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Hello Guest!
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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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Installed Mix in Two Beds

+4
Kelejan
CapeCoddess
Scorpio Rising
Zmoore
8 posters

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Installed Mix in Two Beds Empty Installed Mix in Two Beds

Post  Zmoore 3/10/2016, 8:48 am

I had to call in sick yesterday with a fever.  Spring Fever.  We're experiencing a "warm snap" right now in Virginia, temperatures of about 80 degrees for the next few days.  I decided it was perfect to set the two new boxes (4x4) I made over winter and go ahead and fill with MM from the supplies I had gathered over winter as well.  
So, this is nothing new/special, just sharing the "fun" I had yesterday setting two boxes.  Felt good.  I was tired afterwards but felt good.  

Started off with four 5 gallon buckets of Peat.  I'm doing 4'x4' beds which means I need 8 c.f. of material total, 2.67 c.f. of each material, which works out to 3.98 - 5 gallon buckets, close enough to 4 buckets.  Interesting fact, I opened my Peat in the 2.2 c.f. bags I bought next to the tarp first and noticed that it didn't ... swell or puff out like some Peat bales I've bought before.  Peat generally has a "fluff" factor.  The peat inside was pretty packed, but it didn't look like it swelled much, I broke it up with a hoe to "fluff" it and then scooped it into 5 gallon buckets and put it on tarp.  By bucket measurements I could agree that it was 2.2 c.f.  I got almost 4 buckets out of it, had to break open another bag to top off the last one.  SO... sometimes peat fluffs and sometimes it doesn't depending on how compressed in the bag it is?
Installed Mix in Two Beds Peat_p10

Then I added Vermiculite.  Funny thing on "measurements", turns out this is only 3- 5 gallon buckets of Vermiculite.  The bag said 4 c.f., so I need just over half the bag right?  Rather than just dumping the bag and guessing at "just over half", I dumped it onto 5 gallon bucket.  I had my fourth 5 gallon bucket in hand and I looked down in the bag and there was very little left.  "OH!, I must have lost count" I thought.  So, I set the bucket aside for the next box.  I was a little curious about it, so when I later did the next box I started measuring from the other 4 c.f. bag of Vermiculite I had.  Long story short, based on "bucket measuring" the 4 c.f. bags of Vermiculite had more like 3.5 c.f. at best in them.  DOH!
Installed Mix in Two Beds Add_ve10

Then I added compost.  The really black stuff is a store bought compost I bought (cheap), The browner looking stuff is my homemade "brew" Smile
Installed Mix in Two Beds Add_co10

Then I mixed pile with a hoe.  Air was really calm, so I skipped the "wet it down as you go" phase and just mixed it dry to make it easier to scoop into the bed once mixed.  Note the snow shovel in the picture.  I've used regular shovels in the past, but this time for "giggles" I pulled out my snow shovel, in part because I thought it being plastic may be easier on my tarp when I go to sccop it up.
Installed Mix in Two Beds Mix_wi10

Once mixed I scooped some material in the box to about a 2" depth.  Spread it out a little and THEN soaked it.
Installed Mix in Two Beds 1_laye10

Repeat process, scoop some in and soak.
Installed Mix in Two Beds 2_laye10

WOLA!  One done.  Moving operation to next box.
Installed Mix in Two Beds One_do10

WOOHOO!! Two done, smells like spring Smile
Installed Mix in Two Beds Both_d10

Just for fun.  Here's what most of my gardens are looking like getting ready for spring.  The new boxes are in the back of the photo.  I have a couple more boxes in another location, but this is the bulk of it for this year.
Zmoore
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Post  Scorpio Rising 3/10/2016, 11:09 am

What a great fever, zmoore!  Your beds look great!  My peat didn't fluff much if at all, either.  Ready to plant!
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/10/2016, 12:09 pm

I love photos of mixing MM!  Makes my heart flutter!

A snow shovel is a great tip - thanks for that.  Did you drag the tarp corner to corner to mix the ingredients, or use just the shovel?  I'm a dragger.

CC
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Post  Zmoore 3/10/2016, 12:55 pm

@CC
I actually used a hoe to mix.  Just have to be careful not to snag the tarp on the bottom.  I did a kind of "push and pull" the hoe through the pile and work my way around the tarp doing it from different angles.  
I've done the tarp flipping before, but I like to have a helper when I'm doing that (one on each side), since I was "solo" I went with the hoe.
Zmoore
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Post  Kelejan 3/10/2016, 1:48 pm

Looking at your pictures. Zmoore, give me a "high". Very Happy  I must be a junky.

Snow here this monring, slushy stuff but the sun has come out and where it shone the grass is clear.  In the shade it is still lying on top of the lawn and garden.  In a while it will all melt and I will put on my wellies and go take a look to see what is happening.  Can't wait to get going again.
Kelejan
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Post  Zmoore 3/10/2016, 2:21 pm

Kelejan wrote:Looking at your pictures. Zmoore, give me a "high". Very Happy  I must be a junky.
You know, I have a few premium ounces of "V" left over over or perhaps some "Peeties" if that's your thing.  Whatcha paying?
affraid affraid

Just playing.  I know what you mean though.  I'm such a "junky" that I got "cough-cough" sick and called in to work so I could get my fix.  

Maybe we should start a club:
Hello, My name is Zeke and I'm a Vermiculite junky. 
tongue
Zmoore
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/10/2016, 3:05 pm

Zmoore wrote:
Kelejan wrote:Looking at your pictures. Zmoore, give me a "high". Very Happy  I must be a junky.
You know, I have a few premium ounces of "V" left over over or perhaps some "Peeties" if that's your thing.  Whatcha paying?
affraid affraid

Just playing.  I know what you mean though.  I'm such a "junky" that I got "cough-cough" sick and called in to work so I could get my fix.  

Maybe we should start a club:
Hello, My name is Zeke and I'm a Vermiculite junky. 
tongue
funny post

Hi Zeke....
Wink
CapeCoddess
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Post  Scorpio Rising 3/10/2016, 8:49 pm

funny post hi, Zeke, Nice to know ya, and Cc, SR here and I have been off compost for....5 days....
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Post  sanderson 3/11/2016, 2:25 am

Hi Jeke, It's been a day for me.

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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/12/2016, 9:27 am

Great looking job, ZMoore! Wish I could do that...! (You'd think - working from home, I should get plenty of garden time... NOT!)

But I'm calling in sick on Wed since I've got tomatoes, pumpkins, onions, chard, radishes, & beets to get in the ground!

Oh, yeah... My name is Marie & I'm a gardening junkie....
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Post  ralitaco 3/23/2016, 1:06 am

Zmoore wrote:I had to call in sick yesterday with a fever.  Spring Fever.  
I know what you mean. I had scheduled a day off for an appointment today, but it got cancelled earlier in the week, but instead of cancelling my PTO, I decided I had an appointment in my SFG.


Zmoore wrote:


Once mixed I scooped some material in the box to about a 2" depth.  Spread it out a little and THEN soaked it.
Installed Mix in Two Beds 1_laye10
Man that is a big nozzle!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/23/2016, 7:39 am

The better to water you with, my dear..... (Insert creepy voice of wolf imitating grandma)
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Post  jimmy cee 3/23/2016, 8:00 am

Zmoore wrote:@CC
I actually used a hoe to mix.  Just have to be careful not to snag the tarp on the bottom.  I did a kind of "push and pull" the hoe through the pile and work my way around the tarp doing it from different angles.  
I've done the tarp flipping before, but I like to have a helper when I'm doing that (one on each side), since I was "solo" I went with the hoe.
Use the back side of a rake, it does a much better job and no worry's about digging into the tarp
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Post  Kelejan 3/23/2016, 8:07 am

Some things are so obvious when pointed out, aren't they. Very Happy
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