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The Down Under SFG

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The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 2/27/2012, 10:43 pm

So here's my two SFG beds



Bed 1 (below) has a mandarin tree at the back and it's loving the MM so far, lots of new growth and I only put it in just over a week ago. In the grid is a peanut bush on the left, leek seedlings in the middle and strawberries in the front right.



Bed 2 (below) has a dwarf Meyer lemon in the back, another peanut bush on the left with strawberries in front and the carrot seeds/seedlings in the front right. Something is attacking the new growth on the lemon so I sprayed with some white oil this morning and I'm hoping that will fix the problem...



So at the moment I have 6 squares free (5 really since I need one for the carrot challenge!) for planting and my seeds arrived today for broccoli, cauliflower, purple carrots and a microgreen winter mix which has Red Russian Kale, Tatsoi, frilly Endive and Bulls Blood Beetroot.

I think the extra beds will be going in sooner rather than later!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 2/28/2012, 2:01 am

Just planted 2 squares of the winter microgreen mix. Wasn't really sure on spacing so I assumed 16 per square and then did some dodgy spacing so I think I ended up with 20 per square. Laughing

Since my carrots only took a week to start sprouting I'm wondering how quick these will come up!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  Chopper on 2/28/2012, 2:11 am

Very cute beds. I think you are right on the spacing but you will know soon enough. Smile

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 2/28/2012, 2:20 am

Thanks Chopper.

The pack didn't give a plant spacing it just said they grow to 2cm which is less than 1" so I figured 16 should be fine. Especially since they're supposed to be microgreens, I'm guessing continual harvesting will keep them small.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/28/2012, 4:14 am

Very nice Erica. You may have said in an earlier post (I was gone a bit when my 20 month old grandson visited), but are those beds from a kit?

We have at least one member who grows micro-greens, perhaps she will jump in if she sees this post. I have never grown micro-greens or peanuts,

Congratulations and I am sure your young helpers are anxious to see things grow.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 2/28/2012, 4:24 am

Yes they are kit beds. I had always intended doing raised beds for the fruit trees and when I finally got around to buying the kits I happened to mention it to my sister and that's when she told me about SFG. So I ordered the book, started researching and then found this forum which has been really helpful already.

My sister has a large block with a big fully enclosed vege patch which she has used traditional methods for quite a few years now, she found out about SFG and is slowly converting her beds so it's been a busy month or two for the both of us!

My boys are loving it already, Dylan is nearly three, his interest is limited to having a quick look and trying to dig or poke holes in the bed Mad . Alex is nearly seven and he is loving it, he has helped me plant all the seeds so far and was as excited as me about the seedlings. When my hubby came home tonight, he had to show daddy the new seedlings and we found a few more so it is very exciting.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  Goosegirl on 2/28/2012, 7:02 am

Nice beds! The lemon tree is going to be lovely in the box! If it keeps getting munched, soak some chopped garlic and chopped hot pepper (jalapeno, serrano, habanero) in some white oil for a few days, strain, then spray. Did wonders for what was eating my hollyhocks! Twisted Evil

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/3/2012, 8:38 pm

Nearly all of the carrots have come up, I will need to do a bit of thinning but I'm guessing that I should wait a little longer before I do that, they haven't got their true leaves yet.

The winter microgreen mix that I planted last week started sprouting within 3 days so it's all happening here. Now to get organised and start my broccoli seeds....but I have to find a seed tray for that. I think I have one under the house that my sister gave me years ago but I can't remember if I threw it out!

Sydney has been testing the drainage properties of MM, today is the first sunny day in nearly a week but everything seems to be doing OK.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/13/2012, 11:29 pm

Just thinned my carrots as they were all growing nicely.

The micro greens are growing very rapidly, I could probably start harvesting leaves within the week, which is exciting, first goodies from the SFG!

Planted another square of carrots too, Purple Dragons this time and I have relocated the 2 squares of strawberries. I realised that I was already running out of squares and I still had things to plant so I have moved them to the back section next to the citrus trees.

The leeks are growing nicely as well, I have started mounding up the soil a bit but will need to make my top hats to do it properly. Must get moving on those anyway since I want one for the Carrot Challenge Week!

Need to get the broccoli seeds started too but I'm trying to get a shelf set up in my laundry for the seed tray and that is a slow process as we have to move light switches and some pipes from the old hot water service. Nothing is ever simple....except for SFGing! Laughing

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/14/2012, 3:16 pm

Glad to hear the garden is doing so well.

Indoor seeding does take a bit of setting up, especially if you need to make changes to electric and plumbing Shocked

Have you considered direct seeding your broccoli, just two or three seeds in the center of the square (thin to one once there are some true leaves) and maybe something fast growing in the four corners of the square, perhaps more micro greens?

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/14/2012, 4:35 pm

Thanks for that tip, I didn't know I could direct seed them! Everything I've read says you need to start indoors and transplant and since I'm a complete newbie at veggies I'm following instructions at the moment. Might try that as it means I can start them now. I'm guessing I just need to be a bit careful and maybe give them shade if it's very hot since they are a cool weather crop?

Mind you, not much danger of that, it has been a very cool and wet summer here in Sydney and Autumn isn't looking much different at the moment!

The shelf is probably going to take another few weeks, it's not quite as bad as it sounds but we do have some holes to fill in and hubby needs to do the rewiring to move the light switch and hook up a powerpoint for my dehydrator.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  plantoid on 3/14/2012, 6:01 pm

Erica, from what you are saying am I to take it you don't have or have not read the 2006 edition of the" All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew ".



There is an excellent section about sowing seeds & their spacings including using neat vermiculite to get them started and planting out of the vermiculite into a pot or direct into the bed when the seed leaves are the only ones there .. which is 180 degrees away from the old ancient wisdom handed down over the last 3 or 4 thousand years or so.



If you don't have it may I offer that it is one of the best buys you'll ever make in your life , for it is your personal tuition direct from Mel without any deviations from anyone of how his system works & has worked without fail for over 25 years if you follow his tuition word for word..

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/14/2012, 10:02 pm

Hi plantoid

I do have the book and I have read it but for a newbie like me it can be a bit confusing. Most of the growing information seems to be based on the assumption that you have a short growing season due to frosts and snow. For example the broccoli information says to start indoors 12 weeks before last frost and then plant out 5 weeks before last frost.

I have lived in this house for 11 years and I think we might have had one or two very light frosts in our backyard in all that time so obviously frost dates don't help me at all, so I've had to look at other sources of information to figure out timing of plantings.

I found a great app called GardenateHD which you can specify your area and it then gives a month to month guide of what to plant. In it, it says to start broccoli undercover in Feb and plant out in Apr-May. Obviously I'm running a bit late based on that time frame so that is why I thought Furbalsmom's idea of direct seeding was a good one.

I was going to start indoors, probably in straight MM in the seed tray because I forgot to keep some vermiculite for seed starting (got a bit carried away when mixing my MM) but I need the shelf in the laundry as I have nowhere else to put a seed tray. Two kids, a houseful of toys and a 2 1/2 year old that gets into everything kind of limits my options!

Anyway, I might try the direct plant and if they fail for some reason by that time I should have the shelf and I can do some indoors as well. Better late than never!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  walshevak on 3/15/2012, 5:55 am

If you don't have frosts to contend with, I suspect you can direct sow everything to your garden. I would take a look at the lower sourthern California and inland valleys threads and flip the months. And do check with local garden shops and any Govt Agriculture programs you can find locally. For now, follow information for fall gardens posted on the forum. That might help.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/15/2012, 6:42 am

Hi Kay, shame you never made it down here, it's a long way but it's totally worth it!

Until tonight, everything I found online said you should seed broccoli indoors then transplant but no one explains why! But tonight I found a few sites that said you can direct sow, so I'm going to give it a go. We'll see what happens...

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/15/2012, 4:55 pm

Hi ericam!

If you are able to grow an orange tree, that tells me you have a pretty warm environment.

The reason I start broccoli indoors is that too much heat will make it bolt, so I need an early start. It likes 90 days or so of cool weather after transplanting.

Spring, I start plants indoors around Feb 1. I have also had some luck direct seeding them mid-summer and letting them grow into the late fall. Something tells me these dates will be completely opposite for you.

They will handle a bit of light frost. Cheers down under!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/15/2012, 6:53 pm

@Squat_Johnson wrote:
The reason I start broccoli indoors is that too much heat will make it bolt, so I need an early start. It likes 90 days or so of cool weather after transplanting.

Thanks for that explanation, everything I read said start indoors but no one said why! I planted 1 square last night and I'll do another square in a month I think. I'm the only one in the house that will eat it so I don't need much and if it doesn't work then I've only wasted 6 seeds out of a pack of 100 so I think I can stand some losses! Laughing

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/15/2012, 6:57 pm

Erica, I really like the looks of those beds

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/15/2012, 7:00 pm

Thanks, they look much better now that everything is sprouting and growing, very exciting for a gardening newbie! bounce

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 3/20/2012, 7:14 pm

OK so here's some pics I took the other night just before I harvested some of the microgreens.



As you can see the strawberries are now at the back of the bed with the lemon, the peanut bushes are growing really well, it will be fun to see how many peanuts we actually get! In the middle at the front is the microgreens and on the right are my carrots which have now been thinned and are growing very nicely.



This bed is looking good too, front left I planted some purple dragon carrots about a week ago and yesterday I found they had sprouted. Can't get over how quickly everything sprouts, neither can my sister who has used traditional gardening methods for years and is now switching to SFG.



And this is the best bit yet, my first ever harvest from my SFG!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 4/4/2012, 6:16 pm

I put my mini top hat on my leeks a few weeks ago and have topped up the soil a bit to blanch them but I must be watering them too much as one has died, I think it rotted. Can't get used to how little water the SFG really needs, we've been having quite a bit of warm weather but I'm watering once a week, if that!

Have had a few harvests of my microgreens now and everything else is growing really well.

Just need to get some more vermiculite so I can mix up a bit more MM for my top hat for the carrot challenge.

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  elliephant on 4/4/2012, 6:36 pm

I know it was a couple of weeks ago you were talking about it, but I direct sow broccoli here. We're about half and half as far as getting a freeze or not. I plant my broccoli around Oct and it produces in Feb. It's still getting up into the 90s or at least the high 80s in Oct, but it still manages to germinate.


Last edited by elliephant on 4/4/2012, 6:36 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 4/5/2012, 12:33 am

I think my problem is more likely to be the opposite one, the seeds germinated fine but my sister said she often has problems with them bolting because it is too warm. So when I thinned them the other day I kept the shortest one in the hopes that it won't bolt. If it does I'll just try again in another square, losing one plant isn't the end of the world!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 4/14/2012, 8:01 pm

I planted my sweet potato slip in a large pot a few days ago (not MM) and when I checked on everything yesterday after a few days away I discovered that the kids have managed to snap the sprout and so it has died. Not happy, oh well, I do have another slip on the sweet potato in the kitchen, nowhere as big as the first one though. I'll plant that today and try and organise some protection so the same thing doesn't happen again!

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Re: The Down Under SFG

Post  ericam on 4/14/2012, 11:08 pm

Productive morning, have now mixed more MM, filled a top hat for carrot challenge week, planted the carrots, another square of broccoli and one of cauliflower. Only one free square now, saving that for more carrots next month.

Also put a bit more compost in my big plant pot and planted the other sweet potato slips. When I went to pull out the broken one I discovered that it has a really good root system starting and there was a leaf just under the surface so I have replanted that and we'll see what happens.

Bed 1 - I lost one of my leeks, I think I was watering it too much and it rotted, the rest are going well though. The mandarin at the back is finally putting out new growth again and everything else is doing well as well. Even the microgreens which copped a bit of a beating last week when one of the neighbour's kids kicked a ball in the air and it landed on them. Squashed one of the carrot seedlings too but that's life!


Bed 2 - can't see it in the picture but the strawberries are going nuts and we have our first strawberry which is probably ready to pick today.
The Nantes carrots that I planted in Feb are going great and the top hat behind is the carrot challenge ones. The lemon tree is also putting out a lot of new growth too.

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