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Very new to SFG

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Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/21/2012, 2:23 pm

I am trying to develop a plan but don't want to miss anything.

My wife would like me to place the SFG on the south side next to the house. I am not opposed to this but I have a few concerns.

# 1. I have two young plum trees that, when mature will shade the area somewhat.

# 2. Putting a SFG against a wall almost defeats the the access problem unless I make it small. How wide should I make it in order to make the garden accessible?

# 3. Should I be considering another location? My wife does not want it in the middle of the yard.

I am including pictures of the proposed location. I would like some feed back as to what those with experience can help me with.



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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/21/2012, 2:32 pm

Besides the location of the garden, what are the rest of the items I should looking at to make a good SFG? I plan to do all the research before starting to build the frame. I don't want to build a garden and look back and think I should have done this.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  CindiLou on 4/21/2012, 5:09 pm

Don T wrote: I don't want to build a garden and look back and think I should have done this.

Oh you will You will be wanting to change things around and rearrange and build more boxes!

Plan for the sunniest spot in your yard. You can make shade but you can't make the sun. Plan your trellis for the north side of your bed. This is so it won't shade the garden.

DON'T SKIMP ON THE MM!! That is the main thing! I started from the old book but in raised beds. I have been changing them over to MM since I found the new book. Much better harvest and much easier to care for!

Welcome to the forum!
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Chopper on 4/21/2012, 6:14 pm

You are right. The plums will shade out the garden You want your beds to the south of them. Perhaps you could compromise on doing it "pretty"? No point in setting yourself up for failure.

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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 6:33 pm

glad you\'re here

You definitely want to put the garden in south of those trees. Figure out how large the trees will be and how the shade will fall on the ground when the trees are mature. Then place your boxes so the north side of them will get at least 6 hours of sun year-round. If your wife is concerned about how it will look, let her know that a SFG is very attractive, and there are flowers you can plant in some squares to increase the visual appeal. Some are even edible, like nasturtiums.

Being in LA, you can grow year-round, rotating crops by seasons. I strongly suggest you find the university extension website and that will have a list of veggies that grow well in your area, with suggested planting schedules. You'll want to get your warm-season veggies in right away, and wait til fall for your cool season veggies. If you had a winter & spring like we've had here, you're already hitting summer temperatures. Above all, have fun!
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/21/2012, 6:56 pm

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

I have my 2' x 23' garden up against a fence (2' is as wide as you want to make it up against a fence or house). The one end of the garden is shaded by the neighbor's tree so that's where I put the crops that can tolerate shade: Shade Crops

I think it came out OK. Very Happy

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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/21/2012, 11:09 pm

CindiLou wrote:
DON'T SKIMP ON THE MM!! That is the main thing! I started from the old book but in raised beds. I have been changing them over to MM since I found the new book. Much better harvest and much easier to care for!

Ok, you got me. What is MM? You have to remember I am new. Are you talking about Mel's Mix?

I went out to Books a Million and purchased "All New SFG" book this evening. I have a lot to learn. First thing I learned so far is not to use pressure treated wood. I din't even think about that one.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  kittykat on 4/21/2012, 11:12 pm

MM is Mel's Mix - it's the mixture of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 coarse vermiculite that makes up the garden mix we use. You'll read ALL about it in the book. Just don't go out and build and fill your beds before you've read about it! LOL... That's what I did. I'm amending mine now to match MM better, but you can bet my next ones will be by the book!

Welcome to the forum and to Square Foot Gardening! You're gonna have fun!

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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/21/2012, 11:27 pm

Thank all of you for the welcome. I am sure I will enjoy it here.

I am planning to have the garden in service for the fall planting. Now that I have ruled out behind the house (at least as a first garden), I have to come to an agreement with my wife as to how big, how many, and where. Then I will be looking at materials and putting them together.

Does anyone use those landscaping bricks like they sell at Home Depot? If I build gardens in the back yard they have to look first rate. I don't mind going through a little extra expense to make them good looking and last a long time.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Chopper on 4/22/2012, 12:38 am

I do not use the landscaping bricks but I have seen it done. That was my thought, add beauty to the yard and everyone should love it.

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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  kittykat on 4/22/2012, 12:43 am

For lots of visual great ideas on what others have done in setting up their Square Foot Gardens, try Googling Square Foot Garden and then click on Google Images. Lots of great pics to browse...
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/22/2012, 9:51 am

Thanks, getting a lot of ideas. Looks like a trip to Home Depot is in my near future to see what they have that I can use.

On the Google images I saw one wall that was used for SFG made out of Landscape Bricks. I think it will look good.

I will try to get my wife to make a decision on location soon. We are having a crawfish boil today so I can get her out the house and into the yard, she is not very much of an outside person. I want to plan it so that it will not be hard to cut the grass around it with a riding lawn mower. We have a lake in our back yard so I have to keep it some distance from that so that the grandkids can fish and not walk through the garden. LOL

I will most likely put an 8 x4 SFG next to my camp. I spend a lot of time there from October through January. I am always looking for bell peppers, shallots or green onions, and white or yellow onions to make stew or gumbo. This will give me exactly what I need with an almost unlimited supply. There, I can make the frame out of wood.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/22/2012, 7:22 pm



I couldn't figure out how to post on an excel spread sheet so I snapped a photo with my i phone. Thus the glare in the background.




This is where my wife and I decided. To line the patio slab but to extend it 3 foot. What I am thinking is that with 7" of landscape brick running the outside walls that a 4 foot would be more difficult to reach.I will make it 9 foot long on the west side along the slab and 6 feet on the south side of the slab. Then there is a 3 foot extension so that the gardens will connect.

The landscape bricks are 4 inches high and the cap is 2 inches. On the west side the drop off from the slab is only 4 inches so I will have to dig to bring the stones even with the slab. The south side is already 6 inches so I may be able to just lay the bricks on the ground.

I haven't read the book yet so I don't know the proper depth for the garden but will have to dig the rest and lay down a weed guard on the bottom and sides.

Couldn't work to long today because we had the crawfish boil at the house. Here is a photo of the meal. It was great.


Oh! what is in the pots are Sawtooth oaks, Nutall Oaks, Honey Locust, and fig trees cuttings that I am hoping to plant at the camp.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  martha on 4/22/2012, 7:34 pm

Welcome - dinner looks delicious!
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  CCgirl75 on 4/22/2012, 8:02 pm

I've always dreamed of going to crawfish boil! Never been anywhere that has those. Is that a hotdog in the middle of it??
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/22/2012, 10:28 pm

Yes it is a hot dog. We also add corn, garlic, potatoes, mushrooms, lemons, onions, and anything that isn't tied down or we can catch. LOL. My SIL does a great job boiling them.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  CCgirl75 on 4/22/2012, 10:41 pm

Sounds yummy!
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/27/2012, 10:24 am

I picked up the bricks and weed block for the garden yesterday. My wife came with me to choose the style and color. After that I dropped her off and picked up my grandson from school and we went to Home Depot to pick up everything. At almost 7 years old he is now starting to be a help with things, instead of holding things back. We both had a great time getting things started.

My grandson saw some strawberry plants while at the store so I bought a couple with intentions of letting them divide.

I had to change the design a little because the bricks that my wife chose are 16" long. Three feet wide will not work. I am now four feet wide but the garden was shortened a little. This garden will be a permanent part of the landscaping so I am not considering the above normal expense in building.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  givvmistamps on 4/27/2012, 1:26 pm

I can't wait to see photos of your garden! BTW, many of us find it enjoyable to see step-by-step photos as well; one man recently showed pictures of each step in the process of building his table top beds with home-made drip irrigation and he had everyone here drooling over the whole thing.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 4/27/2012, 7:57 pm

Welcome...and Yum!

I had to LOL on the crawfish boil. This midwesterner didn't even know what one was until we helped host some middle school aged kids from our extended family for a while after Katrina. They were homesick for home and the 8th grader wanted a crawfish boil for his graduation. We actually were able to get them from a local fish market (at an EXTREMELY pretty price) and our attempts turned out pretty darn well with his help. He KNEW how to do it.... I even learned how important it was to "suck the head"... Smile

The only thing I didn't understand was that he insisted on frozen corn cobs!!! To folks in my area, that's like using a store-bought tomato when the garden varieties grow all around us! Smile

Check out Plantoid's raised beds. The beds only need to have 6" of MM for most things, but Plantoid made his out of brick and raised them up and they were gorgeous! Might be similar to the landscaping block idea you have. Smile There are all kinds of pictures in the galleries and threads of folks who got very creative. Also check out Josh's blog and his pictures as his family has some beautiful and creative gardens. Smile
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/27/2012, 8:22 pm

Trying to do this on the phone. The company has all forums blocked on it's computers.

Just starting:


first turn:
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  littlesapphire on 4/27/2012, 8:41 pm

Oh what pretty bricks! That's gonna be some awesome garden.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/27/2012, 8:58 pm

Last picture, ended for the day:


Man, I'm having a hard time with these pictures on my I phone!
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  Don T on 4/27/2012, 9:01 pm

Thanks for the encouragement. I will look at those other gardens when I get home. My battery is amost dead.
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Re: Very new to SFG

Post  givvmistamps on 4/27/2012, 10:54 pm

I appreciate your sharing photos. That's going to be very pretty!
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Re: Very new to SFG

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