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New to the forum and SFG

Post  Kate888 on 2/12/2012, 3:27 pm

Hi, I'm new here and to SFG. I have done a little bit of gardening previously. The first year in my current house and yard we had a great crop of tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. Every following year we struggled with some type of wilt on the tomatoes, despite moving them, and squash borers and bettles and got little reward for so many hours weeding. I took last year off, feeling very discouraged, but I've read both the original and All New SFG books and really want to try again.

I'm planning my garden now and have a couple of questions. Can I really fit a vine tomato in 1 square? Is it more work to do that with a trellis then if I just use cages in more space? What about the spacing for broccoli? I notice they are usually more like 18 inches apart. Will they have enough room in 1 square or does it work better to spread them out more and just work in some other things around them? I plan to grow broccoli, lettuce and spinach, but have never done these earlier spring plantings. When I set them out, do I need to cover them, or is that only necessary if there is danger of frost?

I'm really excited to be able to talk with others about gardening here.

Kate in Indiana

PS I tried to send this much earlier but since I still don't see it I'm assuming I did something wrong. Hopefully I haven't just posted a duplicate. :-)

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  camprn on 2/12/2012, 3:41 pm

@Kate888 wrote:I've read both the original and All New SFG books and really want to try again.
CONGRATULATIONS! and the the SFG Forum.

@Kate888 wrote: Can I really fit a vine tomato in 1 square?
Yes! Very Happy
@Kate888 wrote: Is it more work to do that with a trellis then if I just use cages in more space?
No, it's more work to fuss with a plant that doesn't fit into the ridiculously small cages they sell for tomatoes. Wink
@Kate888 wrote:What about the spacing for broccoli? I notice they are usually more like 18 inches apart. Will they have enough room in 1 square ?
Yes. Very Happy
@Kate888 wrote:I plan to grow broccoli, lettuce and spinach, but have never done these earlier spring plantings. When I set them out, do I need to cover them, or is that only necessary if there is danger of frost?
If you buy the broccoli plants you will need to harden them off a bit before setting them into the garden, but those are really cold hardy. Lettuce and spinach can be directly sown into the garden,with spinach being more cold hardy.

@Kate888 wrote:I'm really excited to be able to talk with others about gardening here.

Kate in Indiana

PS I tried to send this much earlier but since I still don't see it I'm assuming I did something wrong. Hopefully I haven't just posted a duplicate. :-)
No problem, if we find it we can fix it. Again Welcome back to gardening and to the Forum.

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  camprn on 2/12/2012, 5:27 pm

Kate, take a look at the video in this thread... <~~~ click

____________________________

40 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  plantoid on 2/12/2012, 6:05 pm

Hello Kate ,
Welcome to the ANSFG site.

I'm on the other side of the pond in the UK .

On the home page have a look at who is posting in the area and look out for their posts perhaps even dropping them a PM for info.

Please take two gold star class points and go right to the top of the class for actually owning and reading the books .

Lots of guys & gals take a long while to reach that stage and suffer the consequences of not doing it by hitting problem after problem .


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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  CindiLou on 2/13/2012, 9:55 am

I grow broccoli every year. Usually a dozen plants because my family loves it. I have never had a problem with it crowding yet. But I do take the bottom leaves off once it is growing well. They tend to drag on the ground and wilt anyway.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  Kate888 on 2/13/2012, 10:24 am

@camprn wrote:Kate, take a look at the video in this thread... <~~~ click

Thanks for the welcome! That was very helpful. I never understood what it meant to prune it to a single stem, and now I know. Although they both seem to agree it does take time to keep it pruned. I'm not always good about getting out there to work on the garden, but do plan to try to work it into the daily routine.

Plantoid,
Great to see there's folks from around the world. I sure hope I can get over there someday. I'm into genealogy and have several ancestors from Wales and England, a few from Ireland, as well.

Great idea about looking for others in my area and thanks for the gold stars. How many do I need to trade in for some Mel's Mix. :-)

CindiLou,
good to know I can take those leaves off. I know my chickens will love them. (I took a year off of having laying hens, too, but will be getting some chicks to get started again this year.)

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  quiltbea on 2/13/2012, 11:13 am

Welcome Kate.....I'm in Maine so a little different weather, but similar. You can grow your tomatoes in one foot square if you stake (tall 7' stakes and sturdy) or string them. I do both depending on where my tomato is growing. I found a trellis too much work and with trellising I broke branches that I needed. I prefer stringing them since its so simple to twist the top of the plant around the twine as it grows taller. Keep the bottom leaves trimmed off to prevent diseases that start in the soil and for indeterminates (the ones that keep growing) remove those suckers.

You should get some nice broccoli in your state each spring and fall, and yes, one square is sufficient. You could plant the spinach and lettuce in adjoining north or west blocks to the broccoli so they get some shade from the taller plants, which will be needed when the summer starts heating up.

I hope you find this method a lot simpler.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  sfg4uKim on 2/13/2012, 11:15 am

LOL Kate888. Not sure if you've read the thread How Strong Is Your Backbone yet, but honey, I don't think they mention gold stars for MM ANYWHERE.

Anyway, hi and welcome.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  gwennifer on 2/13/2012, 11:58 am

Hi Kate. Welcome to the forum! Glad you're here and especially glad you're giving gardening another shot.

I grew broccoli last year in my very first SFG. I wanted so badly to question the one per square thing since the thin-to spacing was listed as 18-24". But I kept telling myself that Mel has gardened for 30 years and I had never gardened, so just do what he says! (I had to tell myself that when I built my beds too, to keep from building 12" deep beds at twice the expense). I planted one broccoli per square and by golly, it worked! I did prune the plants because the lower leaves got huge, overlapped, dragged on the ground, etc. Some of them I pruned rather aggressively to keep them in their square, just to see if there would be any difference. Honestly, all the plants produced 6-7" heads regardless.

I like this video for a very clear, concise tutorial on how to string and sucker tomatoes:

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  quiltbea on 2/13/2012, 12:22 pm

Gwennifer....That's the video I saw that switched me to stringing my tomatoes last year, and I loved it. Such easy care. I loved watching it again.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  CindiLou on 2/13/2012, 2:16 pm

Oh and another thing, I stake my broccoli...I use just bamboo stakes that I tie them to with nylons. This keeps them from leaning over. They tend to do that sometimes.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  Kate888 on 2/14/2012, 12:02 am

QuiltBea and Gwennifer - very cool way of doing it and I love the video. I think I will try the string method. I can still put in the poles for a trellis and attach the string at the top. So how high does it need to be? As much as 8 feet?

We have a problem with moles so our boxes will have plywood on the bottom, so I'm not sure about how I would stake all the plants, like the broccoli as you suggest, CindiLou. I could do stakes attached the outside edges but don't know how well that would work and obviously it only helps plants in the outside squares.

sfg4uKim - can't blame a girl for trying, right? Interesting thread you linked. I haven't started looking yet, hopefully I can find some good stuff.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  Chopper on 2/14/2012, 2:06 am

@Kate888 wrote:, so I'm not sure about how I would stake all the plants, like the broccoli as you suggest,

You might consider small cages - even putting them in upside down so you do not need any depth of soil to balance them.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  gwennifer on 2/14/2012, 4:36 am

Here's a quote from another member who gave me some advice when I had a broccoli fall over:

@boffer wrote:When I transplant broccoli, I pull off the cotyledons and bury the seedling up to the first true leaves. When I direct seed, I will sometimes pull off the cotyledons and mound MM around the stem to up the first true leaves. Sometimes a ¼ inch stick that is stuck in the MM for the seedling to lean against is all the help the plant needs to start growing straight.

Truth is, a broccoli plant that lays over and gets a dog leg in the stem near the soil will still produce, but it just doesn't look 'nice'. Brussel sprouts are also bad about falling over and getting dog legs, but they will still grow 3-4 feet tall.

And to answer your tomato question, another gal here does tomatoes with the stringing method and I believe her bar is ten feet tall. So yes, as much as eight feet!

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  CindiLou on 2/14/2012, 12:37 pm

I just use a bamboo along side them and tie the broccoli to it to balance. They just lean against the stick but that is enough to keep them up right...

Once the roots are a good system , no way that stick is gonna fall out! Rofl..I had to pull it from the rootball of the plant last year!

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

Post  quiltbea on 2/14/2012, 1:14 pm

In Maine I have a shorter growing season than many of you so I'm able to get away with my top bar 8' across the top. I don't get ten-footers.



above: My garden 5/31 last year. I have fence posts on both north ends of the box and a bar wired across the top. I secured a wire from one fence post to the other about a foot up from the soil. From those two fronts I tied twine from top to bottom on which the tomato vines could be twined. Use the Poly twine or Nylon twine if you do this. The sisal and cotton twines often break during the season due to being wet too often. Ask me how I know.

With these fence posts I can wire twine or I can tie trellis netting for my peas and pole beans. Since I rotate crops each season, it works out best for me.

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Re: New to the forum and SFG

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