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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
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Location: Alaska
I'm finally ready to put in some soil boxes in the garden.
:?: How long should the compost be in the boxes before planting? :?:

Will be using some 10" & some 8" deep boxes.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:09 pm 
If your compost is completely "finished cooking" - as in it's nice & crumbly with a nice earthy scent & no discernible pieces of the original components in evidence - you can plant just as soon as you like. No waiting necessary.

It's only somewhat unfinished compost &/or compost that's been composted right on the garden where you really shouldn't plant until you're sure it's "finished".


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:55 am 
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Location: Alaska
Hi Breezy
It all seems to be "done", brown/black with an earthy smell.

Filled 32 tires that I resurrected with it & thought they may work for the "No Till" system.
Over 2 sq feet of soil showing, about 5 to 6 inches high & wider at the bottom.
Should work for the SFG garden.
:?: What do the SFG Guru's think? :?:
Image

Made some 12 foot long boxes 12" wide. 2 out of 2 X 10s & 2 of 2 X8s.
8" ones for beans & the like & 10" deep ones for broccoli, zucchini - etc with larger/deeper roots.
The 10" ones take about 1/3 yard of compost, sure glad I mad lots cause I'm using it fast. 2-1/2 yards so far & all the boxes aren't full. Plan to make 2 or 3 more boxes, maybe 18" wide this time.
Luv2 would be happy knowing I found some earth worms while leveling off the garden for the boxes. (was going to take them on a fishing trip but figured I may get more use having them in the garden :) LOL) I was surprised, 1st for me in the garden, must be "If you build it , they will come" philosophy. So I buried it in the raised beds with compost. :)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:50 am 
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Bogy the compost and beds looks great. I would think the pile of HM you got last year would be ready also. Many people have used tires for potato towers and like the results. The worms surprise me though, I would think you would still have a frost line under the soil. With the HM compost watch how fast the worm population builds. I wonder if there would be any value to painting the southern side of the boxes flat black for heat absorption?

John

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:11 pm 
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Location: Alaska
Hi John
Thanks
The worms in the garden soil surprised me also. We still have frost in the ground, so where did it come from. Tough critters to handle Alaska winters. Anti freeze in their blood? A big one for AK in my experience. (No giant PA night crawlers here, that I know of)
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I thought about painting them black but someone said it would trap in the moisture from the inside & possibly cause the wood to rot faster. Maybe I'll mix some black latex 50/50 with water & darken them but not totally sealed. Thinking about some plastic covers also, 1/2 moon - wire hoop till seeds sprout & frost risk minimum.

Is 12" wide enough for most plants, seems like it may be narrow for potatoes, zucchini & the like. I guess 18 wide is no much more wood, just more compost (I got that covered now) & space is not an issue (yet).
Maybe some 12" deep ones for potatoes, if I get a chance this year. can alway just lift the boxes up & add compost if I need more soil depth.

Looks like another nice sunny day. May get over anxious & plant something in the garden, maybe onion sets & spinach seed. Frost risk lower every day with 16 + hours of daylight & growing (+ 5.5 min/day) still. Sun angle will break the 45 degree mark on May 4th.
Yuns are at 65 deg angle & 14 hours of daylight gaining 2.25 min/day,
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/a ... html?n=198 http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=198

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Location: PNW
Lookin' good! You might try a 4' wide bed for comparison. I'm wondering if the 1' wide beds will dry out too fast. I've never done one under 3', so I don't know, just a thought.

So you associate me with worms, eh? :| :lol: I'm glad some found their way to you. You'll soon have enough for the garden and fishing and they'll add more fertility to your soil, as well as tilling it, so to speak.

I'm so far behind in everything in my garden this year. Raising a teen took a lot out of me this year, but the sun is shining today and I'm going to get out my flamer and go after some of the jillions of weed seedlings that grow so well here.

Your follow up post just appeared. That's a healthy looking worm. They're tough critters.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:46 pm 
A one-foot width will only work for larger plants (like squash, etc.) if you treat it as you would a conventional single row, as in you'll need to leave a bit more space between plants down the line as you would if you were doing single-row in-ground gardening.


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:52 am 
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Location: Alaska
I thought about what John said for extra heat so I painted the next 4 boxes black.
I thought the 1 ft wide ones looked narrow so I made made 3 @ 18" wide & 1 @ 24" wide.
Not hard to widen if I run into problems.
Looks like terrace gardening.
The rest of the garden I'll use the old way. Dig a trough, fill with compost. I think similar to how Breezy describes that she uses. I would rotor till first then made the compost mounds. Now that I think about it, no need to till, just make a mound with compost. (having allot of compost is nice)
Hope to be planting soon. Will make some covers for some of the boxes.

12 feet long, front 2 are 2 X 8 The rest are 2 X 10. Lots of compost.
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 8:32 am 
Yup - no need to dig any troughs. I might consider it if I were growing really long types of root vegetables like long carrot varieties or parsnips, but since I prefer the "baby" & round carrots & prefer to buy my parsnips, no digging is necessary. Just mound up your soil to suit whatever you're planting.

The only time I actually "dig" into the original soil here is when I plant my tomatoes, because I find that adding in some of our nasty red clay gives the mater plants a bit more solidity. Even when staked &/or caged, our wicked summer storms can be a challenge.


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 9:56 am 
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Posts: 221
Location: Zone 5
That's all looking really good. With that compost of yours, you'll be reaping some pretty good produce I suspect. The narrow boxes may need watching for water as was mentioned.

Don't know if this is any kind of problem or not, it just crossed my mind now, but is there a possibility of toxic chemicals from the tires leaking into the soil and plants? I've seen tires used for landscaping but never for edibles.

Sure enjoy your pictures and the running commentary of how spring is arriving in Alaska. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 2:49 pm 
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Location: Alaska
FYI
Now that I have some experience, still very little but some, I would have liked to have had the compost in last fall. At least the first batch anyway with the boxes almost full to let them settle down, compact, tighten up, firm up or what ever the term is. Planting in the freshly added compost, the soil is very loose & water retention & soil firmness is a little bit of an issue. At least I should have compacted it some before planting. IMHO

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 am
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Location: Ontario
bogydave wrote:
FYI
Now that I have some experience, still very little but some, I would have liked to have had the compost in last fall. At least the first batch anyway with the boxes almost full to let them settle down, compact, tighten up, firm up or what ever the term is. Planting in the freshly added compost, the soil is very loose & water retention & soil firmness is a little bit of an issue. At least I should have compacted it some before planting. IMHO

If I may be so bold? You're aware that planting into straight compost can create problems?
The spaces in compost do not hold moisture as soils do, so the plants can look as if there is a drought going on! You should always add at least 40% soil to a planting medium, just to get the correct moisture retention.
Just my 2 cents worth.


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