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New England, June 2016

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Ginger Blue on 6/12/2016, 12:46 pm

(I apologize, in advance, for the long read; it's a mix of introduction and update.)

I am both jealous and inspired by all of the pictures and lovely descriptions you're all posting! Shocked  cutesie You give me hope that the beautiful, productive garden, which thrives in my mind, is actually possible to achieve.  drooling

Last year, I married and moved to New Hampshire, from Arizona. This is my first New England spring, and I feel terribly behind with everything I have yet to do in my garden.  I grew up gardening in the southwest; I'm out of my element here, disoriented and anxious because of the short growing season and bipolar weather.

We are informal preppers, with an eye to be as self-sufficient as practically possible.  So, because of my husband's generous nature, I have both the time and his blessing to pursue my passion for gardening.  I'm eagerly learning as much as I can, as quickly as possible. We're starting from absolute scratch while trying to be reasonable about budget. (darn funny Is that even possible???)

Our back yard is a small and shady leach field, a tiny patch of grass, surrounded by forest -- serene and beautiful, but not at all good for gardening.  Last fall, I scoped out the sunniest section, with hopes of installing raised beds and growing something...anything really...just to help me learn about gardening in this region.

Through the winter, I experimented with late season winter-sowing, sprouting spinach, lettuce, broccoli, even tomatoes(!) in plastic milk containers on our deck; while scallions, cut celery, and counter-sprouted onions, garlic, and a sweet potato, took prime spots on the sunniest windowsills in the house.  I settled on an assortment of potted berry bushes, and in-bed strawberries as easy and familiar first "outdoor" projects for spring.  I could not wait to get my hands in the dirt, again!

Then life intervened. In the interest of time and expense, formal raised beds have been pushed to the back burner. The contained berry plants are getting established (with a few raspberries blooms to boast). I discovered the concept of "companion planting" and decided to run with it.  The strawberries are starting to ripen in kiddie pools, inter-planted with the lettuce and spinach (now bolting), garlic and onions. The winter-sown broccoli and sweet potato, along with sprouted kale, red potato cuttings, marigolds and nasturtiums, are in a separate pool, either growing slowly or stalled. I have very little experience with cool weather crops (in AZ) so I'm interested to see what works here, with warmer temps looming.

In April, our neighbors offered us unfettered use of an abandoned pumpkin plot on their property, which gets a lot more sun than our yard, a fantastic opportunity we couldn't turn down. I now have 880 square feet of tilled dirt to experiment, play, and learn in!

Recent weeks have been a scramble to layout the space and get seeds started. A concerned gardener friend warned me not to put anything in ground before Memorial Day (the first safe date after last frost), and we had some infrastructure to put in place, so it's been a game of hurry-up-and-wait to get things planted.  From my eager perspective and milder-climate orientation, half the growing season is over. Part of me feels defeated before I even get started. I have to keep reminding myself that this is whole new ball game...a great experiment; the most value is in what I'm learning, AND that we'll get some good edibles out of it, too (I hope!).

Which brings me to now. (Finally, right?!) The plot is a long way from pretty and the soil is really just dirt, which needs to be built. I'm amending as I go. Peas, yellow summer squash, and watermelons are in the ground. Tomatoes are growing in 5-gallon buckets.  Yet to be planted on trellises are Red Malabar Spinach (seeds), cucumber, zucchini, and cantaloupe.  Once those are in, space is allocated for an assortment of peppers, okra, ground cherries, bush beans, eggplant, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, corn, sunflowers, assorted heat-tolerant leafy greens, herbs, and edible flowers.

Since the boat has sailed for the coolest weather crops, I'm looking forward to late season planting for fall, and will concentrate on that once the summer crops are in place.

Apparently I'm nothing, if not ambitious.  happy2

While planning all this, I stumbled across these forums and learned that SFG is a "thing." I had unwittingly been plotting my garden space using a square foot grid, but in more free-form fashion than the easily manageable SFG model. My vision is to incorporate SFG methods into any gardening space I establish, going forward. Although I'm not practicing formal SFG, yet, I hope you'll let me stick around to make some good friends, exchange a few seeds, and learn a whole lot from you.

Thanks for hearing me out, and for the pleasant exchanges we've already had in the other threads. I hope to eventually post before and after pictures of my garden and be an inspiration for others, as you are for me. I love you
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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  countrynaturals on 6/12/2016, 1:03 pm

happy hi Ginger: I'm a loose-leaf sfger, too. I had already planned my beds and bought my dirt before I found this forum and found out about MM. (My sfg book is from the '80s.) Anyway, they haven't kicked me out, so you should be fine.  Rolling Eyes

I think you're off to a great start. Keep a journal. I've had to learn/re-learn many things the hard way already, and it's only May. affraid

Can't wait to see your "before" pics and follow your adventures.  sunny

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  bigdogrock on 6/12/2016, 1:48 pm

Hey Ginger, it sounds like you are doing very well for being new here from the southwest. I was almost in the exact same boat a loooong time ago, only I was from Central California. Take lots of pics, keep a journal and don't give up. You'll do very well, I say that because of how far along you are already. Keep reading SFG threads! Rock

Another note- a few more pics of some of the beauty of my home.












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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  bigdogrock on 6/12/2016, 9:06 pm

It was chilly today. the sun was in and out, but the wind made you stay inside or somewhere it wasn't blowing on you. Then the rain started its off and on again sprinkles. So I worked on things in the barn.
I was talking to a friend of mine at church, he had some extra Diatomaceous Earth and I got a big zip-lock bag full!
I worked the garden a little, mainly clean up type stuff.
A freind who is a snow bird will not be here until the middle of July, and wanted some tomatoes, bell peppers and zucchini when he got here. So I found some big pots and some plants that will give him some fresh vegies.  That was more work than I thought it would be, but I was having fun and enjoyed doing it.
I just about have everything in that I wanted to plant (plus some!) and I can get back to doing some of the wood working projects I enjoy. I am going to replant some of the greenbeans and beets that the abhorrent villainous nasty creatures decimated. But, I need to wait until the ground warms just a little so they don't rot. Rock

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Kelejan on 6/12/2016, 11:17 pm

Ginger Blue, please be assured that I for one will not kick you out.

I have a somewhat mixed garden.  Several beds of regular SFG, some Back to Eden (wood chip) gardening spaces, but very little regular dirt as the soil on my land is only an inch deep in places due to the underlying rock strata from the glacial area a long time ago.  I never did vegetable gardening until I wanted to grow things to eat instead of only flowers to look at.

Your set-up sounds very interesting and I look forward to seeing your progress. Very Happy

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  trolleydriver on 6/13/2016, 9:00 am

Ginger Blue ... Welcome.  It sounds like you have already made a lot of progress and have quite a number of projects underway. I'm even further north than you. The short growing season creeps up on us and then it seems like all the preparations for the garden need to get done in a very short period of time before we "miss the boat".  I use a combination of All New SFG (ANSFG), a modified version of the Original SFG and regular soil veggie gardening. Our regular soil is pretty good but I like the order that ANSFG brings to the garden. The reduction in weeds and the ease of removing weeds is a real plus for the All New SFG.

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  camprn on 6/13/2016, 1:07 pm

In other news, this morning on Mount Washington.

https://www.facebook.com/MWObs/videos/10153804091379685/

I had the heat on in the house this morning. The gale force winds have died down some. Maybe I can get into the garden later.

____________________________

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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

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  sdugas164 on 6/13/2016, 3:21 pm

welcome ginger... this group is great, even if you just lurk like i tend to. and i'm not a 100% sfg myself. sort of but no grids and i don't make my own compost. 

and i think my gopher went on to a quieter garden.... we did catch a crazy squirrel in the trap. my beans have small, little leaves on them so i'm gonna see what happens. i might toss a few new seeds in for some later plants.

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/13/2016, 4:05 pm

Rock, beautiful flower photos! Thanks!

Ate my first sugar snap peas this morning while poking around in the SFG! YUMMO! (My camera is getting repaired or I'd show photos. I'm lost without that camera. Sad ) Oh, and did I already mention that there's a little tomato on one of the Sungolds already? Shocked Couldn't believe my eyes.

@Ginger Blue wrote:

Last year, I married and moved to New Hampshire, from Arizona. This is my first New England spring, and I feel terribly behind with everything I have yet to do in my garden.  I grew up gardening in the southwest; I'm out of my element here, disoriented and anxious because of the short growing season and bipolar weather.

Congratulations on your nuptials!  A lot of us in New England are from warmer climes, Florida in particular, so you fit right in.  Although I didn't garden back before moving here, Mom did a bit and I had to help out by weeding and such in that crazy heat. blech!

I, too, have many different gardens but grow my food mostly in the SFG. It's so much easier than fighting the weeds and grass on the ground.

Anyway,  glad you\'re here !  We'd love to see photos once you are up and running.

CC

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/13/2016, 5:07 pm

Hi Ginger!

About half my garden is ANSFG raised beds. I have more raised beds this year than last, but the time and expense required means I still have garden that is varying degrees of amended soil without raised beds - they haven't kicked me off of here yet!

I loved the grids on my raised beds last year enough that this year I made sort 2" high 'frames' to put on top of my soil just so I could have grids on most of it. (I skipped the flower beds... for now.) Grids work much better for me than "free-form SFG spacing" both for planning, and for manageability of breaking down tasks.

I got started on most of my gardening around this time last year. Some things were ...learning experiences. I still had plenty of successes; The season may feel half over, but it's not too late for lots of things! You may want to hold off a few weeks on the proposed radishes and beets -- they tend to prefer cooler weather. I'll +1 the suggestion for keeping a journal. Because of my journal I can tell you that I planted radishes on the 23rd of June last year, and that they never formed radishes. Just lots of leaves. A later planting on July 15th was successful. For relevance to your location vs timing/temperatures, I've calculated my theoretical first frost as October 11th. If you haven't already figured yours out, this may help:
http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-new-hampshire-first-frost-date-map.php

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/13/2016, 9:01 pm

Welcome, Ginger! It has been a bit of a schizophrenic spring/summer, hot/cold/rainy/droughts. I do a combo, as do many of us. Started out in the 90s with the original SFG. Big gap where I did classic organic gardening. Moved to present house, terrible clay soil. 7 years of no success....used re-purposes window boxes that were rotting and empty to have my first ANSFG last summer=food!

I do a combo. Containers, on the south side, ANSFG in the back yard, and gonna put some Egyptian Walking onions in amended ground this week!

Pictures would be great! And take notes! You are in a whole new ballgame glad you\'re here

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  camprn on 6/15/2016, 3:06 pm

Howdy neighbor. happy hi

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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!


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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Ginger Blue on 6/15/2016, 4:52 pm

Thank you all for the warm welcome and encouraging words. Here are some photos of our humble beginnings, to eventually be followed by some progress shots and "after" pictures at the end of summer, if everything (or almost everything) goes to plan.

First up, repurposing the neighbor's abandoned pumpkin plot, a shot of the infrastructure and tomatoes growing in 5-gallon buckets:



Next, the kiddie pools in our yard, covered by cages my hubby made from PVC and 1/2" wire:



Last, containers of blueberries and raspberries on our deck:



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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  yolos on 6/15/2016, 4:57 pm

I like the way your husband made the cages with the handles on top to help lift the cages off the beds when needed.  Cool.

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Ginger Blue on 6/15/2016, 6:14 pm

@yolos wrote:I like the way your husband made the cages with the handles on top to help lift the cages off the beds when needed.  Cool.

I like that, too.  What you can't see is that the cages are hinged on one side, with PVC spikes driven into the ground, to make them easier to lift.  My husband is a pretty clever guy. Cool

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/15/2016, 9:30 pm

And so it begins......

LOL flower

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  sanderson on 6/16/2016, 3:42 pm

@yolos wrote:I like the way your husband made the cages with the handles on top to help lift the cages off the beds when needed.  Cool.
Ditto, neat looking cages.

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  camprn on 6/16/2016, 7:13 pm

Moving into drought conditions in New England.
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/


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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/16/2016, 10:13 pm

Here, too, according to the chart. I have had to water for sure.

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/17/2016, 10:22 am

This will be the Capes 4th summer with drought so I guess I'm ready.  Everything is or will be heavily mulched w/ pine needles.  I water twice a week whether it needs it or not. But this year I find I'm doing one of those waterings with the hose rather than bucket watering both times.  Sad but true.
very sad
The hose water is so cold for the little plants.  Like Mel says in ANSFG, 1st ed, how would *I* like to suddenly be in a cold shower?  NOT!  And the one bucket watering I do is sometimes with compost tea to replace any good bugs that may have been killed off by the city water chlorine.   Don't know if it really works that way but it makes me feel better.
idk
My lawn is already brown.  But on a good note I only had to mow 4 times last year.
cheers

Rock, your flower photos are gorgeous!

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  bigdogrock on 6/18/2016, 11:28 pm

What a beautiful day today. sunny  There was a great breeze, almost but not quite a steady wind, so the bugs weren't a pest. I didn't need to water early, so coffee time was peaceful in the easy chair, which is just inside the big door of the barn, just sitting and enjoying the calm morning sunrise, complete with an anti-cacophony, a mellow, pleasant, birdsong concert that put me to sleep in the chair. I woke up to cold coffee, but I was relaxed and content with the world for a little while. It was easy to pour new coffee. Smile
Today was a day I just wanted to stay pleasantly occupied, not to busy, but not lazy, just stay on track to get a few things done so that I don't get behind in those things that cause problems when they aren't done, like washing clothes and dishes. So, I washed the dishes and tidied up the kitchen. I started washing the clothes and set off to be in my garden. I just wanted to tidy it up, make it look pleasing. I like the garden to be easy to look at, not always "in the process of becoming a garden", but a place I like to look at. The first time I went out to it, I just looked at it and thought about what I wanted to have accomplished by the end of the day.
I came back to the barn and did a few things that needed to be done, and made sure that I kept laundry going. After a trip to the recycle center and the hardware store, I pushed the laundry and then gathered the tools I needed for the garden. My main gardens are about 75 yards from the house, so I want to make as few trips as possible to the "field office".
When I got to the garden I found that the beets had taken another hit, only this time the local wild turkeys had used my freshly planted beet mounds to take a dusting bath. Evil or Very Mad  BUMMER, they are lucky they are protected by state and federal laws. Twisted Evil  So, I now have a cover of 2X4  wire to keep them out. They took out almost an entire row. I used the last of the seed I have and replanted. Now, if, and I use the term if, if my beets make it, they are going to ripen all at the same time. That is just what I need, a marathon canning session. Oh well, we'll see if they make it. thinking
Back to the "being pleasantly occupied" part I wanted. I had the radio set up for the Red Sox game (which they won! cheers ), an ice cold container of water, and all my garden tools at the ready. The only "fly in the ointment" was the flat tire on my garden cart. No  What a drag.
I added all the compost in the cart to my garden. That made me feel good that I made all that, over a long period time, and now I am using it for its intended purpose. I spread some more DE on my young Cucs and beans, this time I used a big salt shaker and misted the leaves with water before I dusted them, that works nicely. I am now prepared for little insects and big birds, who knows what will hit me next. thinking
Then I started making it look nice, getting rid of leaf litter, unwanted grass and weeds, and leveling the ground where it needed it. I like how it looks now, and I am starting to plan out what I want to do next.
After my last trip back to the barn, I rested in my big easy chair for a while and listened to some music while I watched the evening turn to dark with the moonlight casting shadows and the fire flies dancing to their own music.  Then I fixed the flat, then turned off the light in the barn, closed the door to the chicken coup and came inside. It was a good day.
Tomorrow is Father's Day, so I get to enjoy our family get-together. I will wake a little earlier than normal and go out and just enjoy my garden again for a while. Rock

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/18/2016, 11:54 pm

Nice day!

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/19/2016, 2:27 pm

Dry dry dry dry dry! Just sowed a third succession planting of bush beans after pulling up the Grand Rapids lettuce that was still delicious! I think Grand Rapids and Marvel of the Four Seasons are my most favorite lettuces. Oh, and Little Caesar. They last the longest and give me a nice variety. I really don't need much else.

Scapes
A couple were Blended in with today's lunchtime hummus, half of them will go to my Chinese co-worker who absolutely adores them and the rest will go into the freezer.

Sugar Snap peas are over the top! Wink  

With the exception of clover and other little 'Meadow' plants the lawn is brown.  Still no Bees.

Front to back: Scarlet Runners across the front, Marvel of the Four Seasons & garlic, bush beans, Grand Rapids completely harvested (later planted with bush beans), and Kentucky Wonder pole beans across the back.

most of the cherry toms have fruit on them now.

Four more asparagus for dinner tonight. I keep waiting for them all to come up thin but the fat ones keep coming.

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  bigdogrock on 6/19/2016, 6:25 pm

Wonderful looking garden CC!

After the turkeys started to use my garden as a dusting pit I put 2X4 wire over the top of the beets. it is not pleasing to the eye, Sad  but it works, so far.



We are finally getting some steady warm weather here. Things should start to take off now, if something doesn't get them No .  Rock

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Re: New England, June 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/19/2016, 8:04 pm

Lookin' good, CC!

And Rock, hope that barrier foils the turkeys! Looks like it will. cheers

Scorpio Rising

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Re: New England, June 2016

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