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New to SFG and in need of help..

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New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Babygr33nthumb on 3/10/2014, 2:41 am

Hello forum!

I am new to the forum and ready to start my first true garden. I found the SFG book at a local dollar store for $3 and was excited to pour through it. Now I am raring to get started but am a little confused about a few things and was hoping you all could help.

1. If you only have one or two 4x4's but want to grow vine/tall plants, how do you set it up so the other plants are sure to get enough sun as well?

2. I am a little confused with planing out staggered planting, if you want to say have lettuce that you can cut & come again do you plan out how to plant your seeds before you get started so you know where to plant the remaining seeds that fit in the box?

3. Any ideas on the cheapest but effective trellis? I was thinking of chicken wire stapled to a fence.

4. I am also trying to decide on 4x4's which for me would be $60 or 6x3's for $50 with a desire to plant some companions. Other that the extra sq footage, are there any benefits for one over the other?

Yes I am an over-thinker. Smile

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  sanderson on 3/10/2014, 2:47 pm

Babygr33nthumb,  Welcome to the Forum!   glad you\'re here 

The book you bought, is it the outdated Square Foot Gardening or the newer ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening?  Make sure it is the All New version, 1st or 2nd Edition are both fine.  The answers to most of your questions can be found in the book.  Where do you live, what state?  What do you want to grow?

1.  Mel recommends placing the trellises along the north side of the box.

2.  It's good to have a diagram of what you want to plant.  Tall and short plants, bushy and skinny, etc.  It would be easier to answer if we knew what you wanted to plant this year.  Some folks scratch out a plot plan on a piece of paper, others build elaborate Excel spreads.

3.  A simple trellis made of metal electrical conduit with nylon trellis netting is outlined in the book.  You want to be able to reach through the trellis for managing plants so chicken wire, especially stapled to a fence, is probably not a good idea.

4.  The 4' x 4' is the basic design.  You can make it longer, like 4' x 10', just don't make it deeper than 4' or you won't be able to reach all of your plants.  The 3' x 6' has 2 benefits that I can think of right off the top of my head.  First, you can have 6' of trellis for support, depending on the NSEW orientation of the box.  Second, it's a shorter reach into the interior with 3' deep boxes, and is recommended for young children.

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  rabbithutch on 3/10/2014, 2:52 pm

Unless I misread your post, there is another advantage to the 6x3 bed.  You will get 18 sq. ft. for $50 vs 16 sq.ft. for $60 dollars.  More cheaper, is good in my book.

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bed size

Post  RichardB on 3/10/2014, 5:55 pm

3' is easier on "old" backs too!!

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Kate888 on 3/10/2014, 10:23 pm

I opted for 3x6 beds because I grow lots of trellised things.  So each bed has tomatoes or peas or squash growing on the long side.  With it only being 3 feet wide I can still reach far enough in, which I couldn't do if it were 4 since I can only reach from one side.

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/10/2014, 10:25 pm

That does seem like a long reach. I imagine a lot of my older friends wouldn't have the strength or balance to reach in three feet safely and comfortably. They'd probably wind up stepping on the soil and compacting it.

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Chopper on 3/11/2014, 12:15 am

As far as planning when each square will empty, don't bother. Timing never seems to work. Things that should turn around in 2 months don't and things you thought would last you all summer don't. So, it is best to let go and if it is empty plant it and if it is full, eat it. Smile

And plant your trellised items on the north side of the box.

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/11/2014, 12:55 am

@Babygr33nthumb wrote:...
Yes I am an over-thinker. Smile
 glad you\'re here to the forum. The replies are right on point, as usual.
IMHO, Chopper said it best: "...it is best to let go and if it is empty plant it and if it is full, eat it.

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Cedar fence pickets for boxes with 2" x 2" corner posts

Post  Rahab222 on 3/11/2014, 2:20 am

To save money on my boxes, I buy the 8' long, cedar fence pickets at Home Depot and have them cut these in half for me.  I then use 2" x 2" pine posts at each corner and drill the fence pickets into the 2" x 2" corner posts.  I have the 2" x 2" posts cut 3' long each and usually do a double decker depth of the cedar fence pickets = 12 inch depth.  By leaving the corner posts taller, it's easy to drape a frost cloth over the box and still keep it off the plants when cold weather or heavy rain/hail comes (now we're talking TX Gulf Coast, as our problem is rain.)  This works very well for me and costs about $20/4' x 4' box, 12 inches deep (with the double boards).  I also use corner brackets for additional stability.  You can use the cedar fence pickets to make any size box you want.  It's very cost efficient and termites hate cedar.

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  sanderson on 3/11/2014, 3:00 am

Rehab, That was a nice, clear description of how you build your boxes. I like the idea of the extended 2" x 2" posts for draping protective materials.   

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Babygr33nthumb on 3/17/2014, 10:35 pm

Thank you all for your comments and help! I really like that idea about the extension Rahab, I wished I had thought about that. If you have a picture of that, I would love to see it --it helps me to visualize better.

@ Sanderson - I looked at my book and it is the the 1st edition from 2006 -- I was so excited to find it at the Dollar store. I don't know how far DG stores extend but if anyone needs a new book or giving it as a gift, that is the way to go if it is still available. The sticker said $5 but rang up $3.50 yea! But I am still wondering how to best do the succession planting. Like on page 111 I see pinches of seeds in each poked hole, so do most of you plant like that where everything comes up at the same time, the re-plant or plant maybe two holes then 2 weeks later plant some more of the same veggie?

My newest question it's hard to find single ingredient composts that don't incur a large shipping charge so I read the thread found here: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone and wondered how to CORRECTLY adjust my composts that have peat in them already.

I think once I get things started, I will relax a little...and take Chopper's advice. Smile

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  Goosegirl on 3/18/2014, 7:45 am

@Babygr33nthumb wrote:
My newest question it's hard to find single ingredient composts that don't incur a large shipping charge so I read the thread found here: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone and wondered how to CORRECTLY adjust my composts that have peat in them already.

Unless the bags give you percentages so you can figure out the ratio of peat to compost they contain, it will be impossible to figure exactly. Remember, whichever one is listed first, that is the higher content. For single ingredient composts, have you tried Craigslist or your local 4H to find manures?

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

Post  walshevak on 3/18/2014, 7:38 pm

For succession planting I usually plant 1 square for small plants, 2 or 3 squares for med and large plants.  Then 2 to 4 weeks later plant again.  For lettuce, spinach and kale I'm impatient and will plant 1 square of starts and 1 square of seeds.  Because of the dreaded squash vine borer, I will plant new squash squares when the original plants start blooming.  I have planted squash as late as Aug.  Cukes too.  Starts can be my own from inside or commercial.

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Re: New to SFG and in need of help..

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