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Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

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Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  babymango on 8/19/2013, 2:25 pm

After a so-so year with a non SF garden, I'm planning a SF garden for next summer.  I have been growing vertically mostly, along my fence, and I'm not sure how to adapt the design to SFG.  I can't fit more than 3 4X4 boxes in my small yard, along the north end.
My family eats tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and peas by the ton and the kids made me promise to try and grow small melons.  At first, I was planning on having all my treillis along the north end of the boxes but that means only 12 squares and that would only take care of the tomatoes and zucchinis.  
Would it be wrong to add a treillis to the west side of the first box as well as to the north side?  That box would be a few feet from the west fence, an 8 feet tall privacy fence that lets no light in - but I still get good sun exposure until 4pm ish.  
Do I have to limit it to one treillis per box?  My sugar peas typically don't get as high as my tomatoes so I was thinking of putting them right in front of the tomatoes, in a cage.  But then again, they will be nearly fully grown by the time I transplant my tomatoes and would shade them.

Please help me figure this out, I'm not sure how I can grow all the veggies I need (4 indeterminate tomatoes, 2 squares of sugar peas, 4 cucumber plants, 4 summer squash, and a melon or two)    Other crops I'm planning are carrots, scallions, bell peppers and brussel sprouts
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  WriterCPA on 8/19/2013, 2:44 pm

I never do an entire plot or two that is trellised each year. so that's 32 squares total, although somethings, like melons, take two squares, while squash and cukes are 2 per square. It's not a problem.

I've used single string rope and nylon to guide my climbers in the past, but this year I am using nylon netting. It was certainly less trouble to hang.

The super structure is a set of fence posts sitting in garden hooks crossed by 1 1/2" PVC pipes. The pipe is drilled and connected by galvanized wire. Then the netting just goes from ground over the pipe and back down at a 30 degree angle. When vines start playing with each over at the top of the lattice, I don't worry about it and all seems to go fine.

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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  sanderson on 8/19/2013, 4:03 pm

Have you read All New Square Foot Gardening?  If not, buy a copy.  You will refer to it over and over.  I got mine gently used off eBay.

This is the perfect time to make homemade compost for next year.  Or, this fall if you 'hot' compost.  Find your 5 different kinds of compost, the vermiculite and peat moss, for the Mel's Mix.  Look at new housing construction for free wood to build the boxes.  Build them at least 7 inches high to allow for an inch of mulch for summer.  The electrical conduit and 5" trellis netting design for trellises in ANSFG is great but I wish I had made them all 8 feet tall.  (10 ft cut down to 8').  Hold off on the West trellis until you have reconsidered where you want to plant what.  You can always add it at the last minute.

If my math is correct, you have 3 x 4 x 4 = 48 squares planned for your SFG.  It seems to me you have plenty of room for everything you want.

Remember that one side of each box is basically like a solid wall with the plants on the trellis.  You won't be able to reach through to the next row south of the trellis row.  So plant the remaining outer squares of each box with shorter plants so you can still reach the the remaining inner 4 squares.  Outer squares can be lower plants.  Or the summer squashes trained vertically.  Also, you don't have to plant all 4 toms in one row in one box.  Check for companion planting so you don't put two incompatibles together, but otherwise you can mix and match!

Vertical growing is a great way to fit in more plants.  Sturdy 2 x 2 stakes or metal fence stakes can be stuck in the ground outside the boxes.  Smaller stakes can be put in the boxes for peppers or you can use 3 foot tomato cages.  Summer squashes can be trained vertically, as can cantaloupe.  Remove suckers on the indet. tomatoes and grow 7-8 feet tall. . .  

4 Sq for 4 indet. toms
2 Sq for 16 sugar peas
2 Sq for 4 cucumber
4 Sq for 4 vertical summer squash in corners, or let them sprawl over the sides of the box
2 Sq for 2 vertical cantaloupe
2 Sq for 32 carrots with top hat extension
2 Sq for 32 scallions
4 Sq for 4 bells: red, green, yellow and orange!
4 Sq for 4 Brussels sprouts

Total Sq = 26      So what are you going to grow in the remaining 22 squares??Very Happy

There are many different ways to achieve success in SFG.  If you have a specific question, this is a good Forum to ask.
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  babymango on 8/19/2013, 4:48 pm

Sanderson,
Yes, I have read the book, I received it last week from amazon and it's already got some wear and tear to it Wink 

I have more than enough squares for everything I want, what I'm lacking is vertical space.  As you pointed out in your reply, the treillis are creating walls and those "walls" is what is going to get me (or my veggies) in trouble by creating shade or keeping me from reaching in. 
I think I will put my brussel sprouts in the center, in one of those harder to reach spots, as those shouldn't require as much attention until the West wall is down in the fall.
Thank you for your suggestion of putting the squash in the corner, I will give that a try instead of making it climb up a treillis (I'm currently growing them in tomato cages and they are doing pretty well!)
I'm also going to try patio type cherry tomatoes in order to free up North squares
The plan is starting to take shape, I'm now optimistic about it!  Very Happy  I've also added ground cherries and strawberries and some leafy greens (hopefully seeing them grow and harvesting them will convince the kids that kale and spinach are not evil...)  That leaves me a few squares for some flowers!
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  sanderson on 8/19/2013, 8:46 pm

Well, then, looks like you are on the right track. Don't forget to take photos so that you can share as you get going. We love photos of gardens. Good luck.
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  Turan on 8/20/2013, 12:56 am

Any chance of changing the shape of the beds?  I see people doing 2 foot wide long boxes along walls/ fences with good results.  Then run trellis down that.   If you can put a second box maybe also only 2 foot wide if you are limited in space in front of the trellis box.   Other wise I would try out the trellis on the west and north sides.  I assume you get good sun in the morning?  You are far enough north that the summer sun is directly over head and shade even from a south side trellis is negligible.  I do a double trellis on the north and south side of some boxes.  The problem is reaching the inside plants easily.

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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  TxGramma on 8/20/2013, 11:15 am

Ditto what Turan said! I have 2 2x10 boxes with trellis along the 10' north side of the boxes...so 20 feet of trellis space. And I love them, they are so easy to work with. I also raised my trellis wire "netting" about a foot off my beds so I can easily reach the base of my plants from underneath the trellis if I need/want to and not have to reach across the bed. I don't have any 4x4 boxes and don't plan to. I like the narrower boxes much better so all of my future boxes I have planned are 2' wide or 3' wide. And you can still have SFG in the same location you were using along the fence...just make it 2' wide (or 3' if you want) and as long as you want.
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/20/2013, 2:06 pm

I do like Turan's idea of making the beds two or three feet deep and just go wider.  For me being shorter it makes it easier to reach in.  I also like TxGramma's idea of raising the trellis netting a foot off the ground so it is easier to reach through.

I have another suggestion.  Since all your North squares will be used up, instead of doing a full West trellis which may shade more than you want (depends on what you have planted and the sun), why not go just one square more from the North on the East and West sides of your beds.  So on the East and West edges you have two squares of trellis instead of just one.  Hopefully that makes sense.  I did that with one of my beds but that tomato plant is indeterminate and I didn't cut off enough stems and it took over two extra squares on that side.  It worked out ok though.
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  babymango on 8/20/2013, 9:35 pm

Oooh, so many good ideas!!!  I don't know why I didn't think of doing a two 2X8 boxes!  That might actually be better because I don't need all those non-treillis squares.
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Re: Problem with plan - Needing to many treillis

Post  JustMe on 8/31/2013, 2:43 am

You could grow some of the shorter peas.  I've never grown them but have seen them at a community garden (I just visit). The gardener did not have any kind of trellis and the plants were about 2' tall without any trellis or support.
 
This is one variety I found, and I may consider these next year b/c I also have limited trellis space. http://www.botanicalinterests.com/products/view/7314/Pea-Snap-Sugar-Daddy-Seeds/srch:sugar%20peas

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