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Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! Toplef10Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! 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.

Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! I22gcj10Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! 14dhcg10

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Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA!

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Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! Empty Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA!

Post  ISeeGreens 8/29/2013, 3:30 pm

I've been reading posts here for a few days now, looking for any information I can get. Maybe I've been reading too much; earlier, I looked at my husband and said "Want to go to the compost"? He looked a bit confused. LOL!

I meant our co-op. We did go, and I found a few things:

Black Kow Manure, 50 lb. bag, 5.99
Promix Mycorrhizae, 3.8 cubic foot, 27.99
Lambert Peatmoss, 3.8 cubic foot, on sale for 10.99

Gypsum?? 36 lbs, 14.99

Am I on the right track? Sometimes, this gets frustrating, but I think I've become addicted!
ISeeGreens
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/29/2013, 4:33 pm

ISeeGreens wrote:I've been reading posts here for a few days now, looking for any information I can get. Maybe I've been reading too much; earlier, I looked at my husband and said "Want to go to the compost"? He looked a bit confused. LOL!
hehe...made sense to me. I'd certainly go to the compost with ya!

glad you\'re here  to the forum!

Are you trying to get 5 different composts together? Have you read the All New Square Foot Gardening book? Mel goes into detail about compost in that book. You can get it from the library if you don't want to buy it...yet.

CC
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Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! Empty Re: Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA!

Post  ISeeGreens 8/29/2013, 5:20 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:
glad you\'re here  to the forum!

Are you trying to get 5 different composts together? Have you read the All New Square Foot Gardening book?  Mel goes into detail about compost in that book. You can get it from the library if you don't want to buy it...yet.

CC
Thanks for the welcome.....yes, I am trying to get the composts together, and yes, I do have the book.  Smile
ISeeGreens
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Post  Marc Iverson 8/29/2013, 11:53 pm

Welcome! Re the composts, don't forget to make your own! Especially since it takes time for it all to cook up and get wonderful, there's no time to start like the present.

Also, some advice from another first-timer in SFG who bought all his compost this year and last -- you might want to try a bag before buying multiple bags, to see if what you get is what you had in mind. For instance, some composts sound great when you read the bag, but when you dig through it you find sticks everywhere, or rocks, or even chunks of plastic. A premium price doesn't always indicate premium stuff, either. And some manures/composts that are supposed to be thoroughly composted, well, you open the bag and they still stink of poop or urine, showing they haven't been composted too much at all.

Buyer beware!

Also, you might poke a finger in a bag, or look around to see if any bags have been torn or cracked open. That could save you a trip home and then back again to return inferior compost.
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Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA! Empty Re: Hello, from the Shenandoah Valley, VA!

Post  TxGramma 8/30/2013, 12:38 am

ISeeGreens welcome  to the forum.

Ok let's see...
Black Kow Manure-counts as one of the five or more composts that you need.
Promix Mycorrhizae- is not a compost and is peat based so it will throw your mix percentages off..too much peat moss in the final mix.
Gypsum- is a soil conditioner not a compost.

So, you have peat moss and one of your compost sources you still need four more and the vermiculite to make your MM.

You need to look for products that actually say compost i.e. mushroom compost, bagged organic compost(read the bag to be sure what is in it and that it doesn't already have peat moss in it), and you could use some other manure composts such as chicken, rabbit, etc.

Here is a good thread that explains different types of compost to use in MM. Mel's Mix. How strong is your backbone?
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Post  ISeeGreens 8/30/2013, 7:22 am

Marc Iverson wrote:Welcome!  Re the composts, don't forget to make your own!  Especially since it takes time for it all to cook up and get wonderful, there's no time to start like the present.

Also, some advice from another first-timer in SFG who bought all his compost this year and last -- you might want to try a bag before buying multiple bags, to see if what you get is what you had in mind.  For instance, some composts sound great when you read the bag, but when you dig through it you find sticks everywhere, or rocks, or even chunks of plastic. 
Also, you might poke a finger in a bag, or look around to see if any bags have been torn or cracked open.  That could save you a trip home and then back again to return inferior compost.
Thanks! I went out thinking if I went to a reputable source (co-op, started by farmers), then I could trust what they sell. NOT! I read every word on the packages, and most don't say what's even in it, and if it's not there, the employees have no idea. I won't buy unless I know what I'm getting.

I have started my own compost, trying to, anyway. My husband built me a 3x3 bin a few weeks ago. I'm having a lot of trouble filling it, though, so it's not working very effectively.
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Post  ISeeGreens 8/30/2013, 7:31 am

TxGramma wrote:
Ok let's see...
Black Kow Manure-counts as one of the five or more composts that you need.
Promix Mycorrhizae- is not a compost and is peat based so it will throw your mix percentages off..too much peat moss in the final mix.
Gypsum- is a soil conditioner not a compost.

You need to look for products that actually say compost i.e. mushroom compost, bagged organic compost(read the bag to be sure what is in it and that it doesn't already have peat moss in it), and you could use some other manure composts such as chicken, rabbit, etc.

That's good news, actually. The Black Kow was the least expensive item! So, it does have to say "compost"....I read Mel's thread, and I thought manure only counted as 1? In other words, if I get cow, and then I get chicken....I still have only 1 of the 5. Is that right?
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Post  walshevak 8/30/2013, 10:21 am

That's right, but a mix of manures is better than just one.  And to be honest, before I got my compost pile going, I was heavy  on manures because I just didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling about the quality of the commercial stuff.  Black Hen says it is a fertilizer, but it is made from composted chicken manure and really beefs up all the iffy stuff.  My first year was black kow, black hen, mushroom, a pig compost available in NC, Moo-nure from Lowes, and a forest fines compost from Lowes and another from Home Depot.  I was doing 60 cu ft of MM and just piled in 20 cu ft of all the various brands and types I could find, not necessarily in equal amounts.  That mix was fantastic and I had a really good year.  The next year I found a shrimp/crab based compost at Wegman's in N. VA ( I think it was Quoddy Blend) and added that to my blend for replenishing my beds.  This year I am working mostly from my homemade compost and worm castings from my worm bin.

If PROMIX was equal parts peat and vermiculite/pearlite, it would be great, but it's not.  It is mostly peat. 75-85% So I chose not to use it so my peat/vermiculite ratio would not be off. https://www.sunlightsupply.com/p-12058-premier-horticulture-pro-mix-bx.aspx

Kay

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Post  ISeeGreens 8/30/2013, 11:13 am

walshevak wrote:That's right, but a mix of manures is better than just one.  And to be honest, before I got my compost pile going, I was heavy  on manures because I just didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling about the quality of the commercial stuff.  Black Hen says it is a fertilizer, but it is made from composted chicken manure and really beefs up all the iffy stuff.  My first year was black kow, black hen, mushroom, a pig compost available in NC, Moo-nure from Lowes, and a forest fines compost from Lowes and another from Home Depot.  I was doing 60 cu ft of MM and just piled in 20 cu ft of all the various brands and types I could find, not necessarily in equal amounts.  That mix was fantastic and I had a really good year.  The next year I found a shrimp/crab based compost at Wegman's in N. VA ( I think it was Quoddy Blend) and added that to my blend for replenishing my beds.  This year I am working mostly from my homemade compost and worm castings from my worm bin.

So, if I were to break this down into 5 different categories, it could be:

1. Manures
2. Mushroom
3. Shellfish
4. Worm Castings
5. Forest
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Post  TxGramma 8/30/2013, 11:36 am

ISeeGreens wrote:
That's good news, actually. The Black Kow was the least expensive item! So, it does have to say "compost"....I read Mel's thread, and I thought manure only counted as 1? In other words, if I get cow, and then I get chicken....I still have only 1 of the 5. Is that right?
Yes, you want compost not additives or amendments because compost is where your nutrients are and it's what feeds your plants. The soil amendments do just that, they amend your soil and in MM you don't have any soil. You may end up needing to add something to your MM depending on the quality of compost you are able to find in your area. But wait til you get it mixed and see how things go and then just add what you actually need if anything.

ISeeGreens wrote:
walshevak wrote:That's right, but a mix of manures is better than just one.  And to be honest, before I got my compost pile going, I was heavy  on manures because I just didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling about the quality of the commercial stuff.  Black Hen says it is a fertilizer, but it is made from composted chicken manure and really beefs up all the iffy stuff.  My first year was black kow, black hen, mushroom, a pig compost available in NC, Moo-nure from Lowes, and a forest fines compost from Lowes and another from Home Depot.  I was doing 60 cu ft of MM and just piled in 20 cu ft of all the various brands and types I could find, not necessarily in equal amounts.  That mix was fantastic and I had a really good year.  The next year I found a shrimp/crab based compost at Wegman's in N. VA ( I think it was Quoddy Blend) and added that to my blend for replenishing my beds.  This year I am working mostly from my homemade compost and worm castings from my worm bin.

So, if I were to break this down into 5 different categories, it could be:

1. Manures
2. Mushroom
3. Shellfish
4. Worm Castings
5. Forest
Yes that would be good. Just be careful how much worm castings you use though. You might want to add one more kind in and use the castings as an extra addition. I read in a past thread that it's not good to use a worm castings in equal proportions to the other compost because of the salt content. Someone correct me if my memory served me wrong.
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