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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Location: Alaska
I started mixing my "garden compost" with "store bought" potting soil last year.
about a 50/50 mix. I figured I double the volume & my plants get used to
growing in my garden soil. That way I don't have to buy all the components
to make a good potting soil but stretch the quantity.
The "done" compost bin has enough thawed, so I filled 3 - 5 gallon buckets &
put it in the GH to warm it up & mix a batch as needed.
Having real good luck with using it as seed starter too. Plants doing well in it.

Gotta remember to take in some bags of it inside in the fall & store
where it don't freeze. Then I'll have some ready to go for tomatoes in Feb.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:19 am 
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I have thought about using MG garden soil along with compost instead of the vermiculite and peat that Mel's mix calls for. I will admit that the 1/3 verm, peat, and compost works VERY well, but the verm is a bit pricey.

Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA Zone 7
halfway wrote:
I have thought about using MG garden soil along with compost instead of the vermiculite and peat that Mel's mix calls for. I will admit that the 1/3 verm, peat, and compost works VERY well, but the verm is a bit pricey.

Any thoughts?


Have you checked out ebay. Lots of worm farmers sell their VC on-line and you may find some good deals.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Location: Alaska
I am always searching for ways to save. Home made compost is a big savings
in many ways for me. Less garbage. Don't need a Fitness membership.
But mostly the good feeling of doing it yourself.
Oh yea, good plant food too,

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:53 am 
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WistarWorms wrote:
halfway wrote:
I have thought about using MG garden soil along with compost instead of the vermiculite and peat that Mel's mix calls for. I will admit that the 1/3 verm, peat, and compost works VERY well, but the verm is a bit pricey.

Any thoughts?


Have you checked out ebay. Lots of worm farmers sell their VC on-line and you may find some good deals.


Don't need vermicompost, need vermiculite and peat alternative that is cheap and effective. Maybe I am misunderstanding "VC" to mean vermicompost?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Location: Alaska
I use less vermiculite & peat & more compost.
Allot depends on where the soil is, how much water it gets & the plants.
Horse manure compost hold moisture pretty good so I mix some of it in instead of peat.
But it can become hydroscopic if it gets dried out, so I soak it good , let it set a few days, before planting.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:41 am 
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There is far too much emphasis being placed on the use of compost as a planting medium.
While compost can add greatly to the richness of soil giving it such heady placement among soils is definitely bad reasoning.
Compost must be considered an amendment to soil, not something to treat as what to plant in. Therefore, as most of whose professions speak of what is best for plant mediums, compost can be given to soils in a ratio of 1 to 5......i.e. 20% of any planting medium can be compost.....but raising the bar to more than 20% is asking for trouble.

There is compost, and then there is compost. Some good, some bad. We tend to believe what we have created is going to be the ultimate enrichment for plants and therefore fertilizer can be kept out of the equation.
That can lead to big disappointment when our plants don't do as well as we think they should.

Compost is often thought of as having all what fertilizers have. Compost is not fertilizer.
While it is agreed compost, because of the way it is created, has a degree of nitrogen in its makeup, compost is well known to be deficient in most elements that plants need.
Where is the trace elements that plants depend on, where is the higher degree of phosphurus for good plant roots; where is the potash that gives plants more healthy structures.
The makers of compost.....us....have no idea of what goodness is in it.....we trust that with all the hoopla our compost is good for the soil.....and it may be...but should we trust it to be the everything we have come to believe.

Enough bellyaching.....just a few thoughts on all the blarney on this subject.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:10 am 
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Location: Alaska
I agree, compost is not fertilizer. NPK varies allot in different composts just as different plants need various amounts of NPK to reach their genetic potential.
Some compost may be so nitrogen deficient that it robs nitrogen from the soil it's mixed with.
But it sure does loosen up soils & allow the roots to grow well & has several elements in it that plain old NPK fertilizers don't. Also compost feeds the plants over a long period of time.

Watch your plants, they'll tell you what they need. When in doubt, get the soil tested.

If you have rich garden soil (good nature made top soil a foot deep) you don't need allot of compost added.
But clays & sandy soils will benefit greatly from compost mixed in.
Plants use up nutrients & it need replaced regularly, compost adds many of the needed elements.
A good balance of nutrients & moisture in the soil, the plants do well (several other factors are involved also).

"Too much emphasis for the use of compost", well for some maybe. Most soils can benefit from compost. Most gardeners can too. IMO
Mother nature sure has been doing well composting, but she never grew romaine lettuce, potatoes & zucchini in Alaska (or most of the US). I just try to give her a helping hand.
I guess I could throw all my plant waste into a land fill but I enjoy composting & using it for my garden. My plants seem to like it.
I had no intention of causing a "belly ache".

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:21 am 
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Location: Zone 5
My guess this is more of an 'opinion' piece, rather than a 'bellyache'. There is some truth in what Jeanne says, but there's an awful lot of gardeners out there who deliberately plant directly in their compost pile... with fantastic results.

I agree with you, Dave. While it's true that not all composts are as nutrient dense as others, in my experience, very little, if any at all, additional fertilizers are needed if the compost is made of a variety of organics. Maybe it's just fluke, but I use nothing but compost, mulches (which also compost) and vermicompost and the plants seem to love it.

I sometimes wonder if it has more to do with how accessible the nutrients are to the plants rather than the quantity of the nutrients in the soil. Compost is the amenity that allows the plants to utilize the nutrients they need. This works the same way with humans. You can take all the vitamins you want, but if your body can't absorb them, you're flushing the cost of the vitamins down the toilet.

Jeanne, perhaps you can explain in more detail why you feel the way you do. Is this personal experience? Your plants don't produce well without added fertilizers? Or is this based on scientific studies that back your opinion?

And what kind of fertilizers do you add to make up for the perceived shortfall in compost? Are they organic? Are they a general fertilizer? Are they separate mineral amendments (as an example) that you add as you believe are necessary?

This info could be useful for all. Personally, I want to be completely organic with my edibles and as close to organic as possible in the rest of my landscape. Within that criteria, the better my garden produces and looks, the happier I am as the gardener. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:46 pm 
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Location: PNW
What's most important is the soil life, fungi, etc. Just like the guts of any mammal, if the gut flora is killed off, the body doesn't do very well. I see a big difference in the growth of plants on this property where the ground was torn up a lot for the house construction in some areas and areas outside that are all native soil that has built up for years and hasn't been disturbed as much. I've never had tree trunks thicken up so fast as they have in the native soil. So I think compost provides some of that and aids the plant growth in that manner, along with providing some nutrients too. Our 100' conifers didn't get that big from anyone adding fertilizers. Just the buildup of debris over the years provide what they need. Observe mother nature since she knows best. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:37 am 
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There is compost, and then there is compost. Some good, some bad. We tend to believe what we have created is going to be the ultimate enrichment for plants and therefore fertilizer can be kept out of the equation. That can lead to big disappointment when our plants don't do as well as we think they should.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Location: Alaska
HudSOnMArK wrote:
There is compost, and then there is compost. Some good, some bad. We tend to believe what we have created is going to be the ultimate enrichment for plants and therefore fertilizer can be kept out of the equation. That can lead to big disappointment when our plants don't do as well as we think they should.


+1
NPK is important, along with needed trace elements.

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