Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Soil Mix

Home Depot is having their "Spring Black Friday" sale all week.  That doesn't necessarily mean that what I wanted was on sale, but it does mean that I keep hearing ads and it really motivated me to go purchase the soil mix for my raised beds.

My math is a little sketchy, but the beds are 4 feet by 4 feet.  The boxes are 12 inches tall, but after positioning and an attempt at leveling, they are more like 6-10 inches deep.  Under the assumption that both beds were 6 inches deep, we would need 4' x 4' x 0.5' times two.  So 16 cubic feet of fill.

The Square Foot Gardening manual says to use 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost. For my beds, that would mean 5.3 cubic feet each. Right? Right.

Well, that's not quite what we bought.  There was some discussion and little debate about what we really needed to fill the beds.  Some of it was regarding the math, and some what about how deep the beds would be, etc. Our final tally included:

- 4 - 2 cubic foot bags of compost from one manufacturer
- 2 - 1 cubic foot bags of compost from another manufacturer (Cedar Grove, the place that processes Seattle's yard waste)
- 2 - 2 cubic foot bags of vermiculite
- 3 - 3 cubic foot bags of peat moss

How our math came out to mean that 10 cubic feet of compost, 4 cubic feet of vermiculite, and 9 cubic feet of peat moss was the right amount? I have no idea. But that's what we came home with.

It was 70 degrees out in Seattle yesterday, so I declared it yard work day. We managed to get both beds in their final locations and mostly level.  Then I pulled out the tarp and we got to mixing bags of soil.  So far, into each bed went 1 bag of 2 cu. ft. compost, 1 bag of 1 cu.ft. compost, 1 bag of peat moss, and 1/2 a bag of vermiculite.  Before adding water, that about filled one bed and was a little low on the other. 

Then we brought out the hoses.  Which, of course, meant finding hoses, checking to make sure they worked, and rinsing out all of the soap (??!?!) that was in one of them, before we could actually spray the soil mix.  I gave them both a good spray, mixed them up a bit, gave a bit more spray, and then let them sit over night.  It's supposed to rain the next few days, so on Thursday when it's sunny again I can top off both beds and start planting!

Next up on my list are a planting plan, creating a grid for square foot gardening, and researching mosquito repelling plants and how to attract animals and bugs that eat mosquitoes. Last nights mosquitoes were at LEAST the size of a nickel!

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