Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Newbie Questions

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Newbie Questions

Post  jhrusky on 3/28/2013, 3:28 pm

Being new to SFG, I am hoping I can get some good useful advice. We plan on starting out fairly large for our beds. We have an 'old school' garden that is about 40'x32' (not counting our strawberries, grapes and blueberries) and are going to attempt to grow all our vegetables in our new SFQ (picture attached if I can figure out how...)

Main questions I have to start are:
1. Will potatoes grow well in Mel's mix or would we be better off to use a sandy loam?
2. Will establishing an asparagus bed in Mel's mix work well?
3. Will sweet corn grow well in Mel's mix? Seems these tall stalks might have trouble standing up?
4. How about crop rotation ... is it good to do that each year or does adding new compost each year make up for that?
5. Will the vermiculite and/or peat break down and have to be replaced at some point?

That's it for starter questions ... just getting ready to plant our seeds now.


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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  cheyannarach on 4/4/2013, 12:39 pm

All you have to add is a little compost every time you plant and SFGing was created to have a natural crop rotation, because you plant and replant different veggies for different seasons. For example, you start one square with lettuce, harvest then plant a tomato when it's warmer, harvest then plant some radishes. A lot of areas can get 3 different harvests from one square! There are people that have asparagus and corn in their SFGs successfully. I did potatoes in MM last year and they were wonderful! Hope this helps and happy planting!

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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  Pepper on 4/4/2013, 2:33 pm

glad you\'re here to the forum jhrusky
I have heard of folks planting corn in MM haven't tried it yet myself. Seems a local fellow planted a stand and used the "Florida weave" method to help brace it against the wind. He put a fence post(metal) in the ground on each end every few rows then 'wove' string; consider the corn stalks one layer of thread; left side of this one- right side of the next-then left side--- to the end then back on the opposite side. By bracing every few rows esp the outside rows the whole stand was braced.

Good luck with your garden.


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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  Pepper on 4/4/2013, 2:47 pm

Took me a while but finally ran down the "Florida Weave" concept; thanks to Camprn's link to "The Barefoot Gardener": http://www.foogod.com/~torquill/barefoot/weave.html
The person I was referring to changed sides of each next plant rather than every two plants; and did not use center poles.

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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  JustMe on 4/4/2013, 6:37 pm

These are my experiences w/some of your questions:

2) This will be year 3 of our asparagus bed. So far, so good. The original 4x8 SFG had a couple of squares of asparagus, and I made a dedicated 2x2 box for them with 4 plants each after I read that asparagus will grow for many years in the same spot. I've never grown it in a non raised bed, but so far nothing has escaped from the raised bed box.

3) Last year I planted popcorn seeds in a converted raised bed - it was a 'regular' raised bed and last year I added MM and the grids. As a whole, things in our newest SFG didn't fare as well as our established box, but the corn grew. The soil was 6" deep and corn did not topple. The plant grew a tassel and the side places where cobs would be but did not produce corn. When I pulled the corn up at the end of the season, the roots were really spread across the box - as in 3-4' for one plant. Not sure how corn roots usually grow, but it was as if the roots stabilized itself by spreading across instead of down. I will try again b/c if it's successful, I really want to be able to show our kids the start to finish process of popcorn.

4) As cheyannarach mentioned, if you can plant things in each square depending based on harvesting dates, then you'll be practicing crop rotation in a growing season. I'm in WI and our growing season isn't too long, but I have managed to grow peas then beans in the same square. Each year I shift everything along our trellised side of the box down one square. The squares might be tomato, pea/bean, then squash. Then next year, the tomatoes move to where the pea/bean were, the pea/bean moves to where the squash were and the squash moves to where the tomatoes were.


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