Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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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Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick Toplef10Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick 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.

Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick I22gcj10Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick 14dhcg10

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Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick

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Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick Empty Hi from Fredericton New Brunswick

Post  Ldowmills 4/24/2020, 9:57 am

Hi all! 
I am excited to find this forum. I am a gardening novice. I started a SFG 3 years ago. And while I didn't use Mel's Mix, I had a lot of success with the garden. Last year the garden was largely neglected (life was busy). This year, I want to start the gardens again. They are full of soil. I am wondering what can I add to this soil to make it ready to plant? Is adding a variety of compost enough? The beds are 4x8 feet. I am not sure how much compost I should add. Would it be beneficial to add anything else? Thanks.
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Post  trolleydriver 4/24/2020, 10:48 am

Welcome from Ottawa, ON.  I have what I call "old style" amended soil SFG beds as well as All New Mel's Mix SFG beds.  My old style beds started with fairly good soil. I have a grid on them as well just like with my new SFG beds. Each year I amend the old style beds with home made compost. Over the years I've also added in peat moss as well as coarse unfinished compost from time to time. This year I will be adding in mushroom compost and some peat moss. Hope that helps and good luck with your SFG this year.
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Post  OhioGardener 4/24/2020, 11:23 am

Ldowmills wrote: I am not sure how much compost I should add. Would it be beneficial to add anything else? Thanks.

In beds that I set up years ago, before even hearing about SFG, I upgraded by working several inches of good quality compost into the soil. If you can add 2" or 3" of compost to the top of the beds, and then work that into the top 6" of the soil, you will be good to go. You may want to add a layer of coarse vermiculite before placing the compost on top of it, in order to assist with friability and water retention. I also add some rock dust to restore the mineral content of the soil, but many people don't find that necessary.

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Post  AtlantaMarie 4/25/2020, 8:50 am

Hi Ldowmills. Welcome from Atlanta, GA! Glad you found us!

You've already been given some great advice. And we like pics, btw... :-)
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Post  sanderson 4/26/2020, 4:02 am

Ldowmills, Welcome to the Forum from California. glad you\'re here

Glad to see you getting back into the garden. To amend each 4'x8' bed with 2" of compost, add 5 1/2 cubic foot bags of as many different composts that you can find. The compost will feed the plants. If there is still room, a little coarse vermiculite and fluffed peat moss will make the soil friable. Mix these into the top 6" of soil. Happy gardening.

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Post  Kelejan 4/26/2020, 10:22 am

glad you\'re here  Lowdown Mills from Frederickton N.B. happy hi 

From your Canadian Host Kelejan in British Columbia. :canada: 

Pop over and see us on the Canadian Regional thread.
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Post  Dan in Ct 4/29/2020, 9:53 am

Hi Ldowmills, Happy gardening. My dad was from outside Woodstock and my mom from outside Bath. Spent my summers from 7 to 12 on my maternal grandparents' farm. Quite the educational experience, no electricity but somehow it didn't matter after the first week. Welcome. My dad, the Canadian farm boy would taste the soil twice a year when analyzing his garden soil down here. I might finally try it this year. Don't swallow the soil and just the tip of the tongue, when done analyzing, spit it out, nobody should eat dirt but a big bowl or bucket of healthy soil is something to grow something to eat in. Oh if it is tart in the fall, add lime, if sweet in the spring add manure.

I would get a few composts, mix them together and when you are ready, plant or transplant as though you were swapping out a crop/square during the growing season but perhaps being slightly heavy handed as to the size of the scoop or scoops of the mixed compost used. My Nana's garden was nothing but root vegetables and my dad's was anything but yet both were very productive, as my Nana still had turnips and carrots when we returned the next summer.Oh I have relatives in Fredericton but no surprise, my dad was one of 20 and my mom one of 16, I have relatives everywhere.
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Post  Eddie Willers 5/25/2020, 1:41 pm

I built my beds with black earth top dressing soil before I learned about the PVC Mels Mix.

Next year I will be excavating out the top 9" or so of soil and replacing it with MM.

For this year, all I did was what others have already suggested. Bought 2 bags each of the 4 different types of compost available at my garden center. I have 72 Sq ft of growing space.

I Put one bag of each compost type into my wheel barrow and mixed it all up. Then layered it 2" thick on top of all of the beds. I mixed up the second batch in the same way, and had about half a wheel barrow left over when finished. With the compost mix that was left over I filled a five gallon bucket for seedlings and spread the rest out over the lawn.

I soaked the compost thoroughly and then used hand trowels like salad tongs to turn the compost over into the top 6" of soil. Things have been growing pretty great since.
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