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Hello from Cypress, TX

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Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  heaterguy on 2/22/2012, 8:32 pm

Hello everyone. I live in Cypress, TX which is N.W. of downtown Houston. My wife and I are retired and now living in a patio home with a very small lot. I've tried to grow vegetables in containers without much success so I have turned to SFG.

I have a 3.5 X 7 foot box that I filled with soil and compost and I am now trying to determine which plants I will put in the ground.

Tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants and cucumbers are on the top of the list. Contemplating, onions, lettuce, carrots, brussel sprouts and an assortment of herbs.

Do you think I am biting off more than I can chew (no pun intended)?
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heaterguy

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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 2/22/2012, 11:28 pm

glad you\'re here heaterguy!

Glad to have you on the forum! I am only starting my second year so am definitely still learning. Do you have a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening? You can see what the book looks like on the homepage of this forum. It's available from the SFG Foundation, Amazon (both hardcopy and digital), some hardware stores and most local libraries. One of the backbones of this method is something called "Mel's Mix". You use it instead of soil. It's comprised of 1/3 blended compost (must have at least 5 compost sources), 1/3 peat and 1/3 vermiculite. Here is a great thread about the importance of Mel's Mix: Mel's Mix - How Strong is Your Backbone?

With SFG, plants are planted in square foot grids, so it sounds like you have about 24-25 square feet to work with. This sounds like a great size to start with, so it sounds like you will be able to chew just fine! Smile Yup - you can use those 1/2 squares for many plants that you plant several per square...just plant half as many in the space. Smile I don't see how deep your box is. You only need 6" to grow most veggies, but your root veggies like carrots may need more.

Some things to think about as you start your planning...

1) When to plant each veggie. You will want to check out the regional forum for TX or your local extension service, because I know planting times may be different there than they are up my way.

2) How many plants per square? ANSFG says indeterminate tomatoes, peppers, eggplants are 1 per square foot. Cucumbers are 2 per square. Lettuce is 4 per square. Carrots and onions are 16 per square.

3) How many squares of each do you want to plant?

4) What might need trellising? Tomatoes will need stringing or trellising. Cucumbers will need something to climb as well.

I'm sure some of the experienced SFGers will be along shortly to greet you. As you start your planning, please don't hesitate to ask questions. The experienced SFG gardeners here are GREAT to help us with any questions we have! Smile



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UnderTheBlackWalnut

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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  heaterguy on 2/23/2012, 8:35 am

Thanks for the welcome and the information. The book has been ordered and I have been doing research. I won't be using the recommended mix this year but I am using an organic compost mixed in with my soil. I also appreciated your comments on vegs per s.f.

I hope to have some of the plants and seeds in the ground this weekend.
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heaterguy

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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 2/23/2012, 11:33 am

Glad to hear you have the book ordered! I think you'll love how simple and easy this makes everything. To paraphrase one of my favorite forum members: Read the book, Do the book, Reap the harvest. Smile If you don't have the book before you make your mix and plant, maybe you could check a copy out at your library?

That said, and since I'm in a paraphrasing mood, I'll paraphrase my marine corps husband: This forum is laden with the bleached bones...err..."so-so harvests" of those who failed to plan (their Mel's mix, that is). Smile

You mention that you have organic compost. Does it come from multiple sources? It might be easier to get to Mel's mix than you are thinking. I am not sure how deep your beds are, but you only need 6" of MM. I would NOT mix the compost in with my soil I would try to get MM in the top 6" of the beds (if they are deeper than that). So...if you have compost from at least 5 different sources, all you'd have to do is mix in equal parts of vermiculite and FLUFFED peat. Then use that for the top 6" of your beds.

I am starting my second year, and my first year taught me that despite my somewhat shaded yard, my chemical-emitting black walnut tree, my dogs, and my laziness about doing anything that might be considered manual labor, I can grow something good to eat. That said, it also taught me NOT to deviate from what Mel's Mix should be. I was one of those people who only had 4 sources of compost (all bagged and one of them I was iffy about). I just hadn't grasped yet how important the mix was. I had so-so results and I ended up adding some fish emulsion feedings to my plants. I have since really grasped how easy it is to get compost material - and how beneficial it is to compost it yourself and tried to get over my "eww" reaction to the whole composting thing...LOL Smile

I encourage you to get excited about SFG! I also encourage you to try to get your MM right the first time! I don't think you'll regret it! Smile We love pictures here! You will be able to post them once you've been a forum member for 7 days. We'd love to see pics of your setup! Smile
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UnderTheBlackWalnut

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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  heaterguy on 2/24/2012, 11:42 am

I'm dealing with an organic garden center not far from my home. The advisor I am using is an advocate of Mr. Mel. The compost comes from a single source that they put together. Plants are going in the ground today, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucumbers.

My seeds will go in this weekend.
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heaterguy

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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 2/24/2012, 7:22 pm

Awesome!! It's still too cold up here to put much outside unless you have protection. Currently it's 35 with a "real feel" of 19 and low tonight is 21 with a "real feel" of 9. BRRRR.... Can't wait to see pics of your garden! Smile
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UnderTheBlackWalnut

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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

Post  newstart on 2/24/2012, 7:27 pm

HI, I am in Houston too and starting this year as well. Lots of great people here. welcome and have a great garden
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Re: Hello from Cypress, TX

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