Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New to SFG

Post  nesmira on 12/19/2013, 9:37 am

I am new to SFG and I need some help with planning my spring 2014 garden. My wife and I live in Elmer, NJ and we love to dehydrate, can and freeze all of are produce. I have purchased "All New Square Foot Gardening (2nd Ed)" and find that this book is full of information and we have six, 4'x4' boxes. Does anyone have plans for there garden and are willing to share there ideas. I am also interested in using SFG with companion planting, both are new to us so any information will be useful. Thank you for your help.
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Re: New to SFG

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/19/2013, 11:38 am

WELCOME to the forum and the SFG!  I am totally NOT a planner, I just sort of plop things down as the next square comes open so I don't have anything constructive to share on that end but wanted to say "Hi!"

If you search around the forums, I'm fairly certain there are quite a few threads that address this topic from past seasons, and I'm sure a Mod (moderator) will pop in with some ideas of where you might want to look.  This is the slowest season here on the forum, so reading the old threads is probably going to be the most valuable activity for you.

Good luck!
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Re: New to SFG

Post  quiltbea on 12/19/2013, 1:48 pm

Welcome from Maine.
I agree that reading the old threads will be so helpful for you.  This is the slow season for many of us on the board except for deep southern states, Arizona and Calif gardeners.  
The New England thread is very busy come spring.  Be sure to check in to see what's happening in your area.
As for plans, mine change every year but generally place the taller and vining plants like peas and beans along the north rows of your beds and put the shorter ones in front to get the benefit of the best sunshine.  If you string or cage your tomatoes and cucumbers you'll have more growing room for other things. Try to keep a compost pile if you can.  Start your plants out early and keep them protected from sudden overnite frosts with covers (even blankets and towels work for me).
The book should give you distances to plant your crops so just take pencil and paper and make tentative plans with foods you like and will definitely eat.
Personally, my garden plans change about a dozen times before I start planting.
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Re: New to SFG

Post  sanderson on 12/19/2013, 2:38 pm

Nesmira, Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here 

First, I agree that this is the perfect time to be doing research on the veggies you want to try.  study  You tube videos are also very good to see HOW something is done. Scroll through all of the photos folks have posted of their gardens and plants. That said, here are a few things I learned this first year of gardening. I'm a Newbie.

Vertical space: ANSFG will help you on your spacing for planting. What YOU have to do is visualize the air space above that square. Some plants, like carrots, beets, onions, garlic, salad greens and leafy greens will stay within their on air space well enough. Summer squashes can be trained to grow vertically but still have a large spread. I recommend planting those at the corners so they can either fall over the sides or trellis up the edge of the box. Tomatoes and tomatillos can really sprawl!! Next year I will pot 2 tomatillos and set them off by themselves to grow wild. My tomatoes were vertically grown but at some point the tops (+8 feet) sprawled on the overhead gazebo and arches. Cucumbers, vining peas and beans are vertical and no real problem. Melons are vertical but at first but then need sprawling or trailing space above.

Arched trellises: Will you be having a cattle panel arched trellis between a couple of boxes? Great way to get melons and winter squash out of the way. I have a gazebo and overhead horizontal arches in one area of my boxes.

Arm length. The boxes should be 4' deep max so you reach inner plants. Mine are 2' deep, largest 2' x 4' because I have tucked boxes into the landscaped back yard here and there. Not a lot of elbow room. Audrey has a large property so where she plants isn't as critical. Envy, envy.

Companion planting: Lots of info and charts out there so I won't write anything.

Walkways around the boxes: Do you have 3' or more between boxes? Can the plants fall over without blocking your walkway completely?

No matter how carefully you plan, something will not work out like you thought it would. No problem, it's called learning. You WILL learn through your successes and your failures. Have fun. Don't worry, don't stress. There's always plan B, or plan C, or D . . .
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Re: New to SFG

Post  Goosegirl on 12/19/2013, 3:11 pm

WELCOME Nesmira, from South Dakota! +1 to everything Sanderson said, except she didn't get down to 'Plan Z'! Definitely start out with things you know you love and will eat, then as your learning curve goes up, start experimenting. My season is so short (and I am so lazy) that I do not attempt succession planting. In your area you will probably have more opportunities to plan out 2nd, and maybe even 3rd, crops in some of your squares. We look forward to hearing (and seeing) your plans and activities.

GG
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Re: New to SFG

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