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question about 5 compost

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question about 5 compost

Post  GWN on 1/21/2012, 3:53 pm

Well I have decided to delve more cautiously on to this forum, I have purchased the book for my kindle and have read most of it.
I have several raised beds that are about 23-36 inches high, and they all have at least 6 inches of space left at the top.
After harvest last year I have covered all the beds with straw.

I now have peat, vermiculite and a variety of forms of compost.
Steer compost, mushroom compost, "farm compost", Sea soil, which is composted sea plants, and my own garden variety (pun intended) compost.
Which makes 5.
Does this sound like a good blend of composts? Does anyone have any experience with the sea soil?

My plan is to cover the straw with 6 inches of mels mix for this years gardens. I will likely make more beds this year as well.

Janet

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  newstart on 1/21/2012, 4:06 pm

sounds good to me But I am still learning. I am sure someone here will let you know:)

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  camprn on 1/21/2012, 4:15 pm

@GWN wrote:I now have peat, vermiculite and a variety of forms of compost.
Steer compost, mushroom compost, "farm compost", Sea soil, which is composted sea plants, and my own garden variety (pun intended) compost. Which makes 5.
Does this sound like a good blend of composts? Does anyone have any experience with the sea soil?

My plan is to cover the straw with 6 inches of mels mix for this years gardens. I will likely make more beds this year as well.

Janet
It sounds good to me, however I am not familiar with sea soil, but if it was me, I would make sure there was no 'soil' or dirt in it before I would add it to my Mel's mix What a Face

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  staf74 on 1/21/2012, 4:53 pm

Hi GWN,

It can be hard sometimes locating the big 5 as it were. Looks like you are well on your way though Very Happy

Sea soil, which is composted sea plants

I googled Sea Soil and I'm assuming it is the same trademark name that is listed in your locale, BC. If that is the case, it does not appear to have any sea plants in it whatsoever.... BUT....it DOES appear to be a very interesting product. It looks like the developer really knows his composting stuff and you can see the passion he has for a top quality product.

Is this the product you are referring to?

http://www.seasoil.com/faq.html

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  Chopper on 1/21/2012, 5:09 pm

FWIW, although Sea Soil really sounds like a top quality product, know that it does contain actual soil as well as bark and fish waste. Not trying to encourage or discourage. Just FYI. I imagine this soil, based on their description of how they obtain it is loaded with even finer tree debris, not just 'dirt'. Iy would be a tough call for me.

From the website:

The remaining "forest fines" (bark and forest soils) are then
transported to our site where we mix them with fish waste and compost
this mixture for two years in the approved windrow method utilizing the
correct equipment to ensure a good mix, a mature product, pathogen
reduction and numerous, healthy colonies of beneficial mircroorganisms
and fungi that will assist in breaking down the nutrients in our soil
into a form your plants can readily accept.

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  GWN on 1/21/2012, 5:14 pm

Yes that is the stuff, and I did check and the place I bought it WAS on their list.
She was explaining what was in it, and I guess in the interest in time abbreviated it, and then I abbreviated it.

I am glad you gave me that link, it DOES sound like pretty good stuff
THe lady at the store uses it all by itself for her gardening needs, even though she has a farm with many poop producing critters.

It would seem that this blend will give me a pretty darn good mixture of composts for my MM

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/22/2012, 4:59 pm

@GWN wrote:I have several raised beds that are about 23-36 inches high, and they all have at least 6 inches of space left at the top. After harvest last year I have covered all the beds with straw. My plan is to cover the straw with 6 inches of mels mix for this years gardens.
Janet

Oh, I don't know Janet? Putting Mel's Mix over the top of existing soil doesn't seem like a good idea. My fear in doing so would be, as the nutrients eventually leach down (like with every watering), the existing weed seeds and other potential nasties would sense where its coming from and do what they do best. And, if my fears were correct you'd be back to square one....literally.

You said you've read the majority of The ANSFG book on your Kindle. So, you also read that laying down a weed barrier cloth is instrumental and coincidentally, one of the first steps. What I'm thinking or getting at is, it seems (in theory) if you put the cloth over the straw you added last year, and then added your Mel's Mix, that wouldn't be any different than starting a SFG on the ground. Hmmmm? I apologize in advance if this is confusing, you should try being in my head. Rolling Eyes

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  Chopper on 1/22/2012, 5:08 pm

@EatYourVeggies wrote:

Oh, I don't know Janet? Putting Mel's Mix over the top of existing soil doesn't seem like a good idea.

There is nothing wrong with putting MM over existing soil. Most of us who have SFGs on the ground do so. I am not trying to be rude or punitive, just that it is very common to put SFG over regular soil. And I hope someone corrects me if I am wrong.

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/22/2012, 5:20 pm

It's my understanding that you put weed block on top of the "fill" material and then put the MM on top of it.

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  GWN on 1/22/2012, 5:25 pm

The parts of the book I have not read have to do with the vegetables I cannot eat. (radiation damage)
Yes I will put a weed block down first, on top of the straw before I put down the MM .....that is as soon as the snow leaves a space.... lots o thanks

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/22/2012, 5:31 pm

[quote="Chopper"]
@EatYourVeggies wrote:I am not trying to be rude or punitive, just that it is very common to put SFG over regular soil. And I hope someone corrects me if I am wrong.

I don't think you're being rude or punitive and you certainly aren't wrong...you just got to the point quicker than I had. Very Happy My original thought as I replied was that it wasn't a good idea, but then I thought, What's the difference? As I said, you should try being in my head most days. Embarassed

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  GWN on 1/22/2012, 5:38 pm

So, you also read that laying down a weed barrier cloth is instrumental and coincidentally, one of the first steps.
I would never start a raised bed without a weed block, to me it is just common sense.

For my own reasons I do not use cloth, I use many layers of cardboard, which according to my calculations kill the weeds below and then eventually break down themselves after the weeds are dead.
I have used the fabric for years and just find that I prefer cardboard.


Last edited by GWN on 1/22/2012, 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/22/2012, 5:48 pm

[quote="GWN"]
, I use many layers of cardboard, which according to my calculations kill the weeds below and then eventually break down themselves after the weeds are dead. I have used the fabric for years and just find that I prefer cardboard.

I mentioned weed barrier cloth as an example, since its what Mel specified in the ANSFG book. Other than being expensive, I don't have a problem with it. I think using cardboard sounds like a really good idea (very thrifty or "green"). Personally, I used newspapers last year, attempting to put the weeds at bay in a row garden I inherited and they did a pretty good job of keeping the weeds down.

This Spring the garden will be leveled and converted to my third SFG since 2006. I hope to have at least four 4 x 4 boxes and maybe even six.

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Weed barriers

Post  tomperrin on 1/22/2012, 6:10 pm

Some things to consider:

A lot of weed barriers deterioriate or decompose rather quickly, including the store bought ones.

Most of my weeds come from airborne seeds.

Weeds in Mel's Mix are easily pulled out.

Some of our veggies have a normal root depth that is far deeper than our 6" - 10" high squares. For example, corn has a normal tap root of 4 feet. But that's why it's a field crop.

This year, I will be paying more attention to normal root depth in my squares. My corn squares, for example, will not have a weed barrier. My perennials probably won't either. But other squares will. It all depends.

Root development in Mel's Mix is real interesting. It's far better structured than in normal garden soil. But the deeper root structure in some veggies might allow me to take a little vacation, or just get lazy.

http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010137veg.roots/010137toc.html

http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010139fieldcroproots/010139toc.html







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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  camprn on 1/22/2012, 6:56 pm

I have declined to use weed barrier cloth for years but this coming spring I have to put it on all my boxes. Nearby tree root hairshave been infiltrating the yummy Mel's mix and have been strangling the vegetable plant's roots, stunting their growth. Finger crossed this will fix the problem.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  plantoid on 1/22/2012, 7:28 pm

Camp,
Invasive tree roots could well penetrate even the best of weed barriers not only for nutrients but the all so valuable water .
If tree roots are a problem it may well be better to ( wash my mouth out with carbolic soap Wink ) annually dig around the beds on the outside to a depth of 10 inches or so thus severing the feeder roots .

I had the same problem with the hair roots of the big oak tree at the bottom of my current garden , for five years I had to annually dig a 2 foot deep trench between the row veg plots and the tree & deep rototill the beds every autumn to knock back any trespassers.

For the others if a no weed barrier works for you great , however my experiences over the years tells me that one day some sneaky weed like couch grass , the Rehus ( sp ?) shrub or any of the bamboo's etc that work with the same sort of root system will usually find it's way underground and pop up in the beds unless you have decent concrete paths of four feet wide or so around every bed .

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  camprn on 1/22/2012, 8:05 pm

@plantoid wrote:Camp,
Invasive tree roots could well penetrate even the best of weed barriers not only for nutrients but the all so valuable water .
If tree roots are a problem it may well be better to ( wash my mouth out with carbolic soap Wink ) annually dig around the beds on the outside to a depth of 10 inches or so thus severing the feeder roots .

I had the same problem with the hair roots of the big oak tree at the bottom of my current garden , for five years I had to annually dig a 2 foot deep trench between the row veg plots and the tree & deep rototill the beds every autumn to knock back any trespassers.

Plantoid, I do believe you may be correct about the situation and the solution. I do not have a rototiller but a maddox is alreay on my springtime shopping list. Wink And thanks Very Happy

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  martha on 1/22/2012, 8:13 pm

@plantoid wrote:... or any of the bamboo's ...
affraid

(I had bamboo somewhere I used to live. I was young. I thought I could eradicate it.)

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  plantoid on 1/23/2012, 7:56 pm

@martha wrote:
@plantoid wrote:... or any of the bamboo's ...
affraid

(I had bamboo somewhere I used to live. I was young. I thought I could eradicate it.)

Seven years or more creeping along underground and suddenly " POP " up comes a new shoot many yards for the host plant .

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  jpatti on 1/24/2012, 11:04 am

If it's really STRAW, not HAY, it's largely seed-free.

Straw is the leftover stuff when they grow grains, and the seeds have been combined out of it as the grain is the main crop they want.

Hay is grass cut by farmers for feeding animals, which generally has all sorts of seed left in it.

I consider straw a weed barrier similar to cardboard and put it in the bottom of beds, as well as to line my walking paths, and then to mulch with.

The only weed problems I've had building beds with cardboard or straw bottoms is when I left lawn too close and annoying grass stolons moved under the boxes and inside. Nothing coming up from the bottom at all.

My concern with putting Mel's Mix (which is expensive) over straw is not that it will leach away so much as that as the straw composts, the level of the whole bed will sink a lot. I mean, any raised bed is going to sink SOME, but a heavy layer of straw is going to sink a LOT and might be pretty expensive to refill over time.

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Re: question about 5 compost

Post  GWN on 1/24/2012, 11:16 am

It IS straw.
I guess I have put straw everywhere on top of cardboard (I moved last year Wink )
My thoughts are that the straw will eventually compost, as it sinks

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