manufactured soil

our raised beds, bins and pots all contain manufactured soil that consists of:

  • 1/3 peat moss
  • 1/3 course vermiculite
  • 1/3 compost/manure.

this combination does quite well.

the peat moss adds air to the soil and improves soil structure. the vermiculite soaks and retains water and the compost contains great nutrients for the plants. though we recently learned that peat takes hundreds of years to form and therefore is not a sustainable option for gardeners. next year, we will try using coir, a byproduct of coconut harvesting and husking, or some other more sustainable alternative.

2 raised beds with trellis in the back

how did we learn all of this? well, i’m just blindly following spinkbickle’s lead, but he attests that we are strictly following Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening technique. you can learn more at Square Food Gardening.

leafy greens in the square foot garden

this is our second season following this method and i have to say last year was pretty impressive! though mel’s comment of “no weeds; no hard work” is a bit of hogwash. for one we have to keep the critters out of our prized patches (no small feat!) and we do have some weeds, though mel’s method does make it easier to distinguish the weeds from the good stuff.

so far we have all 3 of our raised beds planted or earmarked for transplanting something that is in the basement under the grow light or in small pots being hardened off (prepared for the outdoors).

more exciting news to come as we continue our herculean efforts to become true urban farmers!