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First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

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First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  melissam41 on 4/1/2016, 3:28 pm

Hello! I am very new to gardening and would love some seasoned advice. I have two questions:
1) Is there anything that raised a red flag about the plans I have for my 4'x6' raised bed (raised 10")? My seedlings are doing great and I'm planning on sowing in about a month (I'm in zone 5).


2) The bed was used by my neighbors last summer and their veggies were small and tasted terrible. I had the soil tested- it is very low in nitrogen but good in P&K. And it's a good blend of clay/sand/loam. Lots of earthworms in it. I have 5 cu ft of quality organic compost that I haven't mixed in yet, but I was planning on doing it about 2 weeks before I sow. Should I add nitrogen fertilizer to the bed first, and then the compost- or will the compost be enough?


I really appreciate any help sent my way!
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/1/2016, 6:15 pm

Hi, Melissam41, from Ohio! Glad you found us, and are into SFGing! A couple things just caught my eye on your plan, are you planning on a trellis on the north side of the bed for the pole beans and peas? If so, you can usually squeeze a smallish plant in front of the beans at least, like some Swiss Chard, if you want to try it. I did it last year very successfully. Also, you can go ahead and plant your peas now.

As for the spacing, you can get more than 1 strawberry/SF, like 3 or 4. And I would definitely do the compost on there! You may even think about raking in some blood meal for a pure Nitrogen boost, since compost is very balanced, and you really just need Nitrogen. Others have experience with other organic fertilizers, I like blood meal, very slow release. Organic.

Looking good! Join us over on our regional thread for updates, N&C Midwest! glad you\'re here
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/1/2016, 7:22 pm

Hi Melissa.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

A couple of things that I see are:

Strawberries - I'd give them their own space.  This first year, you'll be cutting off the flowers so that their roots can get established.  and they'll be perennials.  And they will spread!

Peas - I'd plant at least 9/square.

Thyme - also a perennial (at least down here).  I give each it's own square & keep it trimmed.

I agree w/ SR about the trellising.

Do you have a copy of All New SFG, 2nd Edition?  It's very helpful!  You can probly find a copy at your local library.

I'd also encourage you to check out the archives section.  There's a TON of great info there...

We're glad you're here!  And we're here to help you any way we can!! Very Happy
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  melissam41 on 4/1/2016, 8:03 pm

Thank you!

Yes, I'll have a trellis along the north wall. Can I plant the peas even though I haven't fertilized or put compost in yet? And even if it's supposed to snow tonight?

Re: strawberries, I didn't realize that I'd have to cut the flowers the first year! Thanks for telling me Smile That means I wont get any fruit, right? Since we are renting our house and are planning on moving in the next few years, perhaps I should do the strawberries in containers? Would that work?
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  sanderson on 4/1/2016, 8:17 pm

Melissa, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here It looks like you will be having a hybrid SFG, native soil with with only compost, using the SFG spacing. If you haven't already, please get hold of the book All New Square Foot Gardening.

Here is my feedback. Good, you are going to add compost. If you add blood meal first, just a wee sprinkle of it across the bed. After you have read the book, you will see why we all belong to Compost Anonymous. Next winter, a book that I would recommend is Teaming with Microbes. The way that Mel Bartholomew designed All New Square Foot Gardening lets us garden without worrying about things like dirt, weeding, fertilizing, etc.

Assuming the top of the plot plan is north and you will be adding a trellis, you can plant a lot more pole beans and peas. 8-10 per square. A trellis sandwich, a second trellis on the bottom of the row, will give good support and keep them more or less confined as they grow.

Thyme and sage are perennials and I would put them in large pots to the side of the bed.

Carrots - 16 per square. Onions - 9 per square, spring onions 16 per square. Straw berries - 4 squares together in a square (even better, a separate 2' x 2' bed of their own), 4 per square. lettuce - okay. Peppers okay at 1 per square.

Cherry (determinate) in a front corner so if it goes wild, it can fall out of the box. Indeterminate (taller) tomatoes next to the peas and beans, one per 2 squares, 2 in 3 linear squares passable. The diameter of the round tomato cages will force them at 1 1/2 feet apart any way. Hum, I wonder if the designer did that on purpose?? thinking You can always tuck a couple lettuces, radishes, spinach in the wasted ground space around the tomatoes.

Welcome, and we are here to help.

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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  sanderson on 4/1/2016, 8:25 pm

No, add and mix in the compost in the top 6" now and let everyone in the soil get acquainted while you wait for the snow to pass.  As a renter, I would recommend that all perennials be kept in containers or Gwennifer table tops.  My Gwennifer TT has wheels so I can move it around.  http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t17176-gwennifer-s-table-tops?highlight=gwennifer

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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/1/2016, 9:56 pm

@melissam41 wrote:Thank you!

Yes, I'll have a trellis along the north wall. Can I plant the peas even though I haven't fertilized or put compost in yet? And even if it's supposed to snow tonight?

Yep. Plant ASAPea! Lol, Peas are legumes. They fix nitrogen, don't need much to get started, and improve their footprint because of their fixative nature. Amend when convenient!
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  Kelejan on 4/2/2016, 10:46 pm

glad you\'re here melissam happy hi 
from Kelejan :canada: from British Columbia, Canada.

You have lots of good advice there, melissam.  Follow it and you won't go far wrong. hungry
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  herblover on 4/4/2016, 9:29 am

Welcome!  I totally agree about putting the herbs in pots as both will spread far more than you would think if they are happy.
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  melissam41 on 4/4/2016, 12:35 pm

Thank you to everyone! I am so glad I found this forum. I feel very welcome and am really looking forward to this summer Smile
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Re: First time SFGardener looking for feedback!

Post  sanderson on 4/4/2016, 5:34 pm

Very Happy

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