Have you ever wondered why nothing seems to grow well in your garden? OR AT ALL?! Well it could be as simple as adding or taking something away from your soil. Something you find out very quickly, soil matters. You also learn that all soil isn't created equal. Different balances can have different effects. One may be great for your flowers, but terrible for your zucchini. Which when you think about it, is kind of weird since the flower grows FROM the zucchini...but I guess we can discuss that another time.
Either way, the genius researcher that is my wife, did her genius research thing and found a formula that should generally work for most gardens. First however, let's look at why soil matters. Just like us, plants also need to feel good about their figure. That means they need the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients to reach their ideal goal so they look and well taste their best. After all you are what you eat...and you eat their food...well you eat what they eat...you, get the picture...sooooo...Other factors are the amount of moisture the crop needs as well as the amount of sunlight. Though there are many other intricate factors, these are the big 3.
So without further ado, here is the ratio she found that should generally work for most crops to produce an all star yield:
*Que Morgan Freeman God Voice*
The manure ingredient breakdown known as Mel's Mix is equal parts: chicken manure, purple cow manure, worm manure (Vermicompost), black and gold organic lawn and garden compost and regular cow manure.
Then you take that mixture and mix as follows:
1/3 compost/manure blend
1/3 peat moss
1/3 coarse vermiculite
*end Morgan Freeman God voice*
So what's the difference between these 3? Compost and manure provide primary nutrients, micronutrients (for plant growth) and organic matter (think slow release vitamins). Peat moss is highly absorbent so helps keep the soil moist. Lastly, vermiculite improves moisture retention while also helping with aeration that allows space for the plants roots to grow better and faster. Depending on your crop needs, you can adjust little things here and there to cater. We suggest starting here and using this simply as a foundation. You want to make sure the blend is thoroughly mixed together. We used a spade shaped shovel. Once you've mixed it you can do one of 2 things.
You can throw a tarp over it to keep weeds from snuggling in and setting up shop, OR you can put it to immediate use in your garden. If you're itching to get cooking...well actually that comes much later...but you get the picture, you can put it directly in your garden box.
If you plan to use it at another time and you're just being proactive, you can leave the tarp over it, or put it into 5 gal buckets for when it's needed.
We chose option 1, then option 2 once the frame was built until we were ready to plant. Now, we went with a raised bed version. Again, the main reason was so my wife could have easy access without having to bend over. Being elevated also had the perk or not having rabbits and their random nosey neighbors inviting themselves over for dinner. NOBODY wants an uninvited guest for dinner. There's aluminum at the bottom to help keep it aerated as well as allow excess water to drain properly.
Now that we've set the foundation, the question now arises, how do we use this thing...and what do we plant?! We all began with this question next time!