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Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/18/2013, 10:20 pm

I enjoy sharing pictures of my SFG because I know how much I enjoy posts with pictures. Hopefully it gives someone an idea or someone sees something and throws some advice my way. Anyway as of May 17 everything has been planted.

Northeast bed: Tomatoes (black krim, solar flare, sungold and sweet million), cucumber seeds along the trellis, marigolds, some various herbs in the construction block holes.



Southeast bed: Way behind compared to last year at this time....spinach along the periphery squares, radishes in the center squares and super sugar snap peas along the trellis, and some stuff in the construction block holes.



Southwest bed: Lettuce--some from seed and some raised as seedlings, beets just coming up and planted three 'hills' of vining summer squash along the trellis (lemon, table dainty, and tatume).



Northwest bed: Lemon, table dainty, and tatume seeds along the trellis, Atlantis broccoli, 1 square softneck garlic, 1 square Chensok red (the big ones), Copra onions, 1 lone Siberian garlic that survived the winter and trying an Okra plant.


Deck bed: This is a 12'x2' bed. Far are two tomatillos, then 8 Yummy Mix peppers, then 8 leeks, finally 2 King of the North Bell Pepper, 1 Wisconsin Lakes Bell Pepper and 2 Serrano pepper.


Our son's garden: 1/2 whiskey barrel--Blue lake bush beans and calliope blend of carrots. I told him he could anything besides tomatoes because we have enough of those--him and I demolish two Sungold plants worth (mom doesn't like raw tomatoes).


Other random things--we're doing another Sungold tomato in a 5 gallon bucket on the deck--did great there last year and easy for a 3 year old to pick. Also trying red burgundy amaranth in the cinder block holes by cucumbers (I've read cucumber beetles will eat that over the cucumbers). And also trying one plant of New Zealand spinach in a cinder block hole that I'll let grow on the trellis with the squash. If we like it we'll grow more next year.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  LittleGardener on 5/19/2013, 2:44 am

I saw your ingenious Wink & productive garden pictures last year, (whilst still recovering from abdominal surgery). And thought I too will do this. What an inspiration you are to many. Thank you! for continually sharing Smile

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June 14 pictures

Post  jmsieglaff on 6/14/2013, 6:30 pm

What a difference a month makes!  The garden is coming along! 

Deck bed:  Peppers are doing very well, leeks are starting to get big and the tomatillos grow like the weeds they are.






NE bed:  Tomatoes are doing well and cucumbers getting ready grow up the trellis!  Some red burgundy amaranth that I'll be thinning to one per cinder block cell as an experiment.





SE bed:  Wall of peas with the harvest about to start--end of the spinach and radishes will be replaced with sweet corn seed.





SW bed:  Vining summer squash and lettuce and beets are varying stages of maturity.  Big salads this weekend!



NW bed:  Broccolini, swiss chard, onions, garlic and vining summer squash--garlic scapes will be ready very soon!



Deck plantings of Sungold tomato and carrots and beans in the whiskey barrel.



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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 6/15/2013, 11:35 am

Sowed what will be 24 plants (2 per square) of Native Gem SE Hybrid sweet corn this morning where the radish/spinach finished.  Anyone ever grow this variety?  I choose it because I was looking for a SE hybrid and a shorter growth (66 days) because I'm planting in mid June.  Originally was going to go for Peaches and Cream SE hybrid, but being 83 days I was afraid it may not finish if the summer was cool.

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July Update

Post  jmsieglaff on 7/13/2013, 8:17 pm

Some things are doing great this year, others not the best--just depends on the weather I suppose.

Chesnok Red garlic harvest!  I'm quite happy with this, we'll see how the flavor is.  Since the Siberian didn't overwinter (aside from one plant) so I planted some softneck which I'll harvest in a week or so.



On to the other beds.....

Northeast bed:  Cukes are behind last year, but doing well.  The tomatoes having been doing great, so far gotten a few Sungolds.  First sweet million looks about 5 days out--still waiting on Solar Flare and Black Krim.


Southeast:  Native Gem Sweet Corn doing well (planted June 15) and newly planted squash where the peas were (it was a great year for peas here in southern WI).  The spinach and radishes that were here before, the radishes did well this year, but the spinach season was subpar--took for ever to warm up and get the plants growing and then the day length sent the plants to seed.


Southwest:  Squash are growing well and flowering well, but the bees are not doing their job.  I'll probably do some manual pollinating in the mornings soon.  Much of the empty space has very small lettuce seedlings coming up, this spring/early summer have been a great year for lettuce--no matter how to I try to succession plant, the day length and summer heat tends to make lettuce come in bunches.


Northwest:  Broccoli did well here, Chesnok reds come out today, onions grew well but did not get very big, I think they were a little soggy there.  The onions in the holes of the cinder blocks have been doing better.  Squash along the trellis.  Have bean seeds (3 squares) and 1 square of radishes along the south end.  The softneck garlic will come out in the next week or so, so I've got 4 more squares I'll probably plant spinach seeds in early August.


Deck bed:  They're not ripe yet, but so far this looks like the best pepper year in a while.  The leeks are doing real well and the tomatillos are growing like the weeds they are, with husks starting to fill out.




Anyone else having similar good years with certain stuff and worse years for other crops?

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/17/2013, 12:09 am

You've got your succession planting going along on a nice clip. It's my first year, and in a neighbor's non-SFG garden, so I have to research more on how to do that.

I am growing a couple of tomatillo plants. Yours are a bit taller, but mine are nice and wide at the top too, with plenty of flowers. Got dozens and dozens of flowers on some cherry tomatoes too, but they tend to spring up and drop off, or just hang there doing nothing for a very long time. Hope I don't lose the latest flush of them.

My neighbor plants in concrete blocks like yours. He does the best of anyone around. Tells me that the concrete holds heat nicely and lets him prolong his season, too, his tomatoes ripening right up until the first snow.

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Peak of harvest!

Post  jmsieglaff on 8/15/2013, 1:43 pm

Today's harvest, I'd say we're at our peak.  The mid June planted sweet corn seems to be doing well--hoping to be ready right around Sept. 1.  Cleared out one square of squash because of powdery mildew and put in a bunch spinach, lettuce, and radish seeds for a fall crop.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  sanderson on 8/15/2013, 2:22 pm

Very nice bounty!  okay   Are those tomatillas?  Are you going to make Chile Verde sauce?

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 8/15/2013, 3:54 pm

Yes they are tomatillos.  We make roasted tomatillo salsa and freeze it (easier and we like the taste better than canning it).  Got about 2.5# in the fridge so it's time to whip up a batch before we start picking them by the pound.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 9/29/2013, 9:34 am

With the season winding down here in southern Wisconsin just wanted to share a few thoughts about the 2013 garden.

It was the best year I've had for sweet peppers in, well maybe ever. Not sure if it was the weather or the varieties, but I'll definitely be growing Yummy and King of the North peppers again next year. The serranos went and are still going crazy as they always do.

The Native Gem corn was good, but think I'm done with corn--just not enough yield for the space, especially with good corn stands around here.

The fall crop of lettuce and spinach was non-existant. The very warm weather from mid August - mid September is probably the main reason, that and the stupid neighbor's cat that jumps into the garden and tramples the seedlings. The fall radishes did very well however, as did some bush beans.

Table dainty, Tatume, and Lemon summer squash were winners and will return in 2014.

Sweet Million cherry tomatoes were good, but we all liked Sungold the best, so back to all Sungold next year. While the black krim and solar flare tomatoes were good, will grow one Celebrity again next year purely for volume (along with a black krim).

Leeks are huge and looking forward to using them in some fall soups. Probably will do a few of those again next year.

Chesnok red garlic is great--adding another square of that next year.

Tomatillos are weeds--they grow like mad and self-seed like mad.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  TxGramma on 9/29/2013, 12:56 pm

Great update! Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on your garden...lots of good info. Just love gardening and all it teaches us.

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2014 Garden

Post  jmsieglaff on 2/8/2014, 11:13 pm

So this year I'll be making two changes to my cattle panel and cinder block garden.

The first change is the garden.  I had 4 4'x4' beds, 1 12'x2' bed and 1 18'x3' asparagus bed.  I'm connecting two sets of 4'x4' boxes along the east-west dimension, so instead of 4 4x4 beds, I'll have 2 4x11 beds--basically room that was occupied by a path and some cinder block will now be useful garden space--an extra 27 sq ft.  I will not be putting cattle panels along these new 3' sections for better access to the beds.

The second is a grow light, which has the 2014 garden started.

My setup here--4' grow light.  I made some cardboard 'walls' lined with foil to reflect light back at the plants (idea from New Seed Starters Handbook).  And yes it's empty now--but nothing else will be sowed until March 5-10 (lettuce, parsley, broccoli).



And my first year starting onions, these pictures are almost a week old.  Most have now pulled out of the ground and are 2-3" tall.

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vertical supports

Post  Jahluka on 3/6/2014, 6:33 pm

@jmsieglaff wrote:Hello,

I'm new to the forum and wanted to post a few pictures.

We bought a house a couple years ago that had an 8'x8' timber lined garden.  The soil was pretty good, a bit too much clay if I dug deep enough.  Last winter I stumbled on the SFG method, so I basically gave it a try within part of that garden last summer.  I thought it was a success so I decided to go all-in and redo my garden last fall and finish it this spring.

I made 4 4'x4' plots with 8"x8"x16" split faced construction block with 2 foot paths.  To the existing soil which was pretty good I added some compost and peat moss.  I filled all the holes of the blocks with compost and soil.  You can see rabbit guard fence around each bed.  For vertical supports I used 1/2" electric conduit, elbow connectors, and cattle panels.  I cut the cattle panels to size (the panels are 52" wide, so I cut them to 5' height).  I wove the conduit through the cattle panel and connected the conduit with the elbows.  The frames are placed over 3' rebar that is pounded into the ground.  You'll also see an extra bed off the deck that is 12'x2' (but no vertical support on that bed).  Below are pictures!

So what am I growing?
lettuce (leaf and bibb), radishes, radicchio, onions, garlic, spinach, swiss chard, peas, tomatoes, tomatillos, bell peppers, serrano peppers, broccoli, winter squash, vining summer squash.  In the holes of the blocks will go marigolds and nasturtiums and a few herbs.  What's missing?  Green beans.........the Japanese beetles just make me too angry!

I hope the pictures can help give someone an idea or at least some viewing enjoyment.

Justin







That was my next project..to building some kind of a trellis..!That is a great idea. Thanks buddy!

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  sanderson on 3/6/2014, 9:10 pm

Jahluka, Do you have a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew?

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 3/6/2014, 10:24 pm

No problem!  And they've gone through 2 Wisconsin summers and 2 winters and look as good as the day I put them in.  Now only if I can get some help melting the 2+ feet of snow on my garden.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  brainchasm on 3/7/2014, 1:42 pm

@jmsieglaff wrote:No problem!  And they've gone through 2 Wisconsin summers and 2 winters and look as good as the day I put them in.  Now only if I can get some help melting the 2+ feet of snow on my garden.
Good stuff!  My gardens in Las Vegas are concrete block 4x4s as well.

Interestingly, I'm from Southern WI too!  (Kenosha, for those that are interested)

Maybe us Wisconsinites just have a thing for 8x8x16 concrete block?  Laughing

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  plantoid on 3/7/2014, 6:28 pm

@sanderson wrote:Jahluka,  Do you have a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew?



 If not and you want one check our my strap lines ...... the details for it are in there.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  rabbithutch on 3/7/2014, 8:24 pm

That block garden is a gem!

I've used block and landscapers bedding soil in past years and had great success.  I'm going into SFG for the first time this year.  I will have 4 table top beds (2x7, 2x10, 4x4, 4x4 and one 4x5 in the ground for asparagus, all with Mel's Mix.  

I had been wondering what to do about trellising.  Those cattle panels are my answer.

Thank you for sharing your gardens and results with us.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  walshevak on 3/7/2014, 11:24 pm

Cattle panels and tabletops



I didn't have a vine plant in one bed, just onions, so I put some buckets of tomatoes inside the arch and trained them up.  Watermelon and cantaloupe climbing the panel.

FYI it is on the west and east side of the beds because that's how it worked out.  I have some cantelevered trellises on the north of some beds.
Kay

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  sanderson on 3/8/2014, 2:41 am

Kay, I just love that set up.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  JustMe on 3/23/2014, 8:53 am

jmsieglaff - what type of tool do you use to cut the rabbit guard? Did you use one big piece and roll it around your gardens? If so, is it easy to bend open and closed for access?

The green vinyl fencing surround our SFGs have low holes in them and will need to be replaced. We also need the fencing to keep out the deer.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  rabbithutch on 3/23/2014, 11:08 am

@JustMe wrote:jmsieglaff - what type of tool do you use to cut the rabbit guard?  Did you use one big piece and roll it around your gardens?  If so, is it easy to bend open and closed for access?  

The green vinyl fencing surround our SFGs have low holes in them and will need to be replaced.  We also need the fencing to keep out the deer.

I'm not jmseiglaff, but I would suggest that you use bolt cutters on the cattle guard - the larger the better.  You could use a hacksaw or portable saw (circular or jigsaw) with a steel cutting blade, but large bolt cutters are faster and don't require electrickery.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 3/23/2014, 11:28 am

The rabbit guard I use is fairly easily cut with a pair of snips.  It bends/folds easily to any desired shape.  When I snipped to size, I then removed the extra ~2" pieces of metal right up to the vertical piece of wire.  The rabbit guard is nice because of the finer wire mesh at the bottom, rabbits got through the fencing I first used and chewed through plastic snow fence.  I leave mine in place year round and just reach over them--it can be a bit of a stretch to the 4 middle squares, but I tend to put stuff in there that is harvested once or harvested easily (e.g., not cut and come again lettuces or spinach).

If you're referring to the cattle panels, I used a metal cutting blade on a recip saw.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  rabbithutch on 3/23/2014, 2:16 pm

Whoops!

Senility struck again!

I read "rabbit guard" as "cattle guard."  Sorry for the static.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

Post  jmsieglaff on 3/29/2014, 8:30 pm

I'm expanding the garden a bit this year.  I'm connecting the square beds along the east-west dimension.  Instead of 4 4'x4' beds I'll have 2 4'x11' beds.  Not a huge expansion, but 38% more space!  Room for more lettuce, garlic, onions, tomatoes, a bush zuke and a bit more broccoli.

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Re: Construction Block and Cattle Panel SFG

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