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Hello from MN

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Hello from MN

Post  msinnen on 3/23/2015, 3:49 pm

Hello from Minnesota.

Picked up Mel's book at the library this winter when I was aching to see some green and have been hooked since. I just got a plot at our community garden and was wondering if anyone applies these principles outside of raised beds? And is there a place on here for help on making a plan? Mostly struggling with orientation and shading. 

Looking forward to getting the seeds started tonight in the basement!
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Re: Hello from MN

Post  Kelejan on 3/23/2015, 4:12 pm

glad you\'re here msinnen thinking from British Columbia, Canada.
You will no doubt receive plenty of  help in the next few hours, especially from others who live in the same area.

If you can let us know the size of your bed and how deep, and the orientation that will help for a start. Then we can guide you and answer questions.

I actually got started when my DH (dear husband) gave me this book he picked up for 50c at a garage sale.  It was the 1981 edition of Square Foot Gardening, I read it then put it away for years and years. Then one day I picked it up again, then went on to the Internet and to my surprise there was a Website and from there I came on to this Forum and it has been just wonderful.

Looked forward to hearing from you.

Kelejan

What edition is your cop?.  If it is 1981, go no further, as there are later editions and each time it makes things easier.
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Hello from MN

Post  msinnen on 3/23/2015, 4:21 pm

Hi Kelejan,

The plot is 15x20, with the 20ft end as the North side. I'm working on a diagram with my thoughts now. I'll post later so people will have an idea of what I'm thinking anyway. 

The version I had was his latest, so I think I have the most up to date info. We actually just moved into a new home, so I'm looking to get the community plot going while I built my beds at my home for next season. Just not enough time to get it all together in time for this season.

-Matt
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Re: Hello from MN

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2015, 1:39 am

Matt, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here I'm excited for you having such a nice sized community plot. Plus, planning SFG for your home.

Is the plot a raised bed or level with the rest of the land? Has it been amended with dead organic matter by the previous tenant? Water supply? I'm so excited for you. I'm picturing 6 rectangles, room for 6 north trellises. Cantaloupes, sugar baby watermelons, pole beans and peas, cucumbers, winter squash.

Yes, you can apply SFG principles to row gardening. 2-3 foot wide isles. North trellises. Heavy on the compost, worms, even a little fluffed peat moss and vermiculite or perlite, plant spacing, mulching to reducing evaporation, mid season top dressing with compost, weed fabric and mulch for the isles.

Please feel free to ask questions. And post photos of your garden journey. We love watching a garden develop.

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Re: Hello from MN

Post  Goosegirl on 3/24/2015, 8:38 am

Welcome to the forum Matt! We look forward to hearing about your progress & successes, and guaranteed we will commiserate with you on any failures - we have all had them and will completely understand the sorrow when a seedling croaks!
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Re: Hello from MN

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/24/2015, 9:06 am

Hi Matt.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

+1 on what the others have said.  And glad you have the latest edition of the book.  I've read all 3 editions and it just keeps getting easier...
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Re: Hello from MN

Post  msinnen on 3/24/2015, 9:35 am

Thanks for all the warm welcomes. 

The plot is an area in a community park where they've just tilled a large rectangle. The program is several years old though, so I'm going to hope that the previous tenants had been amending the soil. I guess they put in an old farm pump that's tied into the city water supply at the end of last season, so water should not be an issue. I was thinking the same thing as far as trellises, that entire Northern edge Smile The plan now is for Parisian Pickling Cukes, Blacktail Mt watermelon, and Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkins(assuming they trellis moderately well?, otherwise I could plant at home and let them sprawl I guess) on the trellis. My daughters are already planning on what they'll do with their 'Cinderella' pumpkins. 

I really love tomatoes and peppers, but would also really like to use all this extra space to produce some veggies to can/freeze; peas, carrots, beans. Also wanting to try potatoes for the first time. Any recommendations on a variety that does well in our clay, PH of 8 soil? 

Has anyone tried Parisian Pickling cukes? Wondering how many squares I'd need to plant to be able to can a couple dozen quart jars of pickles.

Last question before I post my plans (maybe...) If I'm going to be using the trellis for things other than tomatoes, how much spacing would give you them, and what would you try growing next to them if they're planted throughout the garden?

Thanks again for all the responses and welcomes.

-Matt
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Re: Hello from MN

Post  Turan on 3/24/2015, 1:20 pm

HI Matt,

To your first question, Yeah, it is very possible to use SFG organizing principles with an in ground garden.  That is how it started and is how many of us continued.  Like most things you pick and choose according to what works best with your own circumstances.

Potatoes do best with a slightly acidic soil, other wise they are susceptible to scab.  With a heavy clay soil they will be easiest if you plant shallow and then mulch heavily.  That way the tubers will be at ground level or in the mulch.   
http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/7-ways-plant-potatoes?page=0,1

If you are growing tomatoes not on the trellis make sure they are bush or determinate varieties.  How much space each plant needs seems to vary a lot with cultivar.  I grew 4-5 Romas for a few years in a 3X4 cold frame and they did well.  Each plant got its own cage but they commingled beyond that.  At ground level I had sprinkled leaf lettuce seed and that did quite well until it got too hot.

I have not heard of the Parisian cuke.  Let us know how it goes.  I am planning to grow a few Diva cukes in the greenhouse to try fermentation pickling with this summer.

Good luck with all your plans

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Re: Hello from MN

Post  mollyhespra on 3/24/2015, 10:12 pm

Hi, and welcome!

How much gardening have you done in your part of the world? Something to also consider is your very short growing season. I'm guessing you've already thought of that based on your watermelon and "Cinderella pumpkin" choices, but just in case, make sure you pick varieties that are well suited for growing in the North. I only have about 90 days of guaranteed frost-free growing days, and I'm in 4B, so if you're in 4A you might have even less. If you pick varieties that require longer time, be prepared to cover and protect from frost on both ends of the season.

Good luck!
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Re: Hello from MN

Post  sanderson on 3/25/2015, 1:30 am

msinnen, I sent you a PM, private message. Flashing red light at the top.

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Re: Hello from MN

Post  msinnen on 3/25/2015, 7:23 pm

Thanks again for the responses. I have a fair bit of experience gardening. Mostly in containers since we were previously living in a townhouse. I've selected varieties that do well in shorter growing seasons. 

I should have mentioned, the entire community garden is quite small. Only 8, 10x15 plots (I have the northern most two, side by side). So I'm able to access the garden from all three sides, and only have a neighbor(s), on the Southern border. The city also tills the garden in the fall, and again in the spring, so unfortunately no putting in beds or growing any perennials. 

Thank you,  Sanderson for the proposed plan. I like the idea of splitting it up like that. I'm a pretty tall guy with a good reach, so I went with this, thinking I should be able to reach it all. Also planted a row of carrots and radishes at the entrance, thinking I should have no problem stepping over them Smile North is the top.

Here is my first idea, open to any and all feedback:

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Re: Hello from MN

Post  sanderson on 3/25/2015, 11:31 pm

Well, look at you! I think you are growing everything but the kitchen sink. The only thing missing is a way to get the wheel barrow in. You know, aged horse manure in, crates of veggies out. Very Happy

It's too bad the city tills the lot. You could build up some nice rich soil if they would leave your plot alone. Pile up straw, fresh horse manure and plain wood chips, sprinkled with Starbucks coffee grounds, on the beds and by spring, it should be rich. Tilling the soil can destroy the underground network of micro-organisms and ground worms.

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Re: Hello from MN

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