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My winter and summer sfg

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My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 1:27 am

Hi, I already have the 4'x4' box and I planted the seeds. The other 4'x2' boxes I will start getting ready for the spring. I'm super excited!



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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/18/2013, 1:36 am

Wow kale is 4 per square? I've seen them big enough to take up a square all by themselves. Down at nurseries, that is; mine are still seedlings so maybe they'll only grow big enough that I could fit 20 per square. Very Happy
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 1:53 am

Lol! That's strange! I actually planted 1 per square so not sure why it says 4... Very Happy
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 10/18/2013, 10:10 am

Having let some common kale set (and disperse) seed a couple years ago, we get feral kale volunteers every year.  They must really like it here because they do get big.  There are two in the Mel's mix this fall that have stems almost thick enough to log, not just cut.  One feral kale is tall enough to look me in the eye and just dare me to cut more leaves for dinner.  These guys are definitely "one-to-a-square" plants.  The Tuscan/dinosaur kale is more narrow in "footprint" and are planted against the fence two to a square.  I'd say spacing depends on the variety.  Nonna

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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  donnainzone5 on 10/18/2013, 11:21 am

My limited experience with kale is to plant them four per square. It seemed to work out well.
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  sanderson on 10/18/2013, 4:53 pm

Hi Anna, I just reviewed the planting for your boxes. I will assume you are using Mel's Mix as I write this reply:

Kale can usually be planted 4/sq, especially if you cut off a "couple" outer leaves on each plant as you want to cook them. They will continue putting out new leaves in the center.

Kohlrobi is 1/sq. Same with cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, califlower. The kohlrobi is like a large hard size but the stems and leaves stick out.

Lettuce can be up to 9/sq depending on the variety. You can pick the outer leaves for tender salad greens.

Onions are usually 9/sq. I read up on growing onions last night because I have planted seeds twice, but the onions were teeny. I THINK that the tiny onions are supposed to be pulled, dried, and then replanted in the fall. ????

Bush beans are 9/sq. Pole beans are 8/sq. Dragon Tongue bush beans are fun to grow because the bean pods are so easy to find with their unusual coloring.

Indeterminate tomatoes: I see 2 empty squares between each pair. You might try a third plant equal distance between the pair. Or use the 2 empty squares between each pair for your basil.

Marigolds: If you plant dwarf varieties, you can tuck them in here and there. Like one in a corner per tomato plant or pepper square or 2 cucumbers.

Melons: For summer melons, if you want to train them vertically, you can try one per square. There are small watermelons that can be grown just fine on a trellis. All of my squashes and melons are trained vertically.

No garlic??

Stevia - exciting! Can't wait to hear how that turns out.

Happy gardening! Very Happy 
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 7:31 pm

Hi Sanderson! Smile


I'm using Mel's Mix Smile

That's weird about kohlrabi. Different sources say totally different things... I heard I should plant 9, then 4 and now 1 Very Happy I already planted 9 so I will probably fail but it's not the end of the world... I will see how it goes and maybe thin them as I go.

I'm not sure about the tiny onions... but you could always try. I'm planning to have red and white and also the little green onion which is probably 16 per square.

I was planning to put something in the 2 empty squares between tomatoes. I left it as a back up because I was running out of ideas. I will probably put marigolds and onions/carrots etc in there.

I was actually thinking today about using the melon box just for melons. I'd have 1 Honey Rock Melon and Sugarbaby Watermelon on trellis. Honeydew and a big watermelon variety in the front of the box just spreading on the ground. Do you think that could work? I have plenty of room for them to spread out.

By the way! I found tiny canary melons growing wild next to my mail box. If they can grow wild like that I'm sure they will do just fine in my garden Smile 



I don't like garlic... but I will need them for dill pickles so maybe it's a good idea to plant some...
 
I saw stevia plant at a nursery and I picked a leaf and ate it haha They taste great!!! Like candy! I'd just put them in smoothies instead of processed stevia or eat them on their own when I feel like eating something sweet. 

Thank you so much for reviewing my plans and happy gardening to you to! Smile
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  sanderson on 10/18/2013, 9:27 pm

What a cute melon; is it sweet?  I think a melon box is a great idea.  So the trellis is at the top of the box??  Please try 2 cantaloupes in those bare boxes.  The leaves aren't very big and the rock melon and water melon can go up closer to the outside support poles.  Other melons on the bottom can spread out of the box, left, right and 2 to the front.  I had 2 cantaloupes in a 1' x 1' x 1' box that were trained up a fan-shape trellis.  I think 1 sq ft is plenty of root space for a melon, it seems it is the leaf space that determines how many square feet are needed.  And, you have a trellis in the back and ground space in the front.  That's wonderful.  PS right now I have 2 spaghetti squash in 1 sq ft with the vines trained apart up the trellis.

I bought some stevia seeds and now I can't find them.  Can't wait to hear how it turns out for you. Very Happy 
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 9:46 pm

@sanderson wrote:What a cute melon; is it sweet?  I think a melon box is a great idea.  So the trellis is at the top of the box??  Please try 2 cantaloupes in those bare boxes.  The leaves aren't very big and the rock melon and water melon can go up closer to the outside support poles.  Other melons on the bottom can spread out of the box, left, right and 2 to the front.  I had 2 cantaloupes in a 1' x 1' x 1' box that were trained up a fan-shape trellis.  I think 1 sq ft is plenty of root space for a melon, it seems it is the leaf space that determines how many square feet are needed.  And, you have a trellis in the back and ground space in the front.  That's wonderful.  PS right now I have 2 spaghetti squash in 1 sq ft with the vines trained apart up the trellis.

I bought some stevia seeds and now I can't find them.  Can't wait to hear how it turns out for you.  Very Happy 
I licked the tiny melon and it was a little bitter but sweet at the same time Smile 
All the 4'x2' boxes will have a trellis. Same one like in the book. For all the heavy fruit I will probably have to build some extra support as we have some hurricanes here during summer and I'm close to the ocean.

Wow, I love the idea of having so many melons in 1 box! I wonder if the box will even show under all the plants spreading around it! I will plant 2 cantaloupes between the watermelon and rock melon and 4 more different melons in front. I'm so excited about this! Thank you so much for the awesome tips!

I will post some pictures once I have something to show Smile So far I only have some tiny sprouts.

I hope you will find your stevia seeds! You will love them. So much better than sugar Wink
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  sanderson on 10/18/2013, 10:00 pm

Just a simple idea for extra trellis supports:
Pet Leash Tender ‑ Ground Corkscrew

Put 2 at the front corners and 2 straight out the back side of the box 2 foot away.  Use vinyl coated clothes line from the front screw to the top of the trellis corner, wrap around a couple times, then down to the back one.  Repeat on the other set.  Using white clothes line will let you know where you put those back screws so you won't trip over it!!  Not pretty, but at least safe.

Of course, there are many other trellis supports but I was just thinking of simple.
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 10:08 pm

Another great tip! Thank you so much!! I will do that for sure.
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  BrianDorry55 on 10/18/2013, 10:10 pm

If your kohlrabi's end up being too close together at least you will still have the greens which are supposedly very good.

I am planting 4 per square and we will see how it goes.
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 10:16 pm

@BrianDorry55 wrote:If your kohlrabi's end up being too close together at least you will still have the greens which are supposedly very good.

I am planting 4 per square and we will see how it goes.
I checked and I did plant 4! Smile Hopefully our kohlrabi's thrive!
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 10:27 pm

New and improved version of the spring summer beds Smile Any tips?

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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/19/2013, 1:37 am

How about some flowers to attract bees and butterflies? I'll be planting marigolds, nasturtiums, borage, lavender, and speedwell/veronica. Borage, marigolds, and nasturtiums are even plants that are said to help repel various insect pests in companion planting guides.

Marigolds are especially tough. They can grow in any pot no matter how tiny and still flower. They attract lots of butterflies, which helps get an early start on pollinating the rest of the garden. Very pretty too. There are so many varieties. Most of them are small enough that they won't shade your tomatoes or peppers (actually peppers like a bit of shade on their fruits, though not their leaves, and like the humidity of a close-by plant).

I stuck marigolds in close to my tomatoes and it didn't seem to hurt the tomatoes any.

You have little in the way of herbs there. They also can help repel pests, often make good companion plants, and most are extremely tough and easy to grow, as insects don't like them. Thyme is extremely tough; you can even walk on it. It seems to thrive on neglect and is a perennial you can keep for year after year. Lots of herbs, like oregano, basil, thyme, and mint are almost maintenance-free and are either perennials or readily re-seed themselves. And considering how crazy expensive fresh herbs are at the store, a space devoted to herbs pays for itself many times over.

Some of those herbs and flowers will do very well in pots next to your beds (for insect preventative measures), so if you don't want to give up space in your raised beds, you can still have them around.
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/20/2013, 2:02 am

Marc- I already got 2 types of marigolds. The smaller kinds. I read about the bug repelling qualities in the SFG book so I bought them and will plant them around December/January.
I have a pot of basil on my porch. I will also have lots of stevia and dill and garlic for pickles. I may also get mint but I will keep it in a pot since I've heard it runs like crazy and will take over your garden if you let it. I also like oregano but I'm not really a great cook and I eat most of my food raw when I'm home.
Do you grow mint and if you do- do you grow it in a pot?
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/20/2013, 5:48 am

Yes, I grow it in pots, so it doesn't spread. They are very sturdy plants, so they take to pots well. I grow apple mint and peppermint.

Basil, oregano, and marjoram are among the many other mints. I haven't grown marjoram, but can vouch for basil, oregano, and mints being really easy and rewarding to grow. Oregano had zero pests, and the Asian basils had no pest problems either. The sweet basils, though, were loved by bugs. But if they survived, they thrived.

The oregano I planted, though a mint, has not spread unduly. But it has been very sturdy throughout spring, summer, and fall. A really rich, dark green. Only the oreganos I planted in pots sprouted flowers; probably because being in pots stressed them more. All my other "real" mints sprouted flowers profusely. Since I let them; I could have cut the flowers off.

You can supposedly also take cuttings from mint and sprout them, so that may be the case with basil/oregano/marjoram too?

Anyway, they're all vigorous plants that are rewarding to grow and good for almost any plant around them. The bees really like their flowers too, if you let a few go to seed.

Even though it sounds like you don't cook much and eat mostly raw, I wouldn't be surprised if you could come to love herbs in your raw diet. Raw doesn't have to mean plain. And if you're doing raw for health, herbs are as healthy as it gets. The example everyone knows, for flavor, is tomatoes and fresh basil. And you are growing a lot of tomatoes. Another example springs to mind immediately when thinking of not the raw but the cooked -- tomatoes and ... what? ... makes spaghetti sauce? Oregano. And fresh basil is heaven in a red sauce too.

I hope you take to cooking as part of your gardening adventure. It seems to me that there is a sort of cycle -- gardening, cooking, preserving -- that naturally expresses itself if you get into any one of those three aspects of health, growing, sustainability, and nutrition. You can pick up on any of them that you want, but they all lead -- naturally, economically, spiritually, socially -- into each other. You can hardly tiptoe into one of them without finding yourself knee-deep in another. Which is really pretty awesome. It just keeps getting richer.
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/21/2013, 12:41 am

You convinced me- I will grow some herbs in pots and see how it goes. You make it all sound very appealing! 
I'm not sure if I will get into cooking as I'm not very good at it and I don't enjoy it. I do eat a lot of salads and maybe I will try blending herbs with olive oil etc and make my own dressings. 
I do love tomatoes with basil as well... with some balsamic vinaigrette! 
You are right that gardening, cooking and preserving are very much connected to each other. Maybe the gardening will give me motivation to cook more...? 
I'm already planning to make a lot of dill pickles. I can't wait... I'm sure it will be extremely exciting and gratifying to see all the ingredients grow and then making something out of them... especially because I will be using my grandmas recipe. She used to make a 100 jars a year and I would eat 90% of them Smile
Do you grow sunflowers?
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/21/2013, 2:02 pm

Heh, you love pickles too? I'm crazy about them also. I love the various kinds of Japanese pickles too. They pickle everything. Spinach, lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, anything almost. Usually just lightly. And it's crunchy and great.

I don't grow sunflowers. I really like them though. They can exude chemicals into the soil from their roots that can inhibit germination in other plants, and I've got enough problems trying to improve my soil (not all of my stuff is in Mel's Mix) that I don't want to deal with that problem too. I wouldn't mind growing them someday, though. They sure can be beautiful, and I like eating sunflower seeds. Plus they're good for bees and for birds.

On cooking, the nice thing is you have to be either extremely picky or absolutely terrible not to be able to eat most of your mistakes along the way. People are often so intimidated by it, or think they have to become experts right away. But it's pretty easy to learn it in bits and pieces at your own pace so it's not so intimidating. And then when you feel tired of it for a while, you can quit and come back to it later when you're more in the mood.

The mistake I think is trying to do really fancy stuff right away, or relying too much on religiously following recipes instead of using common sense. For instance, many recipes call for using too much salt or sugar for my tastes, so I've added too much salt or sugar and found the result ... too salty or sugary! Well, after doing that a few times, it's kinda my own fault if I keep doing it. Very Happy I've learned that recipes are not a license to stop thinking and just be a robotic dummy. Very Happy
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  annasartasylum on 10/21/2013, 11:24 pm

Yes, I LOVE pickles! I don't like the ones in stores here. They taste funny to me. I will have to make them myself and I will continue buying them in Polish deli until I can harvest the cucumbers from my garden.
 
I think my biggest problem with cooking is that I don't really have to do it since I make food only for myself. There is no motivation. My fiancee makes his own food- he likes totally different foods, we are from different countries, I'm vegan and I don't eat the mock meat and he does eat it all the time.

I do make a huge pot of soup sometimes. I basically throw in all the vegetables I feel like eating at the moment, chop them, add water and I cook it for a while. Then I fill a blender with the soup and blend it. I add it back to the soup. It's really tasty even though it's just vegetables, water and salt Smile It's my kind of cooking- super simple and I can eat it for days. Even my fiancee likes it and he doesn't eat a lot of veggies.

Would you grow sunflowers in SFG? I was thinking about just growing them in regular soil around my house so I could grow a lot of them. I have 4 acres of land and a lot of wildlife. The animals could eat some of the sunflowers and maybe they would leave my veggie garden alone Smile 
I read somewhere sunflowers grow in any soil. Is that true? The soil here is pretty dark and hard.

Oh I got almost all I need for the new 4 4'x2' boxes today! Lumber, screws, vermiculite, peat moss and seeds. I still need materials to build trellises and compost. They don't have a lot of types of compost in stores yet. Just cow manure... 
I will have to figure out where to keep my compost pile so I can make my own.

Do you garden in fall/winter?
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Re: My winter and summer sfg

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/22/2013, 2:30 pm

I am no expert on sunflowers, so I can't say much about them except that I like looking at them. There are people on these forums who grow lots of them though and could give you the benefit of their experience with them.

Re getting your stuff together, it's fun to be closing in on planting something, isn't it? With four acres, you should be able to grow so many good things. Don't forget weed block and/or hardware cloth to keep the varmints and weeds out of the bottom of your boxes. I've seen gophers and moles ruin a lot of gardens and lawns around where I live.

I am winter gardening, yes. I planted some red onions to overwinter, and an waiting for it to get a little colder before I plant elephant garlic and four other kinds of "real" garlic. I've also got lettuce, peas, a lot of spinach, brussels sprouts, regular and daikon radishes, and some kale growing. I've also got some herbs that are perennials, but I don't know if they'll die back completely. The mint will, but I don't know if thyme or oregano do. I think it may not be too late to plant some mache (also called corn salad), as it's supposed to be incredibly winter hardy.

Except for the garlic and onions, though, I'm growing most of that in pots, including self-made vertical soda bottle towers. Most of my gardening is actually done on a neighbor's lot, as my place is all steep, thickly wooded hillside with only a tiny patch or two getting any sunlight. My neighbor is too old to work his raised beds anymore, so he's kind enough to let me and another friend of his take over. When and if we succeed, we're happy to pass along to him a share of what we grow.

His soil is not Mel's Mix, but it's free. I'm going to clear out some of the tired topsoil from his overfilled beds and then let most of them sit all winter under piles of horse poop I get from yet another neighbor. It should have mellowed out by then enough to plant in -- heck, I've got a big pile of it out back and any seed from vegetable scraps I throw in there grows just fine in the raw manure, so six months should be just fine.
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