Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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I want to start over Toplef10I want to start over 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.

I want to start over I22gcj10I want to start over 14dhcg10

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Post  momvetkat 5/24/2021, 12:25 pm

Hello, everyone. I have been absent from the forums for a long time. Life threw me a curveball and I got off track but I want to start again. In 2015, I dove into SFG 100% and got great returns for my efforts. The second and third year, I pretty much stuck with it and the garden did well. Lately, not so much. I still have a decent crop for my two 4 ft X 8 ft raised beds, but the whole SFG idea has really declined. My biggest problem has been compost - I have a small barrel, but I don't think I am doing it right. My question is - at this point, how do I get those beds back to being full of Mel's Mix? I don't think I can afford to empty them out and start from scratch. (BTW, the beds are planted for spring and I will get a decent yield, but nothing like I had before. I have most of my plants in small bags/containers and the beds are not planted according to SFG). Thanks. (Forgot to add that I have topped off my beds with Amend from Home Depot before planting for the past few years).
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Post  markqz 5/24/2021, 2:27 pm

momvetkat wrote:(Forgot to add that I have topped off my beds with Amend from Home Depot before planting for the past few years).
In the past I've used Amend in gardening projects, and I feel it never did well. I think your garden needs a reboost with some good (or at least better) compost. Your HD will carry at least a couple types of manure compost (chicken and steer, usually). Since it's been 5 years, you may need to mix some up and work it back into the MM.

You might explain what is happening with your own compost. There are some real compost aficionados here!
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Post  OhioGardener 5/24/2021, 4:08 pm

momvetkat wrote: Forgot to add that I have topped off my beds with Amend from Home Depot before planting for the past few years.

What Mark said.  Your beds would benefit most from the addition of high quality compost. If you can get several types of good quality compost, mix them together, then add them to the beds.  Over time you may want to add some coir or peat and vermiculite, and work it into the soil. But for now, new compost is the most important amendments.

The AMEND product, IMHO, is an over priced low quality compost. Its first 3 ingredients are rice hulls, recycled forest products, and arbor fines. Then they add some manures (no idea the percentage of them).

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Post  markqz 5/24/2021, 4:38 pm

OhioGardener wrote:
The AMEND product, IMHO, is an over priced low quality compost. Its first 3 ingredients are rice hulls, recycled forest products, and arbor fines. Then they add some manures (no idea the percentage of them).
I'm curious, what price point is it going for there? In S. CA, it's often one of the better priced amendment options, possibly because it comes out of Los Angeles. Our big-box compost options are often limited (specifically, mostly chicken and steer manure).
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Post  donnainzone5 5/24/2021, 5:48 pm

Amend is a soil amendment, not a compost.  I used it long ago and found that it contained substantial amounts of uncomposted wood products.  My SFG results suffered.
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Post  donnainzone5 5/24/2021, 5:57 pm

It might be possible to find Cedar Grove, a plant-based compost, at HD, Lowes, Whole Paycheck, and other sources.  Also, check out hydroponic/grow stores for additional options.
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Post  Roseinarosecity 10/17/2021, 12:46 am

Dear Kathy,
I have also been away a very long time but I saw your post and I want to help you out. It's most likely that your beds need a well composed compost.  If you are having trouble making enough compost, which is a common problem for many of us in the beginning, or occasionally when life just keeps you away from gardening.  It happens.  Here in SoCal when I run out of compost I look for Malibu Compost Bu's Blend Biodynamic Compost; it's the best after your homemade compost.  It's not cheap because it's a premium organic compost.  They have a store locator on their website.

If your barrel composting isn't working out, try a bin or pile compost.  At one time I had a barrel compost, a pallet compost, vermicompost, and a bin compost.  The barrel compost needed more work because I had to have my ingredients all at once and I couldn't get the rhythm of the system.  The pile compost was great but sometimes the pile got too hard for me to handle.  The vermicompost wasn't enough.

The bin compost finally matched my style and timing. I do a fall compost, a spring compost and occasionally a summer compost.  Finished compost needs to sit for a while to cure.

Don't give up. It is so worthwhile gardening for the "exercise" and the healthy veggies.
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