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instant puddling of water

Posted by nurse_joanna PA (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 31, 09 at 21:46

My first foray into the SFG method. I am a city-dweller, so I have some nice raised beds on my concrete patio.

Just put in 6" of Mel's Mix (on top of 6" of the garden soil I used last year - which includes rocks for drainage). Planted only 3 squares (it was getting dark) and watered the whole thing.

Water *immediately* pooled on top of the soil! It didn't drain right away either. Took a couple of minutes, at least. Did I do something wrong with the mix? Or is this normal for the first watering? Thanks!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: instant puddling of water

I don't think you did anything wrong. It's just dry, and will do better once watered really well. Mine did the same thing last year.

EG


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RE: instant puddling of water

My guess is that when you first filled the box, you didn't spray it down as you put the soil in. That Mels mix holds a tremendous amount of water, and by not spraying it down in chunks, you can get an idea of how much water will be in the soil...I think you will be just fine...


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RE: instant puddling of water

Peat moss takes forever to hydrate, vermiculte less so. Over time it is very quick but that's probably why the pooling, as was said. Oh, and don't compact it. That should help too.

Good luck! Report back if that doesn't work.


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RE: instant puddling of water

I always use buckets of HOT water to rehydrate peat moss before mixing it in with the other stuff. It just sits and floats forever with cold water, but hot water works instantly. Of course, that tip is too late for you now, but next time....

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden


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RE: instant puddling of water

Thanks! I dampened the peat moss a bit before mixing (it wasn't hot water, and it certainly wasn't buckets of it). It was just so strange to see water immediately pooling instead of absorbing into the soil.

I really wanted to get started with the garden and couldn't wait for my book to arrive from amazon (turns out it was stolen from my front door!), so I figured I might have missed some tips.

It's supposed to rain today and tomorrow, so I should be set. Fingers crossed!


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RE: instant puddling of water

The mix is just dry and a bit hydrophobic. I bet you can remedy that with a good watering with a soaker hose or like someone said hot water. I know when my mom buys bails of peat moss she pokes some holes in it and lets it set outside for a week or two. You see that a lot with potting mix; which is why you wet it before use.


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RE: instant puddling of water

rain might not do the trick I mixed up a batch of mels mix without the vermiculite and even though we have had a inch of rain an I poured gallon's of cold water on to it there are still dry spots under the top layer which is moist. I think I'll try some hot water and see if that works for me.


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RE: instant puddling of water

When I am filling the beds, I put a 2 inch layer of Mel's mix and water the entire bed. Then I add another 2 inches of mix and water again followed by raking to make sure the water is absorbed and there are no dry spots. I continue this pattern until the bed is filled and moist. I haven't used hot water before, but I may give that a try next time.


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RE: instant puddling of water

It's worth remembering that an inch of rain on a 4x4 bed is equivalent to 9 or 10 gallons.

As daves_girl mentions, Mel's mix can be mixed almost 1:1 so while an inch of rain will help, it's not going leave the soil feeling like a damp sponge.


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RE: instant puddling of water

I actually had the same problem. Somehow I missed having to really water the mix as it was added to the box. I wet it down with the hose but didn't really water it.

thankfully we've been getting dumped on by rain so I imagine my beds have caught up on their water needs by now but I'm going to make sure they are fully hydrated before planting (which at this late date and a freeze coming next week might be later rather than sooner).


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RE: instant puddling of water

I didn't water any of my beds when filling them. I used all dry ingredients and let the rain water them. It worked well for me. Next time I work with peat moss I'll be sure to water it first.


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RE: instant puddling of water

Mine didn't puddle when I watered it. I did what someelse mentioned, I put in about 2 inches and watered it down.

I did not however, rake the soilless soil to see if there were any dry spots.

We are getting rain again today, so I'll probably water the whole box again tonight. I plan to plant my lettuce and spinach seeds.

It is supposed to freeze again this week, So I'll try to put out the plastic to help hold in some heat.


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RE: instant puddling of water

choxie..I think you will be okay if you cover your garden with plastic. Here in SLC, Utah, it was 45 degrees out the other day, and was mostly overcast. I went out and looked at the thermometer under the cover and it was 77. That was with hardly any sun at all. So, it might be a little extra work, but, I think its well worth it. We have been eating since about March 1st...all salad greens that is..


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