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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hi from Fresno, California Toplef10Hi from Fresno, California 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 Fresno, California I22gcj10Hi from Fresno, California 14dhcg10

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Hi from Fresno, California

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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Hi from Fresno, California

Post  TwoPutter 2/10/2023, 9:48 pm

Hi all,
Been fully retired for only a year, and with all the news of possible food shortages, that gardening is a very healthy thing to do, and finally having the time to do square foot gardening, I'm jumping in with both feet. Also, I hope to follow after my mom - she was an unbelievable gardener - and she did it without all the helps available to me! 

So, I'm just stuck on my fifth type of compost and that is worm castings. I am thoroughly confused as to what is out there and the cost seems prohibitive. As an example, on the Home Depot website, WC is said to be a soil, a soil blend, a soil additive. One is labeled a soil remedy and this seemed to be least expensive: 1 cu ft for $32. Some is labeled concentrated and need to be mixed with another medium thereby a 10 lb bag will give you 40 lb of WC. Some commenters say it is just a manufacturer's gimmick. 
There's also a product consisting of coconut coir and 1 lb of WC giving 2.5 cu ft of useable product. 
I'm a detailed person, but I'm tired of being detailed - I'd like to just get going on this. Thanks for any help!
Donna
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  sanderson 2/10/2023, 11:44 pm

Hi Putter, welcome to the Forum from Fresno!

The Fresno area is such a compost desert. Willow Gardens has been carrying Gardner & Bloome (G&B) Purely Compost for a few years. A hydroponic store carried Malibu Bu's Blend last year. I can't do a better search right now as I broke my arm last night.

Don't get hung up on a 5th compost. Three or 4 good ones will work.

Can you list what you have found, their ingredients on the labels and photos if you can? That will be very helpful.

Manures and worm castings should be limited to 20% to prevent phosphorus buildup.

Composts with peat moss can throw off the 3 part balance. Plus it amounts to really expensive peat moss.

Any thing with peat moss, coir, perlite, sand, etc. are really dirt amendments.

Be prepared to screen every compost, no matter the price. A piece of 1/4" hardware cloth secured to a wood frame will work. Or, a gold miner's 1/4" screening pan is also good. They fit on a 5-gallon bucket. Very Happy



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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  Soose 2/11/2023, 5:56 am

Welcome. I started last year this time, similar motivation, produce food. Struggling same way with sources for Mel's Mix...

Know that a lot of worm castings produced are reportedly just waved by some worms for a couple weeks, not real good. ( Local stores were out even then. I bought castings and compost from a local hobbyist, and do not feel good about the quality, think it might have been leached out? My Mel's Mix was wrong despite great effort expense care. )

Start now, produce some on your own if you can. We have 4 months in my area...

Can you start one or more worm farms NOW.
On a small scale there's a plan in a current tthread here. I am starting bigger, invested in 8lbs 8k worms from a local worm farmer. Double worms every 60 to 70 days if I can keep them happy, and in that time the worm farmer and online sources tell me I have a hope of them creating over 1/2cu ft castings per 1000 worms (1lb worms= 1k worms).

2nd cycle, I'll start with twice the worms. You do the arithmetic. By planting time, I hope to have my own worm castings.

And a compost operation like the production of compost every 30 days or so:
--follow OhioGardener on that here, he has it down pat,
-- and sign up for the free webinar being broadcst again by "The Joyful Gardener" Stacy Murphy real soon. Her compost video is in lesson 3 or 4, and similar to OG's production rate but in an open bin, not rotating tumblers.

Collect all the juice pulp, veg castoffs, and other scraps you can, coffee grounds from shops. OG uses pine pellets for brown, we go by tractor supply and score big open minimally damaged bags here for $1.

You'll be a lot better off investing time now getting these operations going. Wishing I had last year.
Soose
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  Soose 2/11/2023, 6:01 am

P.s. populate with up to 1k red wiggler worms per 1 sq ft surface area.

I started early January, aerated/ tossed my worm bedding a bit yesterday, as we'd had a lot of rain... saw my first egg casing. Sure there are more. I bought my worms from greengreg dot com local area here, no shipping. I've looked at other videos harvesting and like his product, but see if you can find someone nearby to buy from.
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  OhioGardener 2/11/2023, 7:36 am

Welcome to the forums from Ohio, Donna!  Sounds like you are on a roll!  You've already received some excellent advice about the types of compost, so I'll only add a small piece of wisdom: Start out small enough that you can manage it rather than be managed by it, then grow as you learn from the experience.

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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  Soose 2/11/2023, 4:58 pm

sanderson wrote:... Snip...
Be prepared to screen every compost, no matter the price.  

And I've decided on a policy of testing any bagged product with manures in the ingredients by trying to grow a bean seed in a bit of it, before adding it to anything else. Don't want to risk grazon contaminated stuff.
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  TwoPutter 2/13/2023, 6:07 pm

Thank you all for your warm welcome!

Here is what I have:

Composted chicken manure and composted steer manure:
   I purchased both before I understood they were counted as one type from Lowe's --

Also:

Hi from Fresno, California 740e02d3-71e0-4eb7-94db-6ed41121ec2d


Hi from Fresno, California 659f84e2-1db8-4481-adb9-b90b50dee9e9

Also, the one from Willow Gardens:
Hi from Fresno, California 9e86075a-031d-4aaa-b5a1-5c455d6df1e0

Also, what is the reason(s) for screening the compost? I don't remember reading that in the SFG book and some of the bags say they have been screened.

Hope I uploaded the pics okay.
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  Scorpio Rising 2/13/2023, 10:20 pm

Hi!  

Glad you found us…hopefully we will see pictures soon?  We love pics!  We all come to SFG for various reasons.  For me, I hate weeding, and like the intensive harvests.

I would love to hear from you TwoPutter, what your experience has been, and what this year has in store?

Can’t wait!
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  TwoPutter 2/14/2023, 8:14 pm

2nd attempt at posting pics of types of compost.  If I don't succeed, I'll just type them in.

Here is what I have:

Composted chicken manure and composted steer manure:
   I purchased both before I understood they were counted as one type from Lowe's -

Also,

Hi from Fresno, California Img_0311
Hi from Fresno, California Img_0310


Also, the one from Willow Gardens:
Hi from Fresno, California Img_0312



*******************
Also, what is the reason(s) for screening the compost? I don't remember reading that in the SFG book and some of the bags say they have been screened.
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  Soose 2/14/2023, 9:53 pm

I don't know about over your way, but here, yhe quality of the compost products can be iffy with occasional foreign debris and the stuff isnt always totally composted.
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Hi from Fresno, California Empty Re: Hi from Fresno, California

Post  sanderson 2/16/2023, 12:01 am

What Soose said.  Some of the composts have wood pieces and trash.  The quality of even well-known and respected composts suffered in 2021 and 2022.  Just be prepared to screen.  This photo shows the screenings from Dr. Earth's All Purpose Compost.  I was basically a soil amendment.  The Malibu Bu's Blend, on the other hand, was expensive but needed zero screening, so it was a good buy.

I use G&B Purely Compost but screen it.  It is locally available in this Compost "desert" that I live in.  

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