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I could use some input...

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I could use some input...

Post  JenniferS on 4/16/2010, 7:19 pm

hello! I am new to this forum - and sort of new to gardening. I tried at my last home to have a garden, but there were too many trees and NO sun, so I gave up. But at our new house, we are totally open to the sky and I WANT TO GARDEN!!! I heard about the SFG method last year and was very intrigued. But only now looking into it and I am excited to try it! I live in Olympia, WA.

SOOOO - I am building garden boxes tomorrow and I think I need to get planting! I would LOVE to grow potatoes - but can I do that with this method? I read about growing them in garbage bags and that looks interesting...

My two oldest kids are 9 and 6 1/2 and they would love to garden. We homeschool and I think this is the BEST method to teach them. I cant afford to buy the book at this time, but am interested in that too.

Anyway - any ideas/input would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks - Jennifer


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Re: I could use some input...

Post  martha on 4/16/2010, 10:32 pm

Welcome! I don't have any location-specific input for you. Watch for Boffer - he lives in Washington.

I also have no experience with potatoes, but lots of people here will.

This forum is a great place - none of us are experts. Some of us may have more experience than others, but we can, and do, learn from each other - regardless of experience level.

What else do you wish to grow?

And, I also don't have any experience with kids and SFG, but when I read about it in Mel's book, it seems like as good a combination as kids and dogs!


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Re: I could use some input...

Post  mckr3441 on 4/16/2010, 11:48 pm

Hi Jennifer. Welcome to the Forums.

If you can't afford the book right now, try to get it from the library. Or have you tried a used book store?

Keep coming back to this site for help, too.



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Post  jenjehle on 4/17/2010, 12:54 am


Welcome to the forums! I think you will find lots of nice people and tons of helpful information here. I know I have.

When it comes to gardening with kids, I'm with you there. I have 5 young kids; ranging from age 12 to age 3. All boys except the 3 year old is a little girl, who loves to garden with mommy. The boys all like to help also. My fav thing to grow in my SFG with/for my kids are pickling cucumbers. But we don't pickle them Smile they're just smaller and have almost no seeds. Perfect for little hands to munch. This year all my kids picked a veggie that they would get to grow and keep tabs on all season. Depending on who picked what, some have already started with seeds. I have 3 beds so plenty of room for everyone to grow something.

I first got the SFG book at my library (if it weren't for the library, I'd never read any great books!) and after deciding to do this type of gardening, bought the book for future reference. Great investment!

This year for the first time, I have started potatoes; yukon gold and a red potato. But not in my SFG but in large 20 gallon containers. I'm doing "straw potatoes" - google that if you want more info. So far, they're doing good. I thought about moving a few into my SFG just to see how they do but haven't done it yet. And, yes, you can grow potatoes in a SFG, from what I have read. Do a search on "potatoes" and you should find some previous posts about doing it.

If you have any specific questions you want answered, just let us know. I'm sure they'll be many experienced SFG'ners to chime in!

Good luck and enjoy! It should be a fun summer!

PS-We hs'd until my oldest was in 3rd grade. This will be a great method for teaching gardening to your kids (or science! )


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Growing potatoes in a SFG

Post  Bec on 4/17/2010, 7:43 am

I haven't grown potatoes myself yet (will though) but Mel says to plant the potato "seeds" towards the bottom of your square. Then add your Mel's Mix as the plant grows. When it gets close to the top of the square, build a 1' x 1' box and place that on top of that square. Continue adding the Mel's Mix as the potato plant grows. This is called a "high rise". Use that method for anything that grows underground that is long too, like carrots and leeks. Hope that helps.

Rebecca Stultz
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Re: I could use some input...

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/20/2010, 10:45 am

Hello Jennifer! This is the PERFECT time to start gardening in Washington. If you want to start potatoes in bags they will grow and make spuds for you. They are fun to watch and very yummy to eat fresh.

I JUST got back from a trip to Oregon. When I pulled in the driveway there was a surprise waiting for me. One of my adult sons (a home school grad) had built potato boxes for me. They are about 2 x 2' and about 8 to 10 inches deep with slats on the inside that allow me to stack more boxes on top as the potato grows. As I understand it, when the plants get about 8 inches tall, if they are blooming, you can bury them up to the tips of the plants and get potatoes from that level too. The good news is that they will continue to grow up, flower again and can make more potatoes. The REALLY good news is you don't have to find more dirt or mix, you can use grass clippings or straw to bury the layers. Is that cool or what?

When the boys were school age we used older car tires to do this. Maybe you could try that. When I have 10 minutes of extra time I will take pictures of what he made me.

Welcome to the Square Foot world!

Deborah ....to the 2nd power

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Re: I could use some input...

Post  boffer on 4/20/2010, 10:58 am

@Lavender Debs wrote:[color=#1f5b22][font='Verdana']
I JUST got back from a trip to Oregon. When I pulled in the driveway there was a surprise waiting for me. One of my adult sons (a home school grad) had built potato boxes for me.
Watch out, he wants something! Wink

Hi Jennifer glad you\'re here

Deb, something I think I learned recently is that some tater strains do better in the garbage can method than others. I've had productive years and disappointing years out of cans or boxes like yours-even though the taters in the raised beds always do good. The only variable has been the type of tater.

Of course, I don't keep garden notes on this sort of thing, so I don't remember which did well! I haven't had a chance to look into it farther. I was going to pass on the cans this year, but they are fun, so...


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Re: I could use some input...

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/20/2010, 11:08 am

Watch out, he wants something! Wink
Yes he does .....Roast ANYTHING (except tofurkey) with new potatoes

Deborah who is REALLY late now.

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Re: I could use some input...

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 4/20/2010, 11:56 am

Welcome JenniferS,

I am new to this too and just went and bought the book, It was a huge help. I know you said that wasn't in the budget right now and I totally understand that. My local library has a few copies, however there were several on the wait list and I was too impatient which is why I bought the book. Have you checked your library or a local half price book store?

We also school at home with a virtual academy and I am so excited to integrate this into science and math as well as just learning about how to garden. Did you know they have a curriculum just for that on the Square Foot Gardening site? Hopefully I can get that sometime soon! Anyway, Happy gardening and good luck with the potatoes. Sounds like you you have raised a wonderful son!



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Re: I could use some input...

Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/20/2010, 2:03 pm

Welcome. If you don't find the book at the library, you can get a special edition for $5.00 at Dollar General. It is identical to the full-size book up through chapter 8. What it is missing is the detailed info on growing specific plants, but there is a chart in the back for an overview. The main website has most of the details for growing most veggies. http://www.squarefootgardening.com/qnastart Click on "plants and herbs".

Hope to see you around often.

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Re: I could use some input...

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