Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by llama momma Today at 5:28 am

» Garbanzo (Chickpeas, Cicer arietinum) and Kidney Beans
by llama momma Today at 5:18 am

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by llama momma Today at 5:10 am

» CHALLENGE - Smallest possible footprint
by sanderson Today at 3:48 am

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by yolos Today at 12:13 am

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 9:02 pm

» Holy snow Batman!
by llama momma Yesterday at 4:52 pm

» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by llama momma Yesterday at 4:35 pm

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by CapeCoddess Yesterday at 4:02 pm

» New England, December 2016
by CapeCoddess Yesterday at 3:27 pm

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 1:04 pm

» Bon fires on the Levee
by Cajun Cappy Yesterday at 12:17 pm

» Mid-South: December 2016
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:26 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:24 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:21 pm

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:15 pm

» Amaranth
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:06 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:03 pm

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by donnainzone5 12/5/2016, 11:14 am

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee 12/5/2016, 9:08 am

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by countrynaturals 12/4/2016, 2:04 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by audrey.jeanne.roberts 12/4/2016, 1:28 pm

» December 2016 Avatar: Show your Winter Season Colors!
by Scorpio Rising 12/3/2016, 11:17 pm

» SFG not giving the results I expected
by No_Such_Reality 12/3/2016, 7:21 pm

» New Member
by trolleydriver 12/3/2016, 4:14 pm

» First season SFG results / lessons learned
by countrynaturals 12/3/2016, 10:36 am

» Eat Broccoli Leaves? Brussels Sprouts? Cauliflower?
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:55 am

» Winter's Coming!
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:53 am

» Dry versus fresh spices to infuse vinegar
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:50 am

» Senseless Banter...
by MrBooker 12/2/2016, 5:17 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

New, and wondering if I can do this...

View previous topic View next topic Go down

New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  aggyanna on 3/21/2014, 4:53 pm

Well, I'm clearly a newbie, because I posted my intro in the wrong place at first... (I'll delete the other one)

My kids (6 & 10) and I want to plant a garden.  I had a (relatively) successful garden one year (before I had kids).  We've made some more recent half-hearted attempts, but we travel a lot in the summer, and always just ended up ignoring the garden.  I would really like to succeed this year.  SFG sounds good to me.  It'll give me room for the vines, and I can assign each kid a few squares.  I've got the new book, and I've read it thoroughly.  We made a list of things we want to grow: Carrots, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Snap Peas, Peppers, Cantaloupe, Honey Dew, Watermelon, and maybe Cauliflower. 

The following are my plans, I have no idea if they make sense.  I would *really* appreciate any feedback.

1) Most of those are vine crops so I'm thinking of making two 1'x4'x6" beds with trellises and putting them side by side.  I want to keep them to 4' so they'll be more easily moved if needed. 

2) I plan to build a 24"x18" box for the lettuce and carrots.  It will have three 24"x6" sections.  The outer two sections will be for carrots, 12" deep, and the middle section for lettuce, 6" deep.  (The tops will all be even, the bottoms will be at different heights.) The plan is that this box would fit over my porch railing and would fit 32 carrots and 4 heads of lettuce.  The porch railing makes the box easy access from the kitchen, and is shadier.  I'm by DC and much of summer is too hot for lettuce without shade. 

3) There were no watermelon notes in the book.  Will treating them like musk melons work?

4) We have a major deer problem in our area, and plenty of other animals.  I'm thinking that with vertical crops, a chicken wire guard isn't practical.  Perhaps I can find a way to put deer netting around the boxes. 

5) The biggest problem: we will be gone for much of the summer, we are traveling in two stretches, one 4 weeks, the other 2 weeks.  We have a housemate with a greener thumb than I who can check on stuff, but I think I'll need a timer of some sort for watering when we are gone.  Mel says to hand water daily, but we just can't do that and want to garden anyway.

6) How reasonable are the timing estimates?  I want to make sure that I'm around for the harvest.  I don't mind letting my housemate eat a couple of our heads of lettuce, but if we miss all of the watermelon we will be very frustrated.

7) I already own a huge bag of Perlite.  How big a deal is it if I use that instead of vermiculite?

Thanks!


Last edited by aggyanna on 3/21/2014, 4:55 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forgot a question)

aggyanna

Posts : 2
Join date : 2014-03-21
Location : Maryland

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/21/2014, 6:12 pm

WELCOME Aggyanna;
I'm not an expert on your questions - someone who knows more than I will come along, I just wanted to welcome you to the forum and say HURRAY for teaching your kids how to grow their own food.  They'll be so much further ahead than most kids who don't even know where food comes from!  

Audrey

audrey.jeanne.roberts

Posts : 1866
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Central Calif Mtns.

View user profile http://audreyjeanne-roberts.artistwebsites.com

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 3/21/2014, 9:56 pm

Welcome, aggyanna!  There are lots of automatic watering systems out there, and the old variety we have is well out of date.  I'd advise you going to a gardening store or two and ask lots of questions.  I can speak with some authority on protecting your garden from deer, elk, raccoons, and voles.  For safety from the first three, a good fence is the only true protection.  I did manage to save the apples from one of our trees by putting a circle of shipping pallets around the base of the tree--deer are afraid to step on them because they're wary of catching their feet in the spaces between the boards.  Pallets would probably bring complaints from neighbors, though.  In the new issue 263 of Mother Earth News is a good article "Top Gardening Challenges and How to Overcome Them" which mentions "installing an economical double electric fence around the garden and orchard."  And, on page 12 of the same issue is an ad for Instant Fences, some of which look to be electrified.  www.premier1supplies.com out of Washington, IA.  Good luck on both your new garden and the challenges it provides.  Keep us notified.  Nonna.PapaVino

Nonna.PapaVino

Female Posts : 1437
Join date : 2011-02-07
Location : In hills west of St. Helens, OR

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Goosegirl on 3/22/2014, 6:29 pm

welcome Aggyanna!

To add to the above posts, perlite is a perfectly acceptable substitute for vermiculite.  Some gardeners dislike it because some tends to 'float' to the surface throughout the season, but it works just fine and when you mix in your compost between crops it gets mixed in again.  

GG

____________________________

GG   geek 






COMPOSTING:  The only time 'Garbage In' does not equal 'Garbage Out'!

Goosegirl

Female Posts : 3402
Join date : 2011-02-16
Age : 51
Location : Zone 4A - NE SD

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/22/2014, 6:34 pm

From what I understand, perlite doesn't have quite the same qualities as vermiculite. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

My impression is that perlite drains more easily and that vermiculite absorbs and holds water, then drains when saturated.

donnainzone5

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 1924
Join date : 2010-03-02
Age : 69
Location : Bend, OR (Zone 5-6)

View user profile http://www.amway.com/DonnaKBecker

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  camprn on 3/22/2014, 8:31 pm

Mel writes in the All New Square Foot Gardening book that perlite is a good substitute for vermiculite. He doesn't use it because he doesn't like perlite dust  when he makes Mel's mix. I use perlite with good results.

There are several back threads about this subject that clarify the properties of each mineral in soiI less growing mediums.

A deer fence is a good idea. If you also want to keep out small critters this is also a good idea.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/species/graphics/rabbit7a.jpg

Mulch is very valuable to the intermittent gardener.

____________________________

40 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


camprn

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 13983
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 54
Location : Keene, NH, USA ~ Zone 5a

View user profile http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-week

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  plantoid on 3/22/2014, 9:55 pm

Automatic watering.. my take on this from this side of the pond in the UK

Make sure it is up and running a couple of months before your planned holiday time.. nothing worse than coming back to a garden where it was not set right and the veg have died /drowned. ( guess how I know   Embarassed  , after five weeks away in one go  Wink )

 Small individually adjustable spray heads that cover a 90 degree arc  are good  so are individually adjustable drippers that can be set to drip a gallon or so an hour .

 Seeing as it's likely to be hot where you are , perhaps  water after sun down and till just before sunrise when the water will have time to get down in to the growth medium 7 out of the area of the immediate evaporation by the suns heat .

Don't have the auto watering on too long  either , as it will tend to wash out the valuable nutrients in the MM .
You can't easily waterlog MM as it is free draining , but you can over water and do the above washing out of the nutrients to the detriment of the plants.

plantoid

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2011-11-09
Age : 65

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/22/2014, 10:27 pm

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Welcome, aggyanna!  There are lots of automatic watering systems out there, and the old variety we have is well out of date.  I'd advise you going to a gardening store or two and ask lots of questions.  I can speak with some authority on protecting your garden from deer, elk, raccoons, and voles.  For safety from the first three, a good fence is the only true protection.  I did manage to save the apples from one of our trees by putting a circle of shipping pallets around the base of the tree--deer are afraid to step on them because they're wary of catching their feet in the spaces between the boards.  Pallets would probably bring complaints from neighbors, though.  In the new issue 263 of Mother Earth News is a good article "Top Gardening Challenges and How to Overcome Them" which mentions "installing an economical double electric fence around the garden and orchard."  And, on page 12 of the same issue is an ad for Instant Fences, some of which look to be electrified.  www.premier1supplies.com out of Washington, IA.  Good luck on both your new garden and the challenges it provides.  Keep us notified.  Nonna.PapaVino

Interesting stuff, NPV. I'm completely unhandy, but am wondering if I should take a crack at installing a fence like this about an area in side yard I can use. There are so many components listed at that site that it seems overwhelming.

Marc Iverson

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2013-07-05
Age : 55
Location : SW Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Chopper on 3/23/2014, 12:14 am

Re: Automatic watering. If you have a housemate that can keep an eye out it might work. My son returned to some boxes where the watering had failed at some point and not everything could be saved. And the other suggestion to give it a try out for a bit is a good one too.

Chopper

Female Posts : 2467
Join date : 2010-05-05
Age : 61
Location : Warner Springs, CA USDA Zone 8a, Sunset Zone 7 (I think)

View user profile http://thezimmermannfamilytoo.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Yardslave on 3/23/2014, 4:03 pm

From the revised  ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, page 99, Mel attributes his dislike for perlite due it's texture in the soil, it migrates up in beds, and it doesn't hold water as good as vermiculite. Perlite's cheaper, for sure, but raised beds need to be able to hold moisture as well as drain. I suppose that it could be used as a substitute for vermiculite in beds that only get partial sun and aren't prone to drying. The new edition also advocates a box be only 6" deep now, so save money on lumber, and just put your money in the 5-compost, vermiculite, peat moss mix- you don't even need fertilizer or amendments if the blend is according to Mel's formula.
      Those of use that read and used the first edition of SFG will balk at the idea of not adding green sand, bone meal, rock phosphates, or supplemental fertilizers and be inclined to resist on a faith-based belief that our way is the only way- heck, look at my veggies, isn't that enough proof!. Remember that we were the second generation of gardeners, that evolved from the Row-croppers of old. Well, move over - looks like there's a newer generation evolving that uses a simpler method that yields the same results. We won't even have to worry about pH anymore because the mix takes that out of the equation. Things are getting easier.

Yardslave

Male Posts : 260
Join date : 2012-01-19
Age : 65
Location : Carmel Valley, Ca.

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/24/2014, 1:37 am

I'm not a big fan of perlite either, but I love vermiculite.

Marc Iverson

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2013-07-05
Age : 55
Location : SW Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/24/2014, 8:24 pm

Aggyanna - have you tried dehydrating watermelon?  It's like watermelon Jolly Ranchers, but more intense!  (It's also rather sticky... but, oh, so good!)

On the auto-watering - we set it up on our deck for my herbs & tomatoes last year.  It worked out very nicely.  We used drip watering.

AtlantaMarie

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 3774
Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 53
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

View user profile http://www.defensivespecialties.com

Back to top Go down

Re: New, and wondering if I can do this...

Post  Sponsored content Today at 5:34 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum