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First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

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First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/15/2016, 11:22 am

Greetings SFG World,

For years my wife has been gardening just herbs and tomatoes along a thin strip of dirt along the backside of our den (pretty small area). Last year I proposed giving her a plot in our side yard for her garden, but she said no thanks - too much work...not to be discouraged, over the winter I began doing some research on what it would take to do some raised bed gardening when spring hit. Well, I stumbled upon Mels book and was intrigued. 

With the assistance of an eager 4 year old son, we set out to build mom a SFG. I figure if we put in the work to create it and plant it, she might be won over to gardening on a slightly larger scale since we can now do it together, and all of the grunt work is mostly done. I have 2 4x4 raised beds and 2 4x8 raised beds, which I've made from salvaged pallet wood - what a chore that was! Also, getting enough Mel's mix made up is proving tricky as I'm going to need to get more compost...I had 3 trash cans full, but it won't be enough. I'll post some pics when I figure out how to get them off my phone.

That's my story for now. We are getting ready to plant or first squares later today. I'd love to connect with others who are gardening in Central Ohio and have been perusing the boards for info prior to this first post.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  herblover on 4/15/2016, 11:26 am

Welcome from another Central Ohioan!  I am a little north of Cbus; and have been SFGing for 5 years.  You are starting out big!  I started with 1 4x4 box and now have another; plus the in ground stuff.  Check out the regional forum, North and Central Midwest for lots of good ideas and help.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/15/2016, 11:29 am

Hi Wyldhawk9. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

Looking forward to seeing how your garden blooms...! We like photos & we're here to help you all we can.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 12:37 pm

Welcome from Northern California! Very Happy You are ambitious! Shocked Posting pics here is a little complicated until you get the hang of it, but there's a nice thread for it in the "How to" section. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t129-how-to-post-a-picture-located-on-your-computer and lots of nice folks here to walk you through it.  Cool

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/15/2016, 12:42 pm

Nice to meet you all! I'm eager to get planting with the warmer weather returning. What do you all think of this?


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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  Kelejan on 4/15/2016, 12:47 pm

I do hope you win over Mrs. WH.  You are a DH in a hundred. Getting your four-year old interested will mean he will probably eat his veggies.

glad you\'re here  wyldhawk
from Kelejan :canada: in British Columbia

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 1:00 pm

@wyldhawk9 wrote:Nice to meet you all! I'm eager to get planting with the warmer weather returning. What do you all think of this?

Observation: You're mixing cool weather crops with warm weather crops. Maybe that's okay in your climate, but you should wait for the experts to weigh in before you plant. Here in Redding, CA, it's already too late to plant broccoli, cabbage, etc. 

This was my first time planting romaine. Beautiful upright plants. I'd love to see a pic of the red ones when they get big. I didn't know about those.

This is exciting stuff. Good luck.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/15/2016, 1:07 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@wyldhawk9 wrote:Nice to meet you all! I'm eager to get planting with the warmer weather returning. What do you all think of this?

Observation: You're mixing cool weather crops with warm weather crops. Maybe that's okay in your climate, but you should wait for the experts to weigh in before you plant. Here in Redding, CA, it's already too late to plant broccoli, cabbage, etc. 

This was my first time planting romaine. Beautiful upright plants. I'd love to see a pic of the red ones when they get big. I didn't know about those.

This is exciting stuff. Good luck.


Good point about the cool weather and warm weather crops...I'll head to the regional forum and ask there. I think we just had our last frost 2 nights ago...

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  landarch on 4/15/2016, 1:56 pm

Do you have any trellises on the north sides?

Other than that I think the plan looks good...my only thought is Brussels Sprouts take a really long time, and you have radishes that could be done in as little as 22 days or so...start thinking about your succession plantings. 

Once veggies like carrots, beets, lettuce, etc. are harvested I tend fill empty areas with green more peppers and bush beans.

For another round of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in the fall, you would want to make sure those squares are empty and ready for new seedlings in mid-late July, depending on your zone.  Same for fall carrots, beets, lettuce, etc.

Then in the fall, you could do spinach and garlic that would over-winter...maybe an Asian green like Tatsoi that can take 15 degree temps, colder with a bit of protection.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 2:11 pm

Something else I just thought of -- I grow almost everything from seed, so I'm thinking teeny tiny babies. If you're starting with huge nursery plants that are almost ready for harvest, you should be just fine.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2016, 4:24 pm

Wyldhawk,  Welcome to the Forum from California!  glad you\'re here   It's fun to draw out plans using the squares.  So easy.

Comments: I would plant the bush beans in 2 adjacent squares and put short fencing around the area to corral them as they grow.  Little wire or white picket style in the gardening area of any big box home improvement or dollar store.  I would plant radishes as after-thoughts in other occupied squares and plant something else you want in those squares.  Like a couple in each corner of the eggplant, peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  As you pull up a radish, add a bit of compost and plant another seed.

Do keep us updated.  And, we love photos! Very Happy

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/15/2016, 7:07 pm

Hi, wyldhawk! From NW Ohio! Nice weather finally....

You have a lot of squares, and I agree with some of the comments. Are you going to use nursery transplants? If so, you can interplant your radishes around your little peppers, broc, eggplant, etc. and they will be done way before the main plant gets bushy!

Otherwise, my advice is to just go with it! You will be amazed at how much food you will get out of your little squares. Also, I would recommend keeping notes. I learned A LOT last year. What I like to eat, what I thought I liked to eat. Stuff that just didn't happen. Varmints eating stuff.

Also, I really recommend a trellis on the north side. For whatever, try some pole beans! I exclusively grow pole beans, they taste great, and take up way less room, and produce well all summer. Pick often and early.

So, hope to see ya on the N&C Midwest forum! glad you\'re here

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/16/2016, 6:58 am

@countrynaturals wrote:Something else I just thought of -- I grow almost everything from seed, so I'm thinking teeny tiny babies. If you're starting with huge nursery plants that are almost ready for harvest, you should be just fine.

I'm planting everything from seed. So how does that change your advice? What do I need to do differently since I'm starting from seed?

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/16/2016, 7:30 am

How Wyidhawk! glad you\'re here 
Glad you found the Forum. If you look in the back of the book All New Square Foot Gardening you'll see pages of seed starting schedules. You plug in your last frost date and you'll know when to start which seeds. I have notes and dates written all over the charts in my book. It helps a lot!

Do you have any photos of your new beds? We love photos!
What a Face
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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/16/2016, 8:57 am



Heres my first 4x4. 


Made out of pallet wood. 

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/16/2016, 9:42 am

You did it! cheers Nice box.  And free pallet wood to boot!  I love the challenge/game of SFGing for free.  Are both your boxes pallet wood? Did you make those nice corners?

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  countrynaturals on 4/16/2016, 11:15 am

@wyldhawk9 wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:Something else I just thought of -- I grow almost everything from seed, so I'm thinking teeny tiny babies. If you're starting with huge nursery plants that are almost ready for harvest, you should be just fine.

I'm planting everything from seed. So how does that change your advice? What do I need to do differently since I'm starting from seed?
I wouldn't plant any slow-growing cool weather crop seeds now, so forget about cabbage or broccoli. Kale grows fast, so you might still get some of that in. If you're growing melons, get them started ASAP -- they take forever. If your nights are still cold, start them in peat pots and bring them in at night. They HATE to be transplanted so don't plant them in anything you'll have to dig them out of later. Peas, lettuce, and radishes grow fast and don't mind goofy weather until it gets really hot. Tomatoes are pretty hardy, but they stop growing if it gets too cold, so if you're nights are getting below 50, bring them in, too. Tomatoes LOVE to be transplanted, so you can plant those seeds in regular pots for easy transporting at night. If you don't care how long they take, you can plant them directly into your garden as long as it doesn't get really cold. Peppers, onions, and chives are slow. You can plant onions and chives right in the garden (carrots too) but maybe the peppers should come in at night until it warms up -- not sure about that. Maybe someone else can advise you on the rest (and correct me if I've misled you anywhere). Embarassed  Good luck and HAVE FUN!

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/16/2016, 11:29 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:You did it! cheers Nice box.  And free pallet wood to boot!  I love the challenge/game of SFGing for free.  Are both your boxes pallet wood?  Did you  make those nice corners?

CC

THanks for the encouragement. Using salvage wood was much more of a challenge than just purchasing the lumber straight up...but I have a large pile of junk wood from these pallets I picked up a year ago, so I thought I'd better give it a try to use what I already have. I have 1 4x4 and 2 4x8s made of the pallet wood. I have 1 4x4 made of 2x6 wood which was so much easier to make! Obviously I have a ways to go in sharing pics using my phone (that mess you see above), but there are more to come (next week probably). Yep, I managed to make those corner pieces without severing any fingers using the table saw. I'd like to eventually put a 1x4 ledge around the top at some point, but for now just trying to get them filled.

Here's a question, in the book, Mel mentions to remove the grass if planting your box on the ground...how do folks do this? I took a flat shovel and removed about an inch of sod from within the space of the box...is that what folks do? But that's pretty hard work. Have folks just put a layer of cardboard down between the grass and weedcloth that lines the bottom of the box?

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/16/2016, 12:03 pm

@wyldhawk9 wrote:
Here's a question, in the book, Mel mentions to remove the grass if planting your box on the ground...how do folks do this? I took a flat shovel and removed about an inch of sod from within the space of the box...is that what folks do? But that's pretty hard work. Have folks just put a layer of cardboard down between the grass and weedcloth that lines the bottom of the box?

That sounds perfect.  I didn't realize that he says to remove the grass.  Shocked  I've always used cardboard only and it seems to have worked so far.  But different areas have different problems.  Like you need to make sure you don't have trees nearby or the roots may come up through your MM, and you need to know what type of grass you're covering as some folks grass seems to grow up through whatever barrier they put down, etc.  That kind of thing.  But I didn't know any of that when I started so I'm learning as I go.  So far so good.  

I have a bunch of salvaged wood, too.  I use it to line my perennial gardens until I need it for boxes.  That way the weeds don't get in.  Nice job on those corners.  I'm not there yet with the nerve and don't have a table saw or whatever else it might take to do that with...yet.

Keep using the book and the search box at the top left, and keep asking questions.  It'll all come together.  And please keep us updated - victories, mistakes and problems.  We are all learning something new all the time and it's best to share the knowledge for those who want it.
Wink

Oh, and don't worry about the photo attempts.  Someone in the know will come along and see what you did and be able to help you.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/16/2016, 1:28 pm

I sprayed the grass down really well with vinegar & salt before I put the boxes down. Seemed to work okay.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  sanderson on 4/16/2016, 2:43 pm

Wyldhawk, Recently, another new member cleared a spot for a different reason, and thought about installing a square foot garden in the lowered, cleared area. We recommended that he fill back in the depression before installing the boxes so that they are not sitting in a lower spot in the yard. A depression can create a boggy area with water runoff from the surrounding area. Beds can be set on level or elevated surfaces in the yard, on slopes with some modification, just not in depressions.

Back fill the area with native soil or sand. As others have mentioned, cardboard on the grass seems to work for many folks, depending on if there are any noxious underground spreading pants/grass in the area.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/17/2016, 10:18 am

okay Nice job, wyldhawk! On your way! I didn't do anything with the grass under my boxes. Just plopped 'em down and filled them. No problems except for the weed seeds that blow in.....

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Photo update #2

Post  wyldhawk9 on 4/18/2016, 12:52 pm

These first two photos were taken on 4/6. You can get the lay of the land of our future garden. Vibernum line the fence, and I'll need to thin and top these plants to let more light in in coming weeks. You'll notice the bales of pulled English ivy (which is everywhere in our yard!). I wish I'd taken a before picture. The empty bed at the bottom of this photo housed 3 very overgrown taxus yew bushes which I removed along with a couple mature rose of sharon trees. I burned all of the taxus yews and rose of sharon, and as much of the ivy as I had patience for in the fire pit and put the ashes into the compost heap. 


Here is a photo from the opposite vantage point of the photo above. Any suggestions for what to plant in that now empty bed next to the house? I don't normally park my SUV in the side yard, I pulled up and jammed all of the remaining English ivy - I was too impatient to burn all of it - and hauled it away. I have plenty more in my yard that needs to come out, but for now, this was a good start. Oh, and I was just messing around putting a cover on that 4x4...just to see what it would look like. There was nothing in the box. 


Here's the actual layout of the garden boxes on 4/13...you can see in my zeal, I removed sod from one of the biggest plots first... Rolling Eyes



Here we are...cooking up our first batch of MM. (4/13) I love it when my oldest yells "Vermiculite!"




Ready to fill our first box. (Ironically, this is the last box I made and you can see I used 2x6s instead of pallet wood - soo much easier!)

Yes, this box is in the ground about an inch. I removed the sod before I asked about this...now this box is filled and planted, so I'll just have to do the other boxes correctly.


On 4/15, my buddy and I planted box #1. Now we'll see if anything grows in it... 




Filling up box #2 on 4/17...the pallet wood boxes are a little taller (7 in.) plus I didn't lower the ground so the other 3 will seem quite a bit taller than the box made with 2x6s. 

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/18/2016, 1:01 pm

Way cool!  I love that your son yells "Vermiculite"!
Laughing  How many kids do that?!

Glad you got those pallet boxes done first.  Now that you know how easy the single board method is it could mean the end of pallet box making. I know it sure would for me!

Some day I'll get rid of all my English ivy along the foundation...and probably grow grapes there.

Well done!  Can't wait to see your plants pop up.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

Post  countrynaturals on 4/18/2016, 1:22 pm

This is soooo exciting watching your progress along with ours. Hopefully I'll have more pics to post later. I won't be actually planting in my beds for several more days, but I've been growing and buying plants for weeks, so I do have a head start.

In that empty bed behind the house, how about tomatoes in matching cages? What direct do they face? How much sun? Peppers would be beautiful there, but they grow so slowly that spot would just look like dirt for a long time. Maybe peas on a trellis frame would come in quicker and look good.

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Re: First Time Gardener from Columbus, OH

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