Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New to SFG. Need help with existing plant beds

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New to SFG. Need help with existing plant beds

Post  maura1131 on 5/11/2013, 1:13 pm

Hello!

We are new to SFG this year. We already have large framed vegetable beds that we used the last few years: a total of 3 at 4 feet by 14 feet. One is right next to the house and gets less sun than the other two. And the the furthest from the house is half full of perennial strawberry plants.

Our question: to do SFG this year, how do we deal with the existing soil and converting to Mel's Mix? The current beds were a mixture of Sta Green soil mix and manure. It is a lot of dirt to move out. We are not sure if we have to move out all of the dirt and have just MM, or if we can put MM on top of the exisiting soil? Do we put landscaping fabric on top of the soil? We are on a tight budget, and we are also considering building an additional 4 x 4 bed, perhaps larger, that will be completely brand new to place in a different part of the yard. We do not currently compost, but will start this summer.

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Re: New to SFG. Need help with existing plant beds

Post  sanderson on 5/11/2013, 2:00 pm

Welcome! You've come to the right forum for lots of help and good ideas.

Mel's Mix is only 6 inches deep so you can just add 6" on top of your existing bed material. Making MM CORRECTLY is a first year expense so keep that in mind. It's also labor intensive making it. Good news is that it is only for the first year.

Six inches is all you need. For carrots, potatoes and other deep root veggies, you can dig out 12 inches and put 12 inches of MM in those squares. If you had a lot of weeds in your existing beds, you may want to lay weed fabric over existing material. Others suggest card board or layers of newspapers that will naturally break down.

Again, welcome, and get ready for a lot of really good information.
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Re: New to SFG. Need help with existing plant beds

Post  mschaef on 5/11/2013, 9:13 pm

since you are on a tight budget and already have your soil. I say that you spend this year with what you have. If you have some extra money during the summer start stocking up with the ingredients for Mel Mix's for next year. That what I would do at least...Good luck to you and glad you\'re here
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