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Hello from central NY

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Hello from central NY

Post  MelF77 on 1/13/2016, 7:55 pm

Hi all

I am familiar with sfg and have owned the 2nd edition for a few years now. The last few houses I have been in did not have ideal yards for growing veggies though. My hubby and I have bought our 4th and final house before we retire down the road. I am very happy to say I finally have a flat Fenced in backyard with FULL sun. The backyard is only about a 1/4 acre and I have to share it with my 2 greyhounds and the pool my husband so badly wants, but I finally have a sunny backyard with no trees, except for the 2 dwarf peaches I have on order for spring delivery and my potted figs.

I think intensive/sfg is going to be the perfect solution for my smaller yard. I'm hoping early this spring I can get 3  5x20ft beds in to give me 300sqft the first year.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/13/2016, 8:07 pm

Hey MelF77 from Ohio! Good for you finally having some growing space, so much potential! SFG has literally been my saving grace, I was just sick of the weeds, poor production, and hassle.

I think you will be very happy to be here! I know we are glad to have you on board! Post pics as soon as you have any I hope you will post often, and the archives are great!

glad you\'re here
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Kelejan on 1/14/2016, 12:11 am

glad you\'re here MelF77 happy hi 
from Kelejan :canada: 

Very excited for you on your new venture.  I can almost guarantee you will get hooked on this method of gardening.

May I make a suggestion on your last paragraph when you say your beds will be      5ft x 20ft?  For myself I would use 3ft x 20ft only because I am a small person and find it more comfortable to  reach 1 1/2 feet to the centre of the bed when planting, weeding etc. Unless you have very long arms, you may have a problem reaching in 2 1/2 feet to the centre.  Another suggestion to avoid stepping on the soil, one can also use stepping stones.

I am a little envious of your Full Sun, but I do the best with what I have and with SFG I do not do too badly, much better than the old dig and row garden, that's for sure.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  CitizenKate on 1/14/2016, 1:43 am

"Only" a quarter-acre, she says... if only...

Very happy for you and your new habitat.  Can't wait to see photos of your SFG projects in the coming growing season!
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  sanderson on 1/14/2016, 3:15 am

Mel,  Welcome to the Forum from California!  glad you\'re here   Your back yard sounds heavenly for gardening.  My whole lot with house and 3-car garage is 0.14 acre. Razz   I second what Kelejan said about limiting the width of the boxes to 4 feet for ease of planting, maintaining and harvesting the produce.  I will go one step further and suggest that two 4' x 8' boxes would be even more accommodating than one single 4' x 20'.  I'm thinking it is a lot easier to set up trellises, harvest vining produce like beans, peas, winter squash, cucumbers, etc.  It's just easier to walk around an 8' long bed than a 20' bed.

Please, please post photos of your journey.  We love photos! Very Happy

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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  MelF77 on 1/14/2016, 7:33 am

Thank you for all the replies. I am so happy to see this is an active forum and it's friendly after going through some threads. I've been gardening for years and have been active on other forums, but never felt completely welcome or my ideas were not the same as others.

This wouldn't be the first time I have used the sfg method, just the first with the amount of area and the full sun. I was very impressed with garlic, squash, tomatoes and a few other things, even with less than ideal sun.

As for the size of the beds, I know 5ft is pushing it. I am only 5'3" and as long as I had a 2ft path I was easily able to reach into a 4ft bed. I can stretch to the 2.5', but it's not set in stone for doing 5' wide beds, and .....the older I get the less likely I will be able to reach into a 5' bed. I at least need to stay with the 4' though because I have to have wide paths (looking at 4 or 5') because of the dogs. Also the reason for making the beds longer. Each path I have gives me less space to garden with.

Your right 1/4 acre is nothing to complain about, but when we started looking for a new house this past spring, we were looking for a house with 1-3 acres. Our first house yearssss ago, we had 5 acres and I had chickens and I sooo dearly miss that, but it's not in the cards I guess. We couldn't find a house we were happy with that has a large lot. 

I promise I will take lots of photos as I love looking at them.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Kelejan on 1/14/2016, 8:29 am

Very Happy I can understand your feeling that 1/4 acre is nothing when  you have had acres before.  All relative, I guess.

Whatever size and layout of beds  you want is OK by me, we just like to let you know the difficulties that we encounter ourselves through experience so that you can take action if you feel you need to.

I would be interested in seeing a plan or Description of your garden, if possible. We do know it has full sun.

Roll on spring for we seasonal gardeners.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  MelF77 on 1/14/2016, 10:41 am

I'll have to figure out how to post my garden plans. Before we moved into this house after selling our last one, we were staying with friends. As a treat to myself, since I didn't have a yard to do anything in at that time, I bought a yr subscr. to garden planner to toy around with. 

If I seemed snippy in my response I did not at all mean it that way. I was just mentioning I have in the past done a few raised beds with sfg spacing and I do realize it's easier getting around and working the beds when they are more narrow and not making them as long. If I didn't have to worry about taking space from the dogs, hands down I would be doing MANY 3x8 beds with 3' paths instead of what I'm considering, heck I would want to fill my whole yard with them Laughing . I think a trellis covered with squash or such is nice to look at just like flowers. 

My husband actually only wanted me to do a 4' wide bed running the full length of our back fence 94', right up against the fence giving me no room to get to the back side of the bed Rolling Eyes
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/14/2016, 5:10 pm

Hi MelF77. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

I third the motion of not making the beds deeper than 4 ft. And I'm taller than you... Also, if you decide to plant next to a fence, only make them 2 ft wide and MAKE SURE you put something - black plastic, etc. - under the fence line and the edge of your beds to ensure you don't get grass or weeds growing between the fence & bed! (Ask me how I know & how much trouble I have now... Learn from my mistakes)

Don't hesitate to ask questions! We're a gabby bunch & always ready to help a fellow gardener!
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Kelejan on 1/15/2016, 12:14 am

Quote Mel77
"My husband actually only wanted me to do a 4' wide bed running the full length of our back fence 94', right up against the fence giving me no room to get to the back side of the bed "

I take DH does not work in the garden? Very Happy 

By the way, I detected no snippiness anywhere in your posts.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  MelF77 on 1/15/2016, 6:36 am

Kelejan wrote:Quote Mel77
"My husband actually only wanted me to do a 4' wide bed running the full length of our back fence 94', right up against the fence giving me no room to get to the back side of the bed "

I take DH does not work in the garden? Very Happy 

By the way, I detected no snippiness anywhere in your posts.

yeah, no. he has no clue.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/15/2016, 7:53 am

lol!
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Kelejan on 1/15/2016, 9:04 am

MelF77 wrote:
Kelejan wrote:Quote Mel77
"My husband actually only wanted me to do a 4' wide bed running the full length of our back fence 94', right up against the fence giving me no room to get to the back side of the bed "

I take DH does not work in the garden? Very Happy 

By the way, I detected no snippiness anywhere in your posts.

yeah, no. he has no clue.

So long as he lets you do whatever you want, that's OK then.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  sanderson on 1/15/2016, 3:59 pm

Kelejan wrote:By the way, I detected no snippiness anywhere in your posts.
 Ditto

Many of us have made mistakes Embarassed  and we want to spare other folks from walking into the same mistakes.  Comfortable access to all the beds is important, so planning the bed size with minimum 3' isles really helps.

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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  trolleydriver on 1/15/2016, 4:25 pm

I have to support using minimum 3 foot wide aisles as well. One of mine is less than that. When I first put the beds in it looked OK and it was not too bad to work within that aisle. But as the summer progressed, and the plants got bigger, and some overflowed into the aisle, I could see the wisdom of minimum 3 foot aisles. I could also see the wisdom of keeping the beds to a maximum 4 foot width. Trying to reach into the middle of a wider bed when plants are growing could be problematic. Just my two cents as a rookie SFGer. Sometimes less is more.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  MelF77 on 1/15/2016, 5:46 pm

2 houses ago I started with 2  4x6 beds 1ft high. I did a 2ft path between them. The first time I had to kneel to do work on the bed I realized 2ft is not enough Shocked  and I was 10 yrs younger at that time. I'm pretty excited about trying 4-5ft between the beds this year. I know I'm losing some planting space, but it will be comfortable to me and give the dog more room. Since I'm leaving the paths between grass though I can only let stuff sprawl so much. I do get envious when I see mulched paths and people have been able to let their pumkins or such ramble out. My male dog would be sure he is fertilizing everything for me though Razz
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  trolleydriver on 1/15/2016, 6:10 pm

MelF ... There's nothing wrong with those extra wide paths. They will give you lots of maneuvering room. I would be more concerned about extra wide beds to reach into.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/15/2016, 7:01 pm

trolleydriver wrote:MelF ... There's nothing wrong with those extra wide paths. They will give you lots of maneuvering room. I would be more concerned about extra wide beds to reach into.

Ditto! Access is an issue for sure!
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  littlesapphire on 1/16/2016, 8:31 pm

Hi Mel!  Whereabouts do you live in NY?  I'm in Jamestown in the southwest corner.  I think because you're more in the middle of NY your zone is probably colder than mine (5a), unless you live near the Finger Lakes or Rochester, in which case, lucky you! 

You'll really like this forum.  I'm kind of flaky and only come around in winter/spring, but the folks here are really nice and helpful, and you hardly get any drama or crap like that that other forums seem to always have. 

As for garden bed width, I'm not sure how 5 foot beds would work.  Give it a shot, I guess.  You can always narrow them later.  I will say from personal experience, that I'll never build another bed that's longer than 4 feet.  I have a 4x8 foot bed at my mom's house with a trellis along one 8 foot side that I can't reach through.  It's a pain in the butt to get to those squares in the middle!  I've been thinking about putting a board across it so I have somewhere to step, and maybe that'll make it easier.  Of course, that's just my opinion. Very Happy
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/16/2016, 10:08 pm

Good point, LS, if you plan on a trellis, and you should, IMO, I think 4" deep is too deep if longer than 4" as well. My trellis is on a 2ft deep box x 10ft (these were re-purposed window boxes). Never thought about that with the trellis access.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Kelejan on 1/17/2016, 2:03 am

littlesapphire wrote:
As for garden bed width, I'm not sure how 5 foot beds would work.  Give it a shot, I guess.  You can always narrow them later.  I will say from personal experience, that I'll never build another bed that's longer than 4 feet.  I have a 4x8 foot bed at my mom's house with a trellis along one 8 foot side that I can't reach through.  It's a pain in the butt to get to those squares in the middle!  I've been thinking about putting a board across it so I have somewhere to step, and maybe that'll make it easier.  Of course, that's just my opinion. Very Happy

I would suggest for a five foot deep bed, making a keyhole opening every fourth foot then you can then access them quite easily.

i.e. 4 feet + 1 foot keyhole, repeat as needed. The keyhole would need to be 3 to 4 feet deep so you would not lose five squares each keyhole but only 3 or four.
Mind you, a lot of work to make; maybe stick to your plank. Very Happy
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  sanderson on 1/17/2016, 2:21 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:Good point, LS, if you plan on a trellis, and you should, IMO, I think 4" deep is too deep if longer than 4" as well.  My trellis is on a 2ft deep box x 10ft (these were re-purposed window boxes).  Never thought about that with the trellis access.  
Do you mean 4 feet instead of 4"?

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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/17/2016, 10:29 am

sanderson wrote:
Scorpio Rising wrote:Good point, LS, if you plan on a trellis, and you should, IMO, I think 4" deep is too deep if longer than 4" as well.  My trellis is on a 2ft deep box x 10ft (these were re-purposed window boxes).  Never thought about that with the trellis access.  
Do you mean 4 feet instead of 4"?

Embarassed One too many hash marks! LOL yes, 4' is in my opinion too deep to reach into and access a trellis at the back of those 4'. Thanks, sanderson!
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  MelF77 on 1/18/2016, 8:46 am

Hi Julie

I live right outside of Syracuse in the town of Manlius. By the new zone maps we r listed as 6, but I still treat it as 5. If we were a true 6, I could put my figs in the ground with protection, but my gut says not too.

Well I have switched things around on my garden planner. I wasn't thinking too hard about the trellis and yes every north side of my beds will have a trellis. If it can grow up, I make it. Except for beans this year, those I'm doing all bush.

So right now I am planning for five  3x12' beds to start this year with. I have to figure out how to post my plans and I'll put something up in the correct forum.

I made the paths the minimum 3ft all around. Enough space for the mower, for my to sit on the ground in between beds. Its tighter than 4-5, but I really needed to make up the space somewhere. 

So with the 5 beds, that gives me 180 sqf space for 2016. We'll see. I still have some time before I can get out there to start. I do have to call lumber yards, I have an idea, but I want to make sure of costs. The compost, I already know as I have used the company in the past and I order my vermiculite online and just have it delivered to my house. Need to figure out how many 4cuft bags I will need for each 3x12 bed.
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Re: Hello from central NY

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/18/2016, 6:54 pm

Sounds like a plan, Mel! Why bush vs pole beans? Just curious. I do pole almost exclusively except did a yellow wax bush a couple times.
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Re: Hello from central NY

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