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making modifications to 'soil' mixture

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making modifications to 'soil' mixture

Post  Feistywidget on 11/2/2011, 5:48 pm

Below is the recipe I use for container gardening; it's the 'soil' I'd use in square foot gardening boxes too.

I know with any sort of container gardening, trying to use regular soil/dirt doesn't work; it's just too heavy and compacts too much. I've also tried to use regular soil in container gardening, and it was a total disaster, so I know first hand from past experience.

2-3 cu ft pine bark fines
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
2 cups dolomitic (garden) lime (or gypsum in some cases)
2 cups CRF (if preferred)
1/2 cup micro-nutrient powder (or other source of the minors - provided in some fertilizers)

Most gardening guides I know when it comes to instructions on growing any sort of veggie/fruit, ESP. heavy feeders (any sort of squash, cucumbers, any type of melon) advocate the use of using manure and/or compost. I'm wondering if I could mix compost/manure into the soilless mix recipe listed above, or would it make it too heavy and compact?

I've also been debating adding some normal sand into the soil recipe above. By sand, I'm NOT referring to sandy soil that has no nutrients at all, and is horrible for gardening/growing anything in. Nor am I talking about sandy soil.

I'd just like to add sand, because I'm trying to mimic loam. I know loam has some sand in it. The type of sand I'd use is just normal, run-of-the-mill sand.

I'd also like to add it because based on research I've done about instructions with growing anything edible (fruits, veggies, etc.) it recommends the use of 'sandy, loamy soil'. I also know that there are certain things that just grow better in a sandy loam soil, such as spinach, melons, and squash.

Would the two additions of manure and sand to my soil mixture, be a good idea or a bad idea? Basically would it increase yields or just wreak havoc on plants, and the modified soil mixture I have in mind (same recipe as above, just with sand and compost mixed in) not be suitable for container gardening.

If it's recommended to add sand and manure/compost, how much of each should I add. Please specify the measurement! (that is how many cups/quarts/gallons) etc. per batch I should use.

The reason I ask to specify how much to use per batch, is that is the way I make my soil mixture is in batches. The above recipe makes about 30 gallons of soil mixture per batch.

EDIT: This thread has been moved to the non-SFG gardening discussion forum.


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Location : Boyne City Michigan (gardening zone 5; short growing season....mild and cool climate...hot summers, but much milder than summers in tropical gardening zones)

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Perhaps this should be moved to the Non SFG topic

Post  fiddleman on 11/2/2011, 6:03 pm

While what you are saying may work for you, perhaps this topic should be moved to the Non SFG section. Mel's mix by the way will work wonders in containers as well, and is light airy and easy to make.
This section of the forum I believe is still under the SFG area where it's "all things Mel's Mix"! Try it as an experiment against your mixture, plant for plant. It would be interesting to know if yours holds up as well as Mel's has proven.


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