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Using a composter to make potting mix

Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
Sat, May 22, 10 at 20:05

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


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Using a composter to make potting mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, May 22, 10 at 22:06

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


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RE: Using a composter to make potting mix

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 23, 10 at 8:52

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


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RE: Using a composter to make potting mix

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


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RE: Using a composter to make potting mix

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 27, 11 at 19:11

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


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RE: Using a composter to make potting mix

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 28, 11 at 7:28

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


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RE: Using a composter to make potting mix

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.


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