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Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

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Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  pattipan on 4/5/2010, 1:24 am

Hey there Upper South folks! Just wondering if there are any of you out there and where you are at with your SFG'ing this spring. Our region extends from Virginia to Oklahoma. I think of us as neither north nor south...meaning March and April can swing toward winter or spring any time during these two months!

I am located in the eastern mountains of West Virginia...in the "elbow" of the eastern panhandle, in Zone 6a. We've had unseasonably warm weather the last few days and the forsythia is in full bloom and the Bradford pears are now dotting the countryside with their white blossoms.

I've been SFG'ing for about 6 years now, so I volunteered to be host for our region. I'm here to help anyway I can...or I can direct you to someone else who can.

here's a list of what I've gotten done so far. Actually, it's a joint effort between my hubby and me. He does all the box building and soil mixing, and I get to do the planting! We both get to reap the benefits, though!

In boxes so far:

  • Salad box: several different lettuces, radishes, arugula, spinach.
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Broccoli
  • Red onions
  • shallots (started last Fall)
Started from seed:

  • Swiss chard (setting these out soon, but started them indoors)
  • WV 63 tomatoes (heirloom started from seed I saved in '09)
  • Opalka paste tomatoes
  • Anaheim peppers
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Eggplant (Rosa Bianca)
I also have LOTS of herbs in pots (growing in Mel's Mix, of course). And I'll also be visiting the local greenhouses later on.

Last time we visited the greenhouse the owner called up the "square foot" people. Cool! Let me tell you a secret...it pays to befriend you local greenhouse owner, 'cause now he orders vermiculite for us!

Okay, I think I better post this before it gets too long. Let's here from you now!


Patti
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Hi Pattypan and Fellow Upper Southerners - Or Lower Northerners!

Post  JudyB on 4/5/2010, 12:15 pm

This is great having a regional forum where folks can exchange info and resources for our area. I'm starting my third year with this method and it's the best! I have one 4 x 4 brick box, and four 2 x 4 boxes strategically placed more or less together where they can receive the best sun. This year I started broccoli and spinach (in peat pots) indoors, plus one little robust tomato seedling out of six that's just going to town.

Outdoors I just sowed a sampling of peas, beets, turnip greens and mustard spinach. I have one box that's just for herbs. The lemon balm from last year came back very well and I'm going to experiment with others. What herbs do you grow in WV? Later on I'd like to try summer squash and lima beans.

Looking forward to reading more on here!

Judy Bowman
Louisville, KY

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  pattipan on 4/5/2010, 12:49 pm

Hi there, Judy! Sounds like you've got a good start for this year! I couldn't wait for Spring to come this year, after the big snows of February. I don't think we saw our SFG boxes from December until the last part of February!

As for herbs... Parsley (curly and Italian), sage, rosemary and thyme ...tarragon, oregano...these all carried over from 2009. I bring the rosemary, thyme and parsley inside for the winter months. I thought I would have to replant the others, but they all came back. The sage is actually in the ground, since it gets so big. I'll be getting some mint from the greenhouse later too and I'll plant it where it can spread at will. I love cooking with fresh herbs!

Patti
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Hello from northern Arkansas.

Post  Cornerstone on 4/5/2010, 11:21 pm

I am glad to see activity her in the upper south. As for me I'm no where near as far along as I should be. I did not get any plants started this year, so I'll be buy few and direct sowing the rest. I have to get a few boxes moved around and replenish all of the existing boxes. I hope to get boxes prepared this week and get a few plants in the boxes.
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  Jiro on 4/5/2010, 11:47 pm

Hello from VA. I have a single 4x4 test bed for the SFG method. Things are coming up beautifully. In the ground: cos and leaf lettuce (transplanted one batch a couple of weeks ago and sowed a second batch last week which is emerging), sugar snap peas, carrots, radish, and chard. Tomatoes, ground cherries, and bell peppers still under the grow lights indoors, almost ready for transplant at the same time I sow my beans.

The Mid-Atlantic drives me nuts. I remember mornings in the 20s in May just a couple years ago and after the winter we just had, I planned everything based on a very late frost date. Oh well! Easy enough to adjust... but I keep monitoring the lettuces.
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  pattipan on 4/6/2010, 10:38 am

@Cornerstone wrote:I am glad to see activity her in the upper south. As for me I'm no where near as far along as I should be. I did not get any plants started this year, so I'll be buy few and direct sowing the rest. I have to get a few boxes moved around and replenish all of the existing boxes. I hope to get boxes prepared this week and get a few plants in the boxes.

I'm glad to know there are some folks in our Upper South region here in the forum too! Surely there are more of us?

This year is the first time I've started much of my garden indoors. I think some of my seedlings look a little leggy, but they look healthy! And I'll still be buying lots of plants too. I like supporting my local greenhouse. :o)

Patti
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  pattipan on 4/6/2010, 10:46 am

@Jiro wrote:Hello from VA. I have a single 4x4 test bed for the SFG method. Things are coming up beautifully. In the ground: cos and leaf lettuce (transplanted one batch a couple of weeks ago and sowed a second batch last week which is emerging), sugar snap peas, carrots, radish, and chard. Tomatoes, ground cherries, and bell peppers still under the grow lights indoors, almost ready for transplant at the same time I sow my beans.

The Mid-Atlantic drives me nuts. I remember mornings in the 20s in May just a couple years ago and after the winter we just had, I planned everything based on a very late frost date. Oh well! Easy enough to adjust... but I keep monitoring the lettuces.

Sounds like you have some good eats in your 4 x 4, Jiro! I've never tried ground cherries, but I've heard about folks growing them in their gardens. Do they have briers on them? Maybe I'm confusing them with something from my childhood memories... we called them sandbriers and they hurt when you stepped on them with bare feet! What does the fruit taste like and what dishes do you use them in?

The next few days here in our area are going to be in the 80's -- much too early to be this hot! I hope it doesn't last long. I fear the fruit trees will get ahead of themselves. Our last frost date here is May 19.

Patti
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Oh-

Post  dac_cincy on 4/6/2010, 9:53 pm

This is my first post to the forum, so please forgive me if I don't do everything correctly.

I am in the Cincinnati area. Tonight my son and I built 3 new 4x4 boxes- we are going to try corn this year. That will bring us up to 6 true square foot boxes, and 2 more areas that are kind of sort square foot. This is the 8th or 9th year I have done square foot gardening

So far- I have planted 2 new blueberry bushes- in one of the kind of sort of square foot areas. I have strawberries in one of the boxes we put in last year, but I need to add 4 more plants this year to fill it.

I have no south facing windows in my house, so nothing gets started from seed- and I do not have room for grow lights with an active 4 year old roaming the house.

The plans for this year are:
box 1- stawberries- total 8 plants and I am already seeing runniners from the ones that over wintered
box 2- lettuce, radishes, carrots and something else to be determined
box 3- potatoes and onions only
box 4- tomatoes, cucmbers, pepper (hot and sweet varities) and something else to be determined
boxes 5 and 6- corn

we have 3 blueberry plants that will hopefully give us more than the 3 berries we got last year (soil was not acid enough)

And I am planning on pumpkins in the front of the house garden and I am going to give my 4 year old his own pots/containers to do his gardening in- that way those are right on patio.

We'll see how it goes.

Last year we did great - although I planted way tooooooooooo much lettuce.


Happy gardening

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  NancyD on 4/7/2010, 7:09 pm

Hi, All! This is my first post, so please forgive me if I do it wrong. I, too, live in the eastern panhandle of WV. I'm a little further behind than Pattipan! I currently have 2 - 4x4 boxes that I had installed before I ever heard of SFG. So this year I'm going to try SFG! This week I planted a variety of lettuces and carrots in the one bed. I hope to get the other bed sorted out this week and put in some broccoli, peas, and radishes. But what happened to spring?? We went straight to 90 degrees!

Nancy
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  pattipan on 4/7/2010, 9:23 pm

@dac_cincy wrote:
The plans for this year are:
box 1- stawberries- total 8 plants and I am already seeing runniners from the ones that over wintered
box 2- lettuce, radishes, carrots and something else to be determined
box 3- potatoes and onions only
box 4- tomatoes, cucmbers, pepper (hot and sweet varities) and something else to be determined
boxes 5 and 6- corn

we have 3 blueberry plants that will hopefully give us more than the 3 berries we got last year (soil was not acid enough)

And I am planning on pumpkins in the front of the house garden and I am going to give my 4 year old his own pots/containers to do his gardening in- that way those are right on patio.

Sounds to me like you're growing for a family! It's great that you're getting your 4-yr old involved early. Some of my earliest memories are working in the garden with my dad. Gardening was how we made it through tough times -- it wasn't a hobby, it was how he fed five kids on a small income!

I've got some boxes ready for my strawberry plants (day neutral type) -- they should arrive any day! I'm using Mel's mix in some smaller wooden crates we had on hand. I'm going to keep them off the ground to keep away from slugs. We planted rhubarb last year, not in the SFG but nearby. I am looking forward to strawberry-rhubarb pie in the future!

Patti
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  pattipan on 4/7/2010, 9:33 pm

@NancyD wrote:Hi, All! This is my first post, so please forgive me if I do it wrong. I, too, live in the eastern panhandle of WV. I'm a little further behind than Pattipan! I currently have 2 - 4x4 boxes that I had installed before I ever heard of SFG. So this year I'm going to try SFG! This week I planted a variety of lettuces and carrots in the one bed. I hope to get the other bed sorted out this week and put in some broccoli, peas, and radishes. But what happened to spring?? We went straight to 90 degrees!

Nancy

Hey there, Nancy! I'm so happy to see a fellow WV'ian here in the forum! It's supposed to get back to spring-like weather tomorrow. I'm glad! Our lettuce and broccoli will grow much better in the cool weather. I love planting different lettuces too. One of my favorites is this mini Romaine (Little Caesar). Can't wait to eat it! I took a picture of some of last year's lettuce. I'll see if I can find that picture and post it later.

Patti
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Lettuce pic from 2009

Post  pattipan on 4/7/2010, 10:48 pm

Found that lettuce pic I referred to earlier. The Little Caesar Romaine (from Burpee) is on the right, and one head of the curly endive is on the left. Good eats!

Patti

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  cliftyman on 4/9/2010, 10:16 am

I'm in South Central KY... in Bowling Green... home of the Corvette

I
started planting 3/1 this year... earliest I've ever planted anything,
cause it was so much easier to prep my garden with a SFG instead of row
garden.... usually I don't plant until after Derby Day, first weekend of May...

I've never had so much luck with a
garden

box 1 - 2 squares spinach, 2 squares lettuce, 4 squares of carrots, 2 squares of fennel, 2 squares of cabbage, 2 squares of cowpeas (2 free squares for something that needs to climb)

box 2 - 4 squares of broccoli, 4 squares of cauliflower, 2 squares of spinach, 2 squares of lettuce, 4 free squares for climbers

box 3 - only planted a grape tomato in it

box 4 - 12 squares of strawberries, 4 squares of marigolds

oh yeah I
planted some red potatoes in 1x8 beds I made outta scrap plywood...
they are just now busting out after planting them 2 weeks ago...

I'm
psyched up! My grapevines have already started budding and leafing
out.... I just hope its not like 2 years ago... I think most of you
folks experienced that killing frost too... .... My grapevines were in full leaf and a horrible frost
hit and wiped them out and they didn't bear anything that year... so
that would have been at least 1-2 weeks from now

Anything could
happen but I'm hoping for the best and I have my plastic just in case...
it should be really easy to cover up the squares if I have to...

we were in the 80s last week, now we are going to be in the 60s this week and next week we'll be back in the 80s.... so goes spring in Kentucky!
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Looking green so far..

Post  Selandra on 4/9/2010, 2:11 pm

This is my first year square footing it so I have lots of mistakes to make and ground to cover. I have three square foot boxes that will resist everything including I think a nuclear blast. This however is another story. I have 6 trays of vegatables trying to take over my bedroom but hopefully tomorrow they shall lay in thier final resting place. Right now I have flowers of the assorted nature though I made sure to plant nasturiums and marigolds. Can we get spell check in here?

In my veggies I have two broccoli, minus one the cat at, two califlower, one looks sad, may have to put it down. Three tomatoes, one looks great, the other sick and the third refuses to leave it's shell. Peppers are looking good, just wish I could remember which color I planted in which square. Oh well, I love surprises. I also have strawberry plants up the wazoo (what is a wazoo anyway). This is wonderful as they are yellow heirlooms. This is terrible as it will be two to three years before I can get fruit off of them. People really need to warn me. I also have some huckleberry... I think. I planted huckleberry and thought they looked just like strawberries when young, but now I have another couple of plants growing that look different. I did plant them right next to each other so mix ups can happen, I mean, have you ever seen how bloody small those seed are? So I will get pics up soon.
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Gardening from 6b

Post  ander217 on 4/9/2010, 3:35 pm

Hello, fellow Upper-Southers,

DH and I planted our first SFG box this year. It's 4 x 4 x 1'. We planted 8 grids with cabbage plants, 3 with red onion plants, and one each of kohlrabi, celery root, carrots, lettuce, and pansies.

In our row-style garden we've planted Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold potatoes, yellow onion sets, spinach, radishes, lettuce, mesclun, peas, and parsley, except DH forgot about the pea and parsley row and tramped all over it while tilling the rest of the garden so I think we'll have to replant those.

We plan to build more boxes for tomatoes, cukes, muskmelons, pole beans, peppers, eggplants, and squash. We're going to make ground beds for corn, watermelon, sweet potatoes, bush beans, purple-hull peas, okra, zinnias, marigolds and nasturtiums.

I have tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and peppers growing inside under growlights.

I hadn't grown transplants from seed for many years. Several new houses have been built in my area, and three of our newer neighbors work in law enforcement. A couple of weeks ago one of them casually asked me in a suspicious tone, "So, whatcha growing inside under the growlights? I noticed the lights while driving by." And then another one asked me the same thing a few days later.

Is it possible that they think this gray-haired Methodist grandmother is growing a "cash-crop" on the side??? Hilarious. Please let me assure everyone, I grow nothing but food crops or flowers under my growlights, - or anyplace else, for that matter.
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  cliftyman on 4/9/2010, 4:02 pm

Hey the officers have to ask... you know what the largest cash crop is around here!
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  JKHamlin on 4/21/2010, 1:33 am

I'm trying SFG for the first time this year here in Tulsa. I've been gardening for a few years based on what I learned from my grandfather and parents when I was a kid, and what I learned from getting a degree in biology.

I'm doing at least 20 boxes this year.

Photo of part of them during setup: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=38985340&l=9a5aa82a1d&id=34320678

I'm a little apprehensive about green beans, though. I know they're supposed to work, but green beans (growing bush beans) are VERY picky about growing in containers. They tend to develop a stunted phenotype when their roots are constricted, so I'm worried this might happen in a garden box.

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  NancyD on 4/21/2010, 9:50 am

Wow, JK!! 20 boxes! They look fantastic! You'll have plenty to share with friends/family, or plenty to put up and store. Good Luck!

Nancy
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  Megan on 5/1/2010, 6:45 pm

That is too funny about the cash crop! Smile

This is my first try at SFG, and of course I over-planted and picked a few challenging veggies, too. Doh!

Box 1 (9 x 3): Carrots, kohlrabi, rapini, radish, pak choi, swiss chard, sweet & hot peppers, two kinds of tomatoes, nasturtium, basil, lettuce mix, white & yellow & spring onions.

Box 2 (8 x 4): potatoes, pole limas, pole beans, two kinds of squash, corn, summer savory, cilantro, a midget watermelon (fretting about how to trellis that), amaranth (a complete experiment!!), peas, cukes, and more radishes, kohlrabi & nasturtium.

Additionally, marigolds, strawberries and more onions in a container, and catnip for the kitties!

I direct-seeded everything except the basil, and only now starting to see seed leaves outside. Figures, given the wonky weather we've been having. It's well over 80 today but the past weeks the nights have been near freezing!

There are indoor seed starts of the basil as well as backups for some of the more sensitive veggies, plus some cabbage I need to find a spot for.
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Green Beans

Post  miinva on 5/1/2010, 11:28 pm

Last year was our first year for SFG and we planted both bush and pole beans and they grew like crazy! Maybe it's the rich soil, but they grew better than I've ever seen and we planted a whole bunch this year too.

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  Megan on 5/2/2010, 5:58 am

@miinva wrote:Last year was our first year for SFG and we planted both bush and pole beans and they grew like crazy! Maybe it's the rich soil, but they grew better than I've ever seen and we planted a whole bunch this year too.

miinva, how many pole beans did you plant per square foot?
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  miinva on 5/2/2010, 8:19 pm

We planted nine, like the book says. At some point I want to put in an overhead trellis for them to grow on because I think it would be beautiful and it would make them easier to pick. Smile

Edit: I forgot to mention that I also used beans that are heirloom and recommended for my area, so that may have been part of the reason for my success as well.

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  Megan on 5/2/2010, 8:32 pm

@miinva wrote:We planted nine, like the book says. At some point I want to put in an overhead trellis for them to grow on because I think it would be beautiful and it would make them easier to pick. Smile

Edit: I forgot to mention that I also used beans that are heirloom and recommended for my area, so that may have been part of the reason for my success as well.



Wow. I only put in two per square (heirloom also). Maybe I should reconsider for more? I am hoping mine will climb up the corn.
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  miinva on 5/3/2010, 6:56 pm

I'm sure you'll get lots of beans with two plants, and the corn needing soil nutrients may mean that it'll do better with less? I'm afraid I'm too new to this to offer a solid opinion.

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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

Post  Megan on 5/3/2010, 7:12 pm

@miinva wrote:I'm sure you'll get lots of beans with two plants, and the corn needing soil nutrients may mean that it'll do better with less? I'm afraid I'm too new to this to offer a solid opinion.

Me either, guess I'll find out. Good luck with yours, I look forward to hearing about how it goes!
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Re: Upper South: Where are you at with your SFG?

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