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  1. #1
    Gold Site Supporter 2014 thank you! 610Alpha's Avatar
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    Rice Hulls as a replacement for perlite/vermiculite

    What? Rice Hulls, yep, a renewable resource for raised bed gardening.

    Gardening Revolution says that if you use their compost you can get an awesome garden. I emailed the closest distributor and found out that it would cost me $840 to buy their premix compost material, without shipping. I knew that the components were rice hulls, cotton burr compost 100% organic, and peat moss. The rice hulls should be the Parboiled Rice Hulls from http://www.riceland.com/coproducts/pbh.asp

    They have a list of distributors and I can get a 50 lb bale (~ 7.0 cu. ft.) for $10.80 and based on the ratios that Gardening Revolution said to use to equal the 28 bags of premix I would need for a 4 x 16 bed it will cost me $21.60 in Rice Hulls.

    If I bought the same amount of perlite it would cost me about $120 from Home Depot.

    I can now make the premix that I would need for 4 x 16 raised bed for $260 or $130 for a half bed.

    Formula: 2 bags of Rice Hulls (PBH) ~14.0 cu. ft., 4 bales of Peat Moss ~38.0 cu. ft., and 16 Bags of Cotton Burr Compost 100% organic (32.0 cu. ft.) http://www.backtonaturecompost.com/regularcbc.html for a 4 x 16 bed.

    You save some $$ by making the premix yourself but Gardening Revolution still says that you need their Fertilizer (N-P-K + 42 trace elements) to really make it work. One bag/bucket of the Essential Elements costs about $70 without shipping.

    I am going to do a small bed this year to see how well this type of gardening does.
    "If you will live like no one else, later on you can live like no one else." -- Dave Ramsey

  2. #2

    Cotton Burr Compost

    The way that guy talks God told him to share the knowledge but I don't think he is "sharing' anything at his needless markup.
    From what I have studied the water retention of the rice hulls is similar to the peat moss so I intend to try a few different combinations including only rice hulls and cotton burr compost.
    If you do buy the "essential elements" from him send me a sample and i will have it analyzed .
    Email me if you would like to share your experience and hear mine.

  3. #3
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    I wonder how long it would take rice hulls to break down. Then do you have to add more? As far as the "Essential Elements" just use a good organic fertilizer and Azomite rock dust.
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  4. #4
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    @peddler7122 - I did not buy the EE from him, I did call his farm and they were very nice and told me the basic composition of the compost bedding. I got my compost supplies from Hummert International in Earth City, Missouri. It saved me about $600 by getting it from there versus buying the premixed bags from one of his distributors.

    I did find out that the cotton burr compost that he uses is called Nature Life.

    @trkarl - I did exactly what you recommended, I put in about 12 lbs of Fertilizer Espoma Garden Tone (3-4-4) only because they didn't have the Bio-Tone Starter Plus which is (4-3-3), and 4-3-3 is what the EE has. I got a 40lb bag of Azomite for $24. I just kept sprinkling a quart of Azomite over each 16 sq. ft area. for each layer of compost that I put in.

    I also got the pvc setup going for the most part. I am also trying to get a watering system set up so that I am only watering my garden and not half my hard. I'll try and some pics uploaded here soon.

    This mixture drains excess water very well.
    "If you will live like no one else, later on you can live like no one else." -- Dave Ramsey

  5. #5
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    Great!! Looking forward to the pics.
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  6. #6
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    I posted pics in the Garden Pic thread, didn't want to waste storage space by double posting pics.
    "If you will live like no one else, later on you can live like no one else." -- Dave Ramsey

  7. #7
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    I took his class today and he told us the EE was a 5-5-5 + the trace minerals.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangGal View Post
    I took his class today and he told us the EE was a 5-5-5 + the trace minerals.
    Interesting. When I bought the home study materials you can see the EE bucket and it showed 4-3-3 in the picture.

    Did you see what the EE bucket said?

    I am using Azomite for the trace minerals, don't know if you can get that near you or not.
    "If you will live like no one else, later on you can live like no one else." -- Dave Ramsey

  9. #9
    elittle, Have you looked at corn stalk bales? They are around a ton and in my area the nice ones are around $50, I can get some of the old rotted on bottom ones for $10 which work better for mulch anyway. It is not as nice as the peat, or rice hulls but for the price diffenance and if you mulched it with mower or tiller? Just a thought.

  10. #10
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    @PJ - I haven't used corn stalks as mulch. There is plenty of corn where I live I am doing a raised bed so it will be a little hard to use a tiller to till it in. I could use a mower....right now I don't have any plans to make another bed or garden....I do like this growing media it is very easy to use and I can wiggle my hand down to the bottom of the bed very easily...It doesn't compact like soil does in a season.

    I actually bought my peat from a distributor and got a good price. Each part of the soil media has a purpose in this recipe and I am not in a place to really experiment with various formulas....yet at least.
    "If you will live like no one else, later on you can live like no one else." -- Dave Ramsey

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