[Market-farming] Mixing A Lot Of Stuff
russandrosie at comcast.net
Tue Sep 28 21:24:58 EDT 2004
Yes, it's clearer. But I would still apply the compost to the top. (It's
easier too =) My understanding maybe faulty, but I believe that plants
feed from the top few inches and among the no-till folk there is the
understanding that the nutrients from the top dressing of compost seep into
the soil beneath. Also the compost unmixed is rich and attracts earthworms
like crazy, which also diligently work to bring the nutrients down into the
soil beneath. You can even grow in sand with this method. I recently did
this for my front lawn. I had a gravel driveway where my new front yard is
so I put down some sand (couldn't afford top soil and had a hill of sand)
and then top-dressed it with compost and seeded grass seed. I now have
vibrant growth. I learned about using sand and compost for gardening from
a book by John Jeavons. If pure sand works, I'm sure your garden soil
would do great, as well, with this method in your tire garden.
But, perhaps you are having superior results with mixing to 18 inches. I
can't speak to that method as I haven't experimented with it.
Hope you find what you're looking for!
in reply to:
Thanks, Rosie, for having me clarify. I'm creating what's essentially a
raised bed "garden" using tires. Each "bed" will be a stack of two tires
totalling about 18 inches high. These stacks need to be filled with some
really nice dirt in order (of course!!) for the plants to grow. So what
I've come up with is a mixture which is half compost and half dirt that
seems to make the veggies happy. The problem is this: in the short term,
I'm setting up 9 rows with 11 stacks in each row. Each stack has a volume
of about 6 cubic feet. 99 stacks times 6 cubic feet is 594 cubic feet, or
22 cubic yards. So I need 11 cy of dirt and 11 cy of compost. In the
longer term, I'm wanting to expand this area to about 2 acres.
But ignoring the actual numbers, it's very apparent that I'm dealing with a
LOT of dirt and a LOT of compost. I can't just use the dirt to fill in the
tires becuase it doesn't have all that's necessary to make plants happy. I
don't necessarily just want to use compost becuase that seems to be
overdoing it in the other extreme. So I've decided on a happy medium and
want to mix the two together and then fill the tire stacks. So the trick
is to figure out a way to mix this stuff very efficiently and also very
effectively. Doing it by hand is fine (good exercise, etc), but it's VERY
VERY time consuming. I'd also like to mix more than 2-3 cubic feet at a
time, but I'm not strong enough to do that and besides my wheelbarrow is
only about 4 cf in volume. The cement mixer I can rent is 9 cf and will
run me $75 a day.
Is this any more clear???
Thanks in advance,
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