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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Adding Lime Toplef10Adding Lime 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.

Adding Lime I22gcj10Adding Lime 14dhcg10

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Post  Terry Howell 2/26/2023, 1:53 pm

How much lime should be added to Mel's Mix?
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Post  OhioGardener 2/26/2023, 2:29 pm

Terry Howell wrote:How much lime should be added to Mel's Mix?

None.  Compost tends towards neutral pH without adding either alkaline or acid amendments.

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Post  sanderson 2/26/2023, 2:47 pm

NONE. The book states blended composts, coarse (or super coarse) vermiculite and fluffed peat moss.

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Post  Soose 2/28/2023, 10:52 pm

sanderson wrote:NONE.  The book states blended composts, coarse (or super coarse) vermiculite and fluffed peat moss.

I hear you -- in our area with limestone caves, the official SFG instructor I talked to (who trained with Mel and who taught SFG'ing in a huge school program for several years)  says we have to add some lime. Something about our water.
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Post  sanderson 3/1/2023, 2:53 am

thinking Well water from calcium carbonate formations is alkaline. Adding more lime does not make sense. Who is the certified instructor? He/she may be able to explain why lime is added to Mel's Mix in northern Alabama. Seven (7) years ago I had my MM tested by an ag lab and all 3 samples fell above 7.2.

(I've taken this subject to the Foundation "think group" I belong to for discussion.)

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Post  Soose 3/1/2023, 7:57 am

sanderson wrote:thinking  Well water from calcium carbonate formations is alkaline.  Adding more lime does not make sense.  Who is the certified instructor?  He/she may be able to explain why lime is added to Mel's Mix in northern Alabama.  Seven (7) years ago I had my MM tested by an ag lab and all 3 samples fell above 7.2.

(I've taken this subject to the Foundation "think group" I belong to for discussion.)  

Sanderson, I should not have said the word official because I do not know about current associations.  But again, I know he trained in Mels' original classes and that he ran a very big program here in one of our public schools for some years.    If there's anything wrong in what I said, it's me, not him...  maybe it isn't the water, I could have gotten that confused.  (But I do know we have limestone caves. And our tap water can give a lime build-up around faucets.)

I don't understand about the Chemistry, either. And would like to understand.  My spouse is better about Chemistry.

Our veggies improved last year when we added some lime, as did our neighbor's non-SFG plantings in the ground.  We had Blossom End Rot.  And decades ago when I first tried to garden here, one of the problems I'd never encountered before was Blossom End Rot, and that's what we had last year.  So there was not enough calcium available somehow in my MM?  (We do know there was something off in my MM, despite my trying my best.)   Hmm, but we were watering here with rain water.  Not tap water.
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Post  OhioGardener 3/1/2023, 8:13 am

Soose wrote:I hear you -- in our area with limestone caves, the official SFG instructor I talked to (who trained with Mel and who taught SFG'ing in a huge school program for several years)  says we have to add some lime. Something about our water.

thinking thinking   I'm twice as confused as Sanderson about this. If you have limestone caves, as we have many, many limestone quarries around us, then your water is Alkaline. Adding lime to it would only make it more alkaline. Very confusing.

If you think you compost mixture is too acid, it would be much better to test its pH before adding any unnecessary amendments such as dolomitic limestone.  Compost tends toward neutral, so there is very seldom any need for amendments to adjust the pH.

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Post  OhioGardener 3/1/2023, 8:40 am

Soose wrote:  We had Blossom End Rot.  And decades ago when I first tried to garden here, one of the problems I'd never encountered before was Blossom End Rot, and that's what we had last year.  So there was not enough calcium available somehow in my MM?  (We do know there was something off in my MM, despite my trying my best.)   Hmm, but we were watering here with rain water.  Not tap water.

Blossom End Rot is an entirely different problem that alkaline levels, it is due to lack of absorption of calcium. There is very seldom a lack of adequate amounts of calcium in the soil, but there is quite often a nutrient imbalance that prevents plants from taking up the available calcium. For example, too much potassium in the soil will prevent plants from absorbing calcium, likewise too much magnesium in the soil will prevent calcium absorption.  As for the pH level, acidic soil which is below 5.5 will also prevent calcium absorption causing blossom end rot and brown spots on leaves, but the pH level needs to be tested before adding lime assuming that is the problem.

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Post  sanderson 3/1/2023, 1:19 pm

The "official SFG instructor" may not have been a Certified Instructor. They may have followed the original in-ground method and did their own thing.

I'm a CI and in contact with Laura Bartholomew almost every single day. Docwas is part of the "think tank" and he is a CI and a Master Gardener.

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