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The Many Ways We Use SFG

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The Many Ways We Use SFG

Post  Razed Bed on 4/14/2015, 12:08 am

I first began using Square Foot Gardening when I saw our local PBS station carrying the show in the early 1980's.  Mel made it look so easy and organized, which is what I needed most.

Because we had a narrow lot with little flat space on our property, I decided to go to rectangular plots.  Thus in lieu of 4x4 squares, I went with Nx2, which eventually morphed into one 60x2 plot.

We moved out of state in 2001 but did not sell the house.  We returned in 2003, and with a little elbow grease, my wife and I reclaimed the area as a garden.  It was at this time that we started composting on a major scale and built up a couple of windrows that would make a farmer proud.

These piles allowed us to build up the soil on the garden to about 8 inches of compost mixed with another 8 inches of topsoil.  We continued to add compost through the years.

When Mel's new raised bed book hit the stands, we bought it and tried our hand at it, but we did not have enough room to put in more than two new 4x4 beds. 

Then, a couple years ago, we found John Kohler at Growing Your Greens and saw how he put us to shame with his incredible layout.  He did a video on containers, and it just so happened that Lowe's was closing these self-watering containers out for $9.  We bought the store out of these babies that retailed for $34 each.  They came with conventional seeds which we did not use and with coconut fiber for a growing medium.  It was a cinch to add vermiculite and our compost, and voila!  We had Mel's Mix for our containers, which proved to be great for these containers.

That same year, we found Topsy-Turvy bags on sale at Big Lots for $1 each, so we bought 6 of those and filled those with Mel's Mix and planted tomatoes.  We hung them with Bungee cords from an old basketball goal missing the backboard and rim, and it turned out these were the only tomato plants that did not become squirrel and chipmunk food.

Then, because I get carried away, I went to the store and bought a box of contractor garbage bags, poked holes in the bottom and low sides of 20 bags and filled them up with Mel's Mix.  They actually perform better than the garden bags you can buy online for more than double the price. 

After not having a garden last year due to caring for elderly relatives, I found myself semi-retired this year and too hyper to sit on a porch and watch the cars go by.  I went to the other extreme and ended up with enough garden space to rent a booth at the Farmer's Market and sell, but we have invested too much time and money into fortifying our growing media to produce vegetables chock full of vitamins and minerals.  We plan to eat or give to family every last veggie.

What we do not have is the aesthetic beauty that we see from so many of you.  We may have the ugliest square foot garden setup of all with one long original SFG plot, two raised bed plots, 20 plastic garbage bags, and 30-something containers (the topsy-turvy bags deteriorated).  If you don't see any pictures from our garden, you know the reason.  Ours looks pathetic, but the food tastes really good.

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Re: The Many Ways We Use SFG

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2015, 1:19 am

Please don't feel you have to have a HGTV garden to post. Post photos of what ever you want, when ever you want. Most of our gardens have an ugly look sometime during the year. Very Happy


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Re: The Many Ways We Use SFG

Post  has55 on 4/14/2015, 3:21 am

@sanderson wrote:Please don't feel you have to have a HGTV garden to post.  Post photos of what ever you want, when ever you want.  Most of our gardens have an ugly look sometime during the year. Very Happy

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Re: The Many Ways We Use SFG

Post  Goosegirl on 4/14/2015, 7:51 am

Razed - if you post your uglies, I'll post mine! I can only DREAM of having a 60 ft long bed.  drooling What you think of as not being picture worthy may be just what someone else would love to see for ideas in their own situation. 

My boxes generally start out looking neat and clean (the 'after snow' clean-up) but I always have lots of stuff going on in early summer, so it gets wild and messy looking pretty quickly, although not nearly as bad as when I was row gardening! Laughing   I'll even post my nasty 'Didn't Get the Fall Clean-Up Done' pics!  I just have to get them from my tablet onto my computer.  We all have the Uglies!  But if it grows and tastes good, we have succeeded!!!

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Re: The Many Ways We Use SFG

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/14/2015, 9:12 am

LOL!  I think we all go thru that to a certain extent.  I know MY garden has the uglies right now!

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Re: The Many Ways We Use SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/14/2015, 9:57 am

Oh honey, let me tell you about ugly!  My first SFG was made out of discarded kitchen cabinets, fronts down.  Of course, not being weather proof, the sides began to separate and for the next 2 yrs I propped them up with pavers.  And I ALWAYS have about twenty 2-5 gallon buckets of different colors, shapes and sizes, as well as scrap lumber, bricks and rocks in my photos.

Being frugal to the extreme, I really understand & appreciate your bags, etc.  Please share your photos.  We've seen it all, and some of us probably already live with it.


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