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First month Square Foot gardening

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First month Square Foot gardening

Post  kcunha on 4/9/2012, 10:14 pm

Hello,

My name is Katie Cunha and I am new to Longview, Texas (northeast) and SFG. I did my first box last month and am so excited to see everything growing so well! I am a little worried about how I will maintain this process throughout the HOT summer. Should I get shade cloths ready or move plants to a shaded area? Will all my plants die (I have, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peas, beets, carrots, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, squash and strawberries in one 4x4 box)?

We will also be moving to the north in 2-3 yrs so I want to make sure that I can make my boxes portable but I am not sure if the plywood on the bottom will hold up like it says in Mel's book?

Thanks and looking forward to learning with each other!Smile
Katie Cunha
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Re: First month Square Foot gardening

Post  GWN on 4/9/2012, 10:31 pm

wow Katie
you ARE organized planning that far ahead.
Do you have table tops?... I do not have plywood on the bottom of my beds, and cannot see that they need it.
Some of your plants will like the heat and others will not
Peas and spinach will NOT like the heat, but you can plant them again in August so that you can have a fall crop of them
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Re: First month Square Foot gardening

Post  Ha-v-v on 4/9/2012, 11:34 pm

@kcunha wrote:Hello,

My name is Katie Cunha and I am new to Longview, Texas (northeast) and SFG. I did my first box last month and am so excited to see everything growing so well! I am a little worried about how I will maintain this process throughout the HOT summer. Should I get shade cloths ready or move plants to a shaded area? Will all my plants die (I have, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peas, beets, carrots, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, squash and strawberries in one 4x4 box)?

We will also be moving to the north in 2-3 yrs so I want to make sure that I can make my boxes portable but I am not sure if the plywood on the bottom will hold up like it says in Mel's book?

Thanks and looking forward to learning with each other!Smile
Katie Cunha

Hi Katie,
I had a whole thing typed out and bam I hit something and it was all gone. I do have a link for you though on hot and cool weather crops.

Link>>>> http://www.vegetableexpert.co.uk/hotandcoolweathercrops.html

I think what you have is a good variety of things to shade and help the others. I would first find out how much sun the box will get in one day, that will give you an idea of what might need shading. My tomatoes are in direct sun in the summer, they taper off in production (indeterminates) then when it cools again they start giving tomatoes again. The other crops too are in full sun here at my house. The only difference is I believe yours is a table top? I do not have lots of experience with table tops. With our heat I plan to use shade cloth to extend the cool weather crops season Smile I will miss the lettuce when it gets too bitter to eat Smile

I am so glad it's spring ~
Ha-v-v
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Thanks for the helpful tips:)

Post  kcunha on 4/10/2012, 8:03 am

Thanks for the replies and tips you have both been helpful:) I checked out the website and it looks great for getting to know which plants can stand the heat. My plants get about 8-10 hrs of sun right now so I know I will probably need to shade them sometime. What are the best times of day to put a shade cloth on? Afternoon?

Good observation about the planning. I am a teacher and we are moving in 3 weeks so I am trying to plan where to put my box at the new house (shady area or not) and how to make it portable (since currently it is not). My box is on the ground. I feel like plywood underneath would be good for the transport but over a few years it would rot and not be helpful for drainage, etc.
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Re: First month Square Foot gardening

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 4/10/2012, 10:55 am

glad you\'re here kcuhna Smile

I'm a teensy bit confusted in the OP you said you were moving north in 2-3 years and in the most recent one you said you are moving in 3 weeks. Are you moving more than once? Are you trying to move beds that already have plants in them and don't have bottoms? You said you have one 4x4...do you anticipate more before you move?

Here are some ideas I've read from other members...

Some members (if they don't already have their gardens growing) will actually just take their MM out of their boxes and put it in tubs and move it separate from their boxes.

Some members will start abbreviated gardens in tubs or containers for the year they are going to move and just move those (it makes a difference the size vehicle(s) you are using for moving as well...).

If your garden is already growing and doesn't have bottoms, I would think you'd end up trying to transplant stuff out anyway...not sure how you would put a bottom on it if it's already growing? Smile

If you don't like the idea of plywood, you can put hardware cloth and weed cloth on the bottom as well. Either way, MM is HEAVY. I believe a member determined that a full watered 4x4 box probably weighs in the nieghborhood of 250-300 lbs.

Here is what I do - I have 2x4 and 4x4 boxes. I don't build bigger because I have shade issues and I have not gardened before so I want to be able to move my boxes around as I find the right spots. My boxes have plywood bottoms (as described in the book) and sit on one layer of cinderblock. They drain just fine. My climate isn't that wet so the plywood seems to be working okay for me (we are on year 2 of my boxes).

The 2x4 boxes are a CINCH to move if you have one of those flat heavy-wheeled appliance dolly type things. My husband and I can lift it - put it on the cart and wheel it where we want it to go without much trouble. The 4x4s are a little more unwieldy.

Boffer has even built TTs on old carts or on wheels with bottoms that can just be wheeled.

If I knew I was facing one or more moves, I would probably keep my boxes smaller but have more of them so that when the time came I could more easily move them....

Hope that gives you some ideas... Smile
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Great tips!

Post  kcunha on 4/11/2012, 8:25 pm

Thanks for the great tips and I think I might just build smaller boxes that will be easier to move around:) I just hope the plywood makes it for 2-3 years. You would recommend putting them up on bricks too?

I know it is confusing with all the moving and yes, we are moving in 3 weeks and then again in 2-3 yrs. I think we might just have to take the plants out because it will be heavy and some of the plants are really big already.

Thanks again!
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Re: First month Square Foot gardening

Post  TooterBelle on 5/2/2012, 2:52 pm

@kcunha wrote:I am a little worried about how I will maintain this process throughout the HOT summer. Should I get shade cloths ready or move plants to a shaded area? Will all my plants die (I have, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peas, beets, carrots, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, squash and strawberries in one 4x4 box)?


I grew spinach last year, not in mm but in a raised bed with just topsoil...it grew great through out the summer. We put a shade cloth (duck canvas) on pvc pipe (I sewed pockets on each end; like rod pockets on curtains)and we would cover and uncover it as the sun demanded. The spinach (which we picked young and used for salads) grew so well that we supplied 4 families with it. Our cherry tomatoes did great so did the beets without having to cover them. Hope this helps.

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