First, I promised a picture of the soil screen that I put together. Here’s a shot … ignore “Mr Slow Man” there on the side.
I forgot to mention in my post about how to make a soil screen that I also put handles on the top end of the screen. It helps shake the whole thing violently.
You can see here how it all fits nicely on the wheelbarrow.
Anyhow, on to the mix.
My “standard” portion for this mix was a four gallon square bucket (go figure) but you could really use whatever you have handy.
Your first ingredient is peat moss. Take three buckets of peat moss and screen them one at a time. The screening is actually pretty important, so don’t skip that step.
Next, take some granulated lime and mix it in. How much may or may not matter, I dunno. I just put in what looked like a reasonable amount (a couple cups maybe) and mixed it all with a shovel.
Then add two buckets of perlite. Mix it all up with your shovel. Don’t use vermiculite, because it will actually change, deform, and crush during the blocking process.
It will then look something like this:
Now, mix in some fertilizer. I used about the same amount of fertilizer as I did the lime, maybe a bit more. I used an organic fertilizer that was chemical free.
The last step is to take three parts of compost, screen it, and mix it in. Again, screening here is critical. This is a picture of what was left in the screen after one bucket of compost … look at all that debris!
See, if you leave the debris in, your blocks won’t pack well, and will fall apart. After screening the compost, it should look something like this.
I used three different types of commercial compost for this. Mel of Square Foot Gardening fame recommends mixing commercial composts to get a balanced nutrient profile, and I think it makes sense.
So that’s what I did! After a final mix, here’s the finished product.
This weekend we’ll be making the blocks and getting them planted. More pictures next week!
BTW, here’s the recipe in a nutshell:
- 3 parts screened peat moss
- 1 cup lime
- 2 parts perlite
- 2 cups organic fertilizer
- 3 parts screened compost
Have a great weekend folks!