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Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

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Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

Post  kevintunis on 7/5/2011, 7:36 pm

I am looking for people to bounce ideas off of. Raising anything using the Square Foot gardening way is a challenge here.

Out of curiosity in this heat , what are you growing now?

I am also looking for a organic way to get rid of these blasted weeds here in Southwest Kansas. I’m not fond of using any “chemicals” and with the size of the garden, I will never be able to keep ahead of it.

This is not our first year of square foot gardening. Our old garden has 16’ x 4’ beds - we are redoing the garden with 8’ x 4’ beds since the 8’ boards are easier to get in the pickup. We also mixed Mel’s Mix in these beds - with the wind here, one thing we have noticed over the years is this mix has a tendency to blow out of the bed. So we are testing other ways to mix the soil similar to Mel’s Mix. In one of the the new beds, we filled it ¾’s of the way with regular soil. Than added a store bought garden mix.
By the way if you are from this area and know of items locally to make Mel’s mix, let me know. Our choices for compost are Miracle-Grow for flowers and vegetables, Miracle-Grow for flowers and vegetables and maybe Miracle-Grow organic choice. The only place I found for 4 cubic sack of Vermiculite is Waters http://www.waterstruevalue.com/st08.html for $24.99. A 100 mile trip for Vermiculite. This is the only choice for Vermiculite. So basically for Mel’s mix for a 8’ x 4’ bed I would need 5.33 cubic feet each of Peat Moss, Vermiculite (1 -4 cubic bag and a part) and Compost. This means these beds can get expensive to start.
Back to our test bed, here is some things we are thinking about:
Adding red wigglers to the bed to help break down the soil.
Composting weeds as we do not have enough produce built up to start composting. (please note this is not a idea I really want to do)

Okay, enough of me ranting. I am interested in your ideas and experiences please post them here.

If you want to know what I am doing you can follow me at:


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Re: Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/5/2011, 8:38 pm

I sure hope you find someone to help you. I have an affinity for any Kansan, as I am from the SE corner. I understand to a small degree the wind issues with which you are dealing. I never hit a golf ball more than 10 feet high as a kid because of the same issues. Wink

Is there any way you can install/plant a windbreak like a hedgerow? Even ornametal grasses should be ok out there. All you would really have to do is "break up" the windflow and that may be enough to keep the MM in your beds where it belongs.

Another thing since you mentioned it.... we are pretty big sticklers here for SFG'ing completely by the book. I think I can save you some frustration in advance by telling you that the modified soils and beds and discussions therein have their own section here under the "Non-SFG" subforum. We would be happy to discuss SFG related topics with you, regardless of your soil, if you post those specific questions in there. If you post it in the General SFG, or other areas, you may get chastised a little. I don't mean to sound like a horse's booty here; I am trying to think of ALL our members and don't want the newest person 6 months from now to get confused by calling everything "SFG" when some of it doesn't match Mel's updated (All New SFG) book.

It's obvious this isn't your first rodeo. All of your experiences will be welcome here, and I hope to see you get more active as time goes on. Again, I hope you find a person with similar challenges so you guys can think out loud.

I would also love to see a picture of your layout and setup, if possible. Welcome aboard. You've found an outstanding community of pretty intelligent people.....that love to help.

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Re: Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

Post  kevintunis on 7/10/2011, 5:06 pm

Okay, I got it “we are pretty big sticklers here for SFG'ing completely by the book” so there is no building up the bed with compost. When we start on a 4’ x 8’ we use Mel’s mix to the letter in which I have been reading the forum which I found this http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone and this http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/post?p=46251&mode=quote in this post I found this statement “Mel sometimes says to use lots of compost mixed with the local soil”. Looking at Mel’s Mix spreadsheet https://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?authkey=CN3Vp-UN&hl=en&key=t13j-oaIEtk0-n7zGP4v9Ow&hl=en&authkey=CN3Vp-UN#gid=0. This means for a 4’ x 8’ x 6” deep bed, I have to have 5 different compost 1.07 cubic feet. As I said in my first post we don’t have much choices of compost here: Home Depot offers Miracle-Grow in two flavors and our two local garden centers offer about the same. So this means I would have to order the compost.with a 10% shipping charge. Granted I want SFG to be fun and educational but most people economically cannot do this. To me it’s still about building the soil up. That’s what I am trying to do in Southwest Kansas working with the resourses I have.

On my old SFG beds I did use Mel’s Mix to the letter; this was four years ago. This year and last the fertility of the soil has decreased and also with the wind I have lost almost half of the mix. So basically (we are pretty big sticklers here for SFG'ing completely by the book) it would be best to make a new Mel’s Mix and add it to the bed. Instead of layering the old bed with compost, vermiculite and peat moss over time.

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Re: Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

Post  camprn on 7/10/2011, 6:01 pm

Hey Kevin! Welcome to the forum! Yes, the forum and the moderators are very clear about what is Mel's Mix. Now, that being said, the Foundation does say the best growing medium is compost and when the SFG method is taught in areas that has no acces to the basic ingredients of Mel's mix (like peat moss) then it is preferred straight compost is used. Now, the big box stores and garden centers aside, do you have farmers in your region? Shocked Any ranches? Dairies or Horse stables? Farmer's Market? Those are all places I would go to make connections for extra compost ingredients. I would also do as you have planned, making MM or compost and adding it to the current bed. What ever you have access to in your area. Good luck!

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Re: Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/10/2011, 11:00 pm

There are places to check, like Craigslist, too.

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Re: Is there anyone in Southwest Kansas

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