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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Mel's Mix Toplef10Mel's Mix 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.

Mel's Mix I22gcj10Mel's Mix 14dhcg10

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Mel's Mix

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Post  JoJo 1/7/2011, 7:09 pm

Hi, I am just starting and want to create my first SFG beds this spring. I live in an area that is limited in alternative gardening supplies. I am having trouble figuring out the compost mixture. Ideally, I will start my compost pile to meet my ongoing compost needs, but to start out in time for this spring, I am going to need to acquire compost.

What are going to examples of five different types of compost that I may be able to find? Any manure I get, will be too fresh? I shouldn't use bone & blood meal on food plants. I thought the hardest find was going to be the vermiculite, but I found this right away.

Please give me suggestions.
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JoJo

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Join date : 2011-01-07
Location : Oklahoma, Zone 6

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Post  Furbalsmom 1/7/2011, 7:30 pm

You want your blended compost to include a variety of Ingredients

It is better to look as the list of ingredients on the bags of compost to know what is in the compost.


Types of compost might include

Mushroom Compost
Worm Castings
Some may be called Organic Humus and include a variety of sources such as vegetable matter and manure matter
Chicken Manure (Already composted)
Cow Manure (already composted)

Do not use FRESH manures as they may burn your plants. The manures must be composted before use.
Do not use manure from animals that consume meat, such as dogs or cats


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Post  ander217 1/8/2011, 3:40 pm

JoJo wrote: I shouldn't use bone & blood meal on food plants.

Welcome to the forum, JoJo. I'm also in Zone 6 with hot summers and some some snow in the winter.

I also have problems finding enough different types of compost in my rural area. I didn't get a good blend last summer and I enriched my mix with bonemeal and blood meal. Your comment above took me by surprise, as I had never heard of any such restriction. Those have always been approved soil amendments I thought, unless one is vegan or has cultural or religious taboos against them.

I went to the 'net and researched, and I only found one site on which someone made a statement (unofficial) which said using those animal products could be a problem. That site said Demeter International who regulates the Biodynamic agriculture movement has put a ban on using blood and bone meal on food crops because they believe there is a slight risk that BSE (mad cow) or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease could be passed through those products from an infected cow.

The poster said blood meal and bone meal can still be used as soil amendments on certified organic farms, but not on certified Biodynamic farms. (To make it perfectly clear, there is no type of US government ban that I could find, against these soil amendments.) You can google Demeter International or Biodynamic farming to learn more about their organization. I did not find any such ban on Demeter's website, but then again it did not give many details as to their growing requirements.

I think the best answer is to find the right blend of compost for Mel's Mix and then we don't have to worry about it. When I'm traveling, I plan to look at larger garden centers and try to pick up all the different kinds of compost I need between now and spring.

I learn something new every day. Thank you for your post, JoJo.


Last edited by ander217 on 1/8/2011, 4:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Megan 1/8/2011, 3:47 pm

The blood meal and bone meal I used this year were both organic. I don't think I'd use a non-organic variety. Still, I find this discussion very interesting. Like Ander said, you learn something new every day! Smile

I really ought to start hunting down my own composts. I have some of my own from last year, but it's not going to be enough.
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Post  WardinWake 1/8/2011, 5:03 pm

JoJo wrote:Hi, I am just starting and want to create my first SFG beds this spring. I live in an area that is limited in alternative gardening supplies. I am having trouble figuring out the compost mixture. Ideally, I will start my compost pile to meet my ongoing compost needs, but to start out in time for this spring, I am going to need to acquire compost.

What are going to examples of five different types of compost that I may be able to find? Any manure I get, will be too fresh? I shouldn't use bone & blood meal on food plants. I thought the hardest find was going to be the vermiculite, but I found this right away.

Please give me suggestions.

Howdy JoJo: Mel's Mix is becoming more available as a ready to use product. If you have a local Lowe's store check Item Number 308781. It is also available in some Home Depots and other large box stores. The package will have Mel's picture on it as well as "Square Foot Garden Soil". This is one of two packagings of MM that is licensed by the SFG Foundation. The other is packaged for the smaller garden centers and is the same product with a different package.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 1/8/2011, 8:37 pm

Apparently, last year, I didn't know what I was doing, either, JoJo. We all goof when rookies. I had too much peat moss in my garden, and not enough vermiculite, and I used a couple "filler" bags of top soil to go with the compost that had been sitting in my yard for years. I also bought some. And, guess what? My veggies still did an outstanding job of growing. Getting the perfect MM is what you strive for, but getting close will also yield great results.

I went looking for different "types" of compost this winter, and have only found two. Cow manure and mushroom composts. There is the BlackKow brand and a Nature's Preserve (name may not be exactly right) available to me. But, one of the bags of the Nature's brand was also cow manure. So, sure, I have three bags, but two are cow manure and one is mushroom compost. I, essentially, have only two types of compost from what I've read around here.

I would suggest starting your own pile, too. I would load it with leaf litter, grasses, food scraps from the kitchen, used coffee grounds. Maybe even put a bird feeder over it so some seed hulls and bird poo fall in there? Whatever it takes. But, it will take time for this stuff to decompose in winter. I doubt you have anything in 8 weeks. But, the more you turn it, the faster it will go.

Mel doesn't recommend it, so I won't say you "should" do this, either. But, I know that river bed top soil is pretty fertile stuff..and cheap, too. You could feasibly fill your garden with some of this. But, remember, it will likely have some clay in it and clump more than straight MM. If you go that route, your veggies will pull nutrients from this soil fairly quickly, too. So, I would be prepared to add compost as it becomes available from your own pile as needed.

Hope some of this helps. Good luck!
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Post  camprn 1/8/2011, 11:46 pm

JoJo wrote: I shouldn't use bone & blood meal on food plants.
I use both these amendments in my garden, but mostly I used the dried blood to boost my compost pile into activating & heating up. Very Happy
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Post  miinva 1/9/2011, 5:01 pm

Alfalfa meal will heat up a compost pile too, without the 'ick' factor Smile
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Post  camprn 1/9/2011, 5:12 pm

miinva wrote:Alfalfa meal will heat up a compost pile too, without the 'ick' factor Smile
LOL, I don't register this ick factor until I start using chemicals; fertilizers, pesticides, round-up and the like make me cringe. affraid
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Post  miinva 1/9/2011, 6:02 pm

It could have something to do with the fact that I'm a vegetarian Wink
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