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Will Mel's Mix improve over time? Toplef10Will Mel's Mix improve over time? 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.

Will Mel's Mix improve over time? I22gcj10Will Mel's Mix improve over time? 14dhcg10

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Will Mel's Mix improve over time?

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Will Mel's Mix improve over time? Empty Will Mel's Mix improve over time?

Post  erbarnett 10/7/2010, 8:25 am

I am referring to the Mel's Mix as described in the 2006 book. I believe it will improve. Since 1/3 of the Mix is peat moss which is organic, and since it is always kept moist and is in constant contact with high quality compost, the peat moss should fairly rapidly decompose. It is true that peat moss has no nutrients at the time it is removed from the bale, but it will eventually decompose into peat humous. Peat humous is just another type of compost.

Eventually then the Mel's Mix will revert to 2/3 compost. The vermiculite will not decompose at all. Am I right or wrong?
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Post  sfg4uKim 10/7/2010, 2:17 pm

I'm not sure of the answer, but I just proposed this question to the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association. I'll let you know when I receive an answer.

You can go to www.peatmoss.com (who knew?) for a plethora of information. They address the depletion issue - only 0.02% of peat moss is being used in horticultural applications so it is quite sustainable.


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Post  Chopper 10/7/2010, 4:00 pm

I am not being a smart alec- I am curious. In what way does that information serve you? Or maybe it is just the fun of gathering facts, which I like to do too? Or do you see potential to use that to improve your beds?
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Post  erbarnett 10/8/2010, 8:24 am

Chopper, I read a lot of gardening books and articles, because I am always curious about all sorts of things. I attend Master Gardeners classes for continuing education on many subjects, such as growing orchids and growing rare types of plants and trees. The question I posed is relevant to SF gardening so it should be discussed. Hopefully, the Mix will improve over time. If it does, our crops will grow even better than they are now.
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Post  herbarium 10/8/2010, 10:55 am

Since in some parts of the world SF Gardeners plant in straight compost I would think that if peat moss does change over time that it would make no difference. From what I understand peat moss is already finished so won't break down anymore. I have planted in straight compost myself when I was not able to get the other ingredients. I had a fabulous garden that year. Peat moss does hold onto nutrients and helps them to be released over time so it certainly benefits your SFG.
I would still be curious to hear what you find out.
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Post  Chopper 10/8/2010, 2:41 pm

@erbarnett wrote:Chopper, I read a lot of gardening books and articles, because I am always curious about all sorts of things. ...

Thank you. I was just unsure of whether or not it ultimately became compost would matter. I appreciate the explanation.
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Post  erbarnett 10/8/2010, 5:37 pm

I think I finally found the answer. Peat moss is partially decayed mosses, including sphagnum peat moss. Peat humus is peat moss that is fully decomposed peat so that none of the original plants can be identified. Therefore, peat moss does eventually decompose into something called peat humus. The Mel's Mix, probably after many years, will eventually change into 2/3 compost (humus is compost) and 1/3 vermiculite. I guess that means that Mel's Mix will probably become a better mix after many years. I remember seeing peat humus for sale at nurseries a long time ago, but the price was very high. I have not seen it for sale for a long time.
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Post  Furbalsmom 10/8/2010, 7:57 pm

Good to know about the peat moss decaying into peat humus, plus with that extra little trowel full of compost whenever we replant, should make the MM even better as it ages.
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Post  sfg4uKim 10/12/2010, 7:47 pm

Here's the answer I got from the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association:

Good Afternoon Kim,

As per Paul Short, President :

Peat moss is itself the decomposing material from the living plant species of the peatlands. It is often part of a particular growing media substrate. It will continue to breakdown as part of the normal decomposition of organic material as it is used in the application of horticultural production.

As such it does not create its own peathumus compost but is part of the normal decay of the substrate.

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