Compost is one-third of Mel’s Mix, but it is the most important of the three.  A good compost does a lot for your square foot garden.  It provides all the nutrients, retains mostuire, and provides good aeration.  It is also the only variable in the mix.  Vermiculite is vermiculite and peat is peat, but not all compost is compost.  Most store bought compost comes from a single source and has a certain set nutrients.  We want an orgnanic compost that comes from multiple sources and contains all the nutrients the plants need.  If you use store bought compost use different brands and sources.  Store bought compost is fine, as long as you “mix it up”.  The best compost you can use is backyard style.  Here are a few tips in creating your own “black gold”.

Size:  3′x’3′x3′ to 4′x4′x4′  Any smaller you cannot retain the heat need to break down the plant matter into a usable product.  Any larger it becomes difficult to turn or add material.

Mix:  Add as many different types of plant matter as you can.  Leaves, roots, and left over lettuce are a good start.  Grass clippings also can be used, but use no more than 20% of the total volume.

Water:  Keep it moist.  H2O is as important as what you add.

Move: The center of the pile is where the actual decomposing takes place.  Turn the pile on a regular basis to keep everything well.

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