Mr green
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

imafan26 wrote:Most newpapers now use soy based ink for the black and white pages. so are o.k. for composting as long as you avoid the colored glossy paper which has other chemicals on it. Most of the inks used today are less toxic than before and should be o.k. The amount of ink should be a very small quantity when mixed with the other browns and greens. I have used shredded computer paper in the worm bin and it has not killed the worms so I think it would be o.k. in a compost pile.
Well its not that simple, to legally be able to call your ink soy based it need to have only 5% soy based ink in it, the rest can be all the bad chemicals you want, and been using since the dawn of time just dilute with 5% soy ink. So it could be almost as bad as it use to be, and sadly thats the cheaper way too. Because of this i recycle all my paper with print on, it becomes new paper and all is good. But im quite picky with these things. If i wouldnt i think i would prefer to compost it first, then add to the garden.
Newspaper can be a good source for brown material tho specially if you live in appartments in the big city or smaller housing units with little to no garden.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

imafan26
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

According to the Cornell composting site. Black and white newspaper are safe to compost.

Is newspaper safe to compost? Are the inks toxic?

" Newspaper is safe to compost, but it breaks down quite slowly because of its high lignin content. (Lignin is a substance found in the woody cell walls of plants, and it is highly resistant to decomposition).

Most newspapers today use water or soy-based inks. Although these may contain small amounts of toxic compounds, the trace levels are not of significant toxicological concern. Some caution should still be used with glossy magazines, which sometimes use heavy metal based inks to produce vivid colors."

https://compost.css.cornell.edu/faq.html
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Mr green
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Didnt find my original sources but heres a good read: https://www.triplepundit.com/2013/01/soy ... h-reality/

Also if you read on wikipedia it says: "To make soy ink, soybean oil is slightly refined and then blended with pigment, resins, and waxes. Even though soybean oil is an edible vegetable oil, soy ink is not edible or 100% biodegradable because the pigments and other additives that are mixed with the oil are the same as those used in petroleum-based inks."

And another big problem most of the soy used is GMO Soy.

So calling soy based ink a green alternative is a huge misconception in my opinion.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

imafan26
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Consider your source. Wikipedia depends on someone editing it. My source is Cornell University.
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

The printing-ink information on the website referenced by Mr green;
https://www.triplepundit.com/2013/01/soy ... h-reality/
mostly appears to come from Gary Jones, Vice President for Environmental Health and Safety, Printing Industries of America. Probably someone unlikely to be overstating any undesirable properties of printing inks.
We have work to do on all our politicians, after the votes are counted Delores Broten

Mr green
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

imafan26 wrote:Consider your source. Wikipedia depends on someone editing it. My source is Cornell University.
Well that wasnt my main source, you missed the link? So read again. And it doesnt make much difference, becuase what was said there is true...
Last edited by Mr green on Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

Mr green
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Vanisle_BC wrote:The printing-ink information on the website referenced by Mr green;
https://www.triplepundit.com/2013/01/soy ... h-reality/
mostly appears to come from Gary Jones, Vice President for Environmental Health and Safety, Printing Industries of America. Probably someone unlikely to be overstating any undesirable properties of printing inks.
Exactly! Good point made there.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

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GardenThrive
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I go with 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. It is nearly impossible to overwater with that mix, yet it retains moisture really well. I use my own compost and supplement with bagged varieties if I don't have enough. Vermiculite can be a bit expensive 20$ for a 3 cu ft bag here, but once you fill the bed once all you'll need to do the next year is just too it off with more compost.

Carol1939
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

My raised bed , planted with spinach, arugula and lettuce is showing a white mildew around plants, what can I do?

imafan26
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

If the white mildew is on the soil and not on the plants, then your soil is too heavy and wet. Let it dry out more. You can fluff the soil between the plants to help turn and air it to get rid of the surface mold. When you do your bed next time, add more drainage material, vermiculite or coarse sand and watch your watering. The surface will dry faster than the soil below. Poke a hole in the soil and if it is damp below the crust it can go a little longer. You can mulch the top to keep the top from drying out too fast. When plants are small, you don't need to water a lot, as the plants get bigger their root systems get larger and they need more water.
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I have raised beds with straw bales and a little top soil spread on top. I was doubtful it would work but have found it to be a tremendous boon for select edibles & flowers. Next year I will build boxes for the bales but for now they are on the ground. You need almost no soil using this method so I just bought a gab of clean garden soil.

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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I just remembered that instead of trying to make your own mix there are two other ways to fill a bed

1. The first would be to make a lasagna bed. It would be a cheaper way to fill the bed than buying all the parts and mixing them together. Downside would be that you ideally should get it started 6 months before.
https://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/s ... 2015_0.pdf
2. If you have a local composting facility, they may sell a ready made mix for garden beds. If you sheet mulch part of it, you can use the garden mix for the top so you can plant right away. Or you can fill the entire bed with the nursery mix which will be ready to plant.

This is what is available to me locally. Prices are per cubic yard, if you pick it up. Delivery is very expensive ($240). Minimum is 1/2 cu. yard. This is in expensive Hawaii, you may be able to get it cheaper where you are. At $43 a cubic yard it is a lot cheaper than buying peat moss (3.8 cu ft bale = $28-$35, Compost in bags = $7 per 2 cu ft, Steer manure $5.79 per 3/4 cubic ft, Cinder $3.49 3/4 cu ft. plus fertilizer $80 for 50lbs. I have used the mix, It is good for general gardening but the cinder is not as good as sand if you are growing root crops. $37 will get a truckload of compost. However, the compost is very alkaline so, it needs to mature or have a lot of sulfur or peat moss added for acid loving plants.
https://www.menehunemagichawaii.com/prices.php
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Gary350
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

imafan26 wrote: 1. The first would be to make a lasagna bed.
About 35 years ago I made a lasagna bed with, new papers, cardboard, leaves, it was a disaster. I raked soil back, put down cardboard, news papers, leaves in several places then covered it with about 5" of soil it was late Oct. Spring I planted the garden everything was good until plants got tall and hot weather arrived. Cold winter weather did not allow any of the, cardboard, news paper or leaves to decompose roots were blocked from growing deep in the soil and tall plants fell over. Hot weather soil was too dry most plants died roots could not grow down deep where moisture was. I tried to till the cardboard, news paper, and leaves into smaller pieces but it wadded up in the tiller so I dug it up by hand then burned it later. I replanted the garden again in July 100 degree weather is a very bad time to plant a garden. Lasagna idea might work if I cut cardboard into small pieces, news paper wads a few inches apart, till dry leaves into soil instead of letting them lay there all winter like a wet carpet covered with soil. These days I burn cardboard & news papers they don't burn well there is a lot of black carbon that is good for the soil too. Tree leaves burned in a pile makes a lot of black carbon once flames are gone an fire looks like red hot charcoal I till it into the soil while it is still on fire & fire goes out quick. All that carbon makes the soil black but it is soon gone in another year or so. In fall before rain season starts I mow tree leaves it cuts them into tiny pieces and mower blows them onto the garden surface then I till them into the soil. The past 2 years we had to much rain tree leaves could not be mowed or raked.

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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Do you remember whether you wetted down each layer of the paper product and dry leaves? — Key to ensuring they decompose. Also helps to have healthy earthworm/wiggler and good fungi activity in soil so you can promote by adding them.
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I know this is an old thread but wanted to share my experiences as Gary350 has.

Not all cardboard is the same, the non corrugated recycled cardboard that is gray breaks down in a few months. Pizza boxes break down rather quick as well.

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If the cardboard remains wet it should break down quickly.

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I use real heavy cardboard for my pathways and that takes a long time to break down.

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I sometimes use cardboard to germinate my cover crop, this is the cardboard I mentioned earlier, it breaks down in a few months if it stays wet.

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For my pizza boxes, I now tear up, toss in the compost bin and pour over my slimy messy kitchen scraps and some yard waste
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i will never use shredded paper again as a mulch, it turns into an impermeable barrier.

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I used to use it as a winter cover for pots, now I either cover crop or mulch.

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I really don't use cardboard much in the garden, mainly due to the ants but do use it in my pathways and compost
My problem with cardboard is when I use it with mulch and its dry is the freaking ants.

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As far as the soil question goes (yeah I know, Old Thread, but for folks following this and not Karl because he has posted twice in 8 years, lol) I can offer a few suggestions, whatever you do use a good portion of your native soil unless it is a contaminated soil.

If doing a lasagna method, do it in the fall for the following season not the spring and keep it moist.

Cardboard is great for a base layer if building a soil on top that is deep enough for stuff like peppers and tomatoes or using at the top and punch a hole in it to plant, that is if you do not have an ant problem!

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Just a quick comment on my experience with cardboard for pathways: Once rained on and starting to break up it can get treacherously slippery.
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IrinaGrant
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Firstly thank you very much for the advice to put cardboard in a compost box. I never did it. Thanks again. How long does the cardboard decompose?
But why don't you fight ants?
I use Spinosad and Orange Guard 103, they work very well and are completely safe.
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SQWIB
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

IrinaGrant wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:49 pm
Firstly thank you very much for the advice to put cardboard in a compost box. I never did it. Thanks again. How long does the cardboard decompose?
But why don't you fight ants?
I use Spinosad and Orange Guard 103, they work very well and are completely safe.
You can read https://stoppestinfo.com/143-7-best-fir ... cides.html
and choose something.

Pizza boxes will break down fairly quickly, especially if torn up and saturated, the trick is to keep it from drying out.


I do fight the ants, every year.

This keeps them at bay.

Image

IrinaGrant
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Thanks again for advice. I already put cardboard in a compost box, but cardboard from big boxes, not like from pizza. After I brought too much water. And now I am waiting. :-()

Liopa1337
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Hi! I want to make a planting a garden, found some good company. I want to know what I need to clarify before I go to work? https://captainhandy.ca/gardening.html

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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I have not used cardboard as a compost layer. I have only used it as a top layer for weed control. It has a high lignin content so depending on the thickness of the cardboard it takes a while to decompose. I don't really use it or newspaper for that matter as browns. I use them mainly for weed control. I use newspaper on the bottom of a bed after I dig it out to control weeds from coming up from below. I use several layers. Newspaper and cardboard works better as compost if it is shredded first. I put the good soil on top of the newspaper layer to plant it . On top of the good soil, I put additional layers of newspaper that I wet down and plant through that. I use the top layer as a weed barrier and mulch. For me it is the best way to control nut sedge in my garden. Eventually, the nut sedge will come back but it has been much more manageable this way. Digging out nut sedge is futile. The top layer of newspaper takes about 3 months to decompose. I tried commercial weed block but there were issues with the water not getting evenly through the fabric unless the drip irrigation is under the fabric. I still have issues with weeds sprouting around the holes in the fabric. Weeds still end up very close to the plants and are sometimes difficult to separate. Running soakers under the fabric works better if you plant in rows. I plant more intensively and usually not in rows. Weed block made of synthetic material is hard to get out of the garden when it is in pieces. I use it mainly for pathways now, but it does not stand up well to heavy traffic.

Newspaper is not the best brown to use in compost. It has a C:N ratio of about 171:1. I don't have a lot of browns. I have mostly greens. Tropical trees don't drop leaves the way temperate trees do and while I do have a few trees in my yard, only one produces branches worth composting. Palms would take years to decompose, gardenia has too many pests, plumeria and ti are not woody plants. ATTRA allows black newsprint paper in organic gardening as an allowed synthetic. ATTRA said in 2013 there was insufficient research on the toxicity of the components used in making newspaper or cardboard. Anecdotal evidence was that it was good for weed suppression and did not appear to be harmful to soil biota. As for GMO soy ink, that's a personal thing. I am not 100 percent organic, I just try to incorporate as much organics as possible. I have nothing against GMO. Considering the widespread use and that millions of people have been consuming GMO products for years. If there was any notable harm, it would have shown up by now. There are people who may be more sensitive than others to a lot of things. For some individuals, they believe the extra precautions are necessary.

As for the ants. I put out ant bait. Ants are plus minus. They harbor and nurture plants pests like aphids, mealy bugs and scale. There are some plants that attract them like gardenia and lemon grass. Tropical fire ants' bite is painful. I also have my garden patrol lizards and greenhouse frogs that eat them.

https://attra.ncat.org/can-i-use-cardbo ... anic-farm/
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Nyan
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Re: Best Soil For Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I've tried quite a few mixes for raised beds, and I have had the best success with 1/8 peat, 1/4 elCheapo Walmart soil, 1/4 compost and the rest my native soil. Then I throw a good layer of lawn trimmings over it and use a spading fork to kind of fluff it together. In the fall I'll put down a double layer of cardboard, a few handfuls of soil and either straw, wood chips or lawn trimmings on top.
Lately I've been putting a few dirty, wet, and partially broken down softwood tree limbs (the size of firewood) on the top as a way to encourage fungal breakdown. (Portobello stems and spores work too, but the darn mushrooms seem to always come up in late January or early February and get soaked by our daily rains...)
The cardboard mostly breaks down by spring to the point you can just poke a finger through it and plant. Of course we have mild wet winters so that helps a lot with decomposition.

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