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Hi again!

Post  littlesapphire on 2/24/2015, 11:22 am

So I'm not exactly a newbie here, but I feel as if I am because it's been over a year since I've said anything in this great forum, and of course there's lots of new faces and probably a lot of old faces that forgot who I was, so I thought I'd better reintroduce myself!

My name's Julie and I live in western New York.  I live with my husband in a small home in the city on a 38x150 foot lot.  It's a big yard for the neighborhood, but it's pretty hard to do all the growing that I'd like to.  I tried soil gardening about 8 years ago, but since I knew practically nothing about gardening, the plants all died and I kind of gave it up.  A couple years later, I got an itch to garden again, but decided to do some research and do it right this time, and that's when I came across the first ANSFG book.  I loved the ideas in it and followed the directions as closely as I could.

I started with 2 4x4 boxes, but quickly added 2 2x4 boxes, then another 2 4x4 boxes, and even a 1x16 box for trellised plants.  Along the way, I've planted a strawberry bed, raspberry canes, blueberry bushes, and I even added some super dwarf apple trees last year. 

I love the ANSFG method, but I have to be honest that it hasn't always worked well for me.  The MM dries out quickly and then has trouble rehydrating, and my plants don't seem to thrive on compost alone.  Last year, as an experiment, I did some heavy mulching to keep the mix from drying out, which helped a lot but we also had a very wet summer so it's hard to say for sure.  And I also decided to try doing an NPK test on each box.  It really surprised me!  There was plenty of N and P, and in some cases a LOT of N and P, but literally no N.  So I added blood meal to my mix in the spring and added a little half way through the summer as well.  What a huge difference!  My plants went crazy!  I harvested 30 pounds of tomatoes from 8 plants, four of which were tiny cherry tomatoes.

So although I still love the ANSFG method, I've decided that I need to keep educating myself and paying attention to my plants.  And someday, when I have a bigger yard, I'd like to try soil gardening again to see if I can't do a better job of it now that I'm a lot smarter about gardening (thanks mostly to Mel)!

So I hope you guys don't mind having someone around who doesn't always follow the book when it comes to SFG, but I still love to garden and share pictures and stories Smile
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littlesapphire

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Re: Hi again!

Post  sanderson on 2/24/2015, 12:32 pm

Hi, Julie. Welcome back. I have seen some of your posts in older threads.

A typo? Did you mean no K?

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Re: Hi again!

Post  littlesapphire on 2/24/2015, 1:31 pm

Oh you're right, Sanderson, it was a typo.  I meant lots of K and P, but no N!  Very Happy  Thanks for pointing that out.

It's nice to be back!  I missed chatting about plants and gardening, and I've really gotten the bug with planting season right around the corner.
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Re: Hi again!

Post  sanderson on 2/24/2015, 2:25 pm

Adding any barn manure to your mix? If you mulch with wood chips, maybe spread a thin layer of bagged manure, then top with chips.

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Re: Hi again!

Post  littlesapphire on 2/24/2015, 4:17 pm

I'm mostly doing bagged composted manures, horse and cow, plus I've managed to get my hands on some composted lobster shells, as well as my home made compost (mostly leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, some straw, and clean up from around the yard).  I managed to find some vermicompost this year and plan on adding a little of that to the MM.
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Re: Hi again!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/24/2015, 8:33 pm

Hi Julie.  Welcome back!

It's all a learnig process!  I hope I never quit learning.
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Re: Hi again!

Post  duhh on 2/25/2015, 8:39 pm

My new beds always seem to do better the older they are. Keep experimenting with your garden. All of our environments are different and the same thing won't work for everywhere, but it's a good place to start!  Keep at it!
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Re: Hi again!

Post  sanderson on 2/26/2015, 1:21 am

Sapphire, Sounds like you are adding good stuff. You might want to read the ingredients on the bagged composts to see if peat moss is a major ingredient. The bagged chicken manure available where I live has large pieces of un-composted wood chips (maybe a rock or two, a piece of plastic, etc!) so I screen it before adding. Wood chips will tie up the N while it decomposes. Did you buy a kit for testing the NPK or send the mix to a lab for soil-less testing.

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Re: Hi again!

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