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Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

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Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  mollyhespra on 9/21/2012, 10:14 pm

happy hi Hi, all!

I've been lurking for quite some time and finally (formally) joined the forum today.

If you ask my flower gardens & inside plants, I've got a reasonably green thumb, but next Spring will be the "true" test when DH and I embark on the culmination of this summer's toil: the actual planting of a 21 (4x4) square veggie garden!

I'll upload pics of in the appropriate topic area, but for now I'll describe where we're at: the anti-critter fence is installed, the raised beds are built, I've got a small mountain of vermiculite bags waiting for the manure that's getting dumped our way next Friday, so once we mix it all up with some clean loam, we'll be ready for Spring. We opted not to use peat moss due to environmental concerns, so I'm hoping that our "make-do" modified mix will be OK, especially if we take care to get a good manure cocktail going.

The only thing we've not yet settled on is a design for the trellises that will support vining crops, etc. I've already learned a lot from you folks & am looking forward to learning tons more and hopefully returning the favor with what little I can contribute.

Ilma (who's sitting toasty warm by the woodstove & dreaming of Spring... Wink )

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  cheyannarach on 9/22/2012, 1:12 am

Welcome "officially" to the forum! Glad you made the leap to join as we are always happy to have a new member! I would use the peat if I were you and also are you using 5 different types of compost? The nice thing about the peat is you only use it once. What are you most looking foward to growing? I would recommend using cattle panels for your vining crops, I love them and you can bend one between two beds for a pretty low cost and to me are very aesthetically pleasing!

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  camprn on 9/22/2012, 8:38 am

Molly, hiya neighbor, from down Keene way. I would echo the recommendation of using sphagnum moss instead of the loam, unless you are going to grow flowers in that bed. Give it a try with the Mel's mix as the recipe is given. You wont regret it.
Have you had a chance to read the All New Square Foot Gardening book (2006)?
this is what Mel's mix has done for my garden.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

____________________________

41 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books




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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  quiltbea on 9/22/2012, 11:39 am

Hi Ilma, and welcome from another New Englander.
I started a few years ago with loam along with bloodmeal, bonemeal and greensand for the needed NPK in my beds and they did very well tho I had to fight weeds often. Tip: Don't dig down more than 2-3" in your loamy beds to prevent bringing dormant weed and grass seeds to the top of your bed.
If at all possible, the best way to go is with Mel's Mix, but Mel himself agrees that if you can't get all the ingredients for his special 'mix' that you should make sure you've got lots of compost, compost, compost.
I can't wait to see pics of your garden this fall or next spring. You'll find lots of helpful advice from established gardeners here. Trellises and stringing are a subject we discuss among each other every spring.
When buying seed, order early. There are so many folks now turning to home gardens due to wanting safer and fresher foods, that the seed companies run out of many seeds in spring. I suggest placing your orders in late winter.
Stick with varieties that are adaptable to your colder region. They have a better chance than those bred for southern gardens.
If you want to try something but don't want to buy a whole seed packet, come here and check into our seed swap. There's all kinds of seeds we give to others so they can try them.
In the meantime, use the search feature upper left to read up on things and if you can, get Mel's latest 'All New Square Foot Gardening' book. Its filled with lots of helpful chapters and charts.
Welcome aboard!

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  mollyhespra on 9/22/2012, 11:59 am

Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone!

I'll do my best to respond to all your questions & since most of you commented on the peat issue, I'll start with that.

I realize that in choosing not to use the peat moss I may well have a less productive garden, at the same time, I have read somewhere (possibly even on this forum) that peat is not essential--that the use of coir, or even garden compost, for instance, is acceptable. As I understand it, the use of peat moss is as an organic filler of sorts which lends its water-retaining and releasing qualities to the mix. So I asked myself, what would work as a reasonable substitute for the "fill" part? Maybe loam. And what would "do" for the organic part? More manure! In the end, my mix is probably going to average out to be 1/6 loam, 1/3 vermiculite and the rest (1/2 ?) good ole manure.

I'll definitely keep y'all posted on how it works out. I figure I'll just keep adding composted manure supplemented with material from my kitchen/garden compost pile and continue to enrich the soil that way.

cheyannarach, what's a "cattle panel"? I'll have to do a search on that term. As to the manure mix, I've got horse & cow on the way and will have chicken in the Spring. I'm still looking for pig and whatever else I can get my hands on to complete the "cocktail". I've looked in the "box" stores to see what "types" they offer & I've found mushroom compost but it's got alot of fillers it seems. Since the horse manure is likely to have a lot of hay mixed in it already I'm weary of purchasing something that's already "diluted"--does that make sense to you more experienced folks?

camprn--you have a WONDERFUL garden! In fact, I've often come to this forum to lurk (& lust) over your bounty in particular. I've got the "old" SFG book, I should probably get the new edition. I understand Mel's made some changes to how he originally did things which I learned from reading various posts on this forum, but I know I need to get the new book to be up-to-date with current thinking.

quiltbea, I was about to post the above when I saw that you had commented. Thanks for your words of encouragement. We've laid down weed barrier and our beds are raised, so hopefully we'll "only" have to deal with whatever weeds blow in or are already in the horse manure & loam. I'd love to see pics of your garden. Do you have any posted? And as to the seeds, I'm with you there! I've already got a stash in cold storage (read: fridge) of OP varieties that do well in my region. I try to avoid box stores for the reasons you've already mentioned. We were supposed to have the garden ready for planting as of this Spring that just passed but for various & sundry reasons we weren't able to. I lost my seed potatoes to my compost pile but I was able to get the asparagus into their permanent location a few months ago, so hopefully they will have had enough time to make it through the winter. We'll see... Thanks also for the tips on navigating through the forum, btw!

In general, I just want to say that we're just happy to have a garden & the means to be able to make the vision a reality. We've been planning this for a number of years and researched options for how to get the most bang for our buck & SFG was it. We opted to spend the $ now & lay out as many beds as space would allow, but we're not going to plant them all to start. We want to "grow" slowly as it were and just plant the other beds with a "green manure" crop like clover until we get the hang of this SFG thing.

So, thanks for all your comments & questions and in particular the kind welcome.

Ilma

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  Lindacol on 9/22/2012, 1:45 pm

Ilma,



I have a suggestion. Since you are setting up so many beds why don't you do a little experiment. Set up a couple by the book (1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat & 1/3 5 way blended compost). Plant the same things in 2 of your other boxes and manage them the same. See which boxes take the most time to weed, plant, water, etc and what they yield.

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  quiltbea on 9/22/2012, 1:52 pm

mollyhespra......Be sure your horse manure is well-aged. They give horses all kinds of innoculations against diseasea that pass thru to their manure so unless aged at least 6 months, I would not use it.

Many of my garden photos can be found in my blogs below and many are posted when I answer questions to give a person an eye view so you'll find them everywhere if you look.

Have a great time gardening!

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  cheyannarach on 9/22/2012, 3:15 pm

Here is as link to a thread with a picture of my cattle panel arches, just scroll down until you see the picture of 2 arches, the picture is captioned! I got mine at runnings for $16 each!

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  mollyhespra on 9/22/2012, 3:31 pm

Lindacol, I've thought of doing what you suggest and running a kind of experiment in the spare beds. I have time before next Spring, so I just might do it. Thanks for the input.

quiltbea, good point about what might come with the horses' poo--makes me wonder if it's all not tainted, then? I mean, any creature that's taken or been given meds will poop or pee them out at some point, but you think that aging the manure will neutralize the impact of the inadvertent additives? I guess the heat produced by a good pile o'poo might break down the chemicals...I'll have to research this a bit more. thanks

cheyannarach, I don't see the link! Could you please re-post? I'm really curious. Thanks!

In the meantime (& until I can figure out how the gallery works) here's a picture of DH from a month ago. We've now finished laying down cardboard & mulch between the beds. They total to the equivalent of 21 (4x4) squares, but are configured into 1 (4x12), 3 (4x16), 1 (4x14), 1 (4x10). We have a large lot (4 acres) but most of it is not arable being either wetlands or the remains of an old factory with bad stuff used for fill.

http://i31.servimg.com/u/f31/17/81/13/67/standi10.jpg


Last edited by mollyhespra on 9/22/2012, 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

mollyhespra

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  quiltbea on 9/22/2012, 3:38 pm

The secret to safe poo.......Age it at least 6 months for the meds to leach out and its safe. Of all the herbivores, the horses get the most meds for numerous diseases and preventives. Many of the meat animals are raised organically and antibi's can't be used so there's less chance of danger but even those that aren't organic, have fewer inocs.

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  mollyhespra on 9/22/2012, 5:56 pm

@quiltbea wrote:The secret to safe poo.......Age it at least 6 months for the meds to leach out and its safe.

Hmmm...I was thinking of just piling the manure out back (by type) close to each other as I get them and cover each with a dark-colored tarp to encourage heating up & killing whatever weed seeds may be lurking about in there, so my piles won't be leaching since no rain will get to them. I'm told the horse manure I'll be getting has had a few seasons outside already so it may be pre-leached as it were...so do you think covering the piles is a good or bad idea in general?

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  cheyannarach on 9/22/2012, 6:12 pm


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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  cheyannarach on 9/22/2012, 6:17 pm

If I were you I would throw them all together and make a compost pile, add your kitchen scraps, etc! The pile should get hotter if it has browns and greens, at least that's the way it's supposed to work! I would also leave them uncovered, they do need some moisture if it's a compost pile rather than aging manure piles!

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  camprn on 9/22/2012, 7:36 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:If I were you I would throw them all together and make a compost pile, add your kitchen scraps, etc! The pile should get hotter if it has browns and greens, at least that's the way it's supposed to work! I would also leave them uncovered, they do need some moisture if it's a compost pile rather than aging manure piles!
+1!!!

____________________________

41 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books




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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

Post  mollyhespra on 9/22/2012, 9:58 pm

OK, I'm convinced: I'll leave them uncovered. Hopefully the cow manure isn't too green or the neighbors might have something to say about it. blush

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Re: Hope for Spring! (Hello from Northern NH!)

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