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SFG soil in PNW

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SFG soil in PNW

Post  anconaduckman on 5/15/2012, 5:32 am

Hello everyone,

I am a new gardener and starting SFG as well this year. My mother used to due the gardening as I am a recovering disable vet from surgery and she had a stroke that left her permanently in the long term section of a nursing home. So to continue the garden and feed my family I decided to take on gardening. Shocked

Okay so I read Steve Solomon's book first and used her existing garden for that method and then came across the SFG. I added 3 sections of 4x8 for my garden. My wife and I love the SFG and next year we are turning our existing garden into 5 4x10 SFGs.

Okay so my question is in regards to soil. I started the initial 3 beds with Cedar Grove Compost's 2-way which is 50% sand and 50% cedar grove compost. They instructed me to use this as the PNW gets a lot of rain and we need the extra drainage. Then I learned of MM.

Question:
Is it true that we need more drainage in our local climate than MM will give us?

The stuff is growing great but if the rain isn't an issue and MM is still best then I am going to use that for the rest of my beds. I do use worm tea as well on my plants.

I have been on information overload these past two months as I am cramming for this summers harvest and to be carried on into year round gardening.

Regards
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Re: SFG soil in PNW

Post  Goosegirl on 5/15/2012, 6:18 am

flower flower

Welcome to the forum! Have you read the ANSFG book yet? The forum is a great place for extra info but the actual book is the best place to get the basis for the SF Gardening method. One thing that Mel stresses in the book is that you CANNOT overwater Mel's Mix. It drains very well. We have several forum members in the PNW and hopefully they will chime in and give you more first-hand knowledge regarding MM and your climate. In the meantime, WELCOME from South Dakota!

GG
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Re: SFG soil in PNW

Post  littlesapphire on 5/15/2012, 7:39 am

Welcome to the forum! I'm so glad to hear you're going the SFG way, because it's so easy to take care of and really produces a lot of veggies! I'm not personally for the PNW, however i literally live in a swamp so I bet we're equally wet. That said, my MM never gets overly wet, even when there's standing water outside of my garden boxes. As Goosegril said, you cannot over water MM.
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Re: SFG soil in PNW

Post  curio on 5/15/2012, 8:16 am

I think the MM will give you more than adequate drainage. We're outside Olympia and are using MM with wonderful results. Our "normal" soil here in the valley is basically old river bottom... so a lot of sand and silt that compacts like crazy and drains very slowly, except where there has been agricultural work for generations.
Please take Goosegirl's advice regarding getting the "All New Square Foot Gardening" book, published in 2006. I believe it's $20 or less, and we got ours at Home Depot.
Welcome to the forum Smile We do have a good number of members here who live west of the Cascades, with varying amounts of experience with gardening in general and SFG in particular.
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Re: SFG soil in PNW

Post  gwennifer on 5/15/2012, 11:33 am

Hey there duckman! Welcome to the fourm! Did you know you're the second PNW'er this month to sign on talking about that Solomon book? Sounds like it has a lot of great information.

So I don't know about Auburn, WA but where I am we get a lot of rain in the fall, winter, and spring, but the summers are quite dry. And since summer is when the bulk of veggie gardening is done, I haven't even worried about what would happen to my garden with too much rain. Of course Goosegirl is right - Mel is pretty adament in his book that his mix absolutely cannot be overwatered, unlike typical garden soil. In the year I've been a member of this forum, I can honestly say I've never seen someone come on here and complain about their mix not draining properly. Underwatering comes up all the time.

Now I know you mentioned your goal is year round gardening, so then you're back to the rainfall issue. But, correct me if I'm wrong, don't the methods for season extension involve covering your garden? Hoop houses and the like? In that case, your garden wouldn't be exposed to the rain at all.

Hey I'm glad you signed on! I was lucky in that I didn't have an existing garden or any experience to confuse me - I bought the ANSFG book and did everything just like it says and my garden is working for me. Let us know what route you decide to go. Sounds like you've got the makings of a great experiment there (old beds one way, new beds the ANSFG way).
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SFG drainage

Post  anconaduckman on 5/15/2012, 3:37 pm

Awesome!

Thanks for the advice. I will go on from here using the MM. Though I may have to make it myself as I haven't seen it at Lowes. I am definitely going to get the book. I have been on a limited budget so I was buying plants and using the internet for my resources.

Once again thanks for the advice and welcome messages.

I really like the Solomon book; it has good general info about composting, root development and more. Though he doesn't prefer SFG but that's fine it still is a great book.
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Re: SFG soil in PNW

Post  curio on 5/15/2012, 6:20 pm

I haven't found a good Mel's Mix combo here in the great NW. I bought the following composts for my mix: Cow manure, chicken manure, Mushroom compost, fish compost (got that at Sky Nursery) and a blend of forest, organic vegetable matter and farm waste.
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Re: SFG soil in PNW

Post  Goosegirl on 5/15/2012, 8:20 pm

Hey Duck, it's the Goose again! Definitely get your own compost pile (or barrel, or tumbler Very Happy ) going - sounds like you have some good info there in Solomon's book, and Mel also stresses the importance of getting your own compost going so you have it to replenish your Mel's Mix. You are going to have so much fun!

GG
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