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How does this look? (Newbie)

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How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  lizdturner on 2/13/2012, 3:53 pm

I am brand new to SFG (actually all gardening) and I'm trying to plan a starter garden. I can't do too many beds due to cost, but I'd like to try my hand this summer. We have 6 people in the family (4 kids ages 5 and under, two adults) and I know this won't provide all our veggies, but I'm hoping it will offset some of our produce needs.

Anyway, how does this look? The red line on the long box is a trellis. Also, I'm not sure what else to plant in the long box. Any ideas are welcome.

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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/13/2012, 8:51 pm

Liz, you have been working hard to get that planned out! I agree with your decision to start small. You don't want to overwhelm yourself with too many boxes (and the start up expenses) when you are still learning the basics. I also want to congratulate you on starting your first garden ever. cheers

Have you had a chance to read ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING yet? Hope so because it is best if you can start off with well made Mels Mix right from the beginning.

If your family enjoys spinach, you might add it to the front squares of the long box early spring. When it warms up, the spinach would be done and if you are looking for an easy (warm season) veggie that most kids will enjoy, you might want to try bush beans. You can plant 9 bean seeds per square (with no thinning necessary) and most will mature about the same time. Bush beans come in Green, Purple and Yellow. Pretty as well as interesting for the kids.

I love that you were able to configure the boxes so you have a 10 ft trellis. I always have more vining crops than I have trellises.

I do have a couple of questions about both beds.

1. First of all, how wide is the aisle between them, your chart looks like the path is only 1 ft wide. Your plants really will not stay upright in the boxes and the foliage will fall right into your aisle. I much prefer a path that is at least 3 feet wide. (Also will make it easier when the kids are helping you, they will be less likely to walk in the bed if the aisle is wider.)

2. In the 4X4, do you have two Rutgers tomatoes in the North West Corner, or are both squares listed that way because you are planning on using two squares for one plant?

3. In the 2 X 10, a similar question about the zucchini, are you planting 2 zucchinis or using two squares for a single plant. And, were you able to find a vining zucchini? There are a couple of hybrids out there that do vine. Most zucchini are bush types and really take up a lot of room.



Please keep us posted on your progress, and we love pictures (even pictures of the little helpers)
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  sfg4uKim on 2/13/2012, 9:01 pm

Hi and welcome

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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  lizdturner on 2/13/2012, 9:34 pm

Furbalsmom wrote: Liz, you have been working hard to get that planned out! I agree with your decision to start small. You don't want to overwhelm yourself with too many boxes (and the start up expenses) when you are still learning the basics. I also want to congratulate you on starting your first garden ever. cheers

Have you had a chance to read ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING yet? Hope so because it is best if you can start off with well made Mels Mix right from the beginning.

If your family enjoys spinach, you might add it to the front squares of the long box early spring. When it warms up, the spinach would be done and if you are looking for an easy (warm season) veggie that most kids will enjoy, you might want to try bush beans. You can plant 9 bean seeds per square (with no thinning necessary) and most will mature about the same time. Bush beans come in Green, Purple and Yellow. Pretty as well as interesting for the kids.

I love that you were able to configure the boxes so you have a 10 ft trellis. I always have more vining crops than I have trellises.

I do have a couple of questions about both beds.

1. First of all, how wide is the aisle between them, your chart looks like the path is only 1 ft wide. Your plants really will not stay upright in the boxes and the foliage will fall right into your aisle. I much prefer a path that is at least 3 feet wide. (Also will make it easier when the kids are helping you, they will be less likely to walk in the bed if the aisle is wider.)

2. In the 4X4, do you have two Rutgers tomatoes in the North West Corner, or are both squares listed that way because you are planning on using two squares for one plant?

3. In the 2 X 10, a similar question about the zucchini, are you planting 2 zucchinis or using two squares for a single plant. And, were you able to find a vining zucchini? There are a couple of hybrids out there that do vine. Most zucchini are bush types and really take up a lot of room.



Please keep us posted on your progress, and we love pictures (even pictures of the little helpers)

Yes, I do have the book, although I am not finished reading it. I have been researching this method for a while, thinking I could get by without the book, but I realized that I must be missing a lot because I wasn't finding all my answers.

I love the idea about spinach/bush beans! I definitely think I'll be doing that.

To answer your questions:

1. The aisles are not to scale Very Happy I'm definitely planning to put large aisles between them, and was debating another 4x4, except I think I'm already over my skill level with what I'm planning.

2. & 3. I was planning to do one plant per square, should I cut it back and do one plant per 2 squares? I thought I read that the Rutger's tomato would do better in a cage vs. trellis, and was planning to do it that way.
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  tomperrin on 2/14/2012, 11:39 am

lizdturner wrote:....I think I'm already over my skill level with what I'm planning.

Fear not! Your skill level doubles the minute your first seedlings pop out of the ground. It doubles again when you harvest your first veggie.

Cost is always a serious issue, and is not to be taken lightly. Mel's book ANSFG takes an enormous amount of error out of the trial and error equation. Everything he writes is based on his experience and the experience of others over the decades. By following the book, you don't have to repeat their mistakes. But do remember that mistakes are part of the experience, and thus an integral part of your skill set.

There are a lot of cost savings ideas and experience on this Forum.

Another way of looking at cost is that your first squares will probably be the most expensive ones. But that does not mean that a subsequent series of squares will have the same cost factors. For example, you could use pine boards for your squares, using unpainted scrap lumber salvaged or begged from a willing source. Another source of wood is pallets which can often be had for free or a couple of bucks. Use nails instead of brackets to tie the boards together. Cardboard for a weedbarrier instead of weed cloth. Don't wait to start your compost pile - start with your coffee grounds and non meat/grease table & kitchen scraps. There must still be a few horses left in OK so grab some free manure from your nearest stable for your compost pile .

Shop multiple places for Mel's Mix components and don't buy any until you're convinced that what you're getting is the best deal in town. Keep an eye out at garage sales and auctions for any components you might need, like unwanted canning jars & garden tools. Shop the sales and promotions at the box stores, hardware stores, grocery stores and not to forget online as well. That way you will know exactly what the market price is for an item at any given time and whether or not the object in front of you is worth the asking price.

That roto-tiller I was going to buy and didn't because I discovered SFG saved me hundreds of dollars. But I never knew that the roto-tiller I didn't buy was going to be replaced by so much fun. You're off to a great start and you'll do just fine. Please don't forget to post some pictures of your efforts when everything goes green.

Tom
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 2/14/2012, 11:59 am

Hi,
Your new garden looks great. How about planting some flowers for your kids to bring you or a vegetable that comes in a weird color (for example purple pod beans) and make sure you have something the kids can pick and eat in the garden (my kids will not eat a salad at the table but they will eat lettuce in the garden.) Be sure to enjoy your garden.

Patty from Yorktown
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/14/2012, 1:36 pm

2. & 3. I was planning to do one plant per square, should I cut it back and do one plant per 2 squares? I thought I read that the Rutger's tomato would do better in a cage vs. trellis, and was planning to do it that way.

The rutgers tomato is a determinate or bush type tomato. Bush tomatoes take quite a bit of room and even with a cage, I don't think you are going to be able to contain a single plant in 1 SqFt. Since I have grown my tomatoes in buckets, I never calculated how much space they would actually take in a SFG bed. Maybe someone with experience in determinates in a SFG bed can make a better recommendation for you.

Most zucchini is also bush type, The bush type will take a minimum of 4 sg ft and maybe 9! There are a few vining zucchini available out there. Were you able to find a vining zucchini?
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  lizdturner on 2/14/2012, 2:36 pm

Furbalsmom wrote:
2. & 3. I was planning to do one plant per square, should I cut it back and do one plant per 2 squares? I thought I read that the Rutger's tomato would do better in a cage vs. trellis, and was planning to do it that way.

The rutgers tomato is a determinate or bush type tomato. Bush tomatoes take quite a bit of room and even with a cage, I don't think you are going to be able to contain a single plant in 1 SqFt. Since I have grown my tomatoes in buckets, I never calculated how much space they would actually take in a SFG bed. Maybe someone with experience in determinates in a SFG bed can make a better recommendation for you.

Most zucchini is also bush type, The bush type will take a minimum of 4 sg ft and maybe 9! There are a few vining zucchini available out there. Were you able to find a vining zucchini?

So would it be easier just to do the zucchini and rutgers tomatoes in buckets? Since I'm only doing 32 squares, I'd rather not sacrifice any of them to the bushes. Thanks for all of the help, I really need to finish reading the book (on chapter 6 right now)
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  jpatti on 2/14/2012, 2:43 pm

Yes, throwing a few flowers in can be helpful.

Google about marigolds and nasturtiums, marigolds repel bugs that munch on nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes) and nasturtiums act as a "trap" for bugs that attack cucumbers and melons.

Plus, it's just friendly to see a few flowers amongst the veggies... I've never had a flower garden, but always enjoy my few guys in the veggie patch.
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  lizdturner on 2/14/2012, 4:28 pm

Well, calling around is so beneficial! I just called a nearby vendor listed on the vermiculite database and they have agriculture grade vermiculite in 4cuft for $17!!!! The next cheapest I have found was $25. I'm super excited now!
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  ksbmom on 2/14/2012, 4:57 pm

I second the opinion on not doing one tomato per square! I did that this fall, and the tomato that was supposed to like a cage took over the whole corner of the SFG! It produced like crazy, but the herbs and greens in the nearby squares were absolutely lost in the tomato jungle.
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/14/2012, 5:06 pm

lizdturner wrote:Well, calling around is so beneficial! I just called a nearby vendor listed on the vermiculite database and they have agriculture grade vermiculite in 4cuft for $17!!!! The next cheapest I have found was $25. I'm super excited now!



Wow! That is a great deal compared to us in OR. The least expensive I can find is $28.00 per 4 cu ft. I have paid as much as $42.
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Re: How does this look? (Newbie)

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