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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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Frost's North Central Florida Garden

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Post  sanderson 3/28/2022, 2:43 pm

Soose wrote:. . . Along these lines, I decided in parallel with your post that I will have to just pay what I can locally for the compost part of my mix and any supplements I feel we need.
Supplements?

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Post  Frost? 3/28/2022, 4:22 pm

SANDERSON: wrote:It looks like the Mel's Mix is dry, except for the little wet spot around each plant. The dry mix is most likely wicking the moisture away from the plant root areas.



Thanks for the observation; and the saturation answer prior to.  It definitely isn't dry; I was actually afraid it might be too wet, but since the only thing in the bed is seeds and rootless clippings I dribbled a little more water directly over those spots, causing the noted discoloration.  I'm guessing since my beds are solid Mel's Mix, surrounded by plastic, by having put it in dry and then just adding water until it was submerged was adequate; I even went back and did it a second time after it "dripped through" figuring it couldn't hold more than it's max.

(p.s.:  we just had a two day deluge of rain; everything has been "well watered"  cheers
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Post  Frost? 3/28/2022, 6:30 pm

So, heeding counsel, I floated my bins again, and it definitely changed color; so the acquiescence goes to SANDERSON.  Bidding the question:  How often DO you re-hydrate your Mel's Mix?  Daily?

  On another note, less than an hour after resoaking the bins, my cantaloupe seed (one of two) popped!  Both Butternut broke ground last night.  That puts me at 6 day germination for both, whereas the ones I planted in my "pots" with amended soil (per original SFG recipe) took 10 days.  A fluke?  Or certification that the blend is superior even for seed starting?
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Post  sanderson 3/28/2022, 8:47 pm

Frost? wrote:So, heeding counsel, I floated my bins again, and it definitely changed color; . . .  Bidding the question:  How often DO you re-hydrate your Mel's Mix?  Daily?
As often as it takes.  Winter dry weeks, once a week.  In the Summer, when the temps are over 100*F and no rain for months, it's 2X day plus E-Z Straw mulch.  I never let it go dry.  The top inch or two, yes, but then I water it.

On another note, less than an hour after resoaking the bins, my cantaloupe seed (one of two) popped!  Both Butternut broke ground last night.  That puts me at 6 day germination for both, whereas the ones I planted in my "pots" with amended soil (per original SFG recipe) took 10 days.  A fluke?  Or certification that the blend is superior even for seed starting?
Could be different possibilities, but I'll vote for delicious Mel's Mix.  Razz

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Post  Frost? 3/28/2022, 9:01 pm

Thank you SANDERSON.  For some reason I was under the misconception that this stuff was going to be almost self-sufficient.  Where's my Utopia!
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Post  sanderson 3/28/2022, 11:41 pm

You will experience Utopia when you eat your first tomato.

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Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 3 Empty 15" X 21.5" bins

Post  Frost? 3/31/2022, 12:58 pm

First "new" raised bed complete, calling this 1' x 2' and trusting I still get to call it SFG.  I WILL put a divider across it's mid.

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Post  Soose 3/31/2022, 1:31 pm

Frost, what material are you going to use to make your dividers? 

I have some thin scraps of wood, where we've ripped some trim down. Oodles.
But they are pine, and only painted on odd sides, with some raw wood sides.
So I haven't decided to use them.
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Post  Frost? 3/31/2022, 2:58 pm

Soose wrote:Frost, what material are you going to use to make your dividers? 

I have some thin scraps of wood, where we've ripped some trim down. Oodles.
But they are pine, and only painted on odd sides, with some raw wood sides.
So I haven't decided to use them.

At the present I'm just thinking about a length of 3/4" PVC pipe, but I also have a bin full of 3/8" and 1/2" aluminum (from antenna's), if I can find a piece long enough to span the three bus trays.  Trying to avoid wood due to the rot factor.  Everything in Florida starts to decompose as soon as it hits daylight.
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Post  Soose 3/31/2022, 4:04 pm

There you go, recycle what's on hand.  I may go ahead and use these wooden scraps of 1x and suspend them off the top of the soil a bit somehow.  You've made me realize, I will need a whole lot more...   and while I've calculated a slew of different things for this, I did not calculate linear feet or inches of material for my grid markers. 

Anyway, you have made great progress so quickly!  I am not ready.  I'd best turn my head back to compost.
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Post  Frost? 3/31/2022, 5:00 pm

Yes, progress!  I just finished the 2nd raised bed of 15x21.5's, filled them with Mel's Mix. and gave them their first saturation of water - just before the rain started.  Now we're in for 4 days of rain so I'll have to turn to "other" projects.  No shortage there!
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Post  Frost? 3/31/2022, 5:16 pm

Knowing I won't be able to post more than 3 pics per post, I made a collage in case anyone is interested in how the beds went together.  I think it's easy enough to follow.  The last shot shows the legs on their respective "chocks" waiting to be fitted to the framework to bring them flush to the top of the bed.

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Post  Soose 3/31/2022, 9:17 pm

Frost? wrote: Got my first rain barrel officially set.  Bring on the rain!  Will be jacking the other one up on blocks as well and connect the two.  Had to knock the principal one down by a row  because I didn't have enough drop below the diverter.

Belatedly...  we are using more IBC totes for water collection, not barrels.   Today, we finally got around to talking about water overflow on the first "275gal rain barrel, lol." 

This tote is collecting water from a 11x16ft storage building with a saltbox roof.  We put a gutter on the back section of that roof.  It filled up quickly - halfway during the first 1.5" of rain, and the rest soon after.  (It's been a wet year, too.  But that water is beautiful!)

So now, we must look at overflow and diversion lest the concentrated guttered waters head the wrong way or create a soggy mire out where we park the tractor.  OR worst case, undermine the concrete block "foundation" of this above ground storage building.

Frost, what is the diverter you used? 

[ The tote was already full of rainwater before this week.  I'm sure the 4 inches of rain we got overnight (!) all sprayed out of that flexible downspout which is cable tied into the lid  -- and onto the surrounding ground.  I see mud washed onto the asphalt roll roofing (weed suppression) which we used on the ground under the tote.  ]
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Post  Soose 3/31/2022, 9:21 pm

Frost? wrote:Knowing I won't be able to post more than 3 pics per post, I made a collage in case anyone is interested in how the beds went together.  I think it's easy enough to follow.  The last shot shows the legs on their respective "chocks" waiting to be fitted to the framework to bring them flush to the top of the bed.


I liked the design of your tables for raised beds when you first showed it here.  I've done some carpentry and wood working in my time, it's a hobby, but for the life of me I can't see how this goes together.  Not for sure. lol  I'm feeling rather dense. 

Having said that, it's a very neat job!  Impressive!  Smile  Gardener and builder!  And so speedy at it!

[Edit: I stared at the photo again. How many of the three-quarter round chocks do you have in each leg?  I am assuming the black legs are hollow 4" pipe?  Where'd you get the black pipe?]
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Post  Frost? 3/31/2022, 9:43 pm

Soose wrote:I liked the design of your tables for raised beds when you first showed it here.  I've done some carpentry and wood working in my time, it's a hobby, but for the life of me I can't see how this goes together.  Not for sure. lol  I'm feeling rather dense. Having said that, it's a very neat job!  Impressive!    Gardener and builder!  And so speedy at it![Edit: I stared at the photo again. How many of the three-quarter round chocks do you have in each leg?  I am assuming the black legs are hollow 4" pipe?  Where'd you get the black pipe?

Thanks for the "props".  
Built the basic grid to accommodate the bins.  Cut 4 pieces of aluminum angle 9" long, 2 bolts to the face boards, 1 bolt to the end pieces, a screw on either side of the angle into the wedge cuts on the 3" blocks.  Four 3" blocks (plugs), cut out of 4x4s (3 1/2" thick).  Birdsmouth cut into each chock, one per corner, screwed to the aforementioned angular pieces.  The PVC is Schedule 40 3" (ID) Drain pipe, available at any plumbing supply, and most likely at Lowe's or Home Depot - mine were from 20' lengths stuffed into the webbing of a mobile home we owned (?extra parts) that I pulled out for future unknown purposes while I was under the mobile making some flooring repairs.  Cut the drain pipe to 30" long (5 1/2" of height is lost once I notch them into the framework).  Push them down over the birdsmouthed chock and made a mark for the faceboard and sideboard and cut out the back 6 1/4" of circumference up to a height of 5 1/2", then slipped it the rest of the way down.  The most complicated part was cutting the birdsmouth on a tablesaw while holding onto the plug.  Probably not for the "beginner", but maybe easier on a bandsaw.
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Post  Frost? 3/31/2022, 9:58 pm

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Post  Soose 4/1/2022, 1:03 am

sanderson wrote:
Soose wrote:. . . Along these lines, I decided in parallel with your post that I will have to just pay what I can locally for the compost part of my mix and any supplements I feel we need.
Supplements?  
Sanderson, I missed this earlier.  I guess I used the wrong term?  Straighten me out.  I wasn't referring to the book and cant just  now, either...   Do you put things like bone meal or fish emulsion or alfalfa into the compost mix ?  I think of those and the smaller bags as supplements. 

Forgive me,  I'm scrambling, building a garden is not the only project I have in front of me, I don't know what fits into each category of the compost, and I know I don't have the experience to stay straight...  and I guess  honestly people will have to bear with me for the moment because I have little retention if I'm not focusing on that element at any moment.    

What I can say is that when I can refocus on building my MM, I will come back to those threads and try to do it right.   dI I don't have the experience to risk going far off the beaten path. I believe it needs to be done by the book.  I'm sold on it. 

[BTW,  mushroom compost has disappeared from Rural King here. Sigh. I was on my way to buy it.]
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Post  Soose 4/1/2022, 1:09 am

Frost? wrote:Thanks for the "props".  
Built the basic grid to accommodate the bins.  Cut 4 pieces of aluminum angle 9" long...
Ahh, ty for the detailed build info.  I could not see well enough in the photo and the aluminum angle stock, for instance, looked like pine to me, among other confusions.  I understand a lot more of your design now. 

One last question, are you sure the bus tray edges will hold up over time without reinforcements?  I know move are very strong.
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Post  Frost? 4/1/2022, 6:20 am

Soose wrote:One last question, are you sure the bus tray edges will hold up over time without reinforcements?  I know move are very strong.

Only time will tell.  They have ribs under the rolled edge every 3" or so, so it is not just the lip that supports them.  If need be I could easily bridge across the bottom of the grid dividers to add support.  You do know you can "click" on the picture and make it full screen, yes?
 
(P.S. - looking back I can see why they might look like pieces of wood; I should have flipped two of them over!)
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Post  Soose 4/1/2022, 7:02 am

Frost? wrote:
 You do know you can "click" on the picture and make it full screen, yes?

Yes, I stared hard, lol.  The other thing is that the tape you put on the black pvc pipe to mark the leg joint looked to me like it was the color of chocks or plugs in this photo.   

Bringing it back...  You are so much farther ahead of me with your new gardens!  Well done.  Now, I'm going to read back and see what you put in your Mel's Mix for compost.  I think our truck will be road-worthy today.  If so, I'm going to pause at some point and try again for some pre-composted compost elements.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to pour money into it.
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Post  Frost? 4/1/2022, 7:18 am

SOOSE said:
I'm going to read back and see what you put in your Mel's Mix for compost.


I'm not sure I listed it all, but to recap my compost portion is my own (sifted) composted lawn gleanings (leaves and grass) with kitchen scraps; Nature's Care (sifted) Compost (really, really junky stuff, lot's of sticks and such), Mushroom Compost, Worm Castings, Black Cow, Horse Manure, Rabbit & (composted) Chicken poop.
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Post  OhioGardener 4/1/2022, 8:45 am

Frost? wrote:I'm not sure I listed it all, but to recap my compost portion is my own (sifted) composted lawn gleanings (leaves and grass) with kitchen scraps; Nature's Care (sifted) Compost (really, really junky stuff, lot's of sticks and such), Mushroom Compost, Worm Castings, Black Cow, Horse Manure, Rabbit & (composted) Chicken poop.

I had the same experience with Nature's Care Really Good Compost. I contacted the company and provided pictures of the junk removed from the bags of compost. The refunded the purchase price of the compost.

Your mixture of compost is very high on manures. It is recommended that only one of the compost types be manure.

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Post  Frost? 4/1/2022, 8:57 am

OhioGardener wrote:Your mixture of compost is very high on manures. It is recommended that only one of the compost types be manure.

  Thanks for that on both regards; I may do likewise with the Nature's Care, because I'm sure I'm throwing half the bag away, and I bought two bags.

  I don't know that I caught only one type of manure, but it did register that manure should only account for 10% of the total compost.  With that in mind I was (roughly) measuring out manures to keep within those parameters.  I'm not sure how I can get any closer without weighing each item.
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Post  Frost? 4/1/2022, 9:43 am

SOOSE: wrote:are you sure the bus tray edges will hold up over time without reinforcements?  

Well, after the torrential rain through the night it does look like the bottoms of the trays are somewhat stressed (quite bulged).  I'll keep an eye on things and post any modifications.
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Post  sanderson 4/3/2022, 3:31 am

Frost? wrote:
OhioGardener wrote:Your mixture of compost is very high on manures. It is recommended that only one of the compost types be manure.
. . .   I don't know that I caught only one type of manure, but it did register that manure should only account for 10% of the total compost.  With that in mind I was (roughly) measuring out manures to keep within those parameters.  I'm not sure how I can get any closer without weighing each item.
Manure-based should be limited to 20-25% of total blended composts.

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