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Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

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Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  AnnD on 5/7/2012, 4:25 pm

Hoping to get lots of advice as I am new to gardening and the sfg way. Have read lots and made the beds this weekend ( bank holiday weekend here). 2 4x4 beds should be plenty for me as a first timer. I have planted some seeds indoors in pots and there are even little green leaves showing so I am very very proud!! now to be patient before putting them out in the beds. The mel's mix has taken all weekend to find, purchase, and mix!! good exercise though. I have made the grid of string and am going to build cages for protection. Really struggling with what to plant where though, I have printed off a grid so that I can mark things down but don't know what to put where or why, although I know the taller things go north. I have tomatoes, pak choi, lettuce, parsley, coriander, corn (but I think that may have to go outside the bed) courgette (zuccini) runner beans, salad onions, cauliflower, carrotts and beetroot so far, I also have some strawberry plants and am struggling to know how many to plant per square.

phew, nice to have some people to share all that with!!!

AnnD

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  tomperrin on 5/7/2012, 4:37 pm

@AnnD wrote:Hoping to get lots of advice as I am new to gardening and the sfg way. Have read lots and made the beds this weekend ( bank holiday weekend here). 2 4x4 beds should be plenty for me as a first timer. I have planted some seeds indoors in pots and there are even little green leaves showing so I am very very proud!! now to be patient before putting them out in the beds. The mel's mix has taken all weekend to find, purchase, and mix!! good exercise though. I have made the grid of string and am going to build cages for protection. Really struggling with what to plant where though, I have printed off a grid so that I can mark things down but don't know what to put where or why, although I know the taller things go north. I have tomatoes, pak choi, lettuce, parsley, coriander, corn (but I think that may have to go outside the bed) courgette (zuccini) runner beans, salad onions, cauliflower, carrotts and beetroot so far, I also have some strawberry plants and am struggling to know how many to plant per square.

phew, nice to have some people to share all that with!!!

Tomatoes run one plant to the 1' square, lettuce, strawberry plants 4 to the 1' square. Corn(maize) takes a whole 4'x4' square all by itself for effective pollination. Mel Bartholomew's book, All New Square Foot Gardening sets out the planting density for the most popular vegetables.

Some criteria for planting: salad garden, canning & preserving garden, experimental garden, herb garden, first timer's garden, 3-season garden, etc. I think we all would suggest you read Mel's book for suggestions for the first time garden. In subsequent years, you will have gained a lot of knowledge and will be able to refine your planting based on personal experience.

Tom

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thank you

Post  AnnD on 5/7/2012, 4:56 pm

Waiting for the book to arrive, being patient until then,very scary otherwise I think!! I already think I am trying too many things for my first attempt but I am hoping that will just mean more lessons learned Smile

AnnD

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Too many things at once?

Post  tomperrin on 5/7/2012, 5:01 pm

@AnnD wrote:Waiting for the book to arrive, being patient until then,very scary otherwise I think!! I already think I am trying too many things for my first attempt but I am hoping that will just mean more lessons learned Smile

LoL! I can't resist a seed catalog or a nursery. I always have more seeds and plants than space available. Fortunately, I can plant some things after the occupiers of the first square have been harvested.

Tom

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it's a strange addiction!

Post  AnnD on 5/7/2012, 5:19 pm

who would have thought that I would be growing things in toilet roll inserts because I had more seeds than pots or trays!! I am going to have to restrict myself to planting x many seeds per week at this rate, somebody stop me!!

Who would have thought I would have taken up a chunk of my beloved lawn for vegetable growing ?? Very strange but very exciting and such fun Very Happy

AnnD

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  quiltbea on 5/7/2012, 5:41 pm

@AnnD.....Welcome to the forum. You'll get lots of help here so don't despair. Its the problem of all newbies to have too much. We want to try it all. Then we get realistic and start planning the following years with more thought. My first year I had many plants to give to the library Plant Sale so they didn't go to waste.

Try radishes if you want something fast. You'll see greens in just a few days and harvest a few rads in 30 days. What fun. You can tuck them beneath the leaves of broccoli and cauliflower and even tomatoes when they get growing.

Wishing you all the best in your first year.

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thankyou!!

Post  AnnD on 5/7/2012, 5:49 pm

thank you for being so welcoming and understanding!!

Nothing will go to waste, as I love to cook and share, and the radishes are on my list, it was actually niggling at the back of my brain to get back to the nursery for the seed but I just had to finish making the grid to complete the boxes.

I am so looking forward to learning, I am even looking forward to the mistakes ha ha!!

I have a few (tiny) gaps in the flower borders that I could squeeze some spare seedling in if necessary rather than waste any, herbs are on the top of my list though, they do not do well in my (clay) soil and can't wait to see if I am successful in my boxes. planning another one now!!

AnnD

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Be sure to post photos of your garden!

Post  tomperrin on 5/7/2012, 6:15 pm

@AnnD wrote:...can't wait to see if I am successful in my boxes. planning another one now!!

We can't wait either! I think we all love to see how others' gardens are doing, how you resolve problems and how creative you are. So please post some photos when you can.

Tom

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  sfg4uKim on 5/7/2012, 7:30 pm

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


sfg4u.com
FB: Square Foot Gardening 4 U




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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  cheyannarach on 5/7/2012, 7:40 pm

This is the first year I have ever started seeds indoors, I have learned a lot from QuiltBea about what really doesn't need to be started indoors (squash, lol, I have a lot of them) I have a lot of some stuff and a little of everything else, probably too many but starting seeds is fun, I am happy I won't be buying near as many transplants as I used too. I just give my extras to my parents and my inlaws.

Welcome to the forum, and have fun!

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Ha ha!!

Post  AnnD on 5/7/2012, 8:01 pm

Busy chasing Amazon (book depository) for my ANSFG book - taking foreeeeeeever to arrive. Those seedling are still waiting patiently, I can't stop looking to see if they have grown another inch - my coriander is getting "leggy" Sad I have pinched out the tallest shoot on each seedling and hope that helps, I need to go to be as it is 1 in the morning and I am sure my boxes will be still be waiting for me tomorrow Wink

AnnD

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  plantoid on 5/9/2012, 4:57 pm

Hi Ann , sorry I missed your birth ...so to speak , may I heartily add to the welcome list.

I live just off the west end of the M4 in SOUTH WALES and too have lousy clay soil. ( No I'm not Welsh Laughing ).

Look in the home page half way down and get familiar with the concept of making your own home made compost .. there is an excelent thread called compost 101 in there somewhere plus a set of posts in " how strong is your backbone " covering and expanding on making your own composts .

The sooner you get started the better for you it really is , " The back bone " of the system , perhaps look up the " Berkley 18 day composting method " . This will take you to the Berkley university USA extension site it is in their index .

Making your own compost really is the heart of the system , once you get good at it you will never ever have to look back and wonder why things never grew well.

Watch out for buying soil improvers instead of composted manures for the former are very poor products for use as the compost elements in starting your ANSFG beds with the inital charges of MM .

I offer .... Steer clear of the local authority produced composts made from gunge deposited at the recycling centres as they have sand , plastics, uncomposted shrubs and weed treated stuff in them not to mention any number of thrown away chemicals that can damage your beds .

For your beds .. dwarf french beans are reasonable good for the pick season is long , they freeze well and are good cooked / nuked in a few scoops of canned chopped tomato with juice . There is a Thompson and Morgan variety that is stringless , the unused beans store well if sealed in a small airtight container to use for next year.

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  AnnD on 5/9/2012, 6:30 pm

Wow thank you plantoid!!! loads of information there thankyou Very Happy

Dwarf beans added to the list!! I have victoriana nursery seeds and heritage seeds so that I can avoid the F1's and harvest my own seed, peas and beans but some from Thompson and Morgan too.

the compost is the main ingredient for me now you are quite right, I have started (bit late at my age Embarassed ) but on my way and the pointers you sent are going to be visited and devoured, knowledge is power and all that!! I just felt like I was on a different world yesterday when I put in some salad and beetroot seed and some seedlings without putting foot and back into fork and spade to "carve" a planting drill or whole ha ha!! it was actually difficult to "only" go 1 or 2 cm deep in the mix!! I just poked a hole with my fingers for the seedling and made a dent for the seed!!

Sounds such a simple thing but technique (and years of experience) seem to be everything in getting a quick turnaround on the compost. I have someone locally that has offered to let me have buckets of comfrey and apparently I can make liquid feed and add to the compost too, so another thing to read up on. The housework is going out of the window at this rate!!

All this encouragement is greatly appreciated (not to mention needed) - I wish I could return the favour - maybe with some recipes, or just provide entertainment with my inevitable disasters while on the learning curve. I have always wanted to write a book of my life story, perhaps "the learning curve" is a good title!!!

I just can't stop going out to look at the seedlings, all sodden and forlorn looking, I do feel like I have just given birth !!

Apparently the "cages" i ordered are arriving tomorrow (bought some fruit cage type frames because I have a really bad wildlife problem) foxes, squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, partridges voles !!!!! mice !!!!! cats, woodpigeons and anything else you care to mention. The monkjacks are out and the rabbits thanks to fencing, but given half a chance (like someone forgetting to shut the gate!!) and in they all come!! in the meantime i have netting draped over, not pretty and I don't want it to squash the plants either.

I have spent so much time outside the last few days making the boxes and planting in this constant rain it was hard to tell my kitchen floor from the outside soil so I have spent 2 hours steam cleaning the tiles today!! Can't wait for the easy bit - harvest, replant, cook what I harvest!! My joy of food and cooking is going to be so enhanced having my own home grown produce!!

Someone stop me!!!

AnnD

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  plantoid on 5/10/2012, 4:16 am

A spotlessly clean and tidy house means you have too much time on your hands and an inactive mind . Wink

Comfrey is an amazing plant .. I have down loaded " Comfrey past , present and future " off Amazon @ £ 10 ish (the hard copy book is over £35) for my Kindle .

It is a bit heavy to dive right in to , for it is a semi technical book about the use of comfrey in feeding stock & basic use in manuring and making garden tea and human tea infusions . It gets better half way through though i'll be reading it several times over to get some data firmly in my head.



I have six " Bocking 14 " new cuttings from a friend up in Scotland .. planted out a fortnight ago in my front garden for use in the kitchen and for manures and use as garden tea.

Now is the time to get cuttings in , bury them 2 inches under the soil , mark the spot with a stick and keep it watered and weed free .

Have you got any fleeces to keep the cabbage whites or onion & carrot flys etc. etc. off things or are you going to use something like " Plant Rescue fruit & veg bug killer " ?

If you want to go the fleece route there are some in Aldi or Lidel's at present & they're much cheaper than garden centres or on line.

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  AnnD on 5/10/2012, 5:36 am

thanks again!! I am going to investigate this comfrey too. I am sure there is something that my uncle used to use with an upside down plastic bottle with the bottom cut off, filled with comfrey and water and a brick to weigh it down that he used for food on his veg - it used to absolutely stink ha ha!. He was a big percy thrower fan so maybe I can google that too. I looked up the composting thread, tonnes of good info there. I have got some free horse poo too and also some hay.

The cages have not arrived yet (so impatient!!) then I have netting, but I am waiting until they arrive and was planning trying to make fleece and or enviromesh cover when I work it all out !!Try hard not to spray anything. Thanks so much for the Lidle tip for the fleece, I will investigate that, there is one a few miles from us so easily picked up. What do you do with the fleece, use the thin one a drape over anything that needs it?? Peg it down?? See how useless I am?? The idea of the "cage" thing I have ordered is that I can make the North side of it a trellis for beans and peas and fix netting/enviromesh or fleece of the whole thing, or do I just put thin fleece over cabbages and brussells and whatever needs it? and just peg in down ?? see how useless I am!!

Have to say I laughed a lot last night, read about compost combusting and then read a post of yours about burning strawberry straw !! It was starting to read like a vegetable loving pyrotechnic site!!

AnnD

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UK

Post  fenlander on 5/11/2012, 12:58 pm

Hi Ann,

Welcome to the site. I lived in Royston and had a business in Letchworth in a
previous life. I now live in Lincolnshire for my crimes.
This is my first year at SFG, in fact its my first year at growing anything !! I,ve
had lots of good advice from David (Plantiod) so you should be OK with him.
As you say its very easy to get carried away. I was going to be sensible and
start very small (mainly because didn't have a clue) but everytime I saw
something I thought "Yeah thats good" and bought it. I've now got 192 square
feet of table top beds, composting bins, wormery etc etc etc. I havn't got a clue
what this year will provide but it will be a lot of fun learning !!
I know that I will definitely have a decent glasshouse next year as I've already
lost some things to frost in my eagerness to get going.
If there is anything I can help with just let me know (althought it may be a case
of the blind leading the blind)

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  Kelejan on 5/11/2012, 2:53 pm

Hi Ann, welcome to the Forum. I am enjoying your postings and laughing along with you.

I lived in Berkhamsted, Herts, for nine years. Where exactly are you?

Look forward to reading your progress. How many square feet are you cultivating?

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  plantoid on 5/11/2012, 3:52 pm

The fleece a gossamer fine sheet of random weave whitish material not a fleece off a sheep ot out of the mountaineering shop. keep an eye out for clear skys at early evening & or listen to the local forceasts for frost and gently lay the fleece over the plant and weigh it down with anything such as half bricks , pop bottles of water , blocks of wood etc. remove as soon as you can inthe morning.

The Aldi fleeece is 1.5 mtrs by 10 mtrs and can be unrolled over a bed however you feel it will cover things.

If you make a bamboo frame down the middle and sides you can make a sort of tent to keep the cabbage whites off and any other little bug or insect off the plants like brassicas, carrots , radish infact any plant that gets hit by the flea beetle , onion fly or carrot fly ( long list to look up)

Obviously don't cover plants that need pollenators during their flowering time unless you're going to hand pollenate with other plant flowers , rabbit tails , squirrel hair brushes , ladies very soft make up brushes or electronic pollenator wands etc.etc. But you can make time slots without the fleeces such as times when it is humid and or warm above 50 oF or 10 oC .. a nectar flow occurs and the pollenators follow the scents and colours to the plants .

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

Post  AnnD on 5/12/2012, 6:44 am

Well thank you everyone, here's where I am up to, oh and I am in Letty Green, so not far from Berhampstead at all, or Letworth really so nice to know someone out there knows where I am !! Cages arrived, they are fine actually, they fit perfectly on the tops of the 4x4 beds and I (we:Very Happy ) have made one about 7ft high and the other about 3. They are the build-a-ball things? so I have a netting over them which is fine to let polinators in but I have got thin fleece (Lidl - thanks plantoid!) so that I can put that over things that might get eaten by something other than me. Is enviromesh good?, instead of or as well as what I already have or am I sorted? I actually watched a huge bee get into the netting that came with the cages and it managed to get out again too!!! however I have some netting which I bought and put over the seedlings last week until the cages arrived and that would not let a bee in. So am I right in thinking this stuff is pretty useless???

I have some new arrivals, marigolds another 4 packets of seed, I have the dwarf beans (thanks again Plantoid) which arrived this morning and cucumbers which are the small ones which I love.

My book, I got confirmation it was shipped on Thursday and still has not arrived. This must be the world record for slow book delivery with express delvery!!

Right, I need to attach the netting to the cages now in a neater and more permanent way with some black plastic zip ties that I have just picked up and devise a double layer of netting either side as a "door" - and tfirst I need to persuade my beloved to attachsome trellis (which I have yanked off the fence!!) to the north side of the beds for the beans and cucumbers. The first bean I planted is called enorma!! I am really scared how big that is going to get. I really wish I had made more boxes, I can see the flower beds being converted this winter!!

Must go the sun is shining and my fingernails are much to clean!!

AnnD

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Re: Hi, new sfg recruit from the UK

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