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Second year of square foot gardening

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Second year of square foot gardening

Post  lowraine on 3/9/2015, 2:34 pm

I feel that I am still very new to SFG so as spring starts to make its arrival I feel the need to get out and prepare my boxes.  I have a 4 foot by 20 foot section plus one 5 foot by 10 foot section.  I started last year with Miracle Grow potting mix, added peat moss and cow manure.  What should I add to the soil this year and what is the benefit of adding Epson salts to the mix?
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Re: Second year of square foot gardening

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/9/2015, 8:15 pm

Hi Lowraine!  Welcome from Atlanta, GA.  Glad you've joined us.

If you can find some other types of compost - worm castings, chicken/rabbit/llama poo, that'd be great.

I don't know enough about Epsom salts to give you an answer... Sorry...  But I'm sure one of the others will chime in soon.

Have fun!
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Re: Second year of square foot gardening

Post  sanderson on 3/10/2015, 1:50 am

Hi Lowraine, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here The recipe for Mel's Mix for Square Foot Gardening is 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 fluffed peat moss and 1/3 compost. The compost should be from 5 different sources. I don't know how high the beds are. Is there enough room to add some vermiculite after you add 5 different composts to bring the mix back up to the height it was last year? I would not add any more Miracle grow or other bagged compost with peat moss and small pieces of wood. You already have peat moss in the beds and you don't have to replenish it. Even the peat moss-free Kellogg's blue striped bag has a lot a small pieces of wood. Try to find as many types of compost as you can, including one composted barnyard manure. Mushroom compost, composted manure, worm castings, Ecoscraps (composted veggies and wood), lobster compost, a bit of kelp meal, etc. Maybe someone in your Region, who is familiar with the local products, can help here. How did the Miracle grow work? Did you have to fertilize during the growing season? If you use quality and varied compost you will not have to fertilize.

Epson salts (magnesium sulfate) are only needed when there is evidence of a shortage of Magnesium. If you use different sources of compost there shouldn't be a shortage.

If you haven't already, I would recommend reading All New Square Foot Gardening, 1st or 2nd Edition, by Mel Bartholomew.

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Re: Second year of square foot gardening

Post  lowraine on 3/11/2015, 7:59 pm

The Miracle Grow potting mix worked great.  I had a great garden last year.  I have cow manure that comes from Lowes, I used it in the beds last year so I thought that would be a good for this year.  I didn't plan to add additional peat moss but it was good to learn that I should never need to add more.  I only have what is available to lowes so I guess it is time to look again.   thanks guys
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Re: Second year of square foot gardening

Post  lowraine on 3/11/2015, 8:01 pm

I didn't had anything last year after first setting it up.  Miracle Grow potting mix is very good.  If I wanted to make the beds deeper I wouldn't hesitate to add a few extra bags.
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Re: Second year of square foot gardening

Post  sanderson on 3/11/2015, 10:03 pm

My best guess is that the MG worked because you added composted cow manure. This ensured that there was enough nitrogen while the small wood pieces decomposed. Since you liked the cow manure, you could add some more of that, plus any compost that is peat-free. Ecoscraps compost (veggie based) is another peat-free compost. I buy it at Home Depot. I don't know what area of N. Carolina you live, but I checked Craig's List - Charlotteville, and found well aged leaf compost, horse manure compost and worm castings. The more variety of composts added, the more varied the nutrients. Worm castings should be used lighter than other composts.

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Re: Second year of square foot gardening

Post  lowraine on 3/12/2015, 10:40 am

2015-03-12Yes I do like the cow manure and know that I can find it again.  But I will look at some of the local nurseries and see if I can find anything different.  I am so excited to get back in the garden.  My son and I plan to erect conduit and wire in various places for the plants to climb up.  I plan to plant my spring crop the first of April.
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