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Had someone tell me today...

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Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/4/2012, 4:37 am

Okay, so after 13 years of wanting to use Mel's methods I'm very excited about finally starting my brand-new garden, and I posted on Facebook about what I'm doing, along with several photos of my guys getting the big stuff ready. In fact, I even posted a brief on the private, Consultants Only business page I belong to, since we represent a "green" direct sales company, and said if anyone wants to see photos and updates they should "friend" me.

I was overwhelmed by the number of friend requests I got within the next hour or so!

Then I get a reply on my post that says "what is a Square Foot Garden anyway?" I go into a spiel on the wonderful benefits of this method: time-saving, space-saving, effort-saving, etc.

Her response? "Although it sounds interesting I live on 300 AC. But its an idea for the grand kids."




Did she not read what I said about how much EASIER it is to maintain this garden?! Apparently NOT! Her husband apparently likes working too hard to produce all the veggies she then freezes for them to use throughout the year...which I take to mean he's got one heck of a garden out there.

Well, I guess some people have to actually see it to understand it...and they won't be seeing mine since she's not one of the people who "friended" me and they live in TN, several states away from me. Who wants to work harder when they don't have to?

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  plantoid on 4/4/2012, 5:13 am

Nice one Michelle , those sort of people are far too much hard work to bother with a second time round .
( my next door neighbours are carbon copies of them far too full of them selves and self importance)
They prove it time and time again by showing you they cant even be bothered to read or listen to you in the first place .



So how are you progressing with your " mini 300 acres " , do you have them back and front at your place ?

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/4/2012, 5:34 am

plantoid, I am literally just getting started with two 4' boxes and some planters in our postage-stamp back yard. I posted a couple photos here: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t11322-my-1st-sfg-2012 (Yes, I know it looks like we have a much larger back yard, but that's because there's an empty lot behind us, allowing for a nice view of the lake down the hill. We'd like to buy that lot so it stays empty, but the owner wants an outrageous amount for it!)

We're limited in funds to get things going, so we have to start small and build more boxes as we get $ for them. I'm going to try seeds for most things (despite being in the Coastal/Tropical region with 80-90 degree days already) and see how it goes. I did pick up a tomato plant and a couple pepper plants, just to ensure my boys see something growing right away, and that we have definite success somewhere in the two 4' boxes. From what I've read, the carrots will do okay, and that's one thing I'm guaranteed they will eat.

It's funny, I'm already a die-hard SFG fan and I haven't even grown my first crop yet! But I was sold on the method when I took a college horticulture course called "Organic Gardening" 13 years ago (it was based off the original SFG book plus two others), and I've wanted to have a SFG of my own ever since.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  lisaphoto on 4/4/2012, 8:40 am

I would think since they have so many acres, that using traditional may be easier and cost effective for them if they have the equipment. I can't even fathom how much it would cost or the time to build even 1 acres worth of SFG boxes and fill them. I've spent a couple hundred dollars just this year and haven't even filled my beds yet, and I only have a small corner of my yard for the garden.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/4/2012, 8:51 am

My point is, they can take some scrap lumber (they MUST have some laying about on a lot that size, or if not, they own a construction business so must have scrap from that they could use), throw together some boxes, and grow the same amount of veggies in a much smaller plot. They would have a lot less weeding to do, no tilling, and less ground to walk to get to and from this garden to maintain it and harvest from it. Just think of all the things they could do with the saved time? Initial costs would be a bear for the soil mix...but maybe they have some compost already, given how large the lot is. As they say, time is money, and maybe that time could be spent with those grandkids she mentioned.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  GWN on 4/4/2012, 10:12 am

Perhaps another perspective with acreages, are the ones that are useless to garden because the soil is very poor.
It is very hard to improve the soil for the whole thing, why not sector off spaces and concentrate "the good stuff"
I think If I had great soil I would likely just use traditional methods. I have an acre and a half

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/4/2012, 10:30 am

The visiting professor who taught the course I took used a modification, not really SFG, where she did 4' paths 50-100' long. At the time she was working on getting her land certified, as she was growing to sell to local restaurants. At the end of each growing season she also used Chicken Tractors, letting the chickens do her "plowing" and a bit of fertilizing for her. That would be a great way to use many of the best parts of SFG, but without the efforts of box-building, etc.

If you want to improve your soil, she recommended planting clover for a year or two and tilling it under. It breaks up the hard pan as well as providing loads of wonderful nutrients!

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  GWN on 4/4/2012, 10:44 am

Well I guess that is why I am doing the SFG, so that I have raised beds with the improved soil to "concentrate" the good stuff Smile
I did do a cover crop this year, so perhaps a start towards improving the whole acreage soil, will have to do it next year too

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/4/2012, 10:51 am

I plan on digging out the old notes from that class, as there were things I learned there which were really helpful and I had wanted to try "someday" (like how to create worm bins). If I come across more info on improving the soil, I'll make note of it here for you. It's been almost 13 years, but I kept all my notes in a notebook and packed it in a box with notes from other biology-based coursework since my major was environmental biology.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  Hoggar on 4/4/2012, 11:55 am

Hi Michelle.

I would suggest making a list for the folks that friended you do to the SFG post then
I would Friend the lady with the 300 acres and post lots of pictures of your SFG progress.

Stuff like this will change her mind.

Last year 1 month in to my first year of gardening.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/5/2012, 3:02 pm

That's very cool. I look forward to when my garden looks like that! Right now it looks like this:

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  boog1 on 4/7/2012, 11:00 am

Some folks are jus so STUCK in their ways to change. Case in point: My other half badgered me last year about why in gods name would you built boxes an sit them on sawhorses ?? Till it was time to harvest then the lightbulb poped on. Now she's wondering why I haven't got them out of the garage yet an set up ta start planting yet. Another thing last year there was 2 articles in the paper about gardening one was a guy that does sfg has 10 4x4's an the other was a couple doing it row style. According to the one article ( row style ) the wife cans,get this 800 quarts of food from their garden not sure how big their garden was. But it would interesting ta compare what sfg garden vs the row garden as far as prep time, planting,harvest yealds, a couple of kids from the ag dept. from msu could write a thesis on this. I think it's the up front costs ie boxes,soil mix that scare most away more than anything.

Boog

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  GWN on 4/7/2012, 11:12 am

michelle
your beds are beautiful.
I like the little corner spots... to sit...?

What are the deeper squares for?

You SURE DRINK A LOT, I have only been sitting here for a few minutes, but you have drank a WHOLE bottle of wine... Wink

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  Turan on 4/7/2012, 12:16 pm

I thought the point of gardening was just that, gardening. There are myriads of ways and they all have their pros and cons and differing comfort levels for the participants.
Instead of trying to convert people as if this was a religion why not admire the results.
One of my neighbors loves his old tractors, they garden in long rows that he then 'has' to clean cultivate every week or so. They raise the vegtables that they love and in enough quanity to freeze and can enough for all year round. They do not buy vegtables all year round, in Montana with a 90 day growing season. And they enjoy it. That sounds like success to me.
Have I made the same choices given as we have similar land and he offered to plow for me (yet another excuse to 'have' to run his pet tractors!)? Nope. But I am not interested in orthodox SQF either. It all depends. And yes, when the kids were young they each had a 4X4 area to plant as they wished. Somehow the areas became truck gardens with sunflowers over time. My gardening at that time was more closely French intensive with elements of early SQF and Ruth Stout's deep mulch and Zuni waffle gardens. The first raised bed was for salad greens and slowly that has become 8 raised beds. If we wanted to eat sweet corn we grew every week of the year I would ask my neighbor to plow for me.
cheers

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  TN_GARDENER on 4/7/2012, 5:18 pm

@GWN wrote:

What are the deeper squares for?

Lots of folks grow root veggies in the deeper squares (carrots, etc.)

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Re: Had someone told me today.....

Post  tabletopper on 4/8/2012, 5:40 am

Hogger:.. you must of drilled holes in the pipe to water each square.....where?...Ruth

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/8/2012, 6:16 am

@GWN wrote:michelle
your beds are beautiful.
I like the little corner spots... to sit...?

What are the deeper squares for?

You SURE DRINK A LOT, I have only been sitting here for a few minutes, but you have drank a WHOLE bottle of wine... Wink

GWN, we're growing carrots for my boys in those deeper squares...right now that's the ONLY veggie I can get my older son to eat, and one of very few my other guys (younger son & husband) will eat. I'm surrounded by picky eaters, and I'm hoping having organically grown, tastier veggies to try will help all three of them expand their culinary horizons...but I have to provide at least one thing they'll all eat. Wink.

I placed my plots diagonally to the southern exposure so I could grow taller plants along the two northern sides...it's my personal experiment, based upon the idea that it's VERY HOT here, and we get long days earlier than other places, so I'm hoping that this will work out. We'll see what happens.

Ah, the wine drinker...my husband teases me sometimes about a sign I got a laugh out of at a winery we like to visit (we can get better deals buying at the winery than the grocery store)...the sign said, "Wine me up and watch me go." I can't stand beer; wine is my preference. Very Happy

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/8/2012, 6:28 am

@Turan wrote:I thought the point of gardening was just that, gardening. There are myriads of ways and they all have their pros and cons and differing comfort levels for the participants.
Instead of trying to convert people as if this was a religion why not admire the results.
One of my neighbors loves his old tractors, they garden in long rows that he then 'has' to clean cultivate every week or so. They raise the vegtables that they love and in enough quanity to freeze and can enough for all year round. They do not buy vegtables all year round, in Montana with a 90 day growing season. And they enjoy it. That sounds like success to me.
Have I made the same choices given as we have similar land and he offered to plow for me (yet another excuse to 'have' to run his pet tractors!)? Nope. But I am not interested in orthodox SQF either. It all depends. And yes, when the kids were young they each had a 4X4 area to plant as they wished. Somehow the areas became truck gardens with sunflowers over time. My gardening at that time was more closely French intensive with elements of early SQF and Ruth Stout's deep mulch and Zuni waffle gardens. The first raised bed was for salad greens and slowly that has become 8 raised beds. If we wanted to eat sweet corn we grew every week of the year I would ask my neighbor to plow for me.
cheers

You're right, the point IS gardening, but I still think that SFG can be modified as the professor of my organic gardening class did...she planted in ground she had improved by cover crops and implementing compost, but she stuck with the 4'x__ idea...and built her chicken tractors 4' wide and (I think) 8' long so she could just drag it along the 4' wide paths to use the chickens as her cleanup crew after the growing season for crops was over.

Truly, I'm all for anyone who does their own gardening regardless of their choices. As Barbara Kingsolver said in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, it helps reduce the carbon footprint by a large degree when people grow their own food or buy from local growers...especially when it's grown organically!

But my point is that modifications of the SFG method could make life easier for everyone...even the tractor lovers (of which I have one in my family Very Happy).

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  kinggarbear on 4/8/2012, 7:50 am

The question in food production of "modern" mechanized methods v intensives like SFG is... how much of the produce created through mechanized methods is used to pay for the equipment, equipment up keep, fuel and related supplies?

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/8/2012, 7:59 am

@kinggarbear wrote:The question in food production of "modern" mechanized methods v intensives like SFG is... how much of the produce created through mechanized methods is used to pay for the equipment, equipment up keep, fuel and related supplies?

Agreed. I'm also looking at the fact that home-grown means fresh-picked, which means more vitamins...the longer the period between harvest and hitting your table, the more nutrients are lost. A sort of vegetable entropy...hmm, maybe I should point that out to my physics professor husband. It might make more sense to him then. Wink He thinks of this as my newest hobby. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/8/2012, 8:16 am

@givvmistamps wrote:
@kinggarbear wrote:The question in food production of "modern" mechanized methods v intensives like SFG is... how much of the produce created through mechanized methods is used to pay for the equipment, equipment up keep, fuel and related supplies?

Agreed. I'm also looking at the fact that home-grown means fresh-picked, which means more vitamins...the longer the period between harvest and hitting your table, the more nutrients are lost. A sort of vegetable entropy...hmm, maybe I should point that out to my physics professor husband. It might make more sense to him then. Wink He thinks of this as my newest hobby. Rolling Eyes

Good luck trying to convice him.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  kinggarbear on 4/8/2012, 8:20 am

Even as a hobby, it isn't bad... you get the mental satisfaction of the hobby itself and you get the addition of physical exercise and something to nourish your body as well. Try getting that with model trains!!!


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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  kinggarbear on 4/8/2012, 8:24 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
Good luck trying to convice him.

Yeh, there's something about a shiny new John Deere!!!

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/8/2012, 8:32 am

My other hobby is papercrafting...making cards, decorating gift bags, mini scrapbooks, home decor, anything paper can be used for and a cool tool will cut out...and if I can use a rubber stamp in the process, all the better! My hobby turned into a hobby business and now I teach classes in a formal dining I converted into a classroom.

This SFG "hobby"...I'm starting the garden I've dreamed of for 13 years, and looking at doing the correspondence course to become a certified teacher by winter so I can start teaching kids at my sons' school and maybe offer a continuing ed course at the college my husband teaches at.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

Post  Turan on 4/8/2012, 5:00 pm

From my perspective SQF is a wonderful gateway to gardening, especially for veggies. Because of the clear cut format it is not too over whelming to go from thinking about to doing. It is standardizing and simplifying what was called French Intensive gardening 40 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_intensive_gardening 4X4 is a doable commitment for almost any one, and will give a positive feed back in many different ways.
A study of the carbon footprint of food grown in a garden using ANSFG methods versus French intensive methods would be interesting to see. I think it would start out being heavily in favor of the FI and then as the SFG matured over the years it would equalize.

It warms the cockles of my heart to find a place so full of enthusiasm for gardening, so many people jumping from contemplating to doing. I have given several people these books or links to similar set ups because it is so doable.

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Re: Had someone tell me today...

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