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New SFGs

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New SFGs

Post  ETNRedClay on 4/27/2014, 8:56 pm

Last year I built nearly 400 sf of MM and SFG on a big slope, so the beds were 2 boards high on the uphill and 3 boards on the downhill (11" and 17'-ish).  Loved it.  Produced TONS of produce and better than that, ate a big fresh no-chemicals-added meal out of my garden every day from April 1 to mid September.

This year, I'm refining.  I did level all my beds up with new compost (mushroom compost, field cow hay rack compost, deep chicken litter compost, & grass clippings/leaf compost gathered last fall.  And the fifth part was a mix of worm castings, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, rabbit manure, and fish meal). 

Discovered the fun of running compost through a SCREEN first -- pure delight.  Just draped 1/2" hardware cloth over the biggest Rubbermaid tub I've ever seen, bent the edges and folded the corners so it stayed in place and FUN.  Dumped, pushed around with the shovel, and scrape off any big parts into a bucket to go back for more "cooking."

After that I took on the new project.  ELEVATED SFG and container SFG.  I replaced the boards in my deck and was going to put the 2'x3'x8" concrete mixing tubs back on the deck... but decided instead to make "legs" out of 3-stack of concrete blocks and a "table" out of landscape timbers -- both of which I had here, and put my 6 tubs on this new platform.  HEAVEN.  I can garden without bending an inch.  Filled with MM and mini-blind slats for grids and I've got 18 kinds of salad greens coming up already in the first 3 tubs.

And lastly my SIPs (sub irrigation planters).  I found a huge deal on flower pots, 22' across and 18" tall.  I found another deal on colanders at the Dollar Tree and turns out PET water bottles that are ribbed can be stacked to make a water tube.  A little weed cloth around the colander to keep dirt out of the water/air reservoir, and my trusty Dewalt cordless drill and I have 13 new planters which I planted in MM (of course) and started my cukes, winter squash, summer squash, pumpkins and melons.  And around the edges I've got radishes and turnips coming along. 

Point being I made a TON of compost for last year's beds and I made new MM for the concrete mixing tubs and SIPs.  I make my MM in 3ea 5-gallon increments... or 15-gallons at a time.

Each of 6 concrete mixing tub takes 4ea 5-gallon buckets of MM.  Each large container took 2ea 5-gallons of MM.  It turned out to be about 50 5-gallon buckets of MM mixed in my trusty wheelbarrow. 
Started with the compost -- carried a 5-gallon bucket to each of my compost bins, added a heaping shovel-full, then a coffee can's worth of the other ingredients compost (worm castings, kelp, alfalfa, etc.) until the bucket was full  Mixed that up in the wheel barrow with my handy kids' hoe.  Then a bucket of peat moss I'd "fluffed" by grabbing a handful from the bag and rubbing it between my hands over the bucket until it was full.  Another bucket of Vermiculite which was just pour out of a bag -- easy compared to the rest!.  Then stirred it all with the kids' hoe again, raking it from front to back to front to back and done, pulling from the bottom of the pile each time.  Then shoveled the now-mixed MM back into a 5-gallon bucket to dump in tubs or planters.  Not sweaty work until today with the direct sun on my back, but that was only the last few planters.

All and all it was FUN!

(I need to add more concrete mixing tubs!)
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Re: New SFGs

Post  boffer on 4/27/2014, 11:37 pm

Just starting your second year, right? I'd say you're hooked!  

Welcome to the club! Razz 

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