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Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  camprn on 10/1/2012, 12:41 pm

@toledobend wrote:I came out with about 2 cu ft of extra Mel's Mix after I filled the box.
you will need to add that to the bed when the mix in the box settles.

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Mushrooms??

Post  Cobaltkitchen on 11/8/2012, 7:35 pm

I am new to SFG, and do not have enough room in my raised beds to warrant buying 5 types of compost, so we bought the packaged Mel's Mix from Home Depot. We put this into 2 of our 3 beds (bed 1 was already planted and growing well, so we decided to compare results). The beds with the store-bought Mel's Mix have sprouted hundreds of 3 types of mushrooms over the last month. I pull them out morning and night, to try to keep them from coming back. Has anyone else had this problem? In Arizona we think of mushrooms not from the store as poisonous, so I'm concerned about them sticking to my lettuce and other greens when they die (seem to have a 24 hour life cycle). They are very small, nothing you could make a meal of even if they ARE safe... Smile

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  Cincinnati on 11/8/2012, 10:48 pm

@Cobaltkitchen wrote:I am new to SFG, and do not have enough room in my raised beds to warrant buying 5 types of compost, so we bought the packaged Mel's Mix from Home Depot. ... Smile

Cobalt,

I'm discovering you can't have too much compost. — even though I do make my own. You must add compost to the "used" MM at the time you replant a square. So, Having plenty on hand is essential.

I recommend getting 5 types and mixing it together, storing it in a large trash bin.

As far as the MM pre-mix allowing mushrooms to propagate, It tells me that the compost they used never heated up adequately.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  Nine on 3/27/2013, 6:21 pm

I'm guessing I'm wetting the peat miss before measuring to mix

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/27/2013, 7:11 pm

@Nine wrote:I'm guessing I'm wetting the peat miss before measuring to mix

No don't wet it before measuring, but do fluff it if you got compressed bales.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  BeckieSueDalton on 6/28/2015, 12:48 pm

Thank you so very much for this tutorial post.  

We're tight on funds, so this first year I'll have to use the garden soil fixings we'd already purchased (Miracle Gro for veggies/flowers, worm castings, mushroom compost, and some coconut coir that the big box gardening guy recommended).  The pre-bagged Mel's Mix isn't offered at any of our local stores - at least that I can find via websites and phone calls - so having your compost list as a guide is going to be critical for me to be able to do this right.

I've just made my very first boxes - three 2x4 ones - and your post with the wonderful breakdown on composted materials helps me know what I can pick up for us a little at a time each month to be ready for next year.


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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  donnainzone5 on 6/28/2015, 1:06 pm

Because your beautiful boxes have bottoms, you'll need to drill one hole (at least 1/4") in each corner, plus one in the center of each square foot, for drainage.  Some people choose to drill more holes than that. 

It also helps to elevate the beds a bit (on bricks or the like) to facilitate drainage.

You may wish to start making your own compost for future use.  Please use the "search" function here to find a great deal of how-to information.  

And since you couldn't start out with Mel's Mix, you may very well have to fertilize organically, or preferably, use a small amount of a blend of five different composts, to provide sufficient nutrients to your plants.

Many of us choose not to use Miracle Gro, by the way.  It's said that its mineral salts accumulate, ultimately interfering with plants' ability to grow.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  sanderson on 6/28/2015, 1:40 pm

Becky Sue,  Beautiful boxes!  All of my boxes are only 2' deep and I love them.  The largest is 2' x 8'.  Yes, you do have to drill holes as Donna stated.  I finally landed on 3/4" holes.  The 1/4" were too easy to get plugged and 1" seemed too big.  Use any scrap 2x4 (waste from a construction site?) at both ends and in the middle to get them off the ground.  Every 2 feet of underneath support.  Or, 3 rows of cheap common bricks end to end.

Coir will work in place of fluffed peat moss.  I personally would add bagged chicken or cow manure (screened to remove wood chips, bottle caps and rocks Very Happy ) to your mix.  Having at least one manure source seems to be good.  They are usually less than $2 a bag.  The Miracle Gro for veggies/flowers is not for container use, but that said, what ever else you can add to the mix will help.  The Miracle Grow fertilizer in the product is stated to last 3 months so be ready to top dress with mixed composts or organic "fertilizer" this first year.

Just so you know you are not alone, my first year I used Kellogg (red stripped bag) for the compost part.  Embarassed Everything came up and looked so pretty and then stopped growing.  I spent the rest of that first summer adding bagged manure, ordering worm castings and kelp meal and building my first compost pile!  I even used Miracle Grow fertilizer at half strength twice.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/28/2015, 2:23 pm

Looks great Becky!

Be sure to soak your coir a time or two in case it's the kind that has lots of salt in it.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  plantoid on 6/28/2015, 5:03 pm

This year I have finally stopped making new ANSFG beds as I have more than enough for our needs .

For the last three years of filling and topping them up I've  used nothing but compressed coir blocks , ( instead of peat ) which weigh about 10 pounds each.
Two blocks take around  70 litres of water (  20 us gallons ?) to rehydrate enough for my beds . Adding vermiculite later as and where needed , directly on the beds in thin layers as I fill /top up the bed

To get the water take up going in the coir  . I put the water in the big wheel barrow , add 1/2 a teaspoon of simple non anti bacterial dish washing up liquid to the wheel barrow & swish it around to mix it without a lot of suds then I add the blocks . Aout five hours later all the water has been soaked up and the coir is standing 10 inches or more taller than the wheel barrow sides often over flowing onto the concrete work slab . More often than not I've left it all inthe barrow overnight as  this gives a much better absorbancy state overall.

Occasionally I've included  a gallon of a very weak solution of tomato growth enhancer to the re-hydration water volume if I want to put transplants in right away .

A few times I've added  four or more heaped shovels of my homemade compost to the soaped soaking  water before adding the coir blocks to get as many nutrients into the coir as possible .

Towards the last half of the barrow's load I mix everything up in the barrow so that nothing is too rich .

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  BeckieSueDalton on 6/28/2015, 6:34 pm

Thanks for the advice on this, everyone. Smile

I already have a bottle of their liquid fertilizer, so I'll dress with that every week or so to help the plants this year.

I need to go ahead and get my popcorn seedlings into their new home, but if it's only $2 or so, I'll see if I can't get my daughter to make a quick Lowes run with me tomorrow to pick up a bag of manure.

And I have an old trashcan that I've started tossing compost things in.  It's not a perfect solution, but at least things can start decomposing while I get what I need to do the three-tote Wriggler Hilton.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  Razed Bed on 6/29/2015, 7:17 am

Becky, if you have a nice-sized yard that has not been sprayed with chemicals, you can have a lot of compost in a hurry if you rake up your grass clippings after the yard has been cut and put it into a pile.

Check out this video that shows how easy it is.  I do this all the time, but I substitute healthier choices for the ones used in the video.

For Beer, I substitute Nutritional Yeast flakes that I buy in bulk from the local health food store

For Cola, I substitute Succanat or Unsulphured Molasses, depending on what's in the pantry

For Ammonia, I substitute Alfalfa Meal that I also buy in bulk.

Here is the link to the video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDPAbkUUT-o

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  sanderson on 6/29/2015, 11:49 am

@BeckieSueDalton wrote:I already have a bottle of their liquid fertilizer, so I'll dress with that every week or so to help the plants this year.
Half strength.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

Post  camprn on 6/30/2015, 9:59 am

Be careful to not over fertilize. Good luck.

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Re: Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?

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