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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.

Mels mix depths I22gcj10Mels mix depths 14dhcg10

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Mels mix depths

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Post  Simso 5/27/2022, 3:59 am

Mix depth.

Does anyone notice depth of mix makes a difference.

I find my beds with 2ft of mix depth grow way differently than my beds with 1ft of mix.

Here is an example, these garden beds with leeks are less than 2ft from each other, both getting same amount of water and sunlight, both planted at same time as seedlings

Same thing is happening with my chard, celery etc

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Post  OhioGardener 5/27/2022, 8:40 am

I have not seen any difference in the growth or health of plants based on the depth of the MM.  Some of my beds have a foot or a little more depth, while others have 6". I see not difference in the plants in those beds.

In the pictures you provided, I wonder if the difference isn't more about the moisture levels.  In the small container, it will retain moisture for much longer with much less water added. Meanwhile, the open bed will dry much faster, and require much more water to keep it moist.  If you have a moisture meter, check the moisture level 4" to 6" deep in each to see if there is a significant difference.

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Post  sanderson 5/27/2022, 3:03 pm

Member Docwas did a test with 2 or 4 beds with 6" of MM in one set and 12" of MM in another set. It was for his Master Gardeners certification. Identical plantings/varieties in both.

Conclusion. There was no difference in plant growth and pounds of harvest, except the 6" did a little better.

Simso, You have pots verses beds, where the Mix temperatures and moisture evaporation/absorption are different. The MM in the pots heats up faster in the spring than the beds. The MM in the beds heats up faster than the ground (the ground underneath acting as a cold sink well). The plastic pots do not absorb water like the wood beds.

Side note: It's hard to tell by just 2 photos, but it appears that the MM in the bed has quite a bit of wood pieces compared to the pots. ??

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Mels mix depths Empty Comparison of 6” MM versus 12” MM

Post  Docwas 5/27/2022, 10:07 pm

I started comparison trials with two 4’x4’ beds, one 6” deep and the other 12” deep.  Both beds filled with Mel’s Mix and both irrigated with drip irrigation.  I planted the same crops in the comparable squares in each bed and weighed my harvest from each bed. I got as much or more from the 6” deep bed as I did from the 12” deep bed. Each bed included four indeterminate tomato plant in the 4 squares on the north sides of the beds.  My plants grew taller than the 7’ tall trellises.  The tomatoes in each bed were transplanted exactly the same, with horizontal stems.  When I finally cleaned up the beds after a freeze, the tomato roots in the 12” we’re mostly in the top 6” of the 12” deep mix.  The following year, I did two other beds, again with 6” and 12” depths.  These beds were planted in two varieties of spring bearing strawberries.  As with the trial of vegetables the previous year, I harvested just as much from the 6” deep MM as I did from the 12” deep MM.  last year I planted Yukon gold potatoes in the different depths of Mel’s Mix.  As before, I got just as much out of the 6” depth as the 12” depth.  You really only need a 6” depth of Mel’s Mix.
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Post  Simso 5/28/2022, 1:20 am

Well it has definetly got me stumped, same mix in the beds as the deep pots, the beds have a little bit of straw on them as well while i was trying different ways during summer to keep the temp down, we are now late autumn about to go into winter


Last edited by Simso on 5/28/2022, 1:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Simso 5/28/2022, 1:28 am

Celery in the pots, celery in the grow beds, easily triple the height and thickness

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Post  Simso 5/28/2022, 1:30 am

Another view this morning of my leeks, these were all planted at the same time

I cannot see any sun differences that could be happening either, the shadow on the garden bed leeks is me

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Post  Simso 5/28/2022, 1:32 am

Distance shot in case someone can see something obvious, taken a few days ago

The ovehead plastic sheets are 90 percent light transmission sheets but they are 100 percent uv resistant,

https://www.palram.com/sub-product/suntuf-plus-polycarbonate-corrugated-sheets/

the grow pots are adjacent to bird netting

So maybe just the lack of uv?


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Post  Simso 6/18/2022, 7:56 am

Still got same problem, however a few things I have noted, the deep garden beds are next to the bird netting and are recieving IMO more sunlight than the main garden beds.

The main beds have clear sheeting over the top but the rating is 90 percent light transfer

So wondering if being winter and the clear sheets over head are reducing the light significantly to affect growth as noted.

May experiment and install an overhead fluoro on one of the beds and see if that makes a difference
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Post  sanderson 6/19/2022, 4:03 am

Simso, What are the temps right now? Mel's Mix in a pot is warmer than in the beds. Deep winter, the wood and volume in the beds should be warmer and the pots colder.

Why do you have plastic over the garden? Is it below freezing? Winter crops generally do well even down to a light freeze?

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Post  Simso 6/19/2022, 4:19 am

I have clear poly sheets over the top of the garden to stop the birds, I installed them in summer and they are hard screwed into place

Tenps at night are around 5-10c and during the day about 15-20c
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Post  sanderson 6/19/2022, 5:59 am

So, above freezing. Mels mix depths 3170584802

Fluorescent tubes are fine for seedlings, but inadequate for maturing/mature plants.

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Post  Simso 6/19/2022, 6:09 am

One thing about the overhead poly sheets, they are 100 percent uv block, was always under the belief uv is not necessary for plant browth, could be something as well.
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