Using a composter to make potting mix

tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)May 22, 2010

I've been thinking a lot about ways to make mixing Al's mix not so strenuous as it is with a shovel and wheel barrow. I thought about trying a composter but didn't want to spend a fortune on one, so when this post appeared on my local forum (Florida Gardening) I bought one. The question is, are any of you using a composter to mix soil? And, if not, how do you make the mixing process less strenuous?

Tom

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I make the gritty mix in about 3 gallon batches & fill big bins with it. For the 5:1:1 mix I spread the ingredients on a large tarp and rough-mix them with the flat side of a garden rake before finish-mixing by tugging on the tarp and rolling the ingredients over until they are fully mixed. It only takes a few minutes to mix. It goes faster with 2 people, but I usually do it alone with no trouble at all.

Al

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:06PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Thanks Al, that seems simple enough and I have a 3 car driveway so if this thing falls apart quickly I'll try your method, since I also have a large tarp ;-)

I could get a 55 gallon steel barrel with a lever-hinged ring around a removable top but I wasn't convinced rolling this thing around and tipping it over would be any less strenuous, and it was $30.

The tarp sounds like a good backup plan....

Tom

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:52AM
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calistoga_al

I have thought of using my concrete mixer. The reason I don't is because once set up it is impossible to move without taking it apart. I am using the loader on my tractor, which allows me to mix about 35 gallons at a time. It does require a lot of shovel work to mix. At least I can mix at the best height and easily move it to other locations. Almost everything I do requires a lot of shoveling and my shoulders are beginning to give out. Al

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:17AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Well, it's been almost a year since I made this post and I don't recall seeing any pictures of Al's Mix being made so I thought I'd post a link to the Florida forum where I did just post some pictures of my process for the mix.

Tom

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 7:11PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hey Al, I posted this response over at the other forum....

Women! She thinks the garage is something that looks better empty, than chock full of 'useful things'. I guess I'll be relegated to mixing mine on a tarp on the driveway. ;-)

Al, the trade off is my two car garage is really a one car garage, but I'd rather keep my composter in the garage than my truck ;-)

Tom

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 7:28AM
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jodik_gw

I make my gritty medium mix in about 2 gallon increments, so mixing can occur with a kitchen utensil. I use either 2,4, or 5 gallon buckets.

If I had to make large batches, I'd probably fill a 55 gallon drum, cover it, and roll it around. I could also enlist my husband to build/weld a frame for turning it. That wouldn't be too difficult, I imagine. He's very handy.

For medium sized batches, I'll probably just use a baby pool and my little estate shovel... or use the tarp method Al suggests. It shouldn't be too strenuous to mix an average sized batch.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:34AM
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