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Post  dbaxter on 2/19/2011, 11:10 am

I'm a bit hesitant to post, because I'm guessing this has been discussed before. However, I've been unable to find anything using the search feature. I am brand new to SFG. This will be my first year. My understanding of the basic soil mixture is 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost. My SFG book is from 2005. (Not the "All-New" version.) On page 62, Mel mentions adding sand and lime for the "perfect" soil. All the posts I've found on this forum mention using sand as a filler for deep beds, or possibly as a substitute for vermiculite. Should I plan on adding several buckets of sand to my mix, or is that now considered unnecessary? Many thanks...
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Post  camprn on 2/19/2011, 11:14 am

Hi there and welcome Sand? Opinions? 61949 to the forum!
This is a really good question. First off, there is different advice in the All New SFG book. If you can get a hold of a copy that's great. Perhaps your local library has the newer version.
Sand could be used as a filler for the bottom of deep boxes. Sand is not a replacement for vermiculite as vermiculite holds water but sand is a filtering agent in the garden box. Lime would be used to correct pH in the growing mix or soil.

Keep those questions coming! sunny
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Post  dbaxter on 2/19/2011, 11:28 am

Thanks for the speedy reply! Any idea why the "rules" have changed regarding adding sand to the mix? (If nothing else, I suppose the 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 formula does simplify things a lot.)
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Post  camprn on 2/19/2011, 11:36 am

Probably for the simplicity, as you said, and also just from experience and getting good results over the years without sand. Just a guess. Smile
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Post  quiltbea on 2/19/2011, 12:26 pm

Changes are made when we learn new things or easier ways from our own personal experiences and successes.

Your own garden should be your classroom to try new things and experiment. Some things that work for some of us, don't work well for others.

You just have to try something on a small scale and check the results in your soil, in your weather and with your time allotment.

Good luck and make it a fun experience.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 2/19/2011, 12:33 pm

@dbaxter wrote:Thanks for the speedy reply! Any idea why the "rules" have changed regarding adding sand to the mix? (If nothing else, I suppose the 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 formula does simplify things a lot.)

The original SFG books taught us to amend our native soil with ingredients including sand. This still left weed seeds and required adding fertilizers as well.

The All New Square Foot Gardening Book tells you to ignore your native soil and build on top of that soil, filling your box with Mel's Mix, ( 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 blended compost using at least 5 types of compost) which has no weeds, is automatically friable and full of the nutrients that plants need. The only thing you need to do to the Mel's Mix in the future is add a trowel full of blended compost when you remove or harvest your crops and before you plant new veggies in the same square.

I hope this helps.
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