Good place for compost?

bobn4burtonMarch 27, 2007

Hi all. Just found the 'Utah' gardening to know its here! I live in Farmington. I just bought my house recently and am prepping some raised garden beds.

I grew up in Idaho on a potato I have a built in desire to grow things.

Anyways...growing up in Rexburg, I've learned that the soil in Utah sucks. Sorry to any clay-lovers out there...but give me a nice sandy soil anyday of the week.

So among the other benefits of a raised garden bed, I'm bringing in material to fill the beds with and totally skipping the hard clay crap in my backyard.

So...I just posted a thread in the soil forum asking for advice on what to fill the veggie garden beds with. Does anyone here have any advice?

I would really appreciate any advice on what types of ammendments to add (compost, peat, perlite, sand, top-soil, etc) and also some good places to get the stuff!

Thanks in advance for any help!

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I used a 50/50 mix of soil and Nutrimulch (composted turkey manure) in my raised beds. Worked great the first year and now after 3 it is even better. And it works up really early. My beds are all 3 X 8 redwood.

I get the Nutrimulch bulk from Glover's. $37 for a yard. I carry 1 full yard in the bed of a Nissen.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 3:02PM
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Hi, We go to the city where you take your yard waste to dump it. They shread everyones yard stuff and compost it then sell it back to you for like $15 a yard. It seems to be pretty good stuff all my neighbors use it as well. I live in Utah County so I don't know where in Farmington to go but I bet there is the samething there somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 4:11PM
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I think Farmington uses the shredded yard waste in the parks and around trees on city owned property like right of ways, but I seem to recall that Bountiful and/or Layton will make shredded yard waste available at a reasonable rate if you have a way to haul it. I'll see if I can find a link to one of the sites that has one of the programs. I think it was Layton that gives you a choice of anything from chipped wood to composted to sifted compost. There's a garden center in Bountiful on Rt 89 (going south take the exit on the left side of the interstate and it's just a couple of blocks) and one in Layton on Gentile Street. One of them is J&J and the other is J&L. The names are too similar, so I always mix them up. But I think they both sell compost and other amendments in bulk.

In general, I'd be wary of "topsoil" that you buy, unless you can look at it closely first. Technically, topsoil is just the soil in the top 4 inches, so you'd be getting the same stuff you already dislike. I bought some topsoil for a flower bed, and it was basically a mixture of clay, pea gravel and shredded trees.

At the risk of giving myself more competition for the grounds, there's a Starbucks in Layton near the Wal Mart, and one in Centerville near the Target. There's also one in Bountiful, but last time I went there, they told me that they save all of theirs for one person and wouldn't give me any. You don't need to buy anything to get the grounds. Be prepared to get odd looks from neighbors if you spread them on the lawn. At least in my neighborhood, I'm the only one who even mulch mows or composts. So tehy really think I'm off the wall when they see me tossing coffee grounds on the lawn.

Don't layer the coffee grounds too thickly, though, because when they dry out, they'll repel water if they're too thick.

I wouldn't use peat, because it repels water once it dries out.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Here is a link to the brochure with pricing, etc.

Here is their home page (includes a link to a map).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:53PM
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Thanks for all the informative posts so far!

So does anyone have an opinion on an ideal garden medium mix if starting from scratch?

I've been kicking around the following idea:

1/3 compost
1/6 sand
1/6 peat moss
1/6 perlite
1/6 something else (possibly vermiculite or nutra-mulch or soil pep or even some good top soil if I can find some)

However...I wasn't aware that peat repelled water when it maybe I should skip the peat?

Any comments on my proposed mix...? What would be your ideal mix?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:37AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

I think you've gotten some good advice, but I'll just add a few thoughts. Down here in Utah County, the Timpanogos Special Services District sells composted green waste mixed with composted sewage. They say it's safe to apply anywhere, but some of us are a little grossed out about it, so I usually buy my compost at Tucker Lawn Care in Lindon. You may have a lawn/tree care company nearby up your way that makes compost out of tree and lawn clippings that they bring back from customer jobs. It's good stuff! I think the stuff I got cost $15 a yard.

Also, when I built my house six years ago, all the landscapers were selling "sandy loam" topsoil, and it worked out all right for my lawn. In my flower and veggie beds, my landscaper gave me a "garden mix" which was mostly just the sandy loam with some manure in it. It also worked out fairly well, but I've added a lot of compost on top of it over the years. Most "topsoil" sold in Utah isn't topsoil at all -- it's deep dirt from basement excavations, with the rocks screened out. But when they mix it with sand and create a "sandy loam" it's not bad. I don't think mine contained much clay, because it sure was sandy, but some clay would be OK. Clay has good minerals in it, but it just has awful draining capacity. If you mix a lot of sand in, it can be workable. Though I've heard that if you get the ratio wrong, you basically create your own concrete!

Also, I don't think peat is a bad idea. Just don't overdo it. I have liked beds that I've created in the past with a bale or two of peat mixed in. Just don't make it the dominant element in the bed or it will become repellent when dry.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:39AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Hey, I was posting while you were and didn't see your reply. You probably have a good mix, although I don't really like perlite in the garden. It's nice in pots but doesn't look good in a bed. I think your ratio of peat is low enough that it wouldn't become repellent.

I don't know if you've heard of Utelite, but the people who wrote the Temple Square Gardening book raved about it. I'll put a link below. I haven't tried it, but it's supposed to be a great soil conditioner that you might substitute for your perlite or the "something else" on your list.

Here is a link that might be useful: Utelite soil amendment

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:46AM
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IÂve personally always been leery of municipal compost for the vegetable garden. My hang-up is that although they compost the material and monitor the temperature of their compost I donÂt think it gets hot enough to impact certain chemicals. You are only talking 150F for a few days. Although I use it for flowers, shrubs, etc. I donÂt use it for things I eat.

Do I think Norbest does a better job wth turkey manure- who knows. But I do know they are dealing with organics and bacteria that respond to temperature whereas the municipal compost can have higher order chemicals. That is why I use Nutrimulch.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 2:01PM
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My parents always go to the Jordan land fill and get mulch there. They put it on everything, including the lawn. I have to say that everything they grow is beautiful and I know its fairly inexpensive. Its like 15-20 dollars for a truckload. bobn4burton....I grew up in Rexburg. I'm a Hibbard girl. Which side of the potato field do you hail from? Just wondering!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 12:27AM
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Hibbard huh? Well, I wasn't too far from you. I lived in Plano...just a bit further out. And yes, I grew up on a potato farm. So you probably hate the soil here as much as I do!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 9:46AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

I know this was posted a million years ago but I just wanted to share that the Cal Ranch store sells compost by the bag for $1.39 I think it covers 2 sq ft. good for mixing in your raised beds if you don't want to get a truck load.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 12:25AM
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not quite a million years, but close! I agree with the person who posted the landfill compost. it works great, I also like the last post. if you dont want alot of it 1.39 cant be beat!

Here is a link that might be useful: Utah's home loan specialist

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 1:41PM
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