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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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Another new Canadian kid on the site Toplef10Another new Canadian kid on the site 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.

Another new Canadian kid on the site I22gcj10Another new Canadian kid on the site 14dhcg10

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Another new Canadian kid on the site

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Post  trolleydriver 5/4/2015, 10:10 am

Hi folks from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Last summer I bought Mel's book and collected all the ingredients for Mel's Mix.  But that is as far as I got.  I'm now planning to build one or two 4x4 boxes and give it a try.  I'll keep a big part of my "traditional" vegetable garden going this year. 

I have a concern about keeping the SFG irrigated while we are away for one or two weeks at a time.  This has not been a concern in the past with the traditional garden but I think it will be with only 6 inches of Mel's mix in the boxes.  I expect the solution will be some kind of automated drip irrigation system or a hope for rain while we are away.
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Post  sanderson 5/4/2015, 12:17 pm

TrolleyDriver, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here Congrats on finding all the ingredients. Can you share where you found them to give other folks ideas? Thanks

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Post  Kelejan 5/4/2015, 12:43 pm

trolley driver, I have posted a welcome on the Canadian Region thread.

Kelejan from Canada :canada:
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Post  trolleydriver 5/4/2015, 1:19 pm

Here are my sources for the ingredients I am using:

[*]Mushroom, sheep, cattle manure, one other ... garden centres at big box stores (e.g., Cdn Tire)
[*]Composted horse manure ... my neighbour owns a horse
[*]Sphagnum Peat Moss ... garden centre at big box store
[*]Vermiculite - (this one was not so easy) ... found large bags of coarse vermiculite at Ritchie Feed and Seed in the East end of Ottawa

Note: For some reason the webiste for Ritchie feed and Seed is not online at this time. Sad  I have not visited the store this year but if I have more than one 4x4 box I'll need more vermiculite.  So hopefully they will have it again.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/4/2015, 5:01 pm

This afternoon I thought I would check out my old plastic composter. I put stuff in it last year (e.g., grass clippings, clumps of grass and weeds, harvested vegetable plants, flower plants, etc.). There was about a six inch layer of uncomposted vegetable matter and below that it was all compost which smelled good and broke up nicely when picked up. I was able to fill a large garbage bin with the composted material.  Now I know that this material also includes some soil from my garden.  I would like to mix this compost in with the other five composted items that I mixed together earlier today.  

Should I be concerned about contaminating my Mel's Mix with my composted material that includes some garden soil?  

Should I be concerned about asking too many stupid questions?
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Post  sanderson 5/4/2015, 7:58 pm

First, thank you for listing where you found your ingredients. Yes, I see Richie's website is "under construction" but could you find the phone # and address for our international data base? Thank you.

Second, the only stupid question is, yep, you got it, is the one not asked. Especially on this Forum.

My vote is that your compost does not contain enough garden "dirt" to be a concern. It will be further diluted once it is mixed with the other composts, peat moss and vermiculite.

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Post  trolleydriver 5/4/2015, 8:54 pm

Thanks Sanderson.  Here are the coordinates that I could find for Ritchie.  They also have an outlet in Stittsville (west Ottawa) but I'm not sure if they sell vermiculite. If I get time I'll check it out.



Ritchie Feed & Seed
1390 Windmill Ln
Ottawa, ON
K1B 4V5
Phone: 613-741-4430  
Fax: 613-741-604

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Post  sanderson 5/5/2015, 3:02 am

Trolley, Thank you. I have forwarded to be entered in the International Data Base (home page). What does K1B 4V5 mean? Is that like a zip code here in the States?

Two more questions, what size bag and do you remember, or can you call them, for the price?

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Post  trolleydriver 5/5/2015, 7:34 am

K1B 4V5 is the Canadian Postal Code.

I'll have to check on the size and price.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/5/2015, 8:24 am

Just called Ritchie Feed and Seed.

I was told their Vermiculite is about 3 cubic feet and costs about $29 (Canadian dollars) per bag.  

The person I spoke to asked me if I was using it to mix in soil. He said I probably want medium rather than coarse. He said the new coarse pieces are 1 to 1.5 inches and are used for insulation whereas the medium pieces are finger tip size.

Last year I bought coarse and it seems to be about the right size to me. So now I'm confused (nothing new) as to what to buy. Maybe I'll buy some medium and if it is too small I'll mix it together with my coarse. I'll take a small amount of my coarse with me and see what he says. 

By the way, who said this was going to be easy?  I am thankful there is a place not to far away where I can purchase vermiculite.
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Post  Razed Bed 5/5/2015, 9:04 am

I have a new friend with twin daughters attending Vanderbilt living near you across the border in Gatineau, and I am going to forward this information to her in hopes she will be inspired to plant a garden this year instead of spending the entire summer in basketball gymnasiums.

Good luck with your new garden.  I imagine where you live, you should have smashing success with greens, and greens ounce for ounce are the best thing you can eat fresh from a garden.  Lacinato kale should be the new food of the gods.  I can eat it for breakfast.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 5/5/2015, 9:36 am

Hi Trolleydriver.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA.  Glad you've joined us!
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Post  trolleydriver 5/5/2015, 9:44 am

Here is some information from the bag of vermiculite I bought last year from Rithcie Feed & Seed.  I think/hope it is good for gardening.

Envirofil Vermiculite Insulation
19 lbs 8.62 kg

Made by VIL Vermiculite a Division of Perlite Canada Inc.

Loose fill, all natural, non abrasive, non toxic.

The main use shown on the bag is for insulation purposes.

A note on the bag but in mcuh smaller font states other uses such as BBQs, composter, garden, mulch, dog houses, bulb and root crops.

Given that I am assuming it is safe for the SFG.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/5/2015, 9:50 am

Razed Bed ... There was an article in the December 4, 2014 Ottawa Citizen newspaper concerning the twins you mentioned.  

I tried to post the link but got a message stating new members are not allowed to post external links for 7 days.

The title for the article is "Gatineau basketball twins taking Vanderbilt by storm."
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Post  Razed Bed 5/5/2015, 10:05 am

The Caron-Goudreau twins are incredible student-athletes, but only Audrey-Ann played this year.  Unfortunately, they have decided to transfer from Vanderbilt, so I will not be seeing the family any more.  It was quite interesting talking with them.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/5/2015, 12:04 pm

Another UPDATE on Vermiculite in Ottawa.

I just got back from Ritchie Feed & Seed.  I bought a 4 cu.ft. bag of "large" vermiculite for $25.99 Cdn plus tax. They tried to sell me medium size but I insisted on the large. 

The pieces of vermiculite look the same size as what I got last year. We also bought some other things (plants, seeds) which allowed me to use a $10 off coupon for purchases over $50. I printed the coupon from the Valpak online website.

Unlike last year's bag of vermiculite which I bought from the same store, this bag does not mention using it for insulation but very specifically states that it is a "natural soil conditioner. The brand name is Holiday Vermiculite but it is made/distributed by the same company as last year, that is VIL Vermiculite.

By the way, it seems that the Ritchie's person I spoke to earlier today on the phone was not really aware of the package size (he said 3 cu ft), actual cost (he said $28-$29) or vermiculate particle size (he said large was 1 to 1.5 inches). So it's always best to go to the store and check for yourself.

I hope this information will be of value to SFGers in the Ottawa area.

I need to get going on my boxes, so I will be looking for (most likely purchasing) wood this afternoon.
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Post  Richard L. 5/5/2015, 12:38 pm

Trolleydriver,
here's what it looks like 
https://servimg.com/view/19216854/2

https://servimg.com/view/19216854/1

Let's hope it does the job
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Post  trolleydriver 5/5/2015, 2:05 pm

Richard ... that's the same Envirofil Vermiculite I bought last year.  I would like to add some worm castings to my compost but so far no luck finding it.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/7/2015, 10:27 am

Thanks everyone for the welcome.  From now on I will be posting primarily in the International Canada section of the forum. See you there!
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Post  Kelejan 5/7/2015, 1:26 pm

trolleydriver wrote:Thanks everyone for the welcome.  From now on I will be posting primarily in the International Canada section of the forum. See you there!

You do not have to post completely in the Canadian thread Trolley, as there are many special threads that are open to all.  Very Happy

I would be interested how other members feel about this?
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Post  trolleydriver 5/7/2015, 1:34 pm

Understood Kelejan.  I just thought it would be better if I keep my posts primarily (not exclusively) on the Canadian thread during my build and planting phase. Cheers.  Very Happy
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Post  yolos 5/7/2015, 4:07 pm

Kelejan wrote:
trolleydriver wrote:Thanks everyone for the welcome.  From now on I will be posting primarily in the International Canada section of the forum. See you there!

You do not have to post completely in the Canadian thread Trolley, as there are many special threads that are open to all.  Very Happy

I would be interested how other members feel about this?

+1 Post away any where your heart desires.  I like a particular subject to be all in one thread and not spread around the site based on region.
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