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So New There's Still No Dirt In Central Virginia Toplef10So New There's Still No Dirt In Central Virginia 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.

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So New There's Still No Dirt In Central Virginia

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Old Hippie
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Post  bettyd_z7_va 9/17/2010, 7:04 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm Betty and I've been lurking for about a week, reading everything.

My DH has built one 4x4 and we have a bale of peat moss. Have only found 4 small bags of vermiculite and NO compost/composted manure.

I really wanted to get some things planted this week, but it isn't happening.
We HAVE to find some good compost/manure before we can plant.

The closest city to me is Lynchburg.
I would drive to Roanoke/Richmond/Charlottesville if anyone knows for sure that I could find what I need.

Walmart's composted manure is tainted with herbicide and has just about killed all of the shrubs and other plants (lots) I've planted this year.

I really want to find a good source for organic stuff so I won't be crying over the veggies , too.

DH is the one who really wanted to SFG and I was saying, "Yeah, yeah, whatever, but I'm planting in my regular garden."

After reading all of the wonderful reports on your harvests, I've gotten excited about giving this a try. The only thing we've been successful with in our regular garden is corn.

I want some of those greens y'all keep talking about!

Can you help a newbie?

I would really appreciate it. DH had Mel's first book and picked up the latest one while we were on vacation, and he is READY!

Thanks,
Betty
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Post  camprn 9/17/2010, 7:46 pm

Are there any horse riding stables, dairies, chicken farms near you? Municipal compost?That's where I would start, local & as far away from the box store as possible... But thats me
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Post  pattipan 9/17/2010, 7:53 pm

Hi Betty!
Since you're starting with just one 4 x 4 box, surely we can help you find some compost near Lynchburg.

Do you have a Lowes, Home Depot or Southern States Cooperative nearby? We always get a few bags of a compost mix from Southern States called Black Kow. They usually carry other types of compost/manure mixes as well. Since it's near the end of the garden season, you may have to call ahead, though.

Greenhouses? Lawn & Garden supply stores? I found this one doing a Google search:

Virginia Garden Supply
4614 Boonsboro Rd
Lynchburg, VA 24503

Greenhouses should still have some compost available. Most are open now selling chrysanthemums by the truckloads. :-)

That should give you a few ideas to begin with.

Pattipan

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Post  boffer 9/17/2010, 8:04 pm

welcome

The good news is that the SFG police won't come looking for you if you deviate a little here and there!

When I started, I lucked out by finding quality composts at my favorite hardware/garden store. In five years of SFG gardening, I haven't needed to add anything but compost to my MM. I did fill one box with compost from a big box discount store that you are familiar with, and it did poorly. There is a difference in retail compost quality.

But not everyone can find the good stuff. The important part is to get started-get a sfg box filled with the best stuff you can find and afford, get it planted, and get your own compost pile started. As you have read, there are plenty of experienced gardeners on the forum who can recommend organic/non-organic supplements to get you by.

The closer you can follow Mel's suggestions in the beginning, the less work that you'll be doing down the road.

All that being said, corn is a heavy feeder. Since your corn is doing well, what have you done with that soil? That might give you a head start in making your MM. There are plenty of folks on the forum in your part of the country, hopefully they'll have some suggestions for where you can do your shopping.

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Post  trustinhart 9/17/2010, 11:09 pm

Hello and welcome!!! Where are you in Central VA?
I'm in Crewe, just south west of Farmville. If your closest city is Lynchburg, we're probably neighbors!!

When I started out, I couldn't find all the ingredients either. Sooooo, I bought Metro Mix from Clay's in Blackstone and Miracle Grow mix from Wall-Mart. I now have my own compost going and my soil is pretty good. No weeds and good water retention. The biggest insect problem this year has been aphids and shield bugs.

Glad to have you with us!!!

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Post  Old Hippie 9/18/2010, 12:45 am

I don't live anywhere near you, in fact we aren't even in the same country, but I just want to say "Hi!" and welcome you to the forum. I have only been on here about a month but there sure are some wonderful people on here........Very knowledgeable and helpful. You are going to love hanging out here.

I live in British Columbia, Canada, so have no idea what store to suggest you try finding compost in. There have been some great suggestions about what to try already. I couldn't afford to buy everything brand new for the mix so used peat moss and my own compost, leaf mold, etc. to amend the existing soil that was in the garden plot I inherited when we bought our house.

You and your DH will find SFG very addictive and one 4x4 square will soon not be enough.

All the best.

GK
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Post  Megan 9/18/2010, 8:26 am

Welcome, Betty! glad you\'re here

I am way up north of you, not sure what help I can be with regard to compost. I didn't have much luck with that myself. I went ahead and planted anyway! Hopefully my own compost will be in good shape for next year.

Do you have Southern States in your area? They have been my go-to for free straw.... just bring yard waste bags and ask if you can clean up whatever's on the ground / loose in the bottom of the trailer. (Note: It's a little more hay than straw... it does sprout, but hey, it's free!)
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Post  bettyd_z7_va 9/18/2010, 11:43 pm

OH, MAN!!!

I just had a long post almost finished and yahoo popped up wiping away ALL of my post! I HATE when that happens!

So...Megan, old hippie, trustinhart, boffer and pattipan, a BIG thank you all for such a warm welcome and all of the great suggestions. We had good luck finding some GREAT stuff today.

We are hoping to have our 4x4s planted by Monday evening. Yes, we built a second one when we got home today!

More later when I'm not so sleepy!

Thanks again,
Betty

P.S. trustinhart- We ARE neighbors! I'm in Appomattox. I go through Crewe when going to Naggs Head and I used to visit Crewe a lot growing up when my uncle lived there.

We've got to get together so I can get all of the insider tips on SFG!
Nothing better than good neighbors.
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Post  sceleste54 9/19/2010, 12:33 pm

I started out using Miracle Grow Potting MIX.. not potting soil. After I made my Mel's Mix from scratch, the appearance and performance were very similar. If you can't find good components for the mix try the Miracle Grow. That would allow you to go ahead and get started, then just pick up with the Mel's Mix as you can and keep on growing !!
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Post  trustinhart 9/19/2010, 7:36 pm

Cool Beans Betty, yes, we will absolutely have to get together. I'll PM you!!!

rahrah rahrah
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Post  Megan 9/19/2010, 8:09 pm

I would love to see a Virginia meet happen. I can't get away except on weekends (and even then, it's troublesome), but yay!
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Post  dixie 9/19/2010, 8:22 pm

It won't help you now, but in early Spring you might find some on Craig's list. That's where I found mine from a local dairy farm & got it delivered. If nothing else, I'd try the Miracle Grow & at least get some Fall greens.
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Post  pattipan 9/19/2010, 9:19 pm

I'm in the elbow of the eastern panhandle of WV and only 40 minutes from Harrisonburg, VA. :-)

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Post  miinva 9/20/2010, 12:18 am

We get our compost from Hottinger's Greenhouse (information below). It's a small business and the owner is very nice, so we head over there every spring and buy up loads of shrimp, leaf, mushroom, and cow compost Smile I have no idea what he has left, but you could always give a call and see...

Hottinger Greenhouses
18351 Louisa Rd
Louisa, VA 23093-4448

540-967-0929
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Post  bettyd_z7_va 9/21/2010, 1:31 pm

Thanks miinva. I will have to make the trip because I haven't found a source for mushroom or shrimp compost yet. I really appreciate the info, especially the phone #.

Hi pattipan. You're not too far away as the crow flies!

Dixie, thanks for the heads up on the Miracle grow. I hope we found enough Sat to get started for fall. I will be adding more in the spring. DH made me a 12" deep bed and I would like to start a permanant asparagus bed there this spring.

Megan, That would be TOO COOL!

trustinhart, I just PMed you.

Thanks, everyone. Hope to have some seeds planted before dark today!!

Betty

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