Square Foot Gardening Forum
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SFG in Upstate NY

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SFG in Upstate NY

Post  blwells45 on 3/6/2010, 9:52 am

I am located in Greenwich, NY which is located about an hour north of Albany in UPSTATE NY. I have been gardening for 2 years now after relocating to the area to be close to my grandfather. He has gardened for, well, ever. 83 years old and he's always had a garden, but of course it was of the "traditional" variety.

2 seasons ago, he was unable to garden and so I took over the duties as gardener under his tutelage. And, for a first timer, I was pretty happy with how things went, especially for as dry of a year as it was. Last year, my wife and I bought a home a couple of blocks away from my grandfather's but I still planted his garden for him. However, at our new home, the soil is rather rocky and I knew I lacked depth of soil to garden the traditional way. In late May, a few friends of mine on Facebook were talking about their square foot gardens. I read up on it, bought Mel's book, and quickly put together three 4 ft. boxes. Besides having a bit of trouble finding vermiculite, putting the boxes together was pretty easy. My son, 4 @ the time, helped me do it. I did make a mistake, though, in that I bought blended compost from a local supplier in bulk and I don't think it had enough variety in composition as some of my plants were spindly.

Last year I planted in my SFG:
Tomatoes: did well until the blight hit them
Peppers: did ok, but spindly
Cukes: did not do ok. Produced one baby cuke.
Beans: did ok, but spindly
Broccoli: Did great
Brussel sprouts: Spindly. Not many sprouts.
Carrots: Did great but wrong variety. Grew thru weed barrier into soil. Tough to harvest.
Beets: Small.
Radishes: Did great
Dill: Did ok
Cilantro: Did great

This year, I am building 2 more boxes, these will be 4X8. I plan on using multiple varieties of compost and remixing last year's mix with the new to hopefully add the nutrients that were lacking.

Anyhow, seed order arrived yesterday and so excited to get started again.


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Re: SFG in Upstate NY

Post  boffer on 3/6/2010, 10:32 am


Welcome to the forum. Good thing you're doing a SFG, so you'll have the extra time to work in your Grandfather's garden. It's funny how many forum members have mentioned that at some point they just felt like working in their SFG gardens, but there was nothing to do!

Compost variety is important for the same reason it's not healthy for us to eat the same thing day after day. Mel never talks about ph levels or NPK levels like other gardening books do. A variety of composts tends to balance everything out. No muss, no fuss-my kinda gardening!

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Re: SFG in Upstate NY

Post  Theresa on 3/6/2010, 2:53 pm

Hi blwells45!

Welcome to the SFG forum!
Be sure to take pictures and keep us updated on your gardens!


FOUNDER SFG forum 2009

certified SFG instructor

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Re: SFG in Upstate NY

Post  mckr3441 on 3/7/2010, 10:11 pm

Hello and WELCOME. I love upstate New York! Been that way many times.

Is your snow gone? You must be starting seeds inside. Are you composting? I'm sure your grandpa must. Your SFG will love it when you mix that in.

Our next door neighbor is 91. Last year was the first time he had someone else plant his garden. He still does row garden but this year we are going to build him a small table top SFG so he can do it himself. Do you think we will have time to convert him?

Happy gardening!

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upstate ny

Post  phenleyss on 4/8/2010, 2:41 pm

Hi everyone, I live in upstate NY and I am a newbie to SFG. I did it last year for the first time and had challenges. I am ready to go for this year but don't know if I should add anything to the mix or just turn over what I have. My lettuce, beans and herbs did wonderful but tomatoes and peppers and peas didn't do so well. I planted perenials from seed and they have come up so far (shasta daisy). I am new to this area, Syracuse and would welcome any help.


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Another Newish Northern NY'er

Post  robbinscabin on 4/8/2010, 9:51 pm

Hey all,

I live on the edge of Lake Ontario (north of Syracuse, South of Watertown). Last year was my first year SF gardening. After three years of HORRIBLE traditional gardens I finally talked my hubby into raised bed veggie gardening. He couldn't believe it could be done...but I bought the book and convinced him to start building the boxes. He built 2 ~ 4x4 boxes and 1 4x8 box. We filled it with mix and called it a weekend. He had so much fun that on his next day off from work he installed a large fence around the garden. Then edged the back fence line with a new box ~ 2x20'!!! We were so impressed with our garden last year. 95% of everything we planted had a spectacular harvest but...we overplanted the corn and didn't really get much yield. Lesson learned.

So, after an unusually warm couple of weeks we headed out into the garden today to clean up...so I thought! Once in the garden hubby informed me that we needed to move the large bed slightly to make room for narrow beds along the sides of the fence and we were adding a new "highrise" 4x4 bed for taters. And another regular 4x4...for more peppers.

I do believe I've created a monster! LOL.

Phenleyss~I wish I knew the answer to your question...It's on my mind too. I imagine we have to add more nutrients like compost to the beds but...I'm just guessing. New to Syr? Welcome!

BLWells45~There's nothing like help from a 4 year old, is there?

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Re: SFG in Upstate NY

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