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Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

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Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  tomperrin on 1/30/2012, 11:53 am

Here are some photos outlining the evolution of our first Square Foot Garden ever. The original plan was to put in one or two 8' x 4' raised beds. Then I read ANSFG and our world changed. If there is a moral to this little tale it is that a garden does not have to be perfect or pretty. Oh, it also helps to follow directions.



[b]

Garden Area - October 2008
This was our first look at our property which we ended up purchasing in 2009.
This was the only land we that had any potential for a decent sized garden. It was dull, dreary and depressing. Also poorly drained, with thick humus over a clay subsoil.
That shed in the right background went to the dump. The three trees in the background were cut down. The biggest had a new life as bridge timbers.


First two squares
We cut down all the garbage trees: 100' tall sweet gums. We left a tall oak which can be seen below. The trees that are remaining are off my property. The sun follows the path over the house and the shed. The first two squares were made of Trex bought on sale.


And then four squares
Found some white cedar left over from another project. Underneath the tarps are two different loads of bulk compost. These were mixed with bagged compost from other sources.


Fence half done
Fence is made of locust posts and cedar rails. The rails were a discontinued item at Lowe's. When I went back for more, they had thrown them in the trash. The two wheeled wheelbarrow was one of our more enlightened purchases. This photo taken at 4PM or later.


May 31 2011
The fence has been erected. Squares fill almost half the enclosed space. I wll be adding three more squares in 2011. Space between the squares will be covered with playground mulch. The umbrella and chairs were a favorite meditative spot. The SFG system works and we are much encouraged. Maybe enthused is a better word.


8:00 AM looking West.
The sun gets much better as the day progresses. View from the shed roof.
The grassy area on the right will be completely filled with new squares in 2012.


Front gate installed, mulch laid down between the squares.
Professionally made, amateur installed


Found some cheap cedar and made more squares.
Put in 3 squares made of cheap cedar bought from a fence company. These were a pain to put together and I never liked them. They will be replaced in 2012. Total cost of each square about $6 plus hardware. My new cedar squares use different hardware, different wood, and can be constructed in just a few minutes.


Cukes, peas and squash 6 25 2011
Everything was delicious. Discovered pattypan squash for the first time.


Squares being built for the 2012 season.
I now use Strong Ties hardware to tie these boards together. Screws are Phillips round head 6 x 1.


The Winter Garden
Back to dull & dreary. But getting ready for 2012 are a whole bunch of new squares. I had to replace some of these with smaller 3' x 4' squares so that I would have room to walk between the squares.
New squares, not yet built, will be placed outside the fence for potatoes, corn, rhubarb and asparagus.
My cheap white painted squares will also be replaced in the new season with the better looking white cedar. The old squares will get recycled as decorative shutters.
The azaleas along the fence line were bought cheap and died early. I may have to propagate my own.
The crumpled plastic sheet in the back ground covers our garlic, winter lettuce & spinach. Next year we will garden year round, or as close to it as weather and seed permits.





Last edited by tomperrin on 1/30/2012, 12:22 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : try to clean up formatting errors)

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  martha on 1/30/2012, 12:18 pm

"...The rails were a discontinued item at Lowe's. When I went back for more, they had thrown them in the trash."



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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/30/2012, 12:33 pm

Tom, Thanks so much for posting this. I really enjoyed your garden tour. You've put so much work into your garden and it's really paying off. Everything looks fabulous!

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  quiltbea on 1/30/2012, 1:07 pm

Tom......You did a fantastic job with your new garden. Its fabulous and so well done. I'm glad you are enjoying great food now.

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It's all a growth experience

Post  tomperrin on 1/30/2012, 1:29 pm

Thanks for all the positive feedback. We were truly the beneficiaries of a great growth experience. Every day brings new gifts. Even when I was sick for several weeks and did not tend the garden, the veggies still flourished.

Can hardly wait for those Maine seed potatoes to arrive!

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  quiltbea on 1/30/2012, 1:32 pm

I'm here to tell you the flavor of those fresh potatoes will be so good compared to the store-bought that have been warehoused which you get in the supermarkets. I'm going to put in some for myself again this year.

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SFG Spuds

Post  tomperrin on 1/30/2012, 1:39 pm

The first organic potatoes I ever ate were from a few spuds we grew from seed in a Northern Adirondack garden a few years ago. This was a summer camp which we could not visit on a regular basis so the garden was not tended. But until last summer, that little garden produced the best spuds I've ever eaten. Last year, we grew again, 400 miles further south, and they were outstanding again.

I attribute the difference between home grown and commercial to be the lack of herbicides to kill off the tops at season end, to say nothing of fertilizers and insecticides. And then there is the anti-sprouting spray for the supermaket spuds.

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  Chopper on 1/30/2012, 3:46 pm

@tomperrin wrote:The first organic potatoes I ever ate were from a few spuds we grew from seed in a Northern Adirondack garden a few years ago. This was a summer camp which we could not visit on a regular basis so the garden was not tended. But until last summer, that little garden produced the best spuds I've ever eaten. Last year, we grew again, 400 miles further south, and they were outstanding again.

I attribute the difference between home grown and commercial to be the lack of herbicides to kill off the tops at season end, to say nothing of fertilizers and insecticides. And then there is the anti-sprouting spray for the supermaket spuds.

I think freshness has a lot to do with it too. Just as tomatoes are picked green commercially and force ripened, potatoes are picked a little early too and by the time we get them may have been stored for a long time.

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  Kelejan on 1/30/2012, 4:02 pm

I remember when my dad used to order his potatoes, he always insisted that the seed potatoes came from Scotland. (We lived in southern England.) He said that they were more decease resistant.

I did ask him where did the Scots get their seed potatoes.

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/31/2012, 4:27 am

cheers your garden looks wonderful!

.....the first pic of yours....i had to really laugh at my self.....because of what my first thoughts were......i view lots of leaves in a differnt light since i started organic gardening.....when i seen your first pic with all those wonderful leaves on the ground i thought to my self what a gold mine you have there Very Happy that was even before i seen your wonderful garden Very Happy congrats on your wonderful land!

hugs

rose

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  tomperrin on 1/31/2012, 8:27 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:your first pic with all those wonderful leaves on the ground i thought to my self what a gold mine you have there Very Happy

Well, we did have some heated exchanges within the family about those leaves. I was outvoted two to one by family who had no concept of compost. In the end, I mulched them with the lawn mower, and they did make wonderful compost instead of going to the county landfill. That garden area had never seen the sun before we cut down the sweet gums. Good thing we did. Those hundred foot trees were hollow at the base, being eaten alive by carpenter ants. One good hurricane and they would have fallen on our house. We still have plenty of trees but they are all maple, beech, oak and pine.


Last edited by tomperrin on 1/31/2012, 8:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fix quotation)

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  duhh on 1/31/2012, 2:26 pm

I love your set up, you have your own litle slice of heaven!!

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/31/2012, 5:43 pm

i so understand cutting down the trees Very Happy

nature did it for us this winter....one of our wonderful plum trees that was shading part of our back corner garden was hit really hard with snow and freezing rain and was split in three places like a banana Shocked .....my heart was broken What a Face ....but...as i looked for the positive i found that now our back corner garden could become larger and would get the sun it needed....plus...the tree fell away from our new fence we just put up last summer.....sigh....so thankful we didnt lose the fence....Wink

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  wncsohn on 1/31/2012, 6:30 pm

tomperrin - wonderful job!

I also understand about cutting down trees! We had sun only in places that I couldn't put garden beds (i.e. the house, the septic area, etc.) I'd been telling my DH that for a couple of years. Well, this year he finally took heed!

We spent two weeks this month cutting down cedar's and pines in our front area. Left the oaks and hickory trees, but there was enough space in the area "de-treed" that it lets in some AWESOME sunlight now in a huge area in front of the house!!

We're going to start slow (first year "really" doing SFG) with eight 4x4 beds. I can only hope my area turns out as nice as yours did!

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  Kelejan on 2/1/2012, 1:16 pm

@wncsohn wrote:
We're going to start slow (first year "really" doing SFG) with eight 4x4 beds.

I have to laugh as I guess it is all relative. I started with one bed then added two the next year. I might add another this coming year.Very Happy

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  wncsohn on 2/1/2012, 2:15 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@wncsohn wrote:
We're going to start slow (first year "really" doing SFG) with eight 4x4 beds.

I have to laugh as I guess it is all relative. I started with one bed then added two the next year. I might add another this coming year.Very Happy

LOL! Very Happy

Yes, it is all relative I suppose. If my DH had his way we would have 40+ beds!! I talked him into doing 1 - 20 SF area with beds, which equals 8 beds. Here's an idea of the layout I plan on using. Want to make sure each row of beds doesn't shade the one behind it, so I'm going to "stagger" the beds.


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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  GWN on 2/1/2012, 2:34 pm

beautiful garden is it SOOO cool to see the growth year after year.

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  tomperrin on 2/1/2012, 3:33 pm

quote="Kelejan"]

I'm going to "stagger" the beds.

[/quote]

I spent an hour or so yesterday trying to figure out where to place my new squares. So now I gotta re-think. The only really good idea I had was to place the smaller squares next to the fence as a 4'x4' wouldn't be accessible from all sides. Good thing you posted this before I made dirt and filled the squares.



Tom

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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  wncsohn on 2/1/2012, 8:41 pm

@tomperrin wrote:

I'm going to "stagger" the beds.

I spent an hour or so yesterday trying to figure out where to place my new squares. So now I gotta re-think. The only really good idea I had was to place the smaller squares next to the fence as a 4'x4' wouldn't be accessible from all sides. Good thing you posted this before I made dirt and filled the squares.



Tom

Glad it gave you something to think about!! Very Happy I'm totally impressed with your garden area! We have alot of trees we had to cut down to get a space so I understand the work involved! Seeing your success gives me hope for my garden dream!


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Re: Evolution of an SFG Garden - 1st year

Post  walshevak on 2/2/2012, 2:40 am

snip " I also understand about cutting down trees! We had sun only in places that I couldn't put garden beds (i.e. the house, the septic area, etc.) I'd been telling my DH that for a couple of years. Well, this year he finally took heed"

Another reason to use tabletops - they can be put over the septic area. If sunshine is really a tight issue, you can increase your beds this way without interferring with the drain field.

Kay

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