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Mel's Mix...

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Mel's Mix...

Post  suebc on 3/3/2010, 6:14 pm

.. In New Jersey.
Is Mel's Mix available in N.J. I attended Mel's seminar at the NJ Flower & Garden Show a few weeks ago, and he wasn't sure if Mel's Mix is available here.
Anyone got a clue?

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Mel's Mix in NJ

Post  AndyB on 3/3/2010, 6:42 pm

I haven't seen Mel's mix for sale here in NJ either. Looking at the ingredients it seems very similar to the mix used for container gardening. I could be wrong.

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  jerzyjen on 3/4/2010, 8:53 pm

I don't think so, but if someone else knows please say so. I'm awefully bummed out that I missed this show.

I'm in south jersey and I know a few spots that sell vermiculite, if you are trying to make your own for the first time that will be the ingredient that will most likely give you the hardest time to find (at least it was for me). Let me know if you need that resource, however if you up north im not sure you want to make a long drive to get some.
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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  AndyB on 3/4/2010, 9:25 pm

Organic Container Mix = Contains odor-free composted manure and plant materials, sphagnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite

I am not trying to get political and I didn't even know anything about this until I did a search, however anyone in NJ should get a kick out of it...LINK=
Largest supplier of vermiculite on the east coast The Schundler Company is the oldest and largest producer of perlite and vermiculite on the east coast of the United States, and maintains the largest and most comprehensive site about perlite and vermiculite on the internet.)

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  jerzyjen on 3/5/2010, 1:53 pm

Yeah I noticed the stuff I bought last year at my local garden supply actually came from Metuchen I think. I don't know if this is the same company or not but i found it interesting that it was from jersey.
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Thanks..

Post  suebc on 3/6/2010, 1:12 pm

.. for all your replies.
Was in Lowe's last night and Mel's mix wasn't in stock.
I found myself looking at the ingredients of garden soil to try and compare.

If the vermiculite company is in Metuchen, it's only about 5 - 7 miles from where I live.
I'll have to check it out!

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/7/2010, 1:14 pm

To date, the only source of pre-mixed Mel's Mix is from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation itself, for pickup only in Utah.

The mix consists of 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost (from at least five different sources). There are a few good organic planting mixes out there that contain 6-8 different ingredients, but read the labels carefully.
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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  davlafont on 3/11/2010, 2:13 pm

@jerzyjen wrote:Let me know if you need that resource, however if you up north im not sure you want to make a long drive to get some.
jerzyjen, could you tell where you've found it? I'm from North Jersey, but I have a passport with a South Jersey visa... j/k... I have family north of Philly so I could combine trips depending on where you're talking about.

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  boffer on 3/11/2010, 2:23 pm

@davlafont wrote:...I have a passport with a South Jersey visa...

LOL

Not being from the area, it sounds like you have to go through an armed guard border crossing to make a cross-state trip!

I'm assuming you're talking about a freeway or bridge pass transponder?

Just havin' some fun...
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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  jerzyjen on 3/11/2010, 5:30 pm

LOL Boffer. It's sort of an understood rule that we are two states "North Jersey" and "South Jersey". Different sports teams (south jerseyites root for philly teams as a general rule of thumb), different accents, probably the same road rage though

If you go to the vermiculite sources thread I posted my two spots in Burlington County, probably about a 40 min. trip from Philly, I don't know how long from your neck of the city - but for reference we are about exit 4 on the TPK.

Oh heres the linky to that forum http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/vermiculite-sources-and-information-f30/vermiculite-in-south-jersey-burlington-county-t253.htm
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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  davlafont on 3/11/2010, 6:19 pm

Thanks for the link. I'll keep searching around up here, but at least I have back up resource.

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  danw77 on 3/26/2010, 1:21 pm

Here's a supplier in Central NJ (Cranbury) that we used for our vermiculite.

http://www.dgsupplies.com/Coarse-Grade-Vermiculite--4-Cu-ft-bag_p_72.html

$25 for a 4 cu. ft. bag, or 2 bags for $40.

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  davlafont on 3/26/2010, 2:10 pm

I literally just returned from a local garden center where I placed an order for 3x 2 cu. ft. bags at $22 each. Good thing is, I need more than that.

Do you have a low-cost source for peat, or should buy some first Razz

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  timsue1972 on 3/31/2010, 12:46 pm

Hello - I have justpicked up a big bag of Vermiculite from Roorks, down near Elmer NJ, $19.95 no measurement on bag, but it measures to be 7618 cu in, which is about 3.9 to 4.2 cu ft, allowing for the crude manual measuring.

The problem I see is finding 5 different composts, and the whole total mix also is pricey - like about $40 per 4 foot garden.

I have a question that I havent found yet - There are now several places selling pre-mix Potting Soil, with peat, verm, and org compost, 2 cu ft, $7 to $11. Has anyone ever deviated and used this?

Tim


Last edited by timsue1972 on 3/31/2010, 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add)

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  jerzyjen on 4/2/2010, 10:12 am

I wouldnt mess with a good thing myself. It definately is a bit pricey to start SFG, but worth the investement if you plan to continue this gardening method for years to come. You can use the mix for many many many years by just adding a little fresh compost with each new planting (or so i hear, i've only done this one year so far).
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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  vfclead on 4/5/2010, 11:21 am

Tim,

I agree about the upfront cost (and I had a heck of a time finding 5 different types of compost) and also looked at some premixed options, but found the issue to be ratios. The premixed is not usually an even ratio of 1/3 of each product and many of the pre-mixed versions I saw also had other things in the mix (like perlite or chemical fertilizers) as well.

Since so many on the boards have had great success following Mel's directions explicitly (and knowing that the verm & peat are a one time only purchase), we decided to stick with the directions and not vary the course.

The company I picked up our Vermiculite from has HUGE bags (enough to make mix for two 4x4 boxes) for $22 (I picked up our Peat Moss there too - one big compacted back for $8 which was enough for the two boxes). They have shops all over the east coast, including a few in NJ. Website is www.griffins.com. We also bought 3 types of compost at Southern States in Newark, DE and have heard others pick up the same at Southern States in MD - don't know if there's one in NJ near you.

Good luck!
Jennifer

@timsue1972 wrote:Hello - I have justpicked up a big bag of Vermiculite from Roorks, down near Elmer NJ, $19.95 no measurement on bag, but it measures to be 7618 cu in, which is about 3.9 to 4.2 cu ft, allowing for the crude manual measuring.

The problem I see is finding 5 different composts, and the whole total mix also is pricey - like about $40 per 4 foot garden.

I have a question that I havent found yet - There are now several places selling pre-mix Potting Soil, with peat, verm, and org compost, 2 cu ft, $7 to $11. Has anyone ever deviated and used this?

Tim

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Try your freecycle group

Post  SirTravers on 4/5/2010, 1:23 pm

Hey Tim don't give up on finding your compost. Try putting a wanted ad on your local Freecycle List I'm sure someone has some different maures that they'd be happy to let you have. I agree with some of the other folks. The few times I've seen folks deviate and use premixed soils it just never seems to come out right. The good news is...once you find someone willing to "donate" their manure, you've got a lifetime source and maybe even a new friend to introduce to the SFG method of gardening.

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Vermiculite in Southern NJ

Post  KellyNJ on 4/26/2010, 9:00 pm

Dambly's in Cedar Brook, NJ (right near route 73) sells the large bags of vermiculite for $25. I'd say it's about 25-30 minutes from Philly. For better directions email me.

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Mel's Mix...

Post  trukrebew on 4/26/2010, 9:44 pm

If North & South Jersey are considered separate states, what does that make Central Jersey......the interchange?

Growing up in CNJ, I never realized that only those in Central actually acknowledge it as "central." I found out later that if you live anywhere in South Jersey, you consider everyone else who lives above you as Northerners. It also works in the other direction. I imagine that is one very wide and indistinguishable border. Although Craigslist has legitimized its existence!

Just had to put my two cents in about that. Back to the topic, though. I have a question about the amount of peat in Mel's Mix. I know Mel writes that the peat will double in size once it is broken up from the bale and I've seen that elsewhere on this forum, too. But it doesn't seem to be working for me.

I mixed up 6 cu.ft. of course vermiculite (Nischwitz in South Plainfield, $25 a bag) + 6 cu. ft. of three different composts + a 3 cu ft bale of sphagum peat moss. If the peat was supposed to double, I should have 18 cu ft of Mel's Mix, right? Well, I tried to fill up a 2x4, 2x3, and two 2x6's (all 6" deep) and came up much more than 1 cubic foot short. It seems to also be very glittery, with much more vermiculite showing than I was expecting. Where did I go wrong?
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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  vfclead on 4/26/2010, 9:54 pm

It might be the type of Peat you purchased. Peat comes in compressed (or compacted) and uncompressed bags. Compressed bags push all the air out and packages the peat in a tight, dense rectangular shape - when the packaging is opened the product released it "expands" when loosened from that compacted shape. So a 3cu ft bag of compacted peat moss when opened expands to 6cu ft of product. A 3cu ft bag of peat moss that isn't compacted yields 3cu ft.

We used a 5 gallon bucket to transfer the products onto a large plastic sheet to make sure we used an even amount of peat, vermiculite & compost. Ours is quite glittery too - check out pictures in my thread "And so it begins"... http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/showcase-of-gardens-f6/and-so-it-begins-t836.htm

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  boffer on 4/26/2010, 9:57 pm

The problem must be the CNJ math! lol!

What you're seeing is the difference between textbook math and real life math. Mathematically, a 4x4x6 needs 8 cf. In real life, I use 10 because it compresses when it gets wet. Here's a 4x4 with 10cf in it. The level of soil still wasn't to the top of the box when wet. Mel's mix does look glittery.

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  Blackrose on 4/26/2010, 10:15 pm

I bought a 2.2 cubic foot bag of compressed peat moss and we actually measured it out one cubic foot at a time, it had expanded to just over 3 cubic feet. So, it didn't actually double.

In case you're wondering how we measured a cubic foot, my husband took scrap pieces of wood left over from building my SFG and built a 1 cubic foot box without a top. He then used that as a giant measuring cup to measure out each cubic foot of peat moss, vermiculite and compost that we needed to fill the box. He likes math. It had to be accurate for him.

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Re: Mel's Mix...

Post  trukrebew on 4/26/2010, 10:26 pm

Hey, I was in my HS math club!

Well, not for very long and I kept counting on my fingers.....but...YES, that was textbook skills as opposed to real life skills. Thanks for the feeback, vfclead and boffer.

The peat was definitely a densely packed square bale. I broke all the clumps up with my hands before adding it to the mix. I also used a 5-gallon bucket to measure. I still have another 18 cu ft to mix up this week for the 4x4 and 2x8 boxes left.

Hopefully, I'll come close enough to filling all the big boxes so I can get my seedlings in the ground. If I have to short change one box, it'll be the 2x3 herb box until I can buy some more vermiculite.
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Fun with math!

Post  davlafont on 4/26/2010, 10:51 pm

Which weighs more: a pound of peat moss or a pound of peat moss?

I'm still one box shy of my goal because I haven't ventured out to buy more vermiculite. I have my eye on a hazardous material shipping company that's a 30 minute drive from me. It's ju-u-u-u-ust far enough that I don't want to make a special trip...

But thankfully, it's not in Central Jersey!

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Mels' Mix

Post  Dunkinjean on 5/5/2010, 9:31 pm

Mel's mix.

Apparently we are unable to get it in NJ.

Therefore, we bought the three ingredients and mixed it ourselves.

The hardest to find is the Coarse Vermiculite.

The Schundler Co. in Metuchen had a major fire a year ago and is still unable to produce the Coarse Vermiculite.

Therefore, they recommended Uline company. I ordered the 2 bags or 4 cubic ft from them online. Their address and phone number is below:

Uline.com
400 Boulder Dr
Breinigsville, PA 18031

Tele #1-800-295-5510

The coarse vermiculite came in a few days.

Good luck.

Dunkinjean
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