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How thick should compost amendment layer be? Toplef10How thick should compost amendment layer be? 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.

How thick should compost amendment layer be? I22gcj10How thick should compost amendment layer be? 14dhcg10

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How thick should compost amendment layer be?

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How thick should compost amendment layer be? Empty How thick should compost amendment layer be?

Post  John5678 8/15/2022, 3:19 pm

My vegetable garden beds consist of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost. The compost ingredients are: composted horse manure, wood shavings, and hay.

I have been using this blend in my vegetable beds for 16 months of continuous use since I filled the beds. When I harvest veggies I throw some of the horse manure compost blend on the surface where I've harvested.

I want to amend these beds with bokashi compost that I make with my food scraps because I'm sure my food scrap compost is far superior to the horse manure blend that I've been using from the start.

How thick a layer of my bokashi compost should I lay over my beds? Thanks for any replies.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/15/2022, 6:13 pm

John5678 wrote:How thick a layer of my bokashi compost should I lay over my beds? Thanks for any replies.

I dig a trench in the bed and layer the Bokashi into the trench so that it can be covered with about 6" of soil. The Bokashi needs at least two weeks after it is buried to finish composting before planting over it.

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Post  sanderson 8/15/2022, 6:33 pm

John5678 wrote:My vegetable garden beds consist of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost. The compost ingredients are: composted horse manure, wood shavings, and hay.

I have been using this blend in my vegetable beds for 16 months of continuous use since I filled the beds. When I harvest veggies I throw some of the horse manure compost blend on the surface where I've harvested.
I'm confused. Did you make compost from horse manure as a green and wood shaving and hay as browns? If they were not composted together, they are not considered a real compost.

When you add more compost between plantings, it should be mixed into the Mel's Mix so that the formula stays uniform throughout.

Bokashi compost is not ready-to-use compost. OhioGardener mentions burying his bokashi deep to finish the composting process.

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Post  John5678 8/16/2022, 2:30 pm

I dig a trench in the bed and layer the Bokashi into the trench so that it can be covered with about 6" of soil. The Bokashi needs at least two weeks after it is buried to finish composting before planting over it.
Do you eventually layer the entire bed with bokashi scraps by digging consecutive trenches right next to each other?  Is there a limit to the amount of bokashi scraps that can be added to a bed?  The 1/3 compost ratio needs to be roughly maintained, correct?  It's more commonly recommended to add compost onto the surface instead of digging up the soil in order to not destroy worm tunnels, not disturb mycorrhiza, etc.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/16/2022, 4:41 pm

John5678 wrote:
Do you eventually layer the entire bed with bokashi scraps by digging consecutive trenches right next to each other?  Is there a limit to the amount of bokashi scraps that can be added to a bed?  The 1/3 compost ratio needs to be roughly maintained, correct?  It's more commonly recommended to add compost onto the surface instead of digging up the soil in order to not destroy worm tunnels, not disturb mycorrhiza, etc.

It is important to remember that Bokashi is NOT compost, and cannot be applied like compost.  Fully fermented Bokashi is considered "pre-compost", and must be finished into compost in an aerobic composting process.  Finished Bokashi can be buried in the soil and allow the microbial life to finish composting it, or it can be added to the compost bin and allow it to break down with the rest of the compost, but it cannot be simply spread on top of the soil and expect it to break down into compost. The anaerobic Bokashi must come in contact with aerobic microbial life to finish the composting process.

"The 1/3 compost ratio needs to be roughly maintained, correct?".  Yes, sort of, over time.  The standard practice is to add compost to the bed when plants are removed to replace the amount consumed by the plants. The plant consumes the compost to provide nourishment, but the vermiculite and peat remains.  Thus, replenishing the compost does not greatly throw off the 1/3 balance.  The same is true when burying the Bokashi in a trench in the bed. I can dig a trench, spread a 5 gallon bucket of Bokashi in it, then cover it with the soil.  In two weeks I can dig down where that Bokashi was buried and it is impossible to find any evidence of the Bokashi with the exception of some egg shells. The soil looks mostly undisturbed.  That said, occasionally it is necessary to refresh the bed with some vermiculite and/or peat to maintain the 1/3:1/3:1/3 balance.

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Post  John5678 8/16/2022, 7:12 pm

Thanks for the help.  I've been burying my bokashi scraps outside the garden beds then adding the finished bokashi compost to the beds.  But burying bokashi scraps right in the beds would be far easier and more beneficial for the garden for several reasons.
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Post  sanderson 8/19/2022, 4:21 am

With veggie beds, the fungal / bacteria ratios are not that critical. It's okay to mix in the compost to maintain the ratio of the 3 ingredients throughout, or to bury the bokashi deep. In SFG, the compost ratio is way, way higher than in row gardening. Lots of food for the microbes. Heavier fungal loads are important for perennials like trees and shrubs.

Same with worms. In Mel's Mix, they can do their thing but they are not necessary for conditioning the MM like they do in the dirt. MM is basically already "conditioned." The worms are just neat residents and they do leave their nutritious castings throughout.

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