Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Post  marshakay52 on 2/27/2012, 8:20 am

I read the original SFG book when it came out. Alas, my health has not been stellar, so I've kept my garden small.

Last year, I mixed up a batch of Mel's Mix. Nothing grew in it. I was so disappointed. The soil is almost too "light".

got any ideas? Very Happy Marsha
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Location : Louisville, KY

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Post  llama momma on 2/27/2012, 8:37 am

Lets explore the most common problem. What is your compost made of? It is the nutritient source of the entire square foot garden concept. If this is out of wack the garden will not work.

What 5 kinds of compost did you use??
Also did you fluff up the peat before measuring?

In the new book All New Square Foot Gardening, 2006 version everything is explained in detail.
But we'll certainly help you out here too!
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Post  marshakay52 on 2/27/2012, 8:59 am

I measured the ingredients by volume. Yes, I fluffed the Peat. I used only three composts, because that was all the soil I needed. Did I goof badly? Let's see -- mushroom, cow manure, and something else.

I appreciate the help with all this. I'm thinking about adding some more compost to the top and blending it all in.

Any help is good help. grins
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Post  llama momma on 2/27/2012, 9:40 am

Lets go over what is Mel's Mix:

One-third of the entire mix is fluffed peat, sounds like you fluffed well, was it about 1/3 of your entire mix? If so that's perfect.

And one third of Mel's Mix is coarse vermiculite. Some gardeners have to work a bit harder than others to locate it.

The final 1/3 of of Mel's Mix consists of 5 composts. If mushroom was one of the five and cow was one of the five that is excellent. You have 2 good sources. But you said "something else" was put in and I don't know what that is. It could be good or not helpful, either case it is number 3 of your 5 that needs to be determined. Then numbers 4 and 5 are needed. Then you have Mel's Mix that is perfect for square foot gardening and enjoy what gardening should be Very Happy

I would say get more compost varieties for more diverse sources of nutrients. Or use more good compost that we've talked about and add better stuff when you find it. And if possible immediately look into making your own - free - compost yourself.


note-- two posts back I underlined what was suppose to be Nutrient Source, but I badly mangled it!



Last edited by llama momma on 2/27/2012, 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Post  marshakay52 on 2/27/2012, 9:44 am

Thanks. I'm starting a composting station this spring. I'll get more varieties of compost and roll them together in a tarp (that's the way I mixed it last time).

I'm also going to use a cage top to keep out the beasties.

Great help. I feel so welcomed.
grins you rock
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Post  llama momma on 2/27/2012, 9:50 am

You are quite welcome!! I got so involved with the helping part I forgot the Welcome Part of things... Shocked So here it is
glad you\'re here glad you\'re here glad you\'re here glad you\'re here glad you\'re here
and enjoy !
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Post  Furbalsmom on 2/27/2012, 5:31 pm

Hello from Louisville KY grins 654548 marshakay52, glad to have you join us.

As llama momma said, Mel's Mix made with 1/3 fluffed peat, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 blended compost from five different sources is usually pretty successful. Adding compost now is a great idea.

Remember, every time you harvest a square in the SFG bed, make sure you add at least a trowelful of blended compost so the new crops have sufficient nutrition too.

Your home grown compost will be a great addition, as soon as it is "cooked"

Look, using the search feature at the top of the Latest Topics column for more information on critter cages. Ask if you want some suggestions for specific pesky critters.

Again, Welcome
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Post  sfg4uKim on 2/27/2012, 5:48 pm

Hello from Louisville KY grins 61949 HI and welcome to the Forum.

When I first started out I didn't water the Mel's Mix well enough when I added it to the bed and got TERRIBLE results as the poor transplants probably had all the water sucked out of them by the peat.

LOL the good old days! Smile

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Post  plantoid on 2/27/2012, 5:57 pm

Welcome to the site .

Have a real good read on as many of the headings as possible ... especially the 2 Welcome " on the home page ...

click on beginner or long time gardener tab for a sound introduction to what we are all about.

You'll need to get hold of the 2006 edition of Mel Bartholomew's " All New Square Foot Gardening " book if you haven't already got it , for on page 96 is a list of workable things you can add into the recurring compost heap mix to get it up & running .

This is what will sustain your SFG for many years once you have made it and used it in the beds after harvesting each square etc..

For your initial bed filling material the animal manures etc are not shown on the list as they are shown on page 91 instead.

Remember they are all done/measured out by volume so a bucket is an ideal standard to measure out each item.

IE five buckets of fluffed peat, five buckets of loose vermiculite and (1) a bucket of horse manure, ( 2) a bucket of cow manure , ( 3) a bucket of chicken manure ( 4) a bucket of mushroom compost & finally the fifth bucket of worm compost .

Watch out for being offered any different so called composts by the sales people as they might not ones which might not be what's needed .. ask here on site if there is the slightest doubt in your mind... many guys & gals have far more knowledge of what's around your area than I.
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