Gardening on a non-profit budget...
August 14, 2014 9:00 AM Subscribe
I'm now in charge of a non-profit greenhouse that utilizes the square foot gardening method. How can I closely replicate Mel's Mix without breaking the bank? (And other greenhouse gardening advice happily accepted within!)
Amazingly, I've lucked in to a wonderful job at a non-profit that employs mentally and physically disabled individuals. I am the greenhouse manager: two large greenhouses and a giant outdoor plot are now mine to take care of! Currently I'm working on a grant that stipulates all harvest will be distributed free of charge to our 50+ shelter employees and a local food bank.
I'm doing my best to master square foot gardening and thus, am making Mel's Mix for our 6 raised beds. The issue I'm having is locally sourcing (and beyond that, even sourcing from Lowe's, etc) coco coir, vermiculite, and compost. We do have composters getting started but that won't be ready for a bit to I'm going to need to make my own mix of 5 different composts, as Mel recommends. Amazon, thus far, has proven to be the cheapest (free shipping!) -- our local hardware store can only order us half the ingredients and it's more expensive than Amazon and I'd like to not deal with our local MFA if I can help it. I'm in a rural area with a population of less than 2,000 so obviously, my resources are limited.
Does anyone have suggestions on where to acquire coco coir (or peat moss, if I must) in bulk at a reasonable price? And what about vermiculite? I've checked every online gardening store (shipping cost is insane) and local nursery with no luck. A call to local farmers for something we could use in our compost mix was fruitless as well.
Barring suggestions on that quandary, does anyone have suggestions for a soil mixture that works as well as Mel's Mix?
(And sidenote: any and all greenhouse gardening tips are greatly appreciated as well! We're in Zone 5a.)