Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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.

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Hello from MN Empty Hello from MN

Post  norrie on 3/11/2010, 10:58 am

The 2 feet of snow in our yard is quickly melting and I am intersted in changing from a traditional row garden to the SFG. I have a question about the soil, however. If I am reading rightly, the Mel's Mix can only be picked up in Utah. Is there any other option for those of us living a distance away?
Thanks,
Norrie Hello from MN Icon_biggrin
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Post  Karen on 3/11/2010, 2:05 pm

You can make your own mix. Call garden centers or nurseries in your area. Many sell peat moss and coarse vermiculite. Everyone says vermiculite is hard to find, but I only had trouble finding 5 sources of compost. The garden center sold manure and bags of "garden soil" that were completely organic matter (compost). I found bags of wood/leaf compost from a landscape company. Municipalities may also have it from leaf pick-ups. If you've read the SFG book, chapter 5 gives excellent instructions for mixing. Have fun!
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Post  boffer on 3/11/2010, 2:16 pm

Hi norrie,

Welcome to the forum. Mel's mix that is pre-packaged has only become available in the past week. We've all made our own mixes. Look for sources of vermiculite in your regional forum and in the general forum-there is a sub-forum for vermiculite sources. We haven't got that part organized very well yet here on the new forum. We are encouraging forum members to post their vermiculite source so that others may benefit.
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Post  new2this on 3/12/2010, 1:20 pm

Okay, I'm not technically an SFG'er yet.....but I will be! I am in se MN and just yesterday started to purchase supplies for my beds.
I went to Menards and bought 2 2x6x16' cedar boards, 2 bags of vermiculite ($10.95?) and 2 bags of Peat moss ($6.00). THey did not have any compost out quite yet, but they will soon enough.
I am going to save the rest of my mixture to use in my flower bed in the front.

Good luck
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Post  boffer on 3/12/2010, 1:39 pm

Looking at the prices you paid for vermiculite and peat, I don't think you bought enough for the two 4x4 boxes your lumber will make. Check the volume on the bags. You'll need at least 3 cubic feet each of verm and peat for each box.
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Post  new2this on 3/12/2010, 4:34 pm

I went out to check my bags .......the vermic was $10.99/bag (each bag 3 cu ft)
.........the peat was $5.99/bag (each bag only 2.2cu ft compressed)

so for the peat, do I need to account for compressed or fluffy stuff? Will I still need more?
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Post  boffer on 3/12/2010, 4:42 pm

Wowsers, you got a great deal! I pay almost $40 for a 6cf bag.

Peat will expand 2-3 times when the package is opened. Looks like you're in good shape. I'll climb back in my hole now and mind my own business! Hello from MN Icon_redface
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Post  new2this on 3/12/2010, 5:01 pm

don't sweat it; I'd rather have someone question me instead of finding out later on that I've missed something......no problem.

And the lumber.......I bought that at Menards too and I think I got one heck of a deal there. They are having lumber sale and with a few bats of my eyelashes I got 'em to cut it for me too.....sick, I know - but it worked (they were gonna charge me for it!). Let's see...the boards were $21.19/board (2x6x16') for cedar; so I didnt' feel that it was that much more costly than regular lumber.
The chicken wire (for my strawberry bed) was $14.99 for a 4' x 25' (by 1" holes) roll.

So, for those newbies (like me), it's a bit of a steep start-up cost, but once the bed is made and filled, then you're good to go!
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