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Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

Posted by shpigford 7 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 9:29

Does anyone skip vermiculite & peat moss and ONLY use compost in their square foot garden?

I've got a LOT of good compost available that is pretty varied as far as materials go.

I'm in central Alabama and we get a decent amount of rain.

The cost of vermiculite and peat moss around here for the scale I need (~70 cubic feet of EACH) is just crazy expensive, while the compost is cheap/free.

Also, this is for raised beds (8" deep).

This post was edited by shpigford on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 9:34


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

John koler from growing your green uses only compost in some of his foot deep beds and seems to do well


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

What is your underlying soil? I am over at least a foot of sand, so I get away with almost pure compost, but if you are on a clay soil, i would try to work in some vermiculite, even if not the full amount


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

@ray_scheel: It's clay and rocks.

Vermiculite is just painfully expensive (around $11 per cubic foot) and even if I went light with it, I'd end up spending over $500 for our size garden.


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

My dad, in Montana, just uses compost... no vermiculite or peat and his garden does well. He waters about every 3rd day when it is hot/dry.

In my raised beds I have the first 6 inches of 1/2 compost, 1/2 peat and 1/2 vermiculite. I will fill the rest with compost as my compost piles produce it.


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

Vermiculite and peat add no nutrient value to the soil. fwiw - I never added any to my beds.


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

I grew zucchini, chives, bell peppers, basil fine last year with manure and soil.


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

I originally did the recommended mix and regret the $$ I spent. I now go with compost added every year along with some garden soil, and wish I'd gone with a compost/soil mix from the get-go.


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RE: Skip the vermiculite and peat moss?

I think the vermiculite is really to help retain moisture, especially in raised beds ( more exposure to wind drying ) which are on hard bases ( no water available to draw up ).

I'd try it out for a season and see how you go - if you're heaping beds on top of existing soil I reckon the above advise will see you right. I've never had a problem with just compost.

Best of luck.

D


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