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.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» New Member
by sanderson Today at 3:47 am

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by sanderson Today at 3:15 am

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by sanderson Today at 2:34 am

» Calcium and Magnesium Deficiency
by sanderson Today at 2:14 am

» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 9:32 pm

» Happy Birthday!!
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 9:29 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 9:25 pm

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by yolos Yesterday at 9:19 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 8:58 pm

» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 8:52 pm

» New England, December 2016
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 8:45 pm

» Garbanzo (Chickpeas, Cicer arietinum) and Kidney Beans
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 8:33 pm

» CHALLENGE - Smallest possible footprint
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 8:22 pm

» Facebook - SFG Foundation postings
by sanderson Yesterday at 12:32 pm

» Anyone out there tried crosne tubers?
by sanderson Yesterday at 11:52 am

» California's Drought
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 11:21 am

» Mid-South: December 2016
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 7:40 am

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:16 am

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver 12/8/2016, 5:21 pm

» Holy snow Batman!
by donnainzone5 12/8/2016, 12:13 pm

» Butterfly Junction
by countrynaturals 12/8/2016, 11:44 am

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by camprn 12/8/2016, 7:05 am

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals 12/7/2016, 10:43 pm

» GF Collard Greens, Kale Recipes
by BeetlesPerSqFt 12/7/2016, 12:49 pm

» Bon fires on the Levee
by Cajun Cappy 12/6/2016, 12:17 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:24 pm

» Amaranth
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:06 pm

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee 12/5/2016, 9:08 am

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by countrynaturals 12/4/2016, 2:04 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by audrey.jeanne.roberts 12/4/2016, 1:28 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

Replenishing Nutrients

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Ronlev on 8/4/2015, 7:04 am

Hi guys,

I'm new at this and would appreciate any suggestions.  

Mel recommends an addition of compost to each square once the existing 
crops are harvested.  In practice I've found this problematic for 2 reasons:

1. Topping up a square every 3 months or so quickly leads to overflowing squares

2. Removing soil, adding compost, mixing and removing some soil seems like a lot of
undesirable work (also negative exposure to air)

I pull root crops out (this reduces soil volume), but cut leafy vegetables at ground
level.

Ronlev

Posts : 4
Join date : 2015-08-04
Location : Temperate, Australia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/4/2015, 8:28 am

Hi Ronlev.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA (SE US).  Glad you've joined us!

You should only be adding a trowel-full of compost.  That's not a whole lot...  Maybe a cup.  And worms & microbes, etc. will be eating some of it during the growing season. 

What do you mean by "negative exposure to air?"  I haven't heard that expression before... 

Leafy veggies - are you hoping that they will regenerate & grow by cutting them down instead of pulling them?  If not, then by not pulling them, you're leaving roots in your bed which can lead to other things not growing so well because their roots are having to compete with space with past roots.  (Does that make sense...?)

I'm sure some of the others with more experience will be joining in shortly.

Again, welcome!  And I'm glad you're asking questions right off the bat!  Smile

AtlantaMarie

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 3785
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: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Ronlev on 8/4/2015, 9:00 am

Thanks for the feedback AtlantaMarie. 

1. I've been leaving the roots of say Bak choy
and spinach in the ground to decompose in situ
without disturbing the soil structure too much

2. I filled up my box to the top (mere male 
following instructions:D). So a trowel-full seems
a lot especially 4 times a year.  

3. "Negative exposure to the air"- exposing the soil
organisms to the air, drying them out, drying the soil 
particles, guillotining the little darlings etc.

Ronlev

Posts : 4
Join date : 2015-08-04
Location : Temperate, Australia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  camprn on 8/4/2015, 10:04 am

I have found that a trowel full of compost for replenishing Mel's mix, is simply inadequate for the needs of most plants. I am a firm believer of more robust feeding the soil/fertilizing, like adding a wheel barrowful of homemade compost for a 4x4 bed.


The thing that must be remembered is, Mel's mix is simply a starting point and not meant to stay the same. The gardener needs to meet the requirements of the plants, not a simple formula. If the plants look like they need feeding, by all means go ahead and fertilize, with compost, or otherwise.

In regards to cutting leafy veggies off that the soil level, if they are done, just pull out the root system and toss it into the compost pile.

Garden growing medium requires air for health roots. A closed air (anaerobic) system is not what the plants need.

http://www.rodsgarden.50megs.com/improvingsoil.htm

If the mix is dry, water the garden.

____________________________

40 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


camprn

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 13984
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 54
Location : Keene, NH, USA ~ Zone 5a

View user profile http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-week

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/4/2015, 1:29 pm

Leaving roots in at the end of the season can help preserve soil structure as the plant decays, and the new roots of new plants will benefit from the water and air pathways created in the soil by its previous tenants, as well as from the slow decay of biologics in the soil and the paths made by worms and insects. On the other hand, having fresh compost mixed into a growing area has plenty of benefits too. And if roots don't fully decay, they may take up space you'd prefer your new plants to be in, as well as continue to demand nitrogen from your soil as the decay process drags out. There's hardly ever a solution that accomplishes everything without sacrificing some things along the line.

One thing to keep in mind is what kind of pests you have. Many pests overwinter in the plant debris or soil around the plants they attack, or even attach themselves to the roots of their hosts. This is one reason why cleaning up all debris at the end of the season, or as it accumulates, is so regularly recommended. And it's also a great reason to pull out roots.

Re having to fill up the boxes with fresh compost seeming like a lot, it's a sign of success to me. The plants wouldn't be eating up all that soil volume unless they needed it to produce crops ... or survive, both of which are good!

Especially if you're growing in multiple seasons throughout the year, you're taxing the soil quite a bit, and you'll need to replenish with bounty the bounty you take out and allow to flourish. Tit for tat.

Considering the SFG system celebrates growing full size-crops in quite shallow beds, it's natural for the reduction in soil volume to seem relatively large. A person growing in a six-inch bed might find the loss of soil volume more dramatic than a person growing in 15-inch beds simply because an inch is more dramatic when you've only got a handful of them to work with. It's like my potted plants: they're in such small containers that the soil volume loss over a few months can look dramatic.

And if you have heavy rains, that can wash away so much soil too.

In a traditional row garden, rows may be wide apart, giving the plants plenty of room to draw nutrition from. You won't notice your back yard sinking from soil depletion the way you will in an intensive gardening system like SFG that keeps plants a foot apart or less.


Marc Iverson

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2013-07-05
Age : 55
Location : SW Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  sanderson on 8/4/2015, 3:33 pm

Ronlev,  Welcome to the Forum from California, US!  glad you\'re here

When you have a moment, can you go into more detail about your SFG?  Post some photos, since we love photos and they are worth a lot of words.  How long have you been doing it?  What crops you grow, especially those that you remove every 3 months?  I'm also curious what you mean by trowel, the Australian definition.  A hand trowel holds a small amount, like a cup or 2.  Versus a long-handled shovel, which holds measurements more like in quarts or liters.

Soil needs small air pockets for the roots.  Pulling out a plant vs. cutting it off at the soil line brings up deeper soil to the top, allowing for aeration.  The bottom of the bed may get quite soggy and stinky (anaerobic) in some situations.  Roots are designed to be in moist soil without rotting.  So, it takes longer for roots to decay or compost when the plant has been cut off.

Shake off the roots to recover as much Mel's  Mix as possible.  There's nothing like using your hands in the mix to feel for the masses of roots.  It's okay to leave some of the tiny hair-like roots.  Just get the clumps out, saving the Mix.  Then add the amount of new compost needed to restore to the original level.  Nine small plants per square may only take a hand trowel or so.  Other plants, like tomatoes, have extensive masses of roots.  Pulling them out, shaking off the Mix, will result in quite a drop in the level of remaining mix.  You may find it takes a couple of long-handle shovel fulls of new compost to bring the level back up.

____________________________

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

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12295
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/4/2015, 6:03 pm

glad you\'re here Hello ronlev, and welcome from Ohio, U.S.! I am still learning from this great group, I know they can help!

Scorpio Rising

Female Posts : 3820
Join date : 2015-06-12
Age : 54
Location : Ada, Ohio

View user profile

Back to top Go down

replenishing nutrients

Post  kauairosina on 8/4/2015, 10:42 pm

I am a fan of cut-and-come again for lettuce and other leafy stuff.  My grandson likes to take off the outer leaves and I slice the buggas off right at the soil level and new growth starts in the middle for another 2 or 3 harvests from the same plant.

What do you all think about the difference? 

Of course, when they are finished they go into the compost.

kauairosina

Female Posts : 561
Join date : 2014-01-16
Age : 81
Location : Lawai, Hawaii, 96765

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  yolos on 8/4/2015, 11:44 pm

@kauairosina wrote:I am a fan of cut-and-come again for lettuce and other leafy stuff.  My grandson likes to take off the outer leaves and I slice the buggas off right at the soil level and new growth starts in the middle for another 2 or 3 harvests from the same plant.

What do you all think about the difference? 

Of course, when they are finished they go into the compost.

I takes a lot of stooping over to carefully cut the outer leaves.  So, this year for the first time, I sliced the "buggas" right off.  Much easier and they grow back if you don't cut them too low to the ground.

yolos

Female Posts : 2861
Join date : 2011-11-20
Age : 66
Location : Brooks, Ga Zone 7B/8A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/5/2015, 12:03 am

I've only tried the business with taking off the outer leaves.  I'm not sure I like it that much, because the lettuce/mustards I've grown wind up getting pretty tall and slopping out over the boxes into other boxes, making a mess for fewer and fewer leaves.  Soon I get thick stalks and an ugly looking,messy area.

Marc Iverson

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2013-07-05
Age : 55
Location : SW Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

harvesting lettuce

Post  kauairosina on 8/5/2015, 2:54 am

And what I like most of all is that the lettuce is so clean you hardly have to wash it.

kauairosina

Female Posts : 561
Join date : 2014-01-16
Age : 81
Location : Lawai, Hawaii, 96765

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Ronlev on 8/5/2015, 4:01 am

Kuairosina:
And what I like most of all is that the lettuce is so clean you hardly have to wash it.

So true. Washing "clean" leaves is sooo much better than washing lettuce leaves full of soil debris and sometimes lots of little bugs especially on an almost daily basis (a part of cooking versus a chore)

Yolos:
It takes a lot of stooping over to carefully cut the outer leaves. 

Yes, that's something I constantly bemoan and think of improving e.g higher raised beds 

Sanderson/Iverson/Camprn:
Thanks a lot guys for welcoming me and sharing some of your wealth of experience.  I'll post some photos tomorrow.


Last edited by sanderson on 8/5/2015, 4:30 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Editted font size)

Ronlev

Posts : 4
Join date : 2015-08-04
Location : Temperate, Australia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  sanderson on 8/5/2015, 4:33 am

Ronlev, Some of us have raised beds. There is so much information on this forum. Type is the key words in the search box and see all of the topics written about almost anything. One of your countrymen built entirely raised beds because of flooding.


____________________________

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

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12295
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

replenishing nutrients

Post  kauairosina on 8/5/2015, 12:24 pm

Welcome Ronlev

It is just amazing that we get to talk with folks from all over the world.  I  think we had an Aussie here once but haven't noticed lately.

14 years ago when we first moved to this location I had two waist high raised beds, thick redwood posts, really, really sturdy, built.  I have congratulated myself almost weekly for installing those.  They were very pricey but they are worth their weight in gold.  Now so many years later I can work in those beds, weeding out the mesclun, weeding the current occupants, strawberries, in one, when bending down isn't in the cards on a particular day..

Yep, elevated bed are sure the way to go for those of us getting on in age.

kauairosina

Female Posts : 561
Join date : 2014-01-16
Age : 81
Location : Lawai, Hawaii, 96765

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Replenishing Nutrients

Post  Sponsored content Today at 5:49 am


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