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Where do you get your compost? Toplef10Where do you get your compost? 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.

Where do you get your compost? I22gcj10Where do you get your compost? 14dhcg10

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Where do you get your compost?

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Where do you get your compost? Empty Where do you get your compost?

Post  Guest 6/14/2023, 2:59 pm

Hello Arizona Gardeners among the Southwestern Gardeners! I am going to start my first SFG and I am having a very hard time finding organic compost that is not mostly wood and/or doesn't cost $250 to be delivered, or more. I don't have a truck or a friend with one, so I pretty much either get it delivered or get bags of it. So I thought I'd ask, where do you get your compost?
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Post  donnainzone5 6/14/2023, 7:57 pm

Please keep in mind that only about 20% of your compost should consist of manure-based materials.  Available composts depend upon one's location.  Read labels carefully, and contact the manufacturer if questions exist.  None should contain peat moss, sand, top soil, etc.  Don't limit your search to Big Box stores, although some occasionally do offer appropriate composts.  Whole Foods, independent garden centers, hydroponics stores, etc. frequently sell the types you need for your SFG.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 6/14/2023, 10:13 pm

Welcome, GimmeShade!  Great name, by the way….I got my start up by going to TSC….I got worm castings, chicken poo (composted), and a humus mix that I took into account as it did have peat in it.  I had an old fashioned compost pile, which I also used in the mix.  It wasn’t perfect, but it got me started!  

What are you planning?  

glad you\'re here
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Post  Guest 6/15/2023, 11:12 am

Donnainzone5, Wholefoods? Really? I would have never in a million years of gardening ever thought of them. Thank you! 20%? Ahem, I will have to go back and reread the chapter about Mel's Mix. Lots to learn.


Last edited by GimmeShade on 6/15/2023, 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Guest 6/15/2023, 11:15 am

Thank you Scorpio Rising. I tend to follow the shade as I garden in my perennial bed in sunny . The shady areas have the least weeds.  Very Happy
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Post  donnainzone5 6/15/2023, 12:41 pm

GimmeShade,

Look for Cedar Grove organic compost (not planting mix or soil) at Whole Foods.  It may not be available except along the West Coast.  

Keep following posts here, as well as at www.squarefootgardening.org.  Do you have the 2nd or 3d Editions of ANSFG?  The original 1981 Edition has been almost totally revised.
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Post  Guest 6/15/2023, 12:56 pm

Scorpio Rising, I am planning my first vegetable garden, a raised bed of 4' x 8' x 12'. First I am solarizing my bermuda lawn (uh oh), then I plan to lay down landscape fabric over the whole thing for a year or so or longer, if need be. I put the lawn in about 20 years ago, about 14' x 14', for my little puppyman. He sadly is no longer with us so we no longer need that lawn. After some of what I have read here I'm kind of afraid I won't be able to get rid of it. I will do my best to obliterate it (and I think it thinks the same about me). I can hopefully get started in August. I think I will be able to do some Monsoon gardening. We can plant tomatoes, peppers, summer and winter squash, etc. My husband got me some Gro Pots in May. I grew tomatoes (gone but delicious), and am still growing the peppers, and green beans. They are making new flowers and I hope they make me some food! I have no idea if it's too hot or not. I put 50% shade cloth over them and they took off. From that first taste of tomato, I was hooked. Green beans solidified that deal. I eventually would like to add a second bed 6' x 4' and then possibly a third 6' x 4', depending on how much produce we need. I will cut my teeth on this first 4' x 8' x 12' bed.
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Post  Guest 6/15/2023, 1:06 pm

Donnainzone5, I have the third edition.
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Post  sanderson 6/15/2023, 10:29 pm

GimmeShade wrote:Scorpio Rising, I am planning my first vegetable garden, a raised bed of 4' x 8' x 12'. First I am solarizing my bermuda lawn (uh oh), then I plan to lay down landscape fabric over the whole thing for a year or so or longer, if need be. I put the lawn in about 20 years ago, about 14' x 14', for my little puppyman. He sadly is no longer with us so we no longer need that lawn. After some of what I have read here I'm kind of afraid I won't be able to get rid of it. I will do my best to obliterate it (and I think it thinks the same about me).. . .
I'm going to use the dreaded "R" word - Roundup.  This is really the only way to permanently get rid of Bermuda grass.  Both the grass and the stolens have to be killed, and seeds encouraged to grow so the new growth can be killed.  I wanted to extend the garden into the lawn area.

I contacted the company for when I could reseed as I wanted to keep a 10'x14' area of lawn.  The online and in person answers were 3-7 days.

I sprayed.  Raked up the dried grass a few weeks later.  Then, watered to force more to grow, including seeds.  Treated again.  Kept watering the dirt for weeks to see if I got it all.  Life got in the way so it was a year before I got around to extending the garden.  Zero Bermuda.

I watched the weather for wind speeds, noting when it was less than 3 mph.  The best time was nautical dawn, before the sun came up.  I lit and extinguished matches 3" above the ground for the smoke to insure there was no drift in the backyard.  I sectioned off to insure I covered the whole area equally.  Rolled out durable weed fabric for pathways in the winter mud.  

Probably sometime in 2020:
Where do you get your compost? Roundu14
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Where do you get your compost? Roundu15Where do you get your compost? Roundu16

6-23  No lawn but I did plant some flowers. Where do you get your compost? Flower11 
Where do you get your compost? Flower12

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Post  Guest 6/17/2023, 9:38 am

Yes, the dreaded Roundup. I almost never use it, but it has its place and this is one of them. It is part of how I am dealing with this. I am at the stage where I have sprayed once and raked and now am watering to bring up growth and I'll spray again next week. Then I will repeat that and then cover the area with landscape fabric for one year or however long until I see no more bermuda. Those Thundercloud Sage shrubs were just pruned, they are not affected, incase it looks like it. It's hot as blazes now so that is where the fabric comes in. Smothersville. There are many gardeners and homeowners who hate bermuda here who have tried this with great success. 
I love that idea about using a match. Thank you. I had just sat outside and watched for wind movement. There was none so I was good to go, and used big pieces of cardboard to shield other plants. Hopefully this will work. If not, I'll try something else until I win.
What I know for sure, when it comes to bermuda, you have to stand your ground, literally.

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Post  sanderson 6/17/2023, 5:14 pm

It looks like it's ready to scalp with the lawn mower, and water well to force any live root stolens or seeds to grow. You could be ready to build the bed and plant this late summer / fall for a winter garden.

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Post  sanderson 6/17/2023, 5:17 pm

Regarding compost: I was finally able to buy 4 bags of E B Stone Compost and I give it a B+. I posted on the SFG Based on the Founder and Creator Mel Bartholomew's Method FB page about this compost. E B Stone is available in the greater Phoenix area.


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Post  Guest 6/18/2023, 8:34 pm

Yes, I think scalping and watering to bring up the seemingly dead is a good bet. It's really funny you mentioned JB Stone. I just went to all the local nurseries hunting for what's available compost-wise, and that was definitely my favorite contender. I looked at one brand that said it had bat guano and earthworm castings. I liked that, so I turned it over and it said, "Ingredients: forest products and fertilizer".  thinking  That was not exactly what I wanted to see and I walked away asking, "What does 'fertilizer' mean?" It could be anything.
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Post  sanderson 6/19/2023, 12:41 pm

Learning to read the labels on "compost" products is invaluable.  Where do you get your compost? 3170584802  Good catch.

When I first started in March 2013, I did not understand the real meaning of compost.  It took time, 18-24 months, of using real composts to correct my Mel's Mix while the wood fines and pieces in the product I used broke down.

Anything that includes fertilizer is not what we want because we use compost to feed the plants.  Bat guano is a hype.  (The only exception is pure bat guano for those fighting root knot nematodes, and that is because of the chitin, But, that is another story.).

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Post  Guest 6/19/2023, 2:07 pm

Thanks! So much to learn. It is turning out to be very hard so far to find anything that doesn't say first and foremost "forest product", "aged forest product" or "composted forest product". I have no idea what that "product" is at all by those labels. I guess eventually we all turn into aged forest product. The EB Stone was the only one I found, except for straight chicken manure, that didn't have mystery product. We do have a wormfarm, which I found out about from Angela Judd, the Master Gardener whose youtube channel your recently shared. A few months ago I went to one of her seminars. She gave a lot of basics about gardening here. I have her Vegetable and Herb sowing calendar, which is also very helpful. Some days I think my mind is going to explode from all the stuff to learn. I am going to just get that grass gone, build a bed and plant something in it. Learn by doing, because if I don't I could get stopped in my tracks with analysis paralysis.  Shocked
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Post  sanderson 6/23/2023, 4:15 am

GimmeShade wrote:Thanks! So much to learn. It is turning out to be very hard so far to find anything that doesn't say first and foremost "forest product", "aged forest product" or "composted forest product". I have no idea what that "product" is at all by those labels. I guess eventually we all turn into aged forest product. The EB Stone was the only one I found, except for straight chicken manure, that didn't have mystery product. We do have a wormfarm, which I found out about from Angela Judd, the Master Gardener whose youtube channel your recently shared. A few months ago I went to one of her seminars. She gave a lot of basics about gardening here. I have her Vegetable and Herb sowing calendar, which is also very helpful. Some days I think my mind is going to explode from all the stuff to learn. I am going to just get that grass gone, build a bed and plant something in it. Learn by doing, because if I don't I could get stopped in my tracks with analysis paralysis.  Shocked
I thought I posted an answer but I don't see it.  Wood is a common "brown" in commercial composting.  But, the wood that doesn't break down needs to be screened out by either the company or by the gardener when they get the compost home.  What is awful is to have wood fines and other "fillers" added to the finished compost before it gets bagged.  That just turns it into soil (dirt) amendment. Not what we want.

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