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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Starting over? Toplef10Starting over? 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.

Starting over? I22gcj10Starting over? 14dhcg10

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Post  Aimee 3/16/2012, 4:43 pm

Hi everyone Smile

Last year I tried out a SFG and it didn't go so well. BUT, even though I was a little discouraged, I'm trying again this year!

I stuck to the 1/3 of each recommendation (at least to the best of my knowledge!) and my bought starter plants from Lowe's for tomatoes, romaine, cayenne peppers, broccoli and strawberries.

Everything seemed to be going great at first but my plants didn't grow very well. I'm not sure if I should toss my 'soil' that's in my box and start over or if anyone has an idea if I should add something special to the mix. I used peat moss, vermiculite (couldn't find coarse in my area), and a compost mixture of Black Kow manure, Black Velvet mushroom, and organic compost.

Even though my one little box didn't flourish like I hoped, I plan on adding one more box this year. So would you recommend tossing the soil for my son to have a dirt pile to play in or should I try to mess with it? I didn't use any pesticide on the plants but did try miracle grow later mid season because my plants were so puny.

Thank you so much for your help!
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Post  camprn 3/16/2012, 5:15 pm

How often and how much did you water it? If you have homemade compost toss some of that in there too. Very Happy

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Post  Aimee 3/16/2012, 5:49 pm

I don't have any homemade compost yet. Sad Last year's rain fall could have been another issue...it was super rainy for a few weeks and then a really hot, dry summer. Or maybe I was the problem? haha It's possible I didn't water it often enough with all the heat.
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Post  Patty from Yorktown 3/16/2012, 6:19 pm

Hi,
In answer to your question "should you save your mix?" I would say yes! There should not be anything wrong with it. I think you probably need a solid shot of compost and perhaps an organic fertilizer. Sometime purchased compost is not finished, that should not be a problem for year 2. Did you notice if the plants perked up after the shot of miracle grow? If they did, they just needed food. Enjoy your 3 boxes.

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Post  curio 3/16/2012, 6:45 pm

From your post, it looks as though you only used a blend of three different types of compost. It could be that was part of the issue you had, as it's been said repeatedly by those "in the know" not to skimp on the ingredients of the MM if you want to be successful. Between that and the insistence on the five different types/sources, I would try to remedy that.
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Post  CindiLou 3/16/2012, 6:53 pm

One reason not to skimp and only use three composts..one that you use may have been weak. With 5 different kinds you don't have a problem with nutrients if one kind is weak the others make up for it.
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Post  quiltbea 3/16/2012, 7:24 pm

I'd say save the box of soil and just add more compost to it and rake it in. Then each time you plant a seedling, just put a trowelful of compost in the bottom of the hole. It could have been heat. I don't know what kind of heat you had last year, but we had it here in the northeast and it ruined a few of my cool-weather crops and all the crops we grow here in the states don't care for prolonged heat. If it doesn't kill them, it prevents blossoms from growing so you have a meager crop.

For an added boost try compost tea, fish emulsion or kelp watered into your soil a couple of times a month.

Take a chance and try again with the same soil.
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Post  walshevak 3/16/2012, 8:36 pm

The Black Kow and the Black Velvet are know good composts but not something you want your child to play in.

Try making a a double batch blend of Black Kow, Black Velvet, Black Hen, and Moo-nure from Home Depot and a another one from somewhere as long as it doesn't have any peat in it.

Then add about 2 cups per square and stir it in well. Use the rest to make your MM for the new bed.

Kay

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Post  Aimee 3/16/2012, 10:21 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone Smile

I only used 3 different types last year because our area is a little limited...I called a few nurseries and they were all carrying the same kind. I'm really hoping I can find some new ones this year!

After I gave the plants miracle grow they did shoot up some. They were still quite puny but it definitely helped.
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Post  walshevak 3/16/2012, 11:29 pm

Ask your Black Kow dealer to order Black Hen if at all possible. These three are power houses. I use them plus two other that I'm not so sure of and I've had excellent results. I sure hope you can get a good garden this year.

Kay

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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut 3/17/2012, 2:25 am

walshevak wrote:Ask your Black Kow dealer to order Black Hen if at all possible. These three are power houses.

Kay - I know Black Kow comes highly recommended by several forum members. According to the Black Kow site, it isn't available in Illinois, but I did find some at one of our 3 local Walmarts last year. I should've bought it all when I saw it because I have no idea how it got there and it's not there yet this year. It has until my last frost date to show up! (pout) Smile I'm having an awful time finding bagged compost that isn't just mostly peat. Most of the "other" cow manure has peat in it. Most anything labeled compost is largely peat IF it even lists the ingredients....

I did find Chickity-Doo-Doo but that is a pelleted chicken manure...anyone ever try that? I'm going to try the hydroponics stores as last year I was able to find worm castings there and a blended "soil amendment" which was mainly compost material.

Speaking of which, did you ever notice that some of the "organic garden soil" mixes which are similar to MM (although in my mind heavy on the peat) tell you specifically NOT to use them for "container gardening" and only to use them as a "soil amendment" in "in-ground beds"? Why in the world is that? thinking


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Post  shannon1 3/17/2012, 2:32 am

never tryed chicky doo but one of my bags of black hen came in pellets and one did not the pellets broke down when wet no problem.Starting over? 680166
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Post  walshevak 3/17/2012, 6:57 am

Other forum member are using the Chickity Doo Doo with success and I've used Moo-nure from either Lowes or Home Depot in an earlier MM blend. I take a chance on anything that says composted forest products as long as I have some good chicken and cow manure product to blend with it. But I agree, too many of the "composts" are peat heavy. I did find a Scott product at one Lowes that was forest products and turkey litter. Took a chance on that one too but only as a 5 part blend. The blend performed well.

As to the soil ammendment warning, I think it is to prevent folk from using it straight in containers. It does better blended with other things.

Kay

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