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SFG not giving the results I expected

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SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  emkuwata on 11/22/2016, 9:34 pm

I was looking forward to tender greens and tomatoes this year with my new SFG.  Instead, I got tough greens and hard skinned tomatoes.  The arugula growing straight out of our clay ground is giving me more tender greens and the in-ground tomatoes are still going strong in November.  What can I do to get more tender greens?  I'd like to start lettuce, mizuna, and arugula soon.
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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 11/22/2016, 10:50 pm

Hi emkuwata! Welcome to the forum! (I see this is your first post.) glad you\'re here

I'd never heard of this problem before, but I found this article:
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/tough-thick-tomato-skins.htm
(All my tomatoes this year were thin-skinned varieties -- prone to cracking.)

Of the causes given, my guess for your problem, based on your contrasting with in-clay, is under-watering. In my experience my MM needs much more frequent watering than my moderate clay-content dirt. Mulching can help, but it's not a complete substitute for frequent watering. During the summer (I'm in central Pennsylvania) I was watering my tomatoes daily, and I suspect they might have done better with a little more water than that.

Relevantly, I was over-watering my eggplants for the first half of my growing season this year because I was watering the same amount as I had been last year (my first year growing them) -- but last year they were in MM, and this year they were in the dirt section of my garden.
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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  trolleydriver on 11/23/2016, 8:16 am

Welcome to the forum emkuwata from Ottawa, Canada. 

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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  plantoid on 11/23/2016, 8:02 pm

Hi emkuwata ,



Welcome to the site .
Do you have a copy of the book shown in my strap lines ?
If so have you made your beds as per the suggestions given in it ?


FIL (father-in-law) used to live just out of Niagara Falls he introduced me to Mel's way of doing square foot gardening in the early 1990's ,  but in those days it was in  enriched mother earth soil beds.


 After a lot more research and analytical thinking Mel  reasoned there was a better way .

 
 Now they are a soil less growth medium that we make ourselves  ( as per the book ) .  They are in my opinion far better than mother earth beds for the vast majority of crops .
 


 FIL's sq ft beds never made the change over for he died before he could do it  ( 81 yrs or so old )  But his beds were nigh on pure home made composted plant matter in any case.





 It's the high fibre content of the home made compost that retains a lot of water & nutrients that feeds the plants for good crops .

 He used to water his beds as the sun went down to give the water chance to soak deep down .



One of the years  we visited them  the spring cold was minus 44 oC and when we went the high summer crept to just over plus 44 oC ..
Yet he had some amazing crops even in that heat .





Don't give up on your ANSFG  beds , use this winter to read all the important threads that our Mods have thoughtfully indexed .

They are found on the home page , in the bobbly light peach drop down that is shown on the left hand edge of the home page  screen .



 .
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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  sanderson on 11/24/2016, 3:27 am

Emkuwata, Welcome to the Forum from Fresno, CA! glad you\'re here I'm sorry your SFG did not turn out the results expected. We will be happy to help "diagnose" what may have been the problem if you can describe your journey so far. Exactly how did you make the Mel's Mix (what ratios, what composts, did you fluff the peat moss before measuring?) is a good place to start. Very Happy

PS You are not alone in having a less-than-stellar first year. Embarassed I made the MM wrong and spent that first summer trying to correct it.

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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/24/2016, 8:22 am

Hi Emkuwata. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

I also made the MM incorrectly and have had to fix it... So more details will help us help you figure out what's going on.

Glad you're here!
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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  trolleydriver on 11/24/2016, 8:33 am

One thing that some of us get wrong when make the MM is the ratio of peat, compost, vermiculite. Here are some thoughts:

- Make sure the peat moss is fluffed up before using it.
- Measure all three components by volume ... I use a 5 gallon bucket as my "measuring cup".
- Use 5 different types (e.g., cow manure, shrimp, etc.) of compost not 5 different makes of manure.
- Some store bought compost has a considerable amount of peat moss included. Try to find out how much peat moss is in the compost and then use less pure peat moss in the MM.

Just some simple thoughts.

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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/25/2016, 9:31 pm

Hi Emkuwata!  

Have you read Mel Bartholmews book,  All New Square Foot Gardening?  It will help fix a lot of problems, but cultivar choice and siting is key, and every situation is different!  

Where are your beds located?  What is your climate?  What cultivars did you grow?  We would love to help you!  

This method is the easiest, most productive, intensive growing method ever!  

Tell us more!,,
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Re: SFG not giving the results I expected

Post  No_Such_Reality on 12/3/2016, 7:21 pm

Hi Emkumata!

Welcome to SFG and the SoCal regional forum!  I'm sorry you're having problems and yet, thrilled you're growing tomatoes in ground!

I'm down in Orange County closer to Disneyland so my weather is a bit warmer than yours.    If you're in Venice proper or anywhere over there closer to the beach you're in Sunset zone 24.  The infamous Sunset zone 24 rumored to be the no-tomatoes or melons zone because of the maritime influence.  For me, that was completely right.

I've been blundering my way through my raised bed SFGs now for six years.  I've made plenty of mistakes and learned a lot from them.

How can I help?  

For your tomato problems, typically three things drive toughness either together or separately sun scald, too little water, too high heat.  (That almost sounds like our summer weather description doesn't it. ;-)

I still struggle keeping my raised bed properly watered.

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