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I'm ready to mix!

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I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 5/9/2011, 4:08 pm

First year SFGardener... and I'm ready to mix my MM. I found my 5th compost today. Smile I have Quoddy (lobster), cow, worm castings, mixed seafood and today I discovered Kinny Fish & Farm compost! I have my vermiculite and peat, too. But, of course, it's VERY windy today... so mixing will have to wait for a better day.

Plants are coming along, too...

I have:

4 leaf lettuce plants
3 tomato (red and yellow grape, early girl)... hmmm 3 indeterminates, great
3 peppers (sweet, jalapeno, red hot)
1 sweet basil
1 cilantro
red marigolds (for color)

Seeds.... radish, mesclun, green beans, spinach.

Grid is made (dh doesn't like it, he offered to make me a wooden one but I said I wouldn't wait....).

North has been determined. It's in a corner of my box, not a side at all. So a corner trellis is needed. I kinda like that idea, actually. I'm really leaning toward an 8' pole and tying the tomatoes.

Suggestions? Advice??

Tril

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/9/2011, 6:01 pm

Tril, it sounds like you are really ready to go! So glad you found your fifth compost type.

I was hoping to use a corner trellis for my box at the community garden, where North is also a corner. I am concerned that in our cool, foggy, moist climate, I will add insult to injury to my plants if I shade my other squares. Oh well, we just do what we have to do.

Hoping for a calm sunny day for you to create your Mel's Mix.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 5/9/2011, 10:04 pm

I love my dh... tonight we were out looking at our ONE lonely, empty SFG. He said, we need another one. One is hardly worth it... you won't be able to plant enough in one to bother. Smile I didn't disagree. I just ordered another one. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. He grew up on a "gentleman's farm" where they had three "field sized" gardens to feed a family of 5. He doesn't believe the claims of how much you can grow in one 4X4 SFG. I'm just happy to get TWO SFGs to play in! LOL

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  shannon1 on 5/10/2011, 2:26 am

Tril I share your excitement. Let the DH think he is right and get another box or two out of him Twisted Evil . For me mixing the MM was the hardest part but my health is not the best and had to do it by myself. The fun has begun, have a great time in your garden.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 5/10/2011, 7:12 am

Thanks, Shannon! I think he got worried when he saw how small 4X4 looked all alone in our side yard... and when he asked if I had any cucumber plants yet (you ARE going to plan CUCUMBERS, RIGHT??) he said we needed more gardens! He also thinks I'll need one whole 4X4 for just cucumbers... I'm planning to grow them UP not out. Shhhhh!

Still windy today. Sad It's also rainy. Expected high for today is 54*F. If the wind dies down I'll still go out and mix up my MM.

Just so I'm clear on this... I have a HUGE tarp to mix on. I plan to make three piles: peat, vermiculite, compost. If I read it right, I need to guestimate equal quantities of each and then mix together. I have 5 kinds of compost, so I'll mix those together first and then match the peat and vermiculite to the compost volume.

Now... should the peat and vemiculite be damp or dry when I do this?? I'm thinking the volume would be different between damp and dry.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  walshevak on 5/10/2011, 7:30 am

Just sprinkled down enough to keep the dust from flying so much. Wet peat and vermiculite weight a lot. Then AFTER all is well stirred together, put into your beds in layers and water each layer till soaked before adding the next layer. I also found that letting the mix sit a few minutes between waterings allow the water to soak in better. Because I had 6 beds, it was easy to put in a load, water, move to next box and repeat.


Kay

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 5/10/2011, 8:03 am

Thanks for the fast reply, Kay!

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/10/2011, 2:26 pm

Tril said: Just so I'm clear on this... I have a HUGE tarp to mix on. I plan to make three piles: peat, vermiculite, compost. If I read it right, I need to guestimate equal quantities of each and then mix together. I have 5 kinds of compost, so I'll mix those together first and then match the peat and vermiculite to the compost volume.

Now... should the peat and vemiculite be damp or dry when I do this?? I'm thinking the volume would be different between damp and dry.

I found that once the compost is mixed, it is easy to use a five gallon bucket to measure your blended compost, then a bucket of dampened (not wet it is too heavy just like walshevak said) then a bucket of vermiculite all onto the tarp. That way you are not guestimating and you will be very happy with your Mel's Mix as it won't be too heavy or light in any ingredient.

Walshevak said: Then AFTER all is well stirred together, put into your beds in layers and water each layer till soaked before adding the next layer. I also found that letting the mix sit a few minutes between waterings allow the water to soak in better
There is no way to stress this too much, it took 25 gallons of water to completely moisten my 4 X 4 table top and that was moistening each 2 inch layer as it was filled in the TT. Yes I am a bit strange, but I used a 2 1/2 gal watering can and sprinkled two to three cans per layer until it was very moist before adding the next layer.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 5/10/2011, 7:58 pm

Whoa. That WOULD be heavy! Thanks for the hints.

Didn't get it mixed today as the wind picked up and it poured. Tomorrow looks too busy... Thurs or Friday, maybe. I promised to paint the ceiling and walls of dh's new shop for him so he can move his jun-... I mean TOOLS... in over the weekend.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Old Hippie on 5/10/2011, 8:28 pm

I just mixed up some more Mel's Mix over the weekend and for the first time ever, used warm water to moisten the peat. I have always just used water from the hose or the rain barrels to wet the peat before I mixed it into the other parts of the mix. It was either Dizzy Gardener or Furbalsmom who said warm water works best so I decided to try that. What a great tip that is! It is amazing how much faster the peat absorbed the warm water. The other thing I noticed for the first time was how MUCH it actually absorbed. I can believe it would take 25 gallons but have never bothered to measure it really before.

For me, mixing everything right in the box that I am planting in works great. I mix up my composts first, then moisten it all. Then I add the pre-moistened peat and the vermiculite. That way, I didn't need a big tarp and I only shovel things once. I know Mel says to do it on a tarp but I didn't want to shovel stuff out of bags and onto the tarp and then off the tarp into the box. Sure hope I didn't commit some kind of unpardonable sin by not mixing on a tarp.Can I still be a SF gardener if I didn't use a tarp?

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  NHGardener on 5/10/2011, 8:52 pm

I couldn't use a tarp for the whole mix because there was just too much. I used one tarp to mix the composts on - that was a big, heavy job, that stuff was heavy! Then I used another tarp for my verm. and peat piles, and then I took a shovel from each and mixed them together in the wheelbarrow.

I missed the part about wetting it down during the process. Hmmm. But, there has been no shortage of moisture around here since it's rained a lot, my boxes are completely watered.

But I ran out for the last box and now I have to whip up another batch - smaller this time, thank goodness.

Hoping the weather pulls out of the gray, damp, cold doldrums before too long........

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 6/6/2011, 9:24 pm

First "home grown" lettuce tonight!



This is FUN! Smile

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  shannon1 on 6/6/2011, 11:46 pm

That looks yummy. The work has begun to pay off. I am going to call MM, MMM for Mel's, miracle, mix Laughing

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Barkie on 6/7/2011, 2:42 am

@shannon1 wrote:That looks yummy. The work has begun to pay off. I am going to call MM, MMM for Mel's, miracle, mix Laughing

Tril's lettuce looks MMM alright.

I played it a bit crafty with my timing. I got my first bed half filled yesterday and with luck I'll get it filled to the top today and see if mother nature will help me out with some rain again.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  shannon1 on 6/7/2011, 4:30 am

"Rain" what's that? We are having the driest spring in 81 years here and now the fires have begun to brake out. Lots of smoke in the air yesterday morning. Looks like I picked the right year to start gardening again. LOL

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Barkie on 6/7/2011, 5:17 am

@shannon1 wrote:"Rain" what's that? We are having the driest spring in 81 years here and now the fires have begun to brake out. Lots of smoke in the air yesterday morning. Looks like I picked the right year to start gardening again. LOL

What? You mean there is a right year? Shocked The west coast of Wales missed out having a spring. I was thinking my leaf lettuce was going to bolt in April.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 6/7/2011, 6:59 am

In my mind I call it MMM, too... but it's Mel's Magic Mix. Smile I believe in magic, not miracles! LOL

We've got some HOT weather headed here this week. I'm going to take the advice here and water AM and PM. Might be gone this weekend... if I can't get DS to water, it won't be good. Sigh. I knew this was going to be an issue. It's why I don't do container gardens. It's a waste of time. First weekend away (we have two camps, I'm NOT staying home) and they all die.

I froze a quart container of water last night. I plan to poke holes in the bottom and set it in the garden to let it melt. Maybe it will help keep my spinach growing ok. I'd hate to lose it before I even get to taste it!

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  NHGardener on 6/7/2011, 8:40 am

Tril - I see a drip irrigation setup in your future.

I admire your lettuce. How did you get it to grow so well so quickly? Mine is still miniature. Maybe I planted later tho.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  walshevak on 6/7/2011, 9:57 am

I set up a sprinkler system for when I had to be away for more than 2 days. A 2' piece of rebar in the ground, a 4' piece of 1/2" pvc pipe, a cheap stick in the ground type sprinkler (est. $3) hose and a timer at the faucet. Set the timer for 15 mins. at 7 am. Kept my 6 tabletops alive for the 2 weeks each time I was gone. And it was pretty hot and dry here during May. Drip grids may be next year.


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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 6/7/2011, 5:56 pm

"I admire your lettuce. How did you get it to grow so well so quickly? Mine is still miniature. Maybe I planted later tho."

NHG... I planted some of it on May 25th. The rest was even later than that. BUT, I bought starts. My mesclun isn't ready to be picked, yet.

I doubt I'll do a drip irrigation for two 4X4 gardens... if I get more over the years, then I could see doing it. I may regret that... we'll see. LOL

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  NHGardener on 6/7/2011, 6:00 pm

Well, with any luck it will rain.

I didn't know you could buy lettuce starts? Huh.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  Tril on 6/7/2011, 6:01 pm

I got them at Lowe's! 4 to a pack... and they're good. Smile

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  NHGardener on 6/7/2011, 6:02 pm

I noticed Lowes is becoming quite the garden center.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  camprn on 6/7/2011, 6:03 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Well, with any luck it will rain.

I didn't know you could buy lettuce starts? Huh.
I bought some lovely romaine starts at Wally world a few weeks back & they have been really productive.

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

Post  NHGardener on 6/7/2011, 6:04 pm

For some reason I was thinking you weren't supposed to transplant lettuce, they were seed starters.

My problem this year was getting the garden ready early enough and getting organized. I hope next year I'll have my lettuce and other coldies ready early!

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Re: I'm ready to mix!

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