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I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

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Don't make yourself sick...

Post  quiltbea on 4/8/2010, 8:06 pm

Jenny-h, you are trying too hard.
I ordered garden loam to be delivered for my boxes because I was putting in 9 of them and wanted to add a mounded strawberry patch, corn patch, potato patch and annual bed. This was last spring, my first year with SFG.


Once I distributed the loam, I added some peat moss and composted cow manure bought by the 40# bag at Walmart. My purse isn't full since I live on a fixed income and am retired. I had to make do.


Well, my garden did very well for its first year. The only probs I had were torrential rains in July and a tomato blight from using commercial seedling tomatoes but most things did great, like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, potatoes, beans and peas and other things. I also got myself a compost barrel and a worm condo so I could make my own healthy compost for this year. I added the compost and dried leaves to my beds last fall.

This spring I made up my fertilizer mix and will add that to each hole before I plant my seedlings.

Sometimes you have to make do with what you can find. Go for it and don't make yourself sick with worry. You'll be surprised what you'll get out of your little garden. Change your plan to what you can get.

Enjoy and smile. You'll love it when it gets going.

If you need any more proof, check out my last year's blog with pictures of my first every SFG at http://quiltladysgardens.blogspot.com

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  sceleste54 on 4/8/2010, 11:05 pm

LOL!! I gotta jump in here on the subject of manure.. I talked my dear hubby into shoveling up a pickup load of "composted" horse manure for our shrubbery early on in our marrige.. we had the most beautiful crop of oats in our beds you've ever seen !! He reminds me of that from time to time
On a more sober note.. tetanus is present in ANY soil, regardless whether or not you have added manure, as well as avian tuberculosis and other lesser known varieties that are carried by local fauna.. Precautions like gloves are always in order

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  quiltbea on 4/8/2010, 11:41 pm

When I went for my checkup last year, I asked for a Tetanus shot. I am the type of person who loves to get her hands in the soil. I wear gloves often but other times I just have to dig into the soil with my bare hands. I thought it best to get a Tetanus shot.
Any gardener would be wise to do the same!

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  cliftyman on 4/9/2010, 9:50 am

I really wanted to make Mel's Mix because I have no doubt its ideal for growing about anything but I just couldn't find the ingredients in abundance or price that I could handle.

Based on our local prices I was going to end up spending hundreds of dollars on soil.

I ended up going to a local mulching company and they had a soil mix of composted wood chips and sand that the local university uses for their landscaping... I just got it instead and I knew it had to be better than the rocky clay soil in my backyard. I amended it with a little compost and it has done awesome (after I got a little patience and realized my veggies needed some heat to start growing).

Its crazy that you can't find row covers, good soil and other things that used to be in abundance because more people gardened... but it seems the trend is reversing and more people are. If I have anything to do with it I'm going to have every person I know doing this before I croak.

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Re: I'm Ready to Give Up!

Post  Crystalheart on 4/9/2010, 7:27 pm

I HEAR YOU AND I UNDERSTAND! I wore myself out trying to find enough vermiculite to get my boxes going. And I was having trouble with the compost too, but finally find several different brands so I figured that was good enough. Thanks to a tip from someone on the forum (Thank you vfclead!) my vermiculite problem was solved but I had to drive and hour and a half each way to buy it in stock from a garden center. In the meantime, my plants were becoming rootbound and I was feeling like I did everything wrong.

Don't beat yourself up about being frustrated. You did the right thing by venting to us all and I can see by the response you got lots of loving support. Now you can pass it along to those plants you're setting in the ground! You'll forget all the hassle once you see those plants growing and stretching towards the sun.

Best wishes to you and your new garden! Please let us know how things are progressing.

Blessings,
Crystalheart

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  ralitaco on 4/11/2010, 7:55 pm

I had the same issue and ended up w/ Kow manure, Chicken manure, mushroom compost and a generic compost w/ manure.
I just found out that my local Organic farm supply may have worm castings.
Not sure if you have anything like that in the area, but I hope this helps

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  SirTravers on 4/11/2010, 8:07 pm

anyone with a cotton gin or grain elevator nearby can talk to the office manager and get all the hulls they can haul for composting

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Don't give up, ask a friend.

Post  Little Thumb on 4/15/2010, 3:45 pm

Do you have any friends that have chickens, goats, pigs, cows, rabbits, etc. You can get compost from many differnt sources. Ask around if anyone has some farm animals.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  Chopper on 5/11/2010, 5:45 am

I did not know that you needed 5 kinds of compost when I started so I didn't have them. So far so good. I think if you just go ahead you will not have the ideal, but you will have pretty dang good. And you can start making your own well-rounded compost for next year. Compost is the one thing you continue to add, so you will continually improve your soil anyway.

Relax, it isn't a make or break if you cannot find 5 sources of compost. Do your best with what you have and it should work out fine.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  silverbug on 5/11/2010, 7:47 am

I have all one type of composted cow manure and my stuff is doing beautifully. Do not stress. It's just plants. I mean, think about all the things that grow, everywhere. Weeds and plants that find their way in between the cracks of our sidewalks....plants growing in a spec of dirt, in some unlikely parking lot. It's life, and it's teaming all around us. Your garden will grow, and you will learn as you go along what works best in your boxes and for you. Relax and let the fun part take over. Smile

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  LaFee on 5/11/2010, 8:48 am

Silverbug, well said. You took the words right off the ends of my fingers.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  HawaiiAl on 5/13/2010, 12:32 am

I'm sorry but mel's mix sucks as is . I did it by the book first seedlings died, replanted and watched very close as they started to turn yellow,
fertilized the out of them, plants doing fine now. started to mix in the composted mac nut dirt and compost. New bed with melons in it is half and half plus fertizier is also doing much better. mels mix needs neutrients mix in. Make your mix with want you can find or afford, will work out fine Alex

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disagree

Post  SirTravers on 5/13/2010, 12:43 am

I wholeheartedly have to disagree with you Al. Please remember that "mel's mix" is a loose term as he's just suggesting a general recipe. To say it sucks is a misnomer, but you are right that the mix needs nutrients. That's where the blended compost comes in. I notice a lot of folks getting 5 kinds of manure, but it's still manure. It helps to diversify the compost to include leaf molds, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, composted cottonseed hulls if you can get them.
Adding compost as we go also ensures that the micronutrients get added back in for the next planting too. The peat moss and vermiculite are there for water retention and friability of the mix.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  HawaiiAl on 5/13/2010, 4:18 am

Thats your opinion, you've all ready herd mine, I've growen plants in the worst to the best for 30+ years. I'm always on the look out for something new to learn, I will never use it again. and NO I did not use any kind of stuff that wasn't in the book did it by the book. good day!
ps: now adding my Benefical Indigenous Microorganisms to grow good soil.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  herbarium on 5/13/2010, 10:06 am

I think Mel's Mix is great stuff. The compost is the most important part. Using at least three different types - different types of manures, plant based, and/or mushroom. Most of my current beds are made with turkey manure, steer manure, a plant based compost and a little Dr. Earth brand. That is where the nutrients come from and most people I have talked to had problems because they didn't remember to add more before the next crop or they didn't use a variety in the first place. I have been a Square Foot Gardener for 20 years but I grew up gardening the traditional way. One of my years of Square Foot Gardening I planted in straight compost because that was all I could get at the time. My garden was fabulous.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  boffer on 5/13/2010, 11:59 am

Hi Al,

I see that you're not happy with the results you've received from using Mel's Mix, and that you're not interested in feedback from folks who have had great success with it. I understand the frustration of a disappointing garden, and I don't have a problem with you venting. In fact, I wasn't going to say anything about the adult language I edited from your post because it would have been appropriate in Real Life. But it's not appropriate here on the forum, and I received several complaints from members even after the edit.

This is an informative thread conducted in the best spirit of the forum, and we all have an interest in keeping it going. Therefore, from one ol' fart to another, please do not participate in this thread again.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  chocolatepop on 5/13/2010, 12:00 pm

WOW, ok.

Well, from what I can tell the largest problem that most people have is the diversity of compost and correct mixing ratio.

After all, the other 2/3 of the mix is basically potting mix, the same potting mix that greenhouses and other commercial sites use for seedlings since most seedlings don't "need" nutrients right away since they get it primarily through photosynthesis until larger. Potting mix is just peat and vermi/perlite. The addition of a wide variety of compost ensures the nutrient base. One shouldn't need any synthetic fertilizer if the compost is well rounded. But, I know there are times in which you cant come across a million different sources, this is when alterations to the mix may be required. I would also hesitate to add a mix high in compost to my seedlings because I have had them burn in the past (and this was even in well matured manure, I think it was just too much for some of the seedlings).

But, use what you can get your hands on, at the end of the day it is what you grow not how your grown Smile

edited because Boff responded during my typing phase. We're here to help, all of us, pinging ideas, solutions, etc but its hard to when we feel attacked for offering

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  dansamy on 5/13/2010, 12:07 pm

Well, I used garden soil, topsoil and compost because that's what I could get. I found peat moss but it didn't get added to my garden bed. My son's Boy Scout box is all garden soil and topsoil. No compost or anything else in it. I know I'm going to have to feed plants. That's all right. My next box will probably have a full-on Mel's in it. I hope to find vermiculite by then anyway. If not, it'll be compost, topsoil, garden soil and peat moss. DH told me "Plants will grow in dirt. Don't stress out about it. So you have to buy plant food or fertilizer. Big deal." I'll also add a little peat moss to each square in my big box as they get re-planted later in the fall. Vermiculite too if I can find it.

I was reading in the book that all compost is used in less-developed areas of the world because of the lack of access to peat and vermiculite. Since it works there and is still SFG, it'll work here too.

Somebody else said that plants grow. It's what they do. They want to thrive. Maybe you have to watch them and help them out a little. Yesterday, I was worried about my littl okra plants. DH watered the garden. Today they look perfectly happy and fine. (DH said what I did was not watering. It was "sprinkling" and that they just needed more water. I love him!)

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  miinva on 5/13/2010, 12:46 pm

Hawaii, I fear that you're barking up the wrong tree here. You're surrounded by people who have successfully used the method Smile

Thank you for the suggestion to research Benefical Indigenous Microorganisms, that's an interesting idea!

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/13/2010, 12:58 pm

I love the theory behind Mel's Mix, a water retentive soil that is high in nutrients. I too am learning about the combinations of compost. I have a tendency to just jump right in Smile Well beings I was fretting about tilling and weeding again this year to get a dismal crop. Then came the dollar store walk through and there was Mel's book (value edition but worth it until I got the full version for 10 bucks at lowes.) Smile lololol I jumped in then realized this theory also allowed for mistakes that were easy to fix !! I started relaxing and the ideas started coming. This forum is a huge help to me in the idea department. I had figured anything I used and didnt have enough nutrients I could feed myself until I got the right combination. The fact I water less means I would have to feed less anyway Smile Im just excited to be in the garden again and knowing I might see more squash this year Smile (than my one last year none the year before)

Im happy in the garden
Ha-v-v

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

Post  milaneyjane on 5/13/2010, 1:36 pm

I was in the same boat and then all the grocery stores started setting up their little garden centers out in the parking lots and I found more composts. Also, check to see if you can find some worm castings----EXCELLENT! When I only had three types of compost I was going to add small amounts of that to get more variety in the actual mix.

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Re: I'm ready to give up!!!!!!!!!

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