For what it's worth, Mel's Mix didn't give me good results. And I followed the instructions/formula to the letter. Beans and corn were so-so. Peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes did not grow well.
This past spring I tried a lasagna garden and it's doing quite well. Material-wise, the lasagna method was a lot cheaper than making Mel's Mix.
I do use the SFG plant-spacing guidelines, though.
Here's a picture of one section of my plot taken last week. The "lasagna layers" were set down on 4/30. I planted the corn and beans on May 8. As you can see, they are very closely spaced. Everything is growing strong.
Stef: It would help to garden the back yard, so whoever has to mow grass, would not ha ve to anymore. I live in the forest, lots of pine trees, & have sandy soil. I don't have much grass, so I'm planting some seeds. We ha ven't had to mow & are happy about it. So I am limiting my grass yard. Maybe just a small part of our Acre that we have. But I am having a hard time with the sandy yard. Lots of sand comes into the house. I have mixed feelings about this grass thing. It would be easy just to ha ve someone come & mow for $25 but we have no neighbors. I wonder how much would a lawn service charge.
I wanted to make a lasagna bed but I got lazy. And the dog kept eating it. So i built a raised bed and filled the bottom with tons of compost stuff that wasn't really rotted yet, and then a bunch of the bagged compost and topsoil I bought at OSH. It worked out fine and my tomatoes are growing like crazy. I also got a volunteer avocado plant out of the deal (i know those shouldn't go in the compost but I can't stand to throw the pits in the trash! I am hoping some of the mango pits I put in there will sprout soon. haha. I am probably the least methodical gardener ever... I just put stuff in the dirt and hope it grows!
I always throw my peach pits out in the flower bed. I cannot throw away a seed either in the trash. Now I have peach trees growing everywhere. P.S. Whoever invented the trash compactor ought to be jailed. I hate those compactors. I love the dishwashers..
I don't expect the avocado to turn out fruit, i know you need two, a male and a female, also I am not sure if its an organic one from a local tree or if its a store bought one! It could be anything! But I have heard they make nice little plants, and I like plants.
awww thanks Honeybee! I'm glad I lazied my way into perfection!
I like to chop grass away with a mattock and shovel when i make a raised bed. I can lay the pieces of "sod" down where there are holes in the lawn, or upside-down on the compost heap.
Then i can hack up the clay underneath the bed, and mix some amendments into it. That seems to me like a fairly easy way to get an extra 4-10" of almost-soil under a raised bed.
It also lets me shape or slope the dense "floor" of the bed in a direction that will drain downhill towards my trench. The transition from amended soil to hard clay is so abrupt that I think it will be years before the under-layer softens significantly enough to drain better than concrete.
So the layer that I hack up and amend becomes a 'wick' under the raised-bed-soil-proper. Aggressive, hungry roots may penetrate it, but even if they don't, they should keep the 'real soil" above it less waterlogged and better aerated.
Amd organics and fertilizer that leach out of the "real soil" may be captured by the "hacked-up-dirt-layer" and gradually enrich it, attract worms, and turn it into something that even fussy roots can get some good out of.
I like my "raised beds" to also be "sunken beds", so I make sure that there is a drainage path below the "hacked-up-layer".
Maybe, after several years, I should deepen the drainage path further to allow for busy worms turning even more clay into "real soil".
One place where I lucked out has become my model for "best practice" if I have the time and energy for future new beds. I dug a depressed walkway under a new RB, and then dug a small drainage trench under that. The walkway is low enough that I don't stoop far when planting or weeding. And the trench goes down another 6-8". (And it follows a slope diagonally, so the trench will drain dry.)
So now the raised bed is raised really high, relative to the bottom of the trench. I expect that bed to develop really deep, well-aerated soil, as more clay leachs out (elluviates) and worms and roots get down into all the aerated layers.
But that all depended on a favorable slope below the bed.
And the beds have to go in relatively sunny spots.
So I can't always be lucky.