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Rookie questions...

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Rookie questions...

Post  ATLRookie on 2/25/2012, 8:05 pm

Just got my two 4'x4' SFG's built and all of the ingredients for Mel's Mix. Also starting indoor seeding... got a few rookie questions:

1. I read Mel's latest book and I got the impression that the "mix" will last year after year. Is that correct? Or do I have have to replenish the boxes each year?

2. If I don't have replenish the "mix" every year, do i just cover the SFG with a tarp or something?

3. I also used rebar and piping to build the vertical growing frame... does ANYBODY know where I can get the "nylon netting" for the frame? I have asked for it everywhere and people look at me like i'm crazy.

4. I also built the chicken wire covers to protect garden from animals, etc... but then realized if i grow vertical plants on the perimeter, this protective cover becomes kind of useless... any ideas out there?

5. Also... new to planting actual seeds (vs. only using transplants in the pst). Do I have to grow everything indoors or could I plant actual seeds in the SFG now? If yes, what vegetables/herbs could be planted in SFG now?

I have many more ?'s, but I'll stop for now.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Peace!

- ATLRookie




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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  n2o2diver on 2/25/2012, 8:12 pm

My local Lowes carries nylon trellis netting, but I couldn't find it when I first looked into it. I ended up going to the section that carries masons line and just tired my own. It is way stronger and will last a long time.

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  boffer on 2/25/2012, 8:30 pm

#3
http://www.amazon.com/Dalen-Gardeneer-30-Foot-Trellis-TP-30C/dp/B000BZ8FXS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330219667&sr=8-1

or search 'nylon trellis for vegetables'

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  curio on 2/25/2012, 9:32 pm

1. I read Mel's latest book and I got the impression that the "mix" will last year after year. Is that correct? Or do I have have to replenish the boxes each year?
From what I understand, you top dress each season with either the mel's mix or compost (or between crops if doing more than one season of growing) I'm sure someone else will chime in on this one.

2. If I don't have replenish the "mix" every year, do i just cover the SFG with a tarp or something?
I'm considering planting cover crops in the boxes we don't plant over the winter with cold enduring veggies, unless someone tells me I shouldn't. I think tarping would be a good solution to keep the nutrients from being leached out in the wetter weather.

3. I also used rebar and piping to build the vertical growing frame... does ANYBODY know where I can get the "nylon netting" for the frame? I have asked for it everywhere and people look at me like i'm crazy.
Someone else answered this one.

4. I also built the chicken wire covers to protect garden from animals, etc... but then realized if i grow vertical plants on the perimeter, this protective cover becomes kind of useless... any ideas out there?
If you need to protect the ones on the trellis, I'd suggest building another tall enclosure for that portion, with a door in one side (away from the garden) that can be clipped closed so you can harvest.

5. Also... new to planting actual seeds (vs. only using transplants in the pst). Do I have to grow everything indoors or could I plant actual seeds in the SFG now? If yes, what vegetables/herbs could be planted in SFG now?
You can (and should) do quite a few veggies directly into the beds. Some that come to mind are corn, beans, peas, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips (basically all root crops). In your part of the country, you'll probably be able to plant quite a bit right into the garden from seed, since you have relatively warm weather and a longer growing season than many of us. You can check the Almanac or any good gardening book based on your USDA zone. Most just need to be planted after the last frost, with the exception of some of the cole crops (brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower etc)

I have many more ?'s, but I'll stop for now.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Peace!

- ATLRookie



[/quote]

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  walshevak on 2/25/2012, 10:02 pm

What Curio said +1.

Mel's Mix is a one time set up. After that you replenish the nutrients in the squares by adding a heaping trowel full of 5 blend compost every time you replant a square.

First of all, plan to grow what you like to eat. Having said that, find out when your last average frost date is. And, remember, transplants are available from local nurseries and the big box stores. You don't have to start a lot from seeds this first year. You are far enough south that a lot of things can go into the garden right now. Direct sow seeds for lettuce, radish, peas, bok choy, mustard greens, swiss chard. All of these can take light frosts and cool weather but don't like hot weather. Chard is the exception, will survive summer. Transplants for collards, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower are showing up in the nurseries now and can go into the garden now. Again they can tolerate light frosts and don't like hot weather.

After you get your spring garden going, you can start thinking about the summer garden. Unless you really want to, you don't have to start your tomatos, eggplant and pepper seeds inside. You may be a little late now anyway. Check your frost date. You can buy transplants this year. They get planted out after all danger of frost has passed. Squash, cukes and beans get direct sowed later for summer crops.

Hope this gets you started. If you have any specific vegetable you want to grow, ask and somebody will direct you to the right source. The ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING BOOK also has a section on this.

Trellis netting was stocked right on the seed stand at my local Lowes.

Do searches in the Google box upper left for many topics. There is a wealth of information in the over 100,000 posts in this forum.

KAY

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  littlejo on 2/25/2012, 10:19 pm

1. I add compost to each sq. as I replant. It gives some nutrients to the plants.

2. I didn't cover mine.Had something growing all yr.

3. Netting was found at Tractor Supply, or maybe a farm store by the seeds. Don't ask for netting for a SFG, they are still laughing at me for asking questions about SFG, this was back before I found this forum.

4.I put a 28 in fence around perimeter of the garden to keep out rabbits and the dogs.

5. I only start the plants that require a long time to grow: tomatoes, peppers, cole crops for the fall. I just planted beets outside 2 days ago and they were up today!

Jo

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  Chopper on 2/25/2012, 10:57 pm

@ATLRookie wrote:

1. I read Mel's latest book and I got the
impression that the "mix" will last year after year. Is that correct?
Or do I have have to replenish the boxes each year?

2. If I don't have replenish the "mix" every year, do i just cover the SFG with a tarp or something?

- ATLRookie


Yes it keeps. Whenever you empty a square, add a trowelful or so of the 5 way compost. That will replenish any nutrients used by the previous planting.

And yes, to avoid seeds flying through the air and washing away of the nutrients, you should cover the boxes in the winter.


@ATLRookie wrote:

3.
I also used rebar and piping to build the vertical growing frame...
does ANYBODY know where I can get the "nylon netting" for the frame? I
have asked for it everywhere and people look at me like i'm crazy.

- ATLRookie


I found mine at Lowes but not at Home Depot for whatever reason. I have not looked in some of the more local places, but any boutique type one should have it too. They are the crazy ones. Nylon netting is very common.


@ATLRookie wrote:

5.
Also... new to planting actual seeds (vs. only using transplants in the
pst). Do I have to grow everything indoors or could I plant actual
seeds in the SFG now? If yes, what vegetables/herbs could be planted in
SFG now?


You do not have to grow everything indoors and it is OK to buy plants from a nursery if you so desire. I do a mix although I want to start doing some of my own soon. I mostly plant seeds except for tomatoes and peppers and I have grown peppers from seed, but sometimes I am too impatient. You can plant any seed now that can handle your current temps. Atlanta being so far south I imagine most things can go in now. You should be able to find local info online.

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  yolos on 2/25/2012, 11:18 pm

Welcom ATLRookie. I am located 30 minutes south of the Atlanta Airport. Started my first SFG this past fall so I am not much help with the SFGing.

Contrary to the last post about planting anything now, that is not quite correct. According to my research, you have a 90% chance of frost if you plant now. It goes down to 10% chance of frost after April 14. I used to use Good Friday as planting date for summer veggies. But that is not accurate either because good friday is not the same date every year.

This will be my first year of trying any early spring veggies like broccoli and lettuce so I am not much help there either. But I do know that the big box stores and Pikes nursery have just started selling broccoli, cabbage, lettuce etc transplants within the last week so it should be okay to put out transplants of these veggies now.

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/25/2012, 11:23 pm

ATLRookie, to the forum.

1. I read Mel's latest book and I got the impression that the "mix" will last year after year. Is that correct? Or do I have have to replenish the boxes each year?
The mix will last year to year, but it is VERY important that you replenish the compost, at least one scoop per square after each square is harvested. So, if you grew spinach for an early spring crop, once you harvest, replenish the compost before planting beans or whatever crop you are using to replace the spinach.
2. If I don't have replenish the "mix" every year, do i just cover the SFG with a tarp or something?
See #1 You might plant some fall crops that last through the winter, for example, cabbages, onions, garlic or carrots, so you usually would not put tarps over your crops. However, if the SFG beds are empty, some members cover the beds with tarps or heavy plastic. I don't, but then I will put additional compost in the squares before replanting.

I would not put any cover crops in a SFG bed. We don't till the soil, and when we harvest, we pull up all the roots, so I don't know of any advantage to cover crops.
4. I also built the chicken wire covers to protect garden from animals, etc... but then realized if i grow vertical plants on the perimeter, this protective cover becomes kind of useless... any ideas out there?
I know someone here had photos of their protective covers over trellises, but I just can't remember who that was.
5. Also... new to planting actual seeds (vs. only using transplants in the pst). Do I have to grow everything indoors or could I plant actual seeds in the SFG now? If yes, what vegetables/herbs could be planted in SFG now?
Check pages 254 thru 259 for outdoor planting dates. First determine your last average frost date, then count the number of weeks before or after that frost date to figure out your outdoor seed planting dates.

An example: Spinach gets planted 5 weeks before your last frost date. If your average last frost date is April 15, five weeks prior would be March 11

Cucumber seeds get planted 1 week after your last frost date, using the same example of April 15th, that would be April 22,

Check this link to determine your average last frost date FROST DATES BY ZIP CODE


Last edited by Furbalsmom on 2/25/2012, 11:26 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : forgot frost date info)

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Re: Rookie questions...

Post  shannon1 on 2/26/2012, 4:31 am

As to what to grow, look at your food shopping list and compair it to what your local ag. center says to plant and when.

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