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SFG Yields

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SFG Yields

Post  MrD on 5/15/2013, 4:56 pm

New to the forum, long time SFG practitioner (18th season). I am the gardener, but my wife and I have this argument every year regarding bush beans. I practice the spacing suggestions from SFG (i.e.-equal distance in all directions between plants). However, my wife seems to think that her dad gets better yield per plant and better yields overall using old-school row methods. She also points out every year when we go to a farm near us that their bean bushes are loaded compared to mine, and I use the same variety of seed. My soil is good, lots of compost, plants are healthy, etc.

I know that the idea is to get more yield overall from the same space using SFG spacing, but has anyone ever compared equidistant spacing yields vs. more row-like spacing? I am curious. I have not been able to find any more than anecdotal comparisons searching online.

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/15/2013, 5:00 pm

So, if your father in-law practices row gardening, and you sfg, it should be fairly simple to compare your yields correct?
Do you use the All New Square Foot method?

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  plantoid on 5/15/2013, 5:07 pm

It could be that the commercial guy has F1 hybrid seeds that are quite different to what you are sowing. They might also use an earlier sowing date than you depending on satelite aided weather forecasts .

They could be using sprays with all sorts including having a spray irrigation system . Perhaps they also use the microndial ( sp ?) fungi appropriate for their beans .

Do you have any animal based compost in with your own home made compost to keep the bacteria levels high thus carrying on breaking the compost down and releasing nutrients. ?

bush and pole beans also benefit from a deep bed of fiberous active damp compost that stays quite moist for all their growing season.

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  No_Such_Reality on 5/15/2013, 7:00 pm

@plantoid wrote:
bush and pole beans also benefit from a deep bed of fiberous active damp compost that stays quite moist for all their growing season.

That looks like English, but ...

do you bush and pole beans do best with a thick layer of mulch or saying that they do best of a consistently moist bed or saying that they do best a deep wet bed of forest compost with plenty of animal dung?

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  MrD on 5/15/2013, 7:13 pm

Wow, quick responses. I'll try to answer as best I can.

My father-in-law gardens in Chicago, and I am in Portland, OR. I hadn't really thought about comparing because of the regional climate differences. I suppose I could ask him to do an experiment with me this year and see how it goes.

In my current garden, for a few years, i turned in mushroom compost from a local source-straw, peat, and chicken manure mixture. Now I turn in my own compost made from yard debris, manure from my own chickens, straw from their coop, etc. Don't know if you would consider any of that to be "animal based."

Both the farm I mentioned and I use Blue Lake varieties although theirs could be a different hybrid than mine. I do not use chemicals or fertilizers on my beans. Just a little lime turned in with the compost in the spring.

I was mostly curious if anyone had ever tried comparing the two methods or if they had come across any studies anywhere that had.

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  MrD on 5/15/2013, 7:52 pm

Forgot to reply to which method of SFG I am using. For the last 18 years I have been using the original method. I did not realize there was an updated method until I happened upon the newest version at the library this week. Read the whole thing already and see the differences.

My current garden started as an in-ground space that got rototilled every spring. After a few seasons I was able to scrounge a pretty good quantity of lumber and change over to raised beds. I had pretty good soil to begin with but amended it heavily with mushroom compost and continue to do so with my own compost.

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  Unmutual on 5/16/2013, 1:52 pm

There's only really one way to find out about yields. Weigh your harvest and ask father-in-law to weigh his(and with beans, that might be several weighings). Divide by the number of plants and that will give you the average yield per plant. I'd love to know the results.

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  GloriaG on 5/16/2013, 7:41 pm

Hello MrD,
Welcome to the forum.

I can't attest to what others are harvesting from their gardens, but I can tell you that in 2012 we harvested 455 pounds of produce from our 225 sq ft of SFG.

* 44 pounds of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
* 49 pounds of fruit (melons, strawberries)
* 190 pounds of fruiting crops (tomatoes, eggplant, squash, etc.)
* 19 pounds of herbs
* 58 pounds of leafy greens
* 16 pounds of legumes
* 80 pounds of root crops (onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks)

I'm sure other forum members harvest more or less depending on local growing conditions.

Also, here is a link to a published chart showing average yields for 4x8 raised garden beds. This is not specific to SFG. Again - please keep in mind, that all yields are very dependent on local growing conditions, including how many times you can plant per year, and the experience of the gardener. http://thriftyliving.net/2010/08/20/vegetable-harvest-yields/

I hope this helps,
Gloria

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  plantoid on 5/16/2013, 8:30 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:
@plantoid wrote:
bush and pole beans also benefit from a deep bed of fiberous active damp compost that stays quite moist for all their growing season.

That looks like English, but ...

do you bush and pole beans do best with a thick layer of mulch or saying that they do best of a consistently moist bed or saying that they do best a deep wet bed of forest compost with plenty of animal dung?


I don't mulch my veg beds as it harbours slugs because of our rather wet climate .

In my own beds it is several composted different species animal dungs and associated beddings from farms and small holdings etc..
I don't ever want to use the ," Products from the Forest " stuff if I can help it as nine times out of ten it's not composted down to the most effective level . Quite often it has added nutrients , good enough for five or six weeks growth promotion then it rapidly becomes depleted of anything remotely useful to the plants .
So it ends up robbing the bed of nitrogen instead of producing it .

The long period of slow nutrient release of my style of compost In N , P , & K is far superior to any commercial composts I've ever come across .
MY composted manures are viable for around seven years apparently , though they are best redone every three to four years if you practice crop rotation .

Keeping the compost consistantly well moist not only gives the plants water it also encourages the compost to carry on rotting /decaying thus giving up a prolonged range of plant nutrients and trace elements vital for a sound growth progression .

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  plantoid on 5/16/2013, 8:51 pm

Mr D ,
reading your last posts you mentioned a couple of time adding mushroom compost and also adding lime .

Most muchroom composts ( not the cappings ) frequetly contain lime , I'm led to understand that most USA soil is lime high ( over this side of the pond it tends to be acidic )
Adding well rotted anerobic decayed four legged animal's dung & urine soaked beddings brings up the acidicity of the soil .
You can over manure with it that's why old timers used to put lime on the garden a month or so after manuring them to keep the acid levels down just enough to grow good crops .

It crosses my mind that if you are still growing in your mother natures own soil that you may be making your garden too alkaline by adding lime
Short of going over to a full MM you might consider buying a cheap pH soil test kit and take four or five spoons of soil 4 inches down from different places in each bed and do the soil pH test on it .
Most veg seem to like slightly acidic soil to grow in .

You also mention " turning in your own home made chicken muck compost " .
Yes it is a compost if correctly done.

Let us know how your composting it .. for it may also have a bearing on your outcomes due to ammonia being produced when you , " turn it in " .


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Re: SFG Yields

Post  MrD on 5/17/2013, 12:50 pm

Plantoid, thanks for the advice.

I haven't actually used the mushroom compost for a few years since I got set up to do my own composting and got my chickens. I was not aware that it tends to be alkaline. That is good to know.

Here in Oregon, the soil tends to be acidic. If I don't put lime on my lawn every year it gets overrun by moss, which thrives in acidic conditions. I started turning a little lime into my garden a few years ago when I started getting blossom end rot on my tomatoes. Once I started doing that, no more end rot.

My chicken muckings go into a compost pile with other yard debris. I have 2 4x4x4 bins. I started a few years ago by filling one bin over the course of a growing season. The next spring, I turned the pile over into the empty bin and started a new pile in the first one. The following spring, I took the original bin out to the garden, turned the leftover pile over into the newly emptied bin and started a new one. I just repeat the cycle every year. So no fresh manure goes directly into the garden.

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Re: SFG Yields

Post  plantoid on 5/17/2013, 3:41 pm

That throws a new light on many things
The very reason for us using Mels MIX ( MM ) as in the book in my strap lines ( Things have moved on a bit since the early books by Mel ) is that it is almost pH neutral .... no need for lime or other ammendments ( that's why it works all over the world when made under local conditions).

I too have moss problems in mother natures own soil . Lime didn't do any good as it was sluphorous coalmine blue clay ... there was no where for it to drain down to.
I did bung about 7 tonnes of anerobic composted mixed farm manures in the beds to try and put some fibre and nutrients into the clay & make a sense off drainage but the acidity went sky high because most four legged farm animal dung anerobic manure is acidic save for rabbit & llama muck .

I have a book that advises a well finished poultry manure as being around N 1.0 , P 0.4 7 K 0.6 by percentages .
It also advises not to lime too soon after adding it to your garden ...usually manured in early autumn then limed in early spring & turned in well a few weeks later..


Instead of using lime I used old well smashed up into coarse sand sized grains plaster board ( Dry Wall ?) made of GYPSUM . I also chucked two 56 pound bags of gypsum plaster powder over each of the front and rear gardens . To do that with lime will lead to chlorossis of lime in the plants and produce poor crops .

It does the same job , crumbs the soil over the years and reduces the acid content .
Though if your soil is acid because of the local rock /sand in the soil then that idea of gypsum is not much use .
I also put in 120 yards of 4 inch land drain three foot down in three sparate runs of 40 yard in lengths and back filled with clean stone bark & wood chips and very coarse sand to get several lines of deep drainage running through the land ( mother natures own ).
It seems to have worked for the natural soil beds I also have are starting to show decent crops like various brassica, pole beans , rhubarb , strawberries ,a grape vine , tay berries & various perennial herbs and a flare of 15 or so gladoli bulbs . Prior to all this work it wouldn't even grow decent grass. .


My only sensible thought at the moment is get the latest book ( see my straplines ) , read it well and also read the composting threads .
Then go ahead and make a slack hand full of your own made balanced compost as per Mel's suggestions or by using the 18 day hot composting method over a year or so if your reasonbably fit or if you have access to a front loader for turning it over.

Then move over entirely to MM instead of mother natures own soil . That way you'll be able to grow some really good crops and put " Pops crops " to shame as well .

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