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Our first Square Foot Garden

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Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/4/2010, 7:11 pm

This is our first year gardening and are so excited to see how it goes. This is our journey so far...

We live in an apartment and have a north facing deck so mot much we can do with that. I was thrilled to find a local community garden and quickly signed up for a 20x20 plot at the garden. This is our plot before we did anything to it.


We spent our first weekend just driving around to different garden centers buying all our supplies and picking up free wood I found on craigslist.It was so hard to just drop it off and not dig in the dirt at all.


The garden is on a hill and being a perfectionist and not wanting to mess anything up I had to level off the area. At first I was going to level off the whole plot and after watching me my sweet hubby suggested I just level off where my boxes were going to go.


Next we got our boxes built. This included a trip to home depot for screws, we forgot those, oops!, a trip to a friends to borrow a better drill, our little household drill wouldn't work, another trip to home depot for a new drill bit because we broke the one we had. It was a fun day and took way longer to build the boxes that we had anticipated.


Then on went our weed cloth and PVC canopies



Then we mixed the Mel's Mix soil. I had two big bags of vermiculite, 2 bags of peat moss and 5 different kinds of compost. It was really easy to mix and put in the boxes.



Than came the grid. I found this insulated wire at Target "Garden Line" for $1 for 13 feet. So that is what I am using for the grid.


I soaked the soil really good and planted seed for carrots, onions, lettuce, spinach, beets, peas and some flowers a few days later. Now we are just waiting for things to pop up.

I just made plant markers the other night with old plastic containers and plan to add those tonight.

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great job on the garden!

Post  cindyob on 5/4/2010, 7:31 pm

Thanks so much for sharing! I too, am starting this year, and have been searching for scrap wood to make boxes, and planning the placement of the boxes. It's a lot of work, but will be worth it! And so much fun!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  miinva on 5/4/2010, 8:04 pm

Your garden looks great! Smile I'm curious, what did you make the canopy out of?

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/4/2010, 8:14 pm

Thanks! We are so excited!
The canopy is made of 2 pieces of 1/2 inch PVC bent over the boxes, just like Mel suggest in his book.

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  Megan on 5/4/2010, 8:22 pm

Looks fantastic... congratulations!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  timwardell on 5/4/2010, 10:08 pm

Congratulations! Looks good. It will be interesting to see what the other gardeners in the surrounding plots think of your SFG and how your crops fare compared to theirs.

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  Theresa on 5/4/2010, 10:27 pm

FANTASTIC!
I'm like Tim, it will be interesting to see how your SFG does compared to the others!
Be sure to keep us updated, can't wait to see it growing!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/4/2010, 11:17 pm

Tim,
I was at the garden yesterday and the family in the plot next to me asked if I had read the square foot gardening book? He had read both the original and the new. He was making his layout in the existing soil and uses the raised beds at home. He had all kinds of great things to day about it!

I am curious to see how it all goes. I kind of feel like I am setting and example for Square Foot Gardening and a bunch of others are watching to see how it goes, just a little pressure! It's obvious I am doing something different besides traditional row gardening and everyone asks me about it.

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Great garden

Post  Ray'ssfg on 5/5/2010, 2:08 am

Hi Stephanie, Well done on taking up the challenge of SFG, it will be very interesting to be able to compare to all the other gardens around you. It looks like you already have a head start on the other gardens with your raised beds.
PLease keep the photos coming as it is an exciting project in the community garden.
Ray Down Under

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Love it, Stephanie!

Post  LindainWarwickNY on 5/5/2010, 3:48 am

I had to laugh when I read about all of your trips to the store, because that is exactly what is happening to husband and I. At least you got your box together, mixed the soil, placed it in, marked your squares and planted your seeds already! It's just such a totally awesome feeling to do that, isn't it? It will be so much fun watching them sprout up! Congratulations!

It's been a really long time since husband and I grew anything from seeds! We've just been buying the pepper and tomato plants. Since I read the SFG book this spring, I'm really excited to try it. I'm a bit late and will probably have to buy our tomato plants, but can't wait to plant all of my salad fixings from seeds! It's very exciting!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/5/2010, 11:22 am

It is ridiculous how many times we went to the store. That's how I ended up with my third bed. I was originally just going to to two and had some wood left over for a third later. We were at Home Depot so many times I finally just said let's get that one last piece of wood and get it over with so we don't have to go through all this ever again. cyclops

It really was worth it though. I go out there now and just water. Everyone else is tilling, and digging and weeding while I just visit with the other gardeners and watch my dirt (nothing has come up yet, lol).

It is really neat at the community garden so see what is coming up from last year. In the plot next to me, yet to be claimed by anyone, there is a ton if lettuce (I think) coming up, there is a huge mint plant near one of the water spouts grapes along the fence and sunflowers coming up all over the place. Should be fun to watch it all change over the summer.

I am planning on buying my tomatoes and pepper plants. I started some squash and cucumbers inside just to see how it goes. If they don't do well I will buy those too. I have found the Egg-lands Best egg cartons work great to start seed in, they are little clear green houses!

Thanks for all the comments, it's encouraging and fun to share with others!
I'll keep the pictures coming too!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  Shoda on 5/5/2010, 1:29 pm

I had to chuckle over the "trips to the store" reference. I have gone some many times to Home Depot and the neighborhood Garden Store that they notice when I haven't been in for a day. It is scary when they know you by name! The garden store laughs everytime I go in looking for more vermiculite. Rolling Eyes

Like your level SFG beds! I am exactly the same way and fussed over the level for hours. And there is nothing better then finally seeing those little buds poking through! Your labors are about to pay off!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/5/2010, 1:52 pm

I am not the only nit picky one about level beds. lol I eyeballed them and then looked in the tool box and found a small level to make sure. My hubby laughed at me, there I was in the garden with a level making sure they were just right. I know they may settle but at least I know they were level to begin with. lol

My kids now roll their eyes when I say were going shopping because they know we are going to the garden center AGAIN! lol

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I wish you a good harvest!

Post  Saartje on 5/5/2010, 3:06 pm

Looks good! I hope you have a good growing season, and a tasty harvest!

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Good luck with your first SFG beds

Post  quiltbea on 5/6/2010, 2:09 pm

You've done a wonderful job getting your beds ready in the community garden. I commend you for being so ambitious. I wish you the best of harvests.

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  timcos on 5/8/2010, 9:46 pm

Beeeeeyoutiful.

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  milaneyjane on 5/8/2010, 9:56 pm

Looks great!!! Are you planting in anything else besides what is in the three boxes? Those look like fairly large plots to play in And I soooo hear you on multiple trips to the store/garden center. I love when it is summer and I see my favorite familiar faces of the employees LOL! I actually was giving out my email to the one garden employee who I chat with way too often. I got her all excited about SFGing

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Update

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/9/2010, 12:12 am

Thanks everyone!

I was just planning on planting in my boxes but as the days pass I find so many things I want to try. I am trying to start small and work my way up so I enjoy it more but am having a hard time just leaving space unused too. Not sure if I can afford to build more boxes just yet so I may plant a bunch of wildflowers around the edges or plant some pumpkins or something. At this point I dont have ANYTHING to do when I go out but water, by the way I figured out I hadn't really soaked my soil before and that is why it seemed so dry. I watered the other day until it was running out the bottom and it has stayed nice
and moist. Any way I don't have any thing to do yet so I figure I will dig some little beds around the border and throw some seeds in and see what happens.

I covered the boxes with plastic the other night be ause it was going to be in the low 30s again (really? Its May already, warm up would you) I have just kept them covered since, because it's still getting cold at night and I am impatient and want to see more than dirt and grids! So today I went out and tada I had lettuce, spinach, onions and bachelor buttons comming up!!!! Yay, I am going to keep them covered through this week, we are still having some pretty cold temps at night. I was so excited though, it's working! I really am growing things:)

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  Chopper on 5/9/2010, 12:12 am

What's holding you back? By my estimation that is 6 4X4 boxes and 3 4X6 or 4X8 boxes. LOL. Which equals 300 trips to the store.

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/9/2010, 12:16 am

Sorry for all the typos! That's that happens when I type with my thumbs on my phone. :suspect:

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  boffer on 5/9/2010, 12:25 am

"Any way I don't have any thing to do yet so I figure I will dig some little beds around the border and throw some seeds in and see what happens."

Wonderful attitude! okay IMO that is the secret to enjoyable gardening...trying something new just to see what happens. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. The fun is in the creative thinking and experimenting.

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/9/2010, 12:29 am

Thanks Boffer, That is a hard thing for me to do. I am taking my beds much more serious, it's ridiculous how much I research everything before I buy it. Kinda crazy I know, I am trying to loosen up and just enjoy the process and the journey and not worry about the end result as much. I appreciate the encouragement! flower

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Updates

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/20/2010, 1:55 pm

Here are some updates on my garden!

Things are going great. It was rather cold last week so I covered my boxes with plastic to help protect them. That was fun! I was paranoid about them blowing off. I ended up stapling them down on all but one side and then used a bunch of rocks on that side to keep the plastic down. It was rather windy too so they looked like giant balloons out in the middle of the community garden! lol I am sure everyone wondered what the heck I was doing! lol

But it worked, the little sprouts I had coming up all survived and in fact took off in the humid little greenhouses. On Saturday it was finally warming up and so the plastic came off and I told them they had been babysat long enough and they were going to have to grow up and deal with the weather a bit on their own now. They are doing great! I have onions, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, peas and flowers all up and growing now. I plan to plant Green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatos, marigolds, wild flowers, eggplant, peppers and some herbs this weekend and into next week.

I plan to build some trellis's in the next couple of weeks for all my vining plants. That should be an interesting project. I hope things grow up the trellis!

I have some space left in my plot so I am going to plant some pumpkins and a bunch of wildflowers and who knows what else.

It is fun to go out and have so little work to do, I know it's early but to watch everyone else in the garden work so hard and all I have to do is water a little and see what has come up and how it's doing.

Here is a picture of another garden plot. All this work for 2 broccoli plants and a row of lettuce. It just seems a little overkill to me. We will see how mine do, hopefully they will do great in my SFG beds!


Here are a couple of pic's of my beds. These were a week or so a go.







Onions!

Things look a lot different this week. I'll take some new pictures. You can't see anything in those pictures. I promise there are little sprouts! Shocked

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

Post  Megan on 5/20/2010, 7:10 pm

Looks great, Stephanie! I love it. I have so many pictures like that... "look, a sprout!" *big grin* Let me know how your trellises go, I still have to put mine up too. :scratch:

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Stephanie, I'm so proud of you!

Post  LindainWarwickNY on 5/21/2010, 3:42 pm

Wow, do you see the difference between Mel's dirt formula and the existing soil everyone else is trying to work with! Like night and day. The existing soil looks like it would belong on the moon! Thank heaven for Mel's mix! Or better yet, thank heaven for Mel!

I'm so thrilled with your progress and your plans for the next steps you're taking!
All of your plant choices sound great!

You would not believe the luck I am having back here! First our NY weather turned dark, drab, cold and rainy. Some of the bushes I had ordered came and I struggled to wait for a day that was decent to get out to my garden and plant the 2 blackberry bushes and 5 dewberry bushes alongside the garden fence.

We were busy in the morning and came back home a little late in the day to be starting my planting but I wanted to go ahead before the rain came back, so I opened my plant bag by the back door and the next thing I knew, a biting fly bit the back of my neck. I swatted at it. Then it did it again an inch away from the other bite. I swatted it again, but it bit me again on the other side of my neck and I smacked it! I think I got that one because husband later asked me what on earth was on the back of my neck.

That wasn't the last of the biting flies, however. More came and bit my left temple down by my eye area. I was trying to swat it away, but it came back for more and bit my eyelid. Then another showed up and bit my right temple area down by the eye area. I was swatting like mad, grabbed the plants I wanted, walked up the steps to our upper level of land and into the garden area. I didn't have time to make a bunch of Mel's mix for my plants, so I dumped peat moss all along the edge of the garden beside the fence. I then opened a bag of manure, compost, perlite and mixed it together. I dug into the peat moss where I wanted to plant a bush and worked up the soil down below and mixed it up with the other mixture. Then I would plant the bush. I got through with the blackberries and dewberries, but it was beginning to get dark. I covered everything with black plastic with holes cut for the bushes to poke out. I watered everything well.

It was now dark, husband wanted me to stop and come in to watch our tv shows. I did notice my eyes were getting a little dry and rough feeling. I went upstairs and looked in the mirror and noticed my left eyelid was beginning to swell from the bug bite. My eyes were red. I put on some visine which stung and went back down stairs.

The next morning when I woke up, I could barely open my left eye. It felt really weird. I struggled to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Yikes! Horrors! My eyes were both purple, swollen and the left one was really hard to open up at all! I screamed to husband that I was going to shower, dress and go right to the Urgent Care! Husband had once been bitten by a swarm of bees all over his arms. His hand swelled monstrously because of an infection and I figured I might have the same thing going on. We quickly went to Urgent Care with my sunglasses on! Hee hee. It's a feminine thing, I know. I didn't want to scare anyone. Even so, when I got back to the little glass room, I did take my sunglasses off. Everything was great until a little boy about 4 yrs. old came into the room opposite of us. He was grabbing onto the curtain and having fun flinging it back and forth. We were laughing watching him and so he did it even more...until his eyes caught site of mine! Then he screamed, "Look away! Look away!" I quickly closed the curtain in my room so he wouldn't have to look at me.

Anyway, I'm on a course of penicillin just incase a bacteria did try to take hold. On top of everything else, I had caught a weird cold that had settled in my chest. My eyes were fine within two days, but the cold lingered. I'm just now feeling like going out, it is a lovely sunny day, but hotter than heck.

I went out to check my plants and realized the black plastic was blazing hot! I quickly removed it off my plants. I put some Mel's mix (home made) around my babies, watered them, put newspaper around them, felt like I was going to have heat stroke, came inside, and now am going to go back out and put mulch down on the newspaper. I realize everywhere there is going to be plant life, I will have to do this routine. The regular dirt is very clay like, though, so I may keep the plastic down in the walking areas. It did save me from the horrible locust blossums, but I realize I will have to come up with something else next year to protect everything. Maybe netting during the bad time and then pulling it off after the blossums are done falling.

I have to plant my grape plants and raspberry plants and then figure out which spot I am going to put my 4x4 beds and which spot will be for my strawberry terrace. You see, I decided to do all of these different types of fruits and unfortunately, between the weather being extremely weird and the attack of the biting flies, I have gotten a little behind. But it has been so cold back here, that I probably won't be that far off schedule. One thing is for sure, once you mix the Mel's mix and make your beds, you will have them forever, so it's a good idea to try to do it right the first time. Anyway, this is what I have been doing the last few days!

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Re: Our first Square Foot Garden

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