Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Assembling the Mel's Mix -- with pictures

This afternoon I assembled the Mel's Mix for my square foot garden. Mel's Mix consists of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 compost (at least five different types.)

It was a lot of work.

Getting the Mel's Mix supplies together

The square foot garden book suggests laying out a large tarp and dumping all the ingredients on it. Then lifting the corners to mix. So that's what I did.

Peat moss, various types of compost, and coarse vermiculite

Not pictured: A couple of hours of hard labor.

Everything mixed together like magic

Looks nice and easy, doesn't it? Holy cow it was exhausting.

Mel's mix in the greenhouse.

You might be noticing my greenhouse. Yep. I bought a greenhouse kit at Costco and assembled it yesterday. There were a lot of parts and the instructions involved non-consecutive pictures with vague and/or confusing labels. At one point instead of using the part number, the instructions started referring to a part's length in centimeters.

Anyway. The end result looks nice.

Closeup of the wet Mel's mix

Now all I have to do is figure out how to lay down a grid and plant stuff. Oh yeah. All that work and I still haven't planted anything yet.

Jer just came home and I said, "I'm tired." He laughed at me and said, "You look tired."

There you have it. Independent confirmation of my tiredness.


Karen W. said...

I got bit by the gardening bug a couple years ago. I planted pretty flowers in the communal planter boxes in front of our apartment building (which had grown nothing but weeds and empty beer bottles since the day we moved in). The flowers were beautiful! Right up until the local deer population ate them all. Repeatedly. That was a little demoralizing.

I also went crazy with tomato plants and herbs (from seed!) on our tiny balcony out back. It went really well, and we got a lot of use out of them, but in the end I was completely exhausted by the daily watering and tending required to keep them all alive and happy. By the end of the summer, I was so ready to be done, and now two more summers have passed without me so much as having picked up a trowel. After that one summer, I just can't stomach it, at least not until we have more space (the tomato plants completely took over the balcony) and possibly an automatic sprinkler system (I got so tired of watering. So. Tired.)

Maybe someday--if we ever get to live in an actual house instead of an apartment--I'll try again. Until then, I'll just wish you luck with your crop! I definitely did have fun with it (for awhile), and it has tremendous benefits! :)

Note: if the cats like catnip, a catnip plant can provide hours and hours of cheap entertainment. They're pretty hardy, too. It's one of the only ones I've managed to keep alive for 2 years, even when I got a little distracted with the watering schedule... Got it in a little plastic container from the local independent pet store, transferred it to a large pot...definitely worth the price. We just break off a few sprigs and drop them on the living room floor anytime we feel like the cat needs a good fix (or we need the entertainment value...). :)

Folly Blaine said...

Karen, I totally understand about not wanting to do it again. I am worried that my enthusiasm for gardening will fade at any moment. By now you've probably noticed I have a pattern of going through...phases...and when I'm done it's on to the next thing! (That old thing is dead to me.)

So I am trying to automate stuff as much as possible. I shouldn't have to touch the Mel's Mix again. I'm testing out various inexpensive self-watering systems, like Aqua Globes and plant watering spikes. And the greenhouse has a bird net built-in--which I think should also help foil the local cats and squirrels. Luckily we don't have deer to worry about.

I expect that when things start to die I'll get frustrated, or I'll get sick of eating what I grow--another beet, damn! But maybe if I stagger plantings and plant season appropriate things I like to eat then I can trick myself into having something to look forward to.

(I like beets, but I'm not sure I know enough fun ways to prepare them.)

Anyway. It's something new. :)