Newbie question about SFG mix

organic_flutterby(5 MO)October 8, 2013

Hi, I'm new here to this forum. I am planning to start a SFG in the spring (I'm new to gardening too).

I'm trying to source my mix ingredients. I have found a place to get vermiculite for $23/3 cu ft. So that's a bit pricey.

I also found this other stuff and am wondering if it is the same thing or what and can I safely use it.

Also, how often will I need to replenish the ingredients in Mel's mix?

Here is a link that might be useful: can I use this vermiculite for my SFG

This post was edited by organic_flutterby on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 10:39

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Donnie_Mac(Ks 6A)

I contacted Sun Grow the company that packages the mica flake vermiculite last summer. They responded that it was the same that was used in commercial greenhouse operations. It is medium grade instead of coarse. I used medium grade in making my beds.

That is a very good price. I mixed 224 cubic feet and that price would have saved me a ton of money. I am thinking of making more beds so I will be going there if I do.

I have two 4 x 16 and two 4 x 12 beds. Two of them were planted in last fall and this spring and summer. They both dropped three to four inches. I added peat moss and more compost to bring back to level and then mixed it all in.

Your zone says 5 MO. If you are close to Kansas City or St. Louis, both cities have companies that sell compost in bulk. That could help you in locating your different sources of compost.

I have been very pleased with the results using Mel's Mix.

Good luck.

Donnie Mac

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 2:25PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Hi Donnie Mac, thank you for your response.

So when the level in your beds drops, am I right to think that the amount of vermiculite doesn't go down, just the peat moss and compost?

I do live just outside of St. Louis, but I have no idea what companies to contact. I have looked online for such companies but had no luck. If you know any please let me know.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Donnie_Mac(Ks 6A)


As for putting more vermiculite on the beds I don't know that answer. I have read here in the forms that people just keep putting more compost on their beds. I am tempted to put more vermiculite in the mix every couple of years.

St. Louis Composting has a couple of products. Their Premium Compost is a mixture of two different types. It might work for two of the five different types needed. It is bulk though. It depends on how much you need.

It may be hard to find 5 different types of compost. Check nurseries, garden centers, landscaping places, hardware stores and the big box stores. I ended up going to 4 different places just to get compost. It was like a scavenger hunt but I now have a better idea of what is available in the garden market.

Hope this is some help. Good luck on your quest.

Donnie Mac

Here is a link that might be useful: St. Louis Composting

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:16PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Thank you so much for the link Donnie Mac! I will definitely be making a visit there.

I happened to see a video on youtube from a certified sfg person. She said that the peat moss and vermiculite components of the mix will last for years and that only the compost has to be renewed. That's a good thing.

It's looking more and more like I will actually be able to make my beds this time! I'm so excited!

Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:53AM
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More important in my opinion would be having the right compost going.
Get yours started now, you just may be able to use it in the spring.
I think compost is the most important ingredient in SFG, without it there is no SFG.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 5:18PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Hi japus. From what I've been reading I think you are right. I would love to make my own.

Right now I have a house in town and don't know if I can get enough ingredients to make it. I am currently trying to make some with yard clippings, which I have plenty of during the growing season. I'm waiting for the leaves to fall so I can collect them. But I don't think I will be able to make very much with just grass and leaves in the fall.

My problem is that I don't have anything to mix with the grass clippings during the growing season. Got any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Try some grocery stores, ask for some discarded veggies.
Any friends that have cow's, chicken's, horse's ?
All manure is good to compost, except meat eating animals.
Check Craig's list for stuff.
If every where you go and think compost, you'll get it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:04AM
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I have been wondering about the "5 types" of compost. Does that mean 5 different types of "greens" or 5 different green and brown combinations, or 5 ingredients total? Around my house, oak leaves are very plentiful.
I have one pile of composted oak leaves and grass with some kitchen scraps mixed in.(scraps are a small % by volume).
I have one pile of composted horse manure with bedding.
I am about to create a pile of leaves and coffee grounds to compost over the winter.
So will this give me 3 types of compost? or 4, or 5?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 8:05AM
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This is the way I'm looking at this
Chicken, horse, cow,m mushroom manure, etc = 1 type
Vegetation, all greens, scraps, cuttings, etc = 1 type.
Leaves, oak, maple, fruit, etc etc = 1 type
newspaper, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, egg containers, (no Styrofoam) etc, etc. = 1 type
Fruit, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, etc etc. = 1 type
Some good quality items purchased..chicketty doo doo, bio-char, etc, careful about commercial waste material.
I've developed a mindset for compost, everything I look at I wonder if I can compost it....LOL....
If your community has leaf collection in the fall, get a load and save it...all chopped up with their fans..

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:34PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

These are growing in 100% home made compost. The other veggies are doing jest as well. That is a quarter on the tomato on the insert.

Here is a link that might be useful: John's Garden Journal

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 11:54AM
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