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New with lots of questions!

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New with lots of questions!

Post  shegardens on 5/3/2014, 9:30 pm

Hi Everyone...

I'm new to this forum...I've just built two new 4x4 raised beds and my Mel's Mix is ready to go...
but I could use some help with a few things...

-Do I need to put anything else (plant food?) in when I plant my tomatoes and cuc's, ect?

-Does anyone have a good organic way to keep away groundhogs and squirrels (I am going to fence, bc I've got  lots of both, but am always looking for ideas

Thanks so much!
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Re: New with lots of questions!

Post  mollyhespra on 5/3/2014, 10:29 pm

Hi, Shegardens & welcome to the forum.

The theory behind MM is that you don't need to add anything else if you've taken care to use a good mix of composts, vermiculite, etc.

And as to the "good organic way to keep away groundhogs, squirrels", etc. let me know if you find one.  I had to resort to a 7' tall critter fence because of all the wildlife around me, and even though the squirrels left my SFG alone last year, this Spring I've found a bunch of very fresh, and very suspicious little holes.  The squirrels can climb the fence easily and the chipmunks can squeeze in between the smallest space. 

I've read about people using various scents (predator urine), etc. to repel critters, as well as hot pepper sprays.  As to the urine, I tried it before I had the SFG and nothing.   I won't use the hot pepper in the garden because of the risk of some poor animal getting it into their eyes.  I don't want them helping themselves to my plants  but I don't want to be cruel either.  I also tried planting wormwood around the garden (pre-fence) because I read that woodchucks are repelled by it, but it didn't seem to repel mine.  I'm thinking of adding a small, low electric fence if I keep finding evidence of the squirrels' or chipmunks' digging.  So far no plant damage, but I'm keeping a wary eye out.

Good luck with the SFG and let us know if you come up with a good critter-repellent.
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Thanks!

Post  shegardens on 5/3/2014, 11:12 pm

Hi Mollyhespra!

Yes, I too have tried everything from urine to pepper, marigolds, and leaving food out on the other side of the yard, but they still got into to the garden.  My husband says we have the best fed squirrels and groundhogs this side of the Mississippi. 

A few years ago I fenced in my 4X12 bed so well that I had trouble getting in to weed and water... I safely kept the animals out, but I couldn't really get in either...  it got so bad that I just let it go pretty much and so now I am starting over with two new beds and path in between, but I will still fence it best as  I can, including netting over the top, and hope that will do it.

Happy Gardening and thanks so much for answering!
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Re: New with lots of questions!

Post  llama momma on 5/4/2014, 6:51 am

Shegardens-
Get a copy of the All New Square Foot Gardening book, Mel has directions for lightweight critter covers.  I've used them for close to 4 years on almost all the beds. It works for cats, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks, birds, and other visiting critters.  It allows pollinators in.  After a few years when the lightweight cages began to wobble  I've repaired them simply by adding a small bracket in each of the four corners.
For digging critters many of us line the bottom of the beds with hardware cloth.  Don't know why its called cloth but it is wire, with either 1/4 to1/2 inch little squares.   

If you've made your own good compost you don't need to add anything else.
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Re: New with lots of questions!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/4/2014, 8:07 am

Hi Shegardens.  Welcome!

+1 on LM's comments.
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Re: New with lots of questions!

Post  shegardens on 5/4/2014, 12:01 pm

Thanks all!

I'll take a look at Mel's cages, I have an older copy of the book, guess I need to get the latest.
The issues with the critter cages- I think  is that the critters come to the beds and eat around them, and then when the plants grow out of them, esp the squirrels climb up and still get to them.... but I'm going to take another look, and see what the materials are and how big they can be made and
I will also put down "cloth" for the diggers!

In the past I have use a product called "tomatoes alive" but now I am putting in all new premixed Mel's Mix that I ordered so I was not sure if I need to add that again or not.... so seems the consensus is that I don't have to do that bec MM is sufficient.

Thanks again!
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Re: New with lots of questions!

Post  sanderson on 5/4/2014, 3:58 pm

"all new premixed Mel's Mix"

Just in case the guy at the blending controls was asleep, some folks add a little extra compost to the mix. Bagged composted manure, or worm castings, or kelp meal, or veggie-based compost (Whole Foods Market or Ecoscraps compost), etc. A trowel or two per square. Adding some type of compost is not really the same as adding boosters or fertilizer. All SFGs add compost to replenish the squares before replanting. No "Miracle Gro" needed.
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Re: New with lots of questions!

Post  shegardens on 5/5/2014, 11:17 am

Thanks again! Will be following all this good advice!
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Re: New with lots of questions!

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