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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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New Member Toplef10New Member 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.

New Member I22gcj10New Member 14dhcg10

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Post  MollyL 4/16/2015, 2:34 pm

Hello from the sunny (actually raining today) south, really south US - Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The ten sfg vinyl planters I order just arrived yesterday.  So excited to put them together this weekend.  Can't get Mel's Mix in this part of the woods (except through HD with the prohibitive shipping) so am going to make my own mix.  Think I will need 1 cubic yard of blended compost, 1 cubic yard of peat moss and 1 cubic yard of coarse vermiculite - all easy to find in small quantities but am finding it hard to find in bulk quantities.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Post  donnainzone5 4/16/2015, 2:50 pm

Welcome, Molly!

Congratulations on starting your SFG!

Peat moss generally is easy to find; typically, it comes in 3.8 cubic foot bags/bales, which doubles to nearly 8 cubic feet.  It's important to "fluff" it to its full volume prior to using it as a Mel's Mix ingredient.

Coarse vermiculite can be difficult to find.  On this site, there's a vermiculite database that may help.

Don't purchase just bulk compost; you'll need 5 different kinds, such as cow, chicken, EcoScraps or food-scrap based compost from Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods); mushroom, etc.  Mel recommends that only one of the five be manure-based.

In my area, I can obtain mint and llama compost, and I recently scored 4 cubic feet of well-composted chicken/rabbit manure--for free.  

Few bagged composts are worthwhile, although it does pay to read the labels.  Try to avoid those containing peat or that are wood-based.  

Best of luck!  We love photos....
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Post  sanderson 4/16/2015, 3:41 pm

Molly, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here

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Post  CapeCoddess 4/16/2015, 4:17 pm

hi Molly! happy hi Welcome to the forum!

What do you mean by ten SFG vinyl planters? You mean ten 4 by 4 boxes?  Shocked  If so, you do need a lot of bulk ingredients. unless you just start off building a couple right now and do some more later on down the road.

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Post  Elizabeth 4/16/2015, 5:13 pm

Hi Molly -Warm  glad you\'re here  to the forum.

DITTO CapeCoddess - 10 vinyl 4' x 4'boxes or 1 10' x 10' planter. thinking

I am confused.

Do you intend to grow commercially, feed your extended family and the entire neighborhood or provide produce for your local homeless diner?

You are talking HUGE amounts of Mel's Mix to fill that many boxes or that large of 1 box. 

A 10' x 10' planter does not lend itself to SFG.

 A little more information would be great.
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Post  Windmere 4/16/2015, 6:07 pm

Molly, welcome, welcome~

I am 20 mi south of Atlanta, so I am a fellow southerner.  If it weren't for SFG, I probably would not garden at all.  Our Georgia red clay is terrible to work with.  Blueberries grow well in it though.

I am beginning my third year of SFG and I enjoy working year round with all sorts of crops.  My kale is just now finishing up and my carrots are almost mature (all planted in fall/winter).

Folks here are very helpful and I've avoided many missteps by heeding their advice.

Again, welcome and I wish you much success in all you gardening endeavors.
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Post  MollyL 4/16/2015, 6:41 pm

Actually 8 4x4x6" and 2 4x4x12" planters.  I am working with a student organization that wants to do demonstration gardens for elementary schools.  Some of the planters will be for flowers not food.

We may start off with installing fewer - college students are always over eager in their expectations.  They wanted to purchase while they had the funds.

We are finding it difficult to obtain bulk items so more slowly may be the result.
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/16/2015, 7:31 pm

MollyL

Is there a reason for the 12" beds? If so you can fill the bottom 6" with "junk" (plastic milk jugs, cinder blocks, etc. then a layer of weed cloth then the Mel's Mix.

If you need a few squares for things like carrots then you can build 1' x 1' x 6" "Top Hats", set it on top a few individual squares and just fill THOSE to 12".

Be sure when you're filling the beds just to put 2" of Mix in and water VERY WELL, 2", water, 2", water. It is CRITICAL to get the peat THOROUGHLY wet before planting.

Welcome!

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Post  donnainzone5 4/16/2015, 8:06 pm

I like the idea of cinder blocks to fill deeper beds; they should also serve to deter gophers, moles, voles, etc.
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Post  quiltbea 4/16/2015, 11:29 pm

Welcome from the far north in Maine.  SFG is a great way to grow.  Enjoy the experience and remember, its 5 kinds of different compost that's needed, not just one.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 4/17/2015, 8:07 am

Hi Molly.  Another welcome from the Atlanta, GA area.

I'll be back later to take a look at your plans, but gotta run for now!
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Post  Goosegirl 4/18/2015, 7:53 am

welcome  MollyL!

For bulk vermiculite, ULINE has an Atlanta branch where you can order and pick up.  I know it is about a 3 hour drive, but if you have a truck or van, the one-time drive to get it all at once may be worth it for you.  Also, look in the insulation departments of home improvement stores.  Same stuff, better price!
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