Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Display results as :


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» New Forum Feature
by Scorpio Rising Today at 6:21 pm

» N & C Midwest: January 2017!
by Scorpio Rising Today at 6:14 pm

» Senseless Banter...
by sanderson Today at 5:54 pm

» California's Drought
by sanderson Today at 5:46 pm

» Microgreens Gardening
by yolos Today at 5:38 pm

» New England January 2017
by camprn Today at 5:29 pm

» Hi from Acworth GA
by runsamok Today at 4:37 pm

» Making Smoothies
by CapeCoddess Today at 4:05 pm

» 2017 Burpee seeds are already on display at HD
by MrBooker Today at 2:16 pm

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing January 2017
by trolleydriver Today at 10:54 am

» Winter Sowing vs. Winter Growing
by has55 Today at 3:32 am

» heirloom seed companies around a lot of the world
by ralitaco Yesterday at 10:58 pm

» What about ink on newspaper and cardboard for mulch?
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 9:23 pm

» Turan in the Western Mountains
by Turan Yesterday at 7:20 pm

» Green Ice Leaf Lettuce
by MrBooker Yesterday at 4:28 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:17 pm

» How's the Weather Where You're At?
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 10:22 am

» Third Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 9:23 am

» Holy snow Batman!
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 8:13 am

» 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC
by ralitaco 1/17/2017, 11:23 pm

» Gardening Australia
by IrishDigger 1/17/2017, 10:01 pm

» Daikon radishes?
by Scorpio Rising 1/17/2017, 9:49 pm

» Anyone want walking onions??
by Scorpio Rising 1/17/2017, 9:22 pm

» How much to plant?
by trolleydriver 1/17/2017, 2:48 pm

» January: What to plant in Northern California and Central Valley areas
by countrynaturals 1/17/2017, 2:22 pm

» Feedback for my 2017 garden plan
by sanderson 1/17/2017, 2:00 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by countrynaturals 1/17/2017, 1:49 pm

» Show us your kitchen compost container
by CapeCoddess 1/17/2017, 1:23 pm

» Some of our Gluten-free Cajun Recipes
by sanderson 1/17/2017, 12:34 pm

» Crop rotation
by sanderson 1/17/2017, 12:02 pm


Search SFG Forum

use what I have?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

use what I have?

Post  ceresone on 5/31/2015, 10:38 am

I'm a widow, on a fixed income--so that puts a limit on what I buy. This fall, I'm putting in 18 new beds-24" high-no more bending over-which I cant do. However, I have 40 acres of dirt/soil-if I can hire something to dig it. I have plenty of horse manure-and old hay. I can collect grass clippings/oak, maple leaves by the load. Plus scraps from canning this summer. What more do I need to make a good mixture? The beds will be on top of this years garden, so-no bottoms in them.


Posts : 1
Join date : 2013-02-15
Location : south central missouri

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  Razed Bed on 5/31/2015, 10:53 am

Just an opinion here, of which it is probably unique (screwy)-----

I know many farmers in our area that grow in pure compost--no actual soil or the other two components of Mel's Mix.

I am sure you can grow many wonderful crops in what you will have at your disposal.  Vermiculite and peat can be expensive, and nobody is going to hold a gun to your head demanding that you must go by "the book." 

I believe that somewhere either in the book or on this site, it is detailed how in areas where there are no resources to collect vermiculite and peat, or the funds are not available, it is recommended to use 100% compost.

I can attest that you can grow a lot of thriving crops in compost, because our cold compost piles have frequently given us free vegetables when the seeds were not destroyed by heat.

I say do what you are able to do.  The key is to grow as much nutritionally-rich food you can grow so that you can stay healthy.  I highly advise growing as many greens as you can, because you can benefit with more nutrition per square yard than any other way.

We have enough greens here to eat something green from our garden any day we want between early March and the first time it gets below 20 degrees.  Actually, we had kale that wintered over and still tasted great.

Have fun and be well.

Razed Bed

Male Posts : 243
Join date : 2015-04-01
Location : Zone 7

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  quiltbea on 5/31/2015, 11:07 am

1+  Ditto Razed Bed's comments.
Even Mel suggests using compost if you can't get the other sources.
Good luck.


Female Posts : 4616
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 74
Location : Southwestern Maine Zone 5A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/31/2015, 11:50 am

ceresine, that sounds like an excellent compost mix! I grow a lot of things and straight compost, especially in pots. One time when I built a new box I only had enough vermiculite and peat moss to fill half of it with MM so the other half was straight compost. I grew the best tomatoes I've ever grown in that compost.



Posts : 5439
Join date : 2012-05-20
Age : 60
Location : elbow of the Cape, MA, Zone 6b/7a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  Turan on 5/31/2015, 12:36 pm

It should work a charm, especially if your native soil is a bit on the sandy side. That is what I do, but I have added sand over time, it makes the mix more friable. In the beds you really want a mix that does not pack down and need spade digging. I would suggest beds 3 foot wide if longer than 4 feet. I like my 3 x 8 beds, others have 3x6 beds.

Basically what you are suggesting is what is described in the original SFG book.

We will be curious to read and see (post pics please) your updates Very Happy


Find more about Weather in Belgrade, MT
Click for weather forecast


Female Posts : 2018
Join date : 2012-03-29
Location : Gallatin Valley, Montana, Intermountain zone 4

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/1/2015, 7:44 am

Hi Ceresone.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA.

Looks like you've already gotten advice!  And I agree - use what you have.  Many people around the world use only compost.

Glad you've joined us!


Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 3913
Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 53
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

View user profile http://www.defensivespecialties.com

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  plantoid on 6/1/2015, 12:52 pm

I'm now into my sixth year ( ??? ) with ANSFG 7 have been making my own composts since day one .
 During this time I've come to realize that I need a lot more browns  .  Hay has a lot of seeds in it that come out in the composts .. composted cow muck & plenty of their straw bedding is good as one of the 1 /5 ths of the compost components as they digestive system kills all weed seeds  unlike horses.

 I still have some 8 or more black rubble bags of high content animal based dung and bedding manure that was composted five years ago . It has gone a bit doughy but soon crumbles if left to dry for 1/2 an hour.
 each year the worms have managed to get access and work their way though it .

My current thinking is
I'll still go with Mel's compost making suggestions but will add quite a lot of extra clean straw when making up the composts bins this year .


Male Posts : 3654
Join date : 2011-11-09
Age : 66

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  boffer on 6/1/2015, 12:59 pm

@plantoid wrote:... During this time I've come to realize that I need a lot more browns...

What were the indicators that led to this conclusion?

Was it the compost-making process itself, or the quality of your plants/harvest?


Male Posts : 7392
Join date : 2010-02-26
Age : 63
Location : yelm, wa, usa

View user profile http://boffer.us/

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  sanderson on 6/1/2015, 1:55 pm

Ceresone, I'm late welcoming you, so Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here

You have already received some good advice about box sizes. I love my 2' high table top boxes. Boxes for pole beans and other plants needing trellises are only 12-15" high so I can reach the beans, etc., without falling off a tall ladder! Very Happy

If you already have a row garden area that has been tilled/hoed in the past, then adding boxes to that area and partially filling with that soil and lots of fast compostable materials in the fall, then, come spring, when you mix the soil and compost as best you can, you should be able to grow great crops. Good friable "dirt" and compost. I think oak leaves take a while to break down, but horse manure, bedding straw, veggie scraps, leaves, grass, coffee grounds (attract worms which will make worm castings Very Happy ), and anything else that was alive should be ready enough by spring. You can start a compost pile right now and get a start on the process by letting them slowly break down over the summer. Add that to the top of the bed plus anything else you can get hold of in the fall.

Please keep us posted with your journey. We love photos!

PS I just thought of something else. If you can get free wood chips from tree trimming companies, they would be great to place in the isles between boxes. You should be able to walk around during the rain without getting muddy. Some folks use wood chips as mulch on top of the bed soil to slow down water evaporation.


Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast


Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 12653
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: use what I have?

Post  Sponsored content Today at 6:29 pm

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum