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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.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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.

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Post  no-till 9/15/2012, 12:07 pm

I'm sure this is asked often but I've been unable to find an answer. When I need to add soil medium to a box, do I add straight compost or Mel's Mix?
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Post  RoOsTeR 9/15/2012, 12:13 pm

Compost. Preferably your own. If not, be sure to use at least 5 types blended compost.

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Post  no-till 9/15/2012, 12:37 pm

Thanks RoOsTeR,

That's what I did, but it seemed to change the balance.
I guess over time it will return to equal parts of all three ingredients

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Post  RoOsTeR 9/15/2012, 12:44 pm

no-till wrote:Thanks RoOsTeR,

That's what I did, but it seemed to change the balance.
I guess over time it will return to equal parts of all three ingredients


Your plants require the nutrients supplied by the compost.

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Post  camprn 9/15/2012, 1:22 pm

RoOsTeR wrote:
no-till wrote:Thanks RoOsTeR,

That's what I did, but it seemed to change the balance.
I guess over time it will return to equal parts of all three ingredients


Your plants require the nutrients supplied by the compost.
+1
the Mel's mix is the starting point and the compost is what is going to feed your plants so they in turn will feed you! Isn't that AWESOME?!!! cheers

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Post  no-till 9/15/2012, 2:17 pm

Hello Camprn

Yes it is awesome.
I've always loved my garden and have been doing it a long time, (I'm 63).
A few years back I was crippled with arthritis and could no longer run a tiller or
do all the work required to do a 100 x 100 foot garden. I heard about this square foot gardening and decided to give it a try. I probably took on to much though, 5 4x4 Boxes and a big hill for melons. If I would have known how much work it was going to be, I probably wouldn't have taken it on. I did though, and I'm glad I did. It turned out great and I'm back in the dirt again.
I'll post some pictures if I ever figure out how to do it.

My only complaint is that 6 inches is not enough. It was great for my flowers and smaller plants but for most things I think you need eight - ten inches. I'm going to split some 6" cedar in half and go with 9" boxes.
Everything else worked great though and it's great to be gardening again.
One question though, if you don't mind. Can worms live in this mix or does the vermiculite kill them.

Great gardening to you,
Bill
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Post  RoOsTeR 9/15/2012, 2:46 pm

Great job Bill and glad you're able to garden again. Don't fret over 6 inches of mix. I've got tomato plants over 9 foot tall in 6 inches of Mel's Mix. It's all you need for just about everything. Going deeper is fine if you've got the pockets ($$) to support it, but it's really not needed.
Good luck!

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Post  PNG_Grandma 9/15/2012, 3:03 pm

no-till wrote:
One question though, if you don't mind. Can worms live in this mix or does the vermiculite kill them.

Take a look at Josh's Worm Tube and see how to add worms to your garden box. Al and I did this in our Apollo Garden with great success! The vermiculite didn't seem to affect the worms. We bought our worms online because the local garden shops were pretty expensive. The bait shops were a bit less, but the online worm purchase worked well.
Good luck, great to hear you're gardening again! happy hi
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Post  no-till 9/15/2012, 4:07 pm

High grandma,
Thanks for dropping me a line but come on - If the worms can live in the mix you wouldn't need a tube. He's putting worms in a tube and feeding them.
I live in a pretty rural area and can get all the worms I want, but put them in the mix and a couple of day's latter no worms. I've tried putting them in a dry hole, a watered hole and I've laid them on top. The one's on top stayed on top and didn't last to long.
I get very good compost so I don't really care that much. In fact, I shouldn't even have brought it up, but I was curious.

Hoping your garden always fills your basket,
Bill
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Post  RoOsTeR 9/15/2012, 4:22 pm

no-till wrote:High grandma,
Thanks for dropping me a line but come on - If the worms can live in the mix you wouldn't need a tube. He's putting worms in a tube and feeding them.
I live in a pretty rural area and can get all the worms I want, but put them in the mix and a couple of day's latter no worms. I've tried putting them in a dry hole, a watered hole and I've laid them on top. The one's on top stayed on top and didn't last to long.
I get very good compost so I don't really care that much. In fact, I shouldn't even have brought it up, but I was curious.

Hoping your garden always fills your basket,
Bill

Easy there Bill. Don't be to quick to judge. Fact is the Worm Tube is one of the most viewed threads on this forum. 13,371 views to be exact. Could be your worms are leaving because they aren't happy enough to stay there. That's the whole idea of the worm tube. Add food for the worms to keep them happy so they will be content to stay put and spread their castings and also aerate your beds. Of course there are all kinds of reasons the worms may be leaving your boxes, but there are plenty of folks who successfully keep worms happy in their gardens.

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Post  PNG_Grandma 9/15/2012, 4:54 pm

no-till wrote:High grandma,
Thanks for dropping me a line but come on - If the worms can live in the mix you wouldn't need a tube. He's putting worms in a tube and feeding them.
Hi back to you, Bill! In our garden boxes we have weed cloth on the bottoms to prevent weeds from growing up, and I'm guessing the worms don't eat through it. If they did they'd just find a thick layer of rock that the garden boxes sit on.

We were fascinated when we first added the worm tubes and every couple of days when we took the kitchen scraps out to them we were amazed at how many worms were coming up to get the food! Our plants grew well with all the castings in the soil...so maybe in your area the worms go elsewhere to find a good meal, but in our garden boxes they eat everything we put down the tubes! My thoughts here are ... if it works, wonderful, if it doesn't then just try something else. We used coarse vermiculite the first year and had to settle for the fine stuff last year...the worms survived, so I'm guessing it doesn't hurt them.

Hmmm, I just re-read your comment and maybe you're thinking the worms are contained in the tube?? Nope, the ends of the "T" fitting are filled with loose stuff to allow the worms to go in and out of the tube...they come into the tube for more food from us, then back out into the garden boxes to "do their thing" that worms do! We used Red Wigglers that feed on a more horizontal plane than other worms that feed vertically. This kept our worms wandering all around under our plants without the need to go deeper. Seems that Red Wigglers are the main type of worms to do this.

Hope this helps explain it a bit more. I think we spent about $20 for the worms and not too much on the tube and fittings. The food for the worms is free...anything we cut off the veggies that we don't eat, anything except the onion skins...they don't seem to like those at all! They LOVE things like cantaloupe and watermelon!!
happy hi

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Post  ericam 9/15/2012, 6:28 pm

I'm in Australia but there are worms in my SFG beds, the beds were only set up in Feb and I didn't add worms, they just appeared. I don't do anything to feed them either. Mind you, my backyard is mostly clay so the MM is probably wormy heaven since it's so light!
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Post  Goosegirl 9/15/2012, 9:32 pm

Erica - throw some small veggie scraps into your beds once in a while and REALLY treat those wormies right! They will love you for it and give you even more worm casting returns! BB\'s happy face

GG


Last edited by Goosegirl on 9/15/2012, 9:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling)
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