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Ready to mix compost? Empty Ready to mix compost?

Post  gardenertaylor on 3/18/2013, 4:46 pm

Yesterday I built my first 4X4X6 box and a 2X2x12 box in about 30 minutes! Eaaazzy Peeaazzy. I was so pleased with how smoothly it went. Very Happy

I also bought the ingredients for Mel's Xix. I got the vermiculite, the peat moss, and 5 types of compost! Bbbooooooowwwwhhaaa! rock on I felt good about finding 5 types (which, by the way, came from Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, and Zamzows)

I think am ready to mix my first batch compost this week. Here's what I got . . . .please let me know if I'm on track . . . . thinking

All Natural N'Rich: forest, arbor fines, chicken manure, dolomite lime, oyster shell and kelp meal

Steer Blend

Chicken Manure 3-2-2

Mushroom Compost

ZamZows compost: Mushroom casings, forest products, and dairy fiber (maybe as much as 20% peat moss, but I will adjust for that).

That an OK mix? I'm a little nervous about the chicken manure . . .the sales clerk mentioned that if it's not used per the directions it can burn; it's very hot. And it shows up as an ingredient in the first bag listed as well.

What do you think? Am I on track? I can't wait to mix up some Mel's Mix!
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Post  camprn on 3/18/2013, 5:01 pm

If the chicken manure is one of your composts and it says compost on the bag, don't fret. The burn usually comes from the fresh stuff. Looks good so far, if it were me I might try to find one more compost. Have you tried any local farms?

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Post  plantoid on 3/18/2013, 5:14 pm

[quote="gardenertaylor"]Yesterday I built my first 4X4X6 box and a 2X2x12 box in about 30 minutes! Eaaazzy Peeaazzy. I was so pleased with how smoothly it went. Very Happy

I also bought the ingredients for Mel's Xix. I got the vermiculite, the peat moss, and 5 types of compost! Bbbooooooowwwwhhaaa! rock on I felt good about finding 5 types (which, by the way, came from Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, and Zamzows)

I think am ready to mix my first batch compost this week. Here's what I got . . . .please let me know if I'm on track . . . . thinking

All Natural N'Rich: forest, arbor fines, chicken manure, dolomite lime, oyster shell and kelp meal
Wood bits , chicken muck ...no need of lime or crushed shells ..kelp is good
Steer Blend


Blended with what ???

Chicken Manure 3-2-2
You already have chicken muck


Mushroom Compost
Good

ZamZows compost: Mushroom casings, forest products, and dairy fiber (maybe as much as 20% peat moss, but I will adjust for that).
you already have mushroon content , bits of wood , and stuff out the back end of a cow / bull.
The mushroom casings I know of were the sterilized sand , soil and humus that the mushrooms grew on above the mushroom compost . Have you seen what it really is instead of relying on what the bag describes . So do you want to put this sand & soil in the beds that to all intents and purposes should not contain it.


It might seem very mean of me ..it's not though, for I'd like you to get started with the best chances of growing healthy crops .

Looking at what you have is basically three types of compost ....the forrest products are most likely only partly composted and will rob the nitrogen out of your other products .

The chicken muck should have lost some of it's agressiveness as it sounds like it has been part composted ..it may say on the bag it's OK to plant directly into it.


If it were only three different products what else do you think you could find to make up two more elements ?
Worm casts, fish based compost , horse muck ( often used in mushroom compost so perhaps not ) LLama beans , neat rabbit muck no straw or hay seeds .
lobster compost . seaweed compost .

Now all this might seem horrifically difficult to find but it is out there and available.

look in the threads index in the home page titles at the top of this page for your geographical area and see who is about and ask them how/ where they found the materials .

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Post  gardenertaylor on 3/24/2013, 11:26 am

I took your advice and got one more compost, but I also omitted the mushroom casings. That sounded like good advice to leave it out. Then I decided it was time to move forward. Hubs and I mixed up the compost and made up the Mel's Mix yesterday. We had a good time with it. It wasn't too hard to do. Smile

We filled up our boxes and laid out our grids. Now we will be monitoring the soil temp and testing our in ground irrigation system (we already determined the location we put the boxes is going to be the best location for watering and sun) to see what kind of impact our current watering system will have on the soil in the boxes.

Is it possible to over water the soil? What signs should I look for in a well-watered soil vs an over-watered soil? I think it should still feel loose, yet damp? Hubs is worried we may over water. I am thinking our irrigation system won't be enough, and we will need to supplement with hand watering with sun warmed water during the day. We live in a high desert region that is very dry. Any advice?

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Post  camprn on 3/24/2013, 11:36 am

@gardenertaylor wrote:
Is it possible to over water the soil? What signs should I look for in a well-watered soil vs an over-watered soil? I think it should still feel loose, yet damp? Hubs is worried we may over water. I am thinking our irrigation system won't be enough, and we will need to supplement with hand watering with sun warmed water during the day. We live in a high desert region that is very dry. Any advice?

Your watering requirement will increase as the season progresses, the plants get larger and take up more water. The mix should not be sopping wet, you need to keep it as consistently moist as possible to prevent the mix from drying out. Once it drys out it is difficult to sometimes to get it moist again. frustration
Folks, and Mel says that you can't overwater Mel's Mix. But you can waste water. The moisture of your beds should be monitored with the finger test or a meter at least every other day. In the heat of the summer you will be water frequently.

If you are worried about evaporation from the beds and would like to retain as much moisture as possible I recommend a mulch. As the summer heat hits, I will usually topdress the beds with an inch or two of compost. If I use a mulch I prefer a shredded bark mulch, which I find relatively easy to lift in the autumn.


Last edited by camprn on 3/24/2013, 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : removed redundancy.)

____________________________

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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

http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Post  RoOsTeR on 3/24/2013, 12:04 pm

Also, make sure your Mel's Mix is moist to begin with! Hopefully you wet it in layers as you went. To touch on what camprn said, it can be very difficult to get the mix moist and once you do, don't let it dry out. I suggest going out, and really sticking your hands down to the bottom and mixing around and lifting up a handful or two to really make sure it's properly moist. I'd do this in several places just to make sure. Once it's moist, try to keep it that way.

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Post  gardenertaylor on 3/24/2013, 1:13 pm

Thanks! With the high dry temps here, I figured I will need to mulch as the season progresses.

We did some watering as we mixed the soil, but I had a nagging feeling it may not have been enough. The watering we did was more about keeping the dust to a minimum versus actually moistening the soil.

I just went out and turned it over and found the bottom to be pretty dry. I haven't planted anything yet, so I figured now is it the time to get it right. I spent some time turning the soil and watering it. I'm confident it's moistened through out and I'm prepared to keep it that way. It was time well spent. And more importantly, time I enjoyed spending. Smile



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Post  gardenertaylor on 3/24/2013, 1:20 pm

Also, would you suggest a moisture meter? If so, is there one you would recommend? Seems like a small investment for helpful information.
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