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Does this count as five? Toplef10Does this count as five? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Does this count as five? I22gcj10Does this count as five? 14dhcg10

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Does this count as five?

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walshevak
curio
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Furbalsmom
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Does this count as five? Empty Does this count as five?

Post  Wisp 2/28/2012, 8:30 pm

The compost I found and the country supply store has the following label:


  • Composted Materials:
  • Fir Bark
  • Forest Humus
  • Rice Hulls
  • 15% Chicken Manure
  • Worm Castings
  • Bat Guano
  • Kelp Meal
  • Oyster Shell Lime (pH adjuster)
  • Plus Mycorrhizae

Is this all good stuff? Should anything be added to it? Does it count as 5 different kinds or do I need to keep looking?
Wisp
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Post  Wisp 2/28/2012, 8:37 pm

And I made a Newbie mistake by somehow posting in the Mid-Atlantic Forum, although Washington State is nowhere near. I meant to be in the general forum. Not too big of a deal, I'm sure the good people on the east coast are a helpful bunch Smile

Thanks Wink
Wisp
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Post  gwennifer 2/29/2012, 12:22 am

Hi Wisp! Does this count as five? 396615 Yay - another PNW'er! The powers that be moved your post to the PNW regional forum by the way, so you're good to go there. Besides, most of us post "cross-region" so you're not limited to only our advice here! Soooooo.... this question gets asked a lot! User curio posted a thread about this in the PNW forum just yesterday: https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t10514-found-a-5-way-compost

Most people hedge their bets by counting each bag as one source, regardless of how many different things are in each bag. It does indeed sound like an awesome mix though, I've honestly never seen such a variety all-in-one before.
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Post  Wisp 2/29/2012, 2:02 am

Thanks for the advice, gwennifer Does this count as five? 109486

Should I also be thinking about the ratio of the different kinds of compost to each other? I have some steer compost, if I add that would there be too much steer and not enough of all the little bits in the first compost?

Perhaps I should add another combined compost such as the one curio found in the link? Or am I overthinking it?
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Post  Furbalsmom 2/29/2012, 5:11 am

Does this count as five? 654548 wisp, nice to meet you

The following is copied from a post I made just a few hours ago.

(Multiple) 5 ingredient compost coming from one source (One company) sounds great, but I would still look for additional compost types or sources to add to my Mel's Mix.

I used Gardner and Bloome, (many ingredients) plus steer, chicken, mushroom and another "garden" compost with several ingredients. I also had just under 1 cu ft of my homemade compost. More is betterer.

When I made my second batch of Mel's Mix, I found some Whitney Farms Planting compost, another brand which has many types of ingredients, and still used some Gardner and Bloome, steer, chicken, mushroom, etc.

A bag of composted steer manure would be a great addition, as would composted chicken manure, mushroom compost and fish compost. These are not the only composts available, someone mentioned a shrimp compost too. As long as you have several types from different sources, (trying for 5) I would not worry about having too much of any one type just because one or two were blended and the others were straight.
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Post  jamesindetroit 2/29/2012, 7:36 am

Just remember...I would be more cautious of the Peat/Humus ratio then the various compost ratios. Many of the store bought brands are filled with nothing but Peat...

I just saw a bag yesterday at the garden store called "Shrimp & Seaweed Compost." Flip over the bag and the ingredients read, 54% Peat ... 1% Compost... and I don't remember the rest..

Smile

So be cautious of the bagged stuff.
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Post  RoOsTeR 2/29/2012, 7:46 am

Here's a great link packed with lots of great information:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone

Basically, right now you've got 1/5 of your compost blend. You need 4 more different types of compost. After you have all your composts, you will mix them and that mix will become 1/3 of your Mel's Mix blend. Very Happy

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Post  curio 2/29/2012, 8:32 am

I have read and re-read Mel's book regarding the 5 ingredient compost blend, and have searched for threads here discussing it, and I still don't quite "get it".

I know the goal is to get five different kinds of composts to mix, and that it's beneficial not to get all of it at one source (if possible). I know the different types (cow, chicken, fish, mushroom, plant based, etc) and have done that. What I don't understand is why a pre-made 5 way mix only counts as a single one if there are five or more ingredients in it? I'm sure other people new to this are wondering the same thing. Does anyone know what the answer is?
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Post  walshevak 2/29/2012, 2:26 pm

So many of the mixed composts are small amounts of the really good "stuff" and a lot of not so good filler. I consider adding two or three more pure composts as insurance against a bad batch. Just my personal opinion, not scientific.

Kay

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Post  Furbalsmom 2/29/2012, 2:51 pm

curio wrote:I have read and re-read Mel's book regarding the 5 ingredient compost blend, and have searched for threads here discussing it, and I still don't quite "get it".

I know the goal is to get five different kinds of composts to mix, and that it's beneficial not to get all of it at one source (if possible). I know the different types (cow, chicken, fish, mushroom, plant based, etc) and have done that. What I don't understand is why a pre-made 5 way mix only counts as a single one if there are five or more ingredients in it? I'm sure other people new to this are wondering the same thing. Does anyone know what the answer is?

Perhaps I am overly cautious, but when you use “blended compost” from one source (i.e. one brand) you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. What if there is a problem with that bag of compost? That is why I hedge my bets, by using some composts that are made with multiple ingredients and some composts with single or straight ingredients. If there is a problem, then it is diluted by the other types or sources.
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Post  curio 2/29/2012, 3:05 pm

This makes perfect sense. So, if a blended compost is used, in a pinch, it could count for two "ingredients" if at least three others (different brands also) are used?
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Post  plantoid 2/29/2012, 7:12 pm

curio wrote:This makes perfect sense. So, if a blended compost is used, in a pinch, it could count for two "ingredients" if at least three others (different brands also) are used?



When I joined the site in November I read lots & lots of posts .. what did become apparent is the five way mix does indeed mean five way , no other version using less is safe & sound for the reasons Furbalsmum says.

There are quite a lot of people who posted who have admitted to skimping & they all say they suffered as a result .

When you think it through ...a five way premade mix even of the best ingreedients would only give you a fifth of of an ingredient for the mix .

But it could work out that you have 1 & 1/5 parts of each of the other four you already have thus being totally devoid of one vital part of your final version of MM
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Post  Wisp 2/29/2012, 7:37 pm

Thank you curio for asking the question I had, and thank you everyone else for the replies.

I have also reread that section of the book, and it seems to me he emphasises 5 different ingredients. However, I did not know that you could sometimes get a bad bag, so I can see why hedging your bets would be good.

I'll look for a couple more bags to add to my mix. Thank you everyone!
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Post  southern gardener 8/26/2012, 12:17 pm

Wisp wrote:The compost I found and the country supply store has the following label:


  • Composted Materials:
  • Fir Bark
  • Forest Humus
  • Rice Hulls
  • 15% Chicken Manure
  • Worm Castings
  • Bat Guano
  • Kelp Meal
  • Oyster Shell Lime (pH adjuster)
  • Plus Mycorrhizae

Is this all good stuff? Should anything be added to it? Does it count as 5 different kinds or do I need to keep looking?

How did your compost work with the Gardener and Bloome? We bought a few bags yesterday, trying to straighten out our Mel's Mix. It looks to have lots of wood in it, in addition to the good stuff. We mixed a lot of our compost we had ready in also. I wish we had piles of homemade ready.... Rolling Eyes
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Post  Wisp 8/26/2012, 4:29 pm

southern gardener wrote:
How did your compost work with the Gardener and Bloome?

Hard to say, as far as I can tell it's fine, but I also mixed in cow and chicken manure, along with another compost blend. My garden itself didn't turn out too great because my new yard wound up being to shady, so I'm not a really good test. I didn't notice a signifigant amount of wood in my batch, though.
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Post  llama momma 8/26/2012, 4:49 pm

Don't know if this was mentioned elsewhere in this thread but 5 different types of compost is the minimum goal. In the book Mel says on pg. 93, "add as many different plant-based ingredients as you can find." So I'd like to add - Keep an active lookout for new sources at all times.
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Post  spinwind 8/28/2012, 2:25 am

I have been using this compost base for several of my beds, adding chicken manure, mushroom, and steer. I didn't add extra peat. I also fertilize with fish emulsion, and consistently add more compost in. I have rabbits working on making fertilizer for me too. I am preparing beds for next year, we'll see how they do.
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Post  plantoid 8/28/2012, 1:13 pm

poste deleted .. as it was part duplicated


Last edited by plantoid on 8/28/2012, 1:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  plantoid 8/28/2012, 1:18 pm

plantoid wrote:Thats a good mix to compost up... Bet it will put extra muscles on your baby brother .... if if you let him play in it.

I offer that occasionally it will do good to add something slightly coarser like peat or composted coir that has a longer decaying time when it is composting just to vary the crumbsize & texture of the compost . This is to help keep the finished compost open with air and water passages and also to " dilute " dissipate & retain the concentrated nutrients in a mix made from the materials you are using .

Do you also use vermiculite to hold nutricious moisture and air/ oxygen ?
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Post  spinwind 8/28/2012, 2:20 pm

Personally, no I haven't added vermiculite. I would suggest people do, but the location that I am living in, has made getting compost a pricey matter (we are far, far away from a city, and the close locations charge quite a bit for their bagged compost) so I have left it out right now. My beds are 10 inches deep, and I have filled them to 6 or 7 inches, which leaves me quite a bit of space to amend in the future. Over the winter I will keep adding rabbit compost, (rabbit droppings, some shavings, and hay), and I may plant a couple nitrogen fixing crops as well. If I think the vermiculite is necessary in the spring, I'll add some. I am a great believer in steer manure/rabbit/fish emulsion as it's what my grandmother used for years in her award winning garden Smile
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