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First year of SFG.

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First year of SFG.

Post  Cherbear on 9/16/2013, 1:06 pm

Hi everyone. My name is Cheryl, and I live with my mom in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Canada. This is my first year of SFG'ing. and I have had a few problems. Anyways, I'm glad to be here and I am looking forward to learning a lot this year! Smile
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Cherbear

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Location : Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Re: First year of SFG.

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/16/2013, 1:08 pm

Please tell us about your garden and the problems you've experienced, and we'll try to help.

Also, have you read All New Square Foot Gardening, preferably the second edition?

Welcome!
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donnainzone5

Certified SFG Instructor

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Re: First year of SFG.

Post  Cherbear on 9/16/2013, 1:51 pm

Yes, I have that book. Its very good, but there is some frustration with the book because he doesn't have complete information on some topics. The one thing was making covers for squares. I suppose the instruction for making covers for the whole thing can be tailored for individual squares, but I'm a step by step kind of person. Cool  if I have problems, what would be the appropriate section to post?
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Cherbear

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Re: First year of SFG.

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/16/2013, 2:41 pm

Are you referring to cold protection? In your climate, it would seem that anything planted now would have to be covered.

How large are your raised beds? Which composts did you use in your Mel's Mix? What are you planting now?

Last year, just barely ahead of an early frost, I quickly and easily put together a hoop house, as described in the book. However, I did make a mistake, not knowing that plastic can freeze to plants if they touch. The next morning, I posted a question about this topic on the forum and received a prompt and accurate answer: First, cover the plants or bed with frost cloth, a blanket, or something similar.

I used two layers of frost cloth, and everything survived the winter, except for the peas. I'm referring to beets, carrots, Asian greens, a bit of spinach and lettuce, not to mention garlic and onions.
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donnainzone5

Certified SFG Instructor

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Re: First year of SFG.

Post  Cherbear on 9/16/2013, 3:10 pm

Ah, well no. In chapter 4 he talks about covers made with screening that you can use to shade spring plants against the sun in summer to keep them cooler. Anyways to answer your other questions, the beds are 4' x 4', and the  composts I used were worm castings, cow manure, sheep manure, seafood compost and some mixed compost which I'm not sure what was in it. I am feeding my individual squares with home made compost, but don't have enough for new beds, so I will have to get more compost somehow. Not much for sale here in the fall. The vermiculite I used was medium, but I found a source of coarse that will have to be shipped to me. I am just planting spinach, lettuce and kale for a fall garden. 
The problems I had was powdery mildew on the winter squash. I got only one squash from  it. The beans produced some, but not heavily. One square of beans are lovely, and the other was puny and yellow. The zucchini was slow to produce, but is getting better. The tomatoes are lovely, but all still green. I got a later start. Thanks for the advice for the frost blanket. Our first frost date is usually in the second week of October. My new fall plants are still tiny, and the lettuces look a little sickly. I put home made compost on it, but they are still growing very slowly.
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Re: First year of SFG.

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/16/2013, 3:32 pm

If you "search" powdery mildew on this forum, you'll find some natural remedies. Unfortunately, that PM seems to be a universal problem. Even in my dry climate, it's been somewhat troublesome.

Although Mel recommends using no more than 20% manure-based composts in one's Mel's Mix, I know that it can be very difficult to find other types. And too many worm castings, I understand, can also cause problems. I use only small amounts.

It may be that you need at least one more compost. Kudos, though, for making some of your own!

You can build the same hoop house described in the book and cover it with insect cloth, shade cloth, etc. during the summer. Just be sure to anchor the PVC with rebar. My own hoop house withstood some very strong winds (probably 40 - 60 mph) last winter.
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donnainzone5

Certified SFG Instructor

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Re: First year of SFG.

Post  Cherbear on 9/16/2013, 3:42 pm

Thanks for the information! I might try soap, but the plant seems pretty far gone now and the squash is probably as big as its going to get.
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Cherbear

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