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Patience is for the birds!

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Patience is for the birds!

Post  bwaynef on 3/23/2012, 10:44 am

I ordered the ANSFG book last Tuesday. Its coming media mail ...and w/o a tracking number so I don't have a clue when it'll be here. Since then, I've been reading and planning as best I can. I didn't want to get started until I have the book, ...but its getting to the point where I've got the time and really want to get started.

My main questions deal with site prep. I'm planning 4 4'x4'x8" boxes. The site I have isn't exactly level and I was wondering how important that was. (I expect there's probably a section that details all of this ...but alas, my book's indefinitely in transit (...or might as well be it seems!).)

I've got seeds started (and "plantlets" growing), but haven't arranged for all of my MM yet. I also haven't prepared trellises for everything yet. (Pumpkins, squash, zukes, cucumbers, watermelons, canteloupe, tomatoes, beans, peas...) Any tips? I was hoping 5' would be high enough ('cause 5' sections of conduit are cheap and won't require cutting) but looks like that might be inadequate.

Thanks for your tips!
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  kittykat on 3/23/2012, 11:01 am

I'm still waiting on my book to come, too! Grrr... But in the meantime I've been Googling like a madwoman... here are some sites that I have found useful that talk about spacing of plants in the SFG and about companion planting:

(Dang! I still can't post links in my posts because I'm too new of a member. You will have to cut/paste the string and add the www to the front... Sorry!)

ghorganics.com/page2.html#TANSY:

countryfarm-lifestyles.com/square-foot-gardening.html

mysquarefootgarden.net/companion-planting/

That will at least give you something to start mapping out your gardens with...

Hope it helps!
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  bwaynef on 3/28/2012, 10:42 am

Still waiting.

I got the book I ordered, ...but it wasn't the book I intended to order. I got the 2010 Hardcover Cookbook. The 2006 (paperback?) ANSFG is in transit and should be here tomorrow. (I paid for expedited shipping/tracking.)

I've planned what I'm growing, built my boxes, arranged them ...and put pavers between them. I still need to get MM (though I think I've located everything except POSSIBLY a 5th compost type) and figure out supports for trellises (as I've already bought nylon netting I should be able to use).

My daughter's pretty excited about playing in "soft dirt". My son's pretty excited about eating "fruits" from the garden. My wife's tolerated it all pretty well (though we haven't talked about the financial burden that IS Mel's Mix) and is excited about the impact to our grocery budget/bill. We'll see how this goes.
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/28/2012, 10:47 am

bwaynef wrote:
My main questions deal with site prep. I'm planning 4 4'x4'x8" boxes. The site I have isn't exactly level and I was wondering how important that was. (I expect there's probably a section that details all of this ...but alas, my book's indefinitely in transit (...or might as well be it seems!).)

I think the ground should be as level as possible. If it's not, then the Mel's Mix would probably wash away.

How non-level is your ground? Where I'm putting my boxes the ground doesn't look too terrible non-level but I'm going to have to build the boxes so that they're 12 inches deep at the top of the slope and 20 inches deep at the bottom of the slope.

Wait a sec...is non-level a word?? LOL...doesn't look right
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/28/2012, 11:08 am

Too Tall Tomatoes wrote: ...snip... Wait a sec...is non-level a word?? LOL...doesn't look right

unlevel?

About the title....if birds are patient then why do they get up so early?
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/28/2012, 11:37 am

On my hill, non-level is a word. I am now in the process of digging up some boxes, and making them level. If they aren't level, it will wash your precious mix away... I dig my boxes in about 5" and it helps with watering.

A picture worth a 1000 words and such...
from last year, center boxes are level, those on the right - those are NOW level. (after quite a workout)

Do as I say, not as I do. Make them level the first time!



Last edited by Squat_Johnson on 3/28/2012, 11:39 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarity)
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/28/2012, 12:06 pm

Lavender Debs wrote:
Too Tall Tomatoes wrote: ...snip... Wait a sec...is non-level a word?? LOL...doesn't look right

unlevel?

About the title....if birds are patient then why do they get up so early?

Just to wake us when they start their squawking.

Hey Squat....those boxes with tomatoes are awesome looking. Are those old swing frames(?) used for support?

Does that red mulch/film make a difference with the tomatoes?
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  jennifer37918 on 3/28/2012, 12:27 pm

bwaynef wrote:My main questions deal with site prep. I'm planning 4 4'x4'x8" boxes. The site I have isn't exactly level and I was wondering how important that was.

As much as I wanted to ignore the slight slant to my yard, I was afraid that an unlevel box would drain unevenly and cause problems for my plants (not too mention the washing away of the MM - which is an investment). I tried to level my ground in the easiest possible (read: laziest way possible). Here's what I did:

First, I tried to pick out the sunniest, most level spot I could fine. I set the empty 4x4 on the ground and lightly spray painted around it. Picked up the box and dug a little inside the paint lines where the ground was highest, dumping each shovelful strategically inside the paint lines to try to get a level support. Every few digs, I'd put the box back to "test" my work. I set a 4' level across the box top (checking both width and length) to see how much more digging needed to be done.

I tried to only remove dirt from the most problem spots and add dirt to only the spots that would provide a level support. The ground under my 4x4 is not level (at all), but the high points are level enough to support the entire box. I should also mention that I have a plywood bottom on each box; my method wouldn't have worked with a "frame only" system.

To look at my boxes from the side, it looks like the dirt might crumble beneath them. But, we have red clay soil and I've stood in the boxes (pre-MM) and tried to rock them out of position. So far, so good!

I had also considered only digging out enough to place a cinder block level in low corners and place the box on those. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/28/2012, 1:08 pm

The red plastic helped keep _some_ weeds down, and kept the beds from drying out quite nicely (soaker hose underneath). When I got a hornworm, I could see the droppings on the plastic right away.

Nope, only the tomatoes swing from those. Lots more here...
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10370-string-trellis-for-tomato

and the instructions I followed:
http://images.taunton.com/enewsletters/vg/a-frame-tomato-trellis.pdf
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/28/2012, 3:38 pm

Squat_Johnson wrote:The red plastic helped keep _some_ weeds down, and kept the beds from drying out quite nicely (soaker hose underneath). When I got a hornworm, I could see the droppings on the plastic right away.

Nope, only the tomatoes swing from those. Lots more here...
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10370-string-trellis-for-tomato

and the instructions I followed:
http://images.taunton.com/enewsletters/vg/a-frame-tomato-trellis.pdf

Those look like awesome supports. I just assumed that they were once for swings.
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Re: Patience is for the birds!

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