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2 tomato boxes? or 1?

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2 tomato boxes? or 1?

Post  didomach on 3/20/2013, 11:42 am

I am still undecided about whether to make 2 tomato boxes (with trellis) or if one box is sufficient. I am waiting for the book to arrive, so I'm basically learning what I can from this forum and what I find online about SFG.

My concern is about the whole "plant rotation" issue. The video shows that we don't plant the same vegetable in the same square (I understand from MotherEarthNews Garden planner that there should be a 4 year rotation)

So I am planning to do one OR two 8x2 boxes in the manner of one I saw on this forum (Hogger's on http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t14310p15-best-and-worst-trellis-netting). Or perhaps like ( http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/viewimage.forum?u=http%3A%2F%2Fi46.servimg.com%2Fu%2Ff46%2F15%2F26%2F05%2F16%2Fstring10.jpg )

My first question is this: if I use it for tomatoes this year, and after tomato season put in a winter vegetable, how does this work for renewing the soil/stripping the nutrients. What other plants renew the soil for tomatoes? This still is a 2 year rotation.

Second question is: is it better to have two available boxes with trellis set up? or is it better to just switch-out the soil (ie: with another non-nightshade box) into my trellised box every year?

How do you all prepare your soil for the best bounty of tomatoes?

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Re: 2 tomato boxes? or 1?

Post  quiltbea on 3/20/2013, 1:05 pm

Welcome to the excitement of growing your own.
I would have 2 trellis boxes, one for tomatoes and one for peas or pole beans.
Even if you have a fall crop of something or other, I feel its best to grow something different the following year (personal preference).
You can just switch year after year adding 2-3" of compost to both beds each year.
I do this 2-year rotation and it works fine for me. This will be my 5th year of SFG. The pea roots add lots of good nitrogen to the soil in the off year.

As for all the other crops, I switch to something different each year for the squares in my garden plan by checking the prior plan. I try to follow a root crop with one above ground and vice versa.

If space is a real issue, you could put half of only one box in tomatoes and the other in peas and switch the 2nd year.

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How many do you need?

Post  Hardcoir on 3/20/2013, 2:12 pm

Do you need 32 tomato plants? If so, plant two boxes. If you have a typical harvest, you will be eating tomatoes morning, noon, and night with 32 plants. We grow 40 tomatoes, but those 40 tomatoes feed our family, my brother's family, and our neighbor--13 people in all. We still have leftovers that are either given to other friends or canned. Since we covered and kept the plants alive until the first week of December, we picked about 50 unripened tomatoes off the vines the first week of December and brought them inside to artificially ripen them.

If you are going to have two boxes total, I would suggest planting something else besides tomatoes just to break up the monotony and keep your new hobby interesting. Try a couple of basil plants, some cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, and summer squash (zucchini). These are easy to grow and give you a nice variety.

I am guessing that once you get the hang of it, you will be bitten by the bug and expand every year until you are a small farmer.

I started using the originial Square Foot Gardening the year Mel first appeared on PBS, and the first Spring that I am not out there working on our mini-farm, it will be because I am fertilizing the daisies at Forest Lawn.

One word of advice. At some point, get barefoot and let your feet get their fill of dirt. There is something about it. I think it is naturopathically beneficial. I even know somebody who has a small box of dirt in her study, and she buries her feet in the dirt when she is working.

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