years ago. So this time we bought this one



(no, that's not me on the picture!) from www.veseys.com so that we could take it with us should we decide to move. We absolutely love it!

So thanks again for the warm welcome and "we" will be posting our progress as we go. I have started some seeds in the greenhouse as it is way too early to plant most seeds directly here just yet (zone 5b) but will be planting the ones that prefer cooler soil this coming weekend.

Let us know of your own progress Furballsmom and, we love pictures as well!

Happy gardening, sunny

Dee for Bristow

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Re: combining compost

Post  Bristow on 5/10/2011, 2:45 pm

Hello stripesmom!

Thank you for the warm welcome!

This is Bristow's wife, Dee. I will be posting from time to time if that's ok.

Well, after spending the morning at the store buying wood, screws, chicken wire, etc. and then to the nursery getting our peat moss, we finally got down to business and hubby managed to build 3 of our boxes within 3 hours, complete with chicken wire at the bottom since our next door neighbours' idea of gardening is nonexistent and their back yard is untended and littered with reno debris! There is a family of moles living in that jungle as well as rabbits albino and goodness knows what else ( :elephant:?) . I am planning on planting a row just for them (the four legged inhabitants) near the fence that separates the two properties in the hope that they leave the content of our boxes alone. Keeping toes and fingers crossed...

We reluctantly came back in the house after such a wonderful day spent at building and putting seeds ready for the greenhouse, tired but so happy and serene and like you, we looked outside and grinned with the satisfation and happiness of a day spent outdoors, full of expectation of what the next months will bring. This is our 8th garden but the first one using the SFG method. We LOVE the NO NEED TO DIG part best !


What was more painful was paying $0.97 for every piece of wood we had cut at the store where we bought it for a total of $54.54! Is it the same in the US? Sheesh! We didn't have the option of cutting it ourselves as the wood would not have fitted in our car and didn't want to have it delivered (which would have cost as well) since we were eager to start working right away. Oh well. With what we'll save on food this summer not to mention the beauty these boxes will bring for the eyes to feast on, it evens out in the long run sunny flower !

I have started to put some seeds in the greenhouse as it is still too cold for most of them for direct planting, (zone 5b here) but some cool soil loving seeds are going in next weekend. We still have some boxes to build and soon, will be mixing our coarse vermiculite, compost, peat moss combo and filling them. We can hardly wait!

Please keep posting! We'd love to hear more from you cheers !

Dee & Bristow






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Re: combining compost

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 5/10/2011, 7:14 pm

LOL - welcome! Some of the stores in my area, central Illinois, won't cut product for you. I've seen a guy out in the parking lot, with his saw plugged into one of the electrical outlets cutting his wood himself to the lengths he needed it so he could fit it into his car. I am lucky and married a guy with an 8 foot pickup truck bed. Smile Shhh....don't tell him I was attracted to the truck first. Wink

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Re: combining compost

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/10/2011, 7:33 pm

I am lucky and married a guy with an 8 foot pickup truck bed. Smile Shhh....don't tell him I was attracted to the truck first. Wink


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Re: combining compost

Post  Bristow on 5/10/2011, 8:17 pm

"I've seen a guy out in the parking lot, with his saw plugged into one of the electrical outlets cutting his wood himself to the lengths he needed it so he could fit it into his car."lol!

Now that's what I call creative! I wonder if they charged him for the electricity he used Wink ?

Thanks for the post!

Bristow

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Re: combining compost

Post  boffer on 5/10/2011, 8:21 pm

@UnderTheBlackWalnut wrote: I am lucky and married a guy with an 8 foot pickup truck bed. Smile Shhh....don't tell him I was attracted to the truck first. Wink

Is his name Joe?!



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Re: combining compost

Post  Old Hippie on 5/10/2011, 8:50 pm

Dee and Bristow........ Comment ca va? We are so happy to have more Canadians here on the forum. Yayyyy! I think you may be our only Quebecois SFG here but that is okay. I am in BC. Dee, it doesn't matter which of you posts of if you both do. We are delighted to have you both here.

You will find SFG the best way to garden. Best of luck to you in this new venture. Make sure to post any questions you have and also any photos. And don't be alarmed if we get to acting silly sometimes. We are kind of like family here so tease and joke sometimes and hope that you won't mind. Even better, we hope that you will join in. Wink



@UnderTheBlackWalnut wrote:LOL - welcome! Some of the stores in my area, central Illinois, won't cut product for you. I've seen a guy out in the parking lot, with his saw plugged into one of the electrical outlets cutting his wood himself to the lengths he needed it so he could fit it into his car. I am lucky and married a guy with an 8 foot pickup truck bed. Smile Shhh....don't tell him I was attracted to the truck first. Wink

When I was young I went out with more than one guy because I was in love with his car, truck or motorbike and not him. Pretty shallow of me. LOL!

Gwynn


Last edited by Old Hippie on 5/10/2011, 9:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : have to welcome the new Canadian SFG'ners)

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Re: combining compost

Post  stripesmom on 5/11/2011, 10:17 am

Dee and Bristow,
My DH asked me how much I have invested in my boxes and I said I hadn't kept track. I haven't either, but I know it's a lot. I've had to drive all over creation to find stuff and with gas prices the way they are Rolling Eyes that just added to it. It will all average out in the end though. Last year, I joined a CSA, since I didn't have a garden. Even though this is a good thing for some people, it was a huge mistake. I spent $560 for a share and got very little produce and most of it was not very good. She used her best things for the farmers market and then the stuff she couldn't sell went to the CSA. She had really good reviews too, so I suspect they were friends or family that posted the reviews. I know I don't have that much invested in my boxes and I know my produce will be fresh this way.

I really want to get a composter. I've checked out craigslist and found a neat one for $80. Now to just convince the old man that I need one. He does have a truck (which is a stick and I can't drive it), so he'll have to go get it.

Yesterday, I went to the lumber yard to get pvc pipe and electrical conduit. They wouldn't cut it for me, so I had to haul it home in my Blazer. It just fit when shoved in catty cornered.

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Re: combining compost

Post  Kelejan on 5/11/2011, 10:25 am

"When I was young I went out with more than one guy because I was in love with his car, truck or motorbike and not him. Pretty shallow of me. LOL!

Gwynn"


Pretty darned sensible if you ask me. I wish I had a man in my life with one right now. My dear husband only ever had a car and that is what I have now. Oh for something that can take something eight feet long. Sigh.

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Re: combining compost

Post  Old Hippie on 5/11/2011, 7:36 pm

We like cars that have the back seat that folds down so long things from the trunk can stick into the passenger compartment. Sometimes I have had to get creative and haul long stuff with it sticking out the front passenger window.

Perhaps you need to invest in a small used trailer and a hitch for your car.

Gwynn

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Re: combining compost

Post  Kelejan on 5/11/2011, 9:27 pm

The only driving I do now is around our town, and maybe when pressed, a trip to the towns either side of where I live. Half an hour to one and the other one is an hour's drive away.

The car we had before the current one had a front seat that folded down and that was very handy at times.

I"m not sure if I can handle a trailer and hitch, I am not the world's best at parking.
I have a 100% safe driving record (so far), both car and motorcycle, and I would hate to spoil my record by banging into another car whilst trying to park etc.

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Re: combining compost

Post  Old Hippie on 5/11/2011, 9:35 pm

Oh, I know what you mean about parking with a trailer! I am not very good at it either so only park in places that don't require trying to back up while towing a trailer.

Hmmmmm.....guess you will have to cultivate friendships with people who have pick-up trucks. Maybe promise them some veggies from your garden? Smile

Do you go to Nelson or Trail?

Gwynn

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Re: combining compost

Post  Kelejan on 5/11/2011, 9:47 pm

It seems that the people I knew with trucks either moved away or died on me. Those were the two who would do anything for me.

Do you think they were telling me something? Sad

I seldom go out of my patch, Gwynne. Nelson and Trail are for hospital visits etc.

But I do have a lovely friend who loves driving and loves company while she drives, and I am getting to know a new neighbour friend who does not drive and I think in the future I will do a little more driving myself.

Both of them are very interested in my little SFG garden and I expect will fully appreciate any sharing with me if/when I get a glut of something.

OOps! I seem to have strayed off the subject. Sorry, folks!.

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Re: combining compost

Post  Goosegirl on 5/11/2011, 9:51 pm

@Old Hippie wrote:Sometimes I have had to get creative and haul long stuff with it sticking out the front passenger window.

Gwynn

Most of the lumber yards around my area will cut your lumber for you for no additional cost, but they WILL NOT cut the metal conduit! After one trip 60 miles on the interstate with 6 pieces of conduit hanging out the passenger window and having to be held in place with one hand while I steered with the other, I always take my own tube cutter with me!

TC

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