SFG Beginner in Houston needs help with soil!

Hez78March 25, 2013

Hey everyone - Relatively new SFG'er here.

I had a question about the Mel's Mix (I searched in the previous posts and didn't find one that covered QUITE what I need to know - so I apologize ahead of time if this has been asked already).

I have the SFG book and I have attended a short class on SFG put on by my local nursery.

I know Mel's Mix is 1/3 compost blend, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 peat moss.

I have one SFG bed already that I filled with LadyBug Brand SFG Blend (which is approved by Mel to use). This mix is 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 coir fiber. (They claim the coir fiber is better for the Houston area because of the humidity).

However, this was VERY pricey (20$ a bag and I used 4 bags). I'm making another bed, and am looking to fill this with a more economical method.

I went to the nursery I attended the class at and the woman there talked me into getting their organic compost blend, which she said was great for SFGing. I bought a few bags of that, and of the vermiculite . I know I still need to get the coir fiber or peat moss. (I can't seem to find the coir fiber anywhere in the south houston area - anyone know where I can get this?)

When I got the bags of compost blend home, I noticed it has washed sand and green sand in it (as well as the different compost types).

So I have a few questions..

1.) Is the sand going to be an issue? (I do plan on mixing the vermiculite in there still, and will be adding the 3rd ingredient whenever I find it)
2.) Where oh where in the H-town area can you get coir fiber?
3.) I know there is some debate on the peat moss, but for those of you in the gulf coast area, how does peat moss work for you? Am I going to be ok if I use it? Would I need to adjust my watering any?

If you've read this far, thanks for the patience. :) I apologize for the length - I just wanted to make sure I gave as much info as possible. And I'm sorry if these are kind of no-brainer questions... I'm trying to learn as much as I can. :)

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I don't think the sand will be an issue. If it's already mixed in with the compost blend, it's there to help with drainage, and there is probably very little. I use peat, but I live in a dry climate ( Southern California.) Maybe soil will be cheaper if you buy bulk rather than bagged. Harris County Master Gardeners may be able to refer to so some resources. Good luck with your garden!

Here is a link that might be useful: My raised bed garden

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:48PM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

Talk to Living Earth for compost; I am a little out of their range, but have heard them spoken of highly by many.

With sand present in your existing compost, go short on adding vermiculite. There is a partial substitution effect with the sand facilitating percolation.

No clue on where to get coir in these parts; my "substitute" has been leaf litter / leaf mold mixed with some peat along with whatever is in the mushroom compost that is my primary bed fill material. Since I am growing over sand, I have not had issues with needing better drainage. I am sure growing over black gumbo would be a completely different experience in a raised bed setting.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Hi there!
I literally JUST bought my SFG book today and am like as green as they come when it comes to planting ANYTHING. I'd love to hear more info, get more education on SFG locally in the Houston area. I live in southeast Houston, bordering Pasadena. How's your SFG going? I'm excited but also very nervous!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 5:10PM
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