Welcome to my Universe!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I searched every home improvement and hardware store for a 20 mile radius, and no one had any vermiculite. My understanding is, vermiculite (which is added to Mel's Mix for the purpose of holding water in the soil), is made from a mined mineral, and so is not "sustainable". Therefore, lots of places don't carry it. (Even though I've read conflicting arguments on the whole sustainability issue). Home Depot in Rocky Mount had Perlite, but from what I've read it's a poor substitute, so I didn't get any.

Two trips to Lowe's (about 700 lbs each in the back of my Jeep Cherokee), and I had my soil ingredients. What I ended up with for each bed was: 2 large bales of sphagnum peat (about 8 cu ft each when not compacted), 2 cu ft of generic "organic compost", 2 cu feet of cow manure compost, 1 cu ft of mushroom compost, 2 cu ft of "soil conditioner", which looked a bit like pine bark compost, and 4 cu ft of a potting mix for vegetables. I picked this potting mix because it happened to contain some vermiculite. This gave me about 27 cu ft for each 4x8 bed. The beds are 10 inches deep, and the mix filled them to about 2 inches from the top.

I made the first trip to Lowe's alone...loading the heavy bags onto the rolling cart thing, dragging it to the checkout, loading them into the Jeep, then unloading them at home. For the second trip, I dragged my man-labor with me...

I poured the bags straight into the bed, mixing them the best I could as I went along. Every once and a while I would stop and spray the water hose on the whole thing. When we were done, we had a couple of good-looking raised beds.

Tomorrow, the grids...
(Mel Bartholomew says that if you don't have grids, it's not Square Foot Gardening!)

No comments: