Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


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New Member

Post  Scherml on 12/9/2016, 3:37 pm

Greetings one and all
I am new to SFG and am very excited to get started this spring.  Snow storm coming and I will get out my book and seed catalogs to see me through.  

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Re: New Member

Post  trolleydriver on 12/9/2016, 4:31 pm

A very warm welcome Scherml from Ottawa Canada.

I am certain.you will enjoy your SFG.  If you have questions, ask away. We are here to share ideas and to help one another.

glad you\'re here


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Re: New Member

Post  Kelejan on 12/9/2016, 4:59 pm

glad you\'re here  Scherml  happy hi 
from Kelejan in :canada: in British Columbia.

Is you book the latest SFG one?

A nice winter studying and asking questions on this Forum will be very helpful to you.
I hibernate in the winter but enjoy everyone's pictures from really South of the Canadian/States border.

Have you any set plans so far?  Let us know then we can advise where needed to save you unwanted work.  On the other hand, if you make mistakes that means you will  know what not to do next time.

One of the ways I changed after starting was to have three foot wide beds, not four, as I am a small person and could not comfortably reach into the middle of the bed without toppling into it, thereby breaking the commandment, do not tread on your soil. Very Happy

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Re: New Member

Post  countrynaturals on 12/9/2016, 6:21 pm

happy hi from Northern California. I'm a newbie, too, but I can garden all year round, so it's easier to recover from my mistakes. Rolling Eyes

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Re: New Member

Post  plantoid on 12/9/2016, 7:16 pm

Scherml ,
Hello from Great Britain  , a very wet but warm one @ 15 oC this afternoon , light rain like a misting shower , lot's & lots of it .

 Your journey will be fantastic . you'll learn a lot of new stuff that's a far cry from the vast majority of gardening websites & books It turned gardening upside down on its head when my Canadian FIL introduced me ( 1997) to the original enhanced earth form of , "Square Foot Gardening that Mel Bartholomew set out in his first book .

 On my site join date I had recently moved homes , had a mild stroke and couldn't recall several spacings that Mel recommended for sowing several veg types . I didn't have the SFG book FIL showed me , he'd been doing SFG since Mel had his TV gardening programmes , long before the book came out ......... he kept it Sad 
I had hoped It may have been given to me on th day we flew back to the UK , Eric was no Indian giver ... he just didn't give ... Laughing
 i did a web search & found this " All New Square Foot Gardening forum "  (   a.k.a. ANSFG ) .

 Found that Eric had not moved on ( he was now dead in any case ,so not very able to move Laughing) .

 The folks on here guided me , if that's the right word Laughing  to get the second book Mel had written ..(  I got the first one as well to compare things )  .   It certainly had moved on in big strides ...... No more mother earth , use a mix of home produced composts , some vermiculite & fluffed up peat.nstead .

 I was lucky .....I had just had my whole gardens back & front fully landscaped with half of my 3 foot high raised brick built beds , all ready for filling .
 Because I needed such a large amount of bed filling material & little time to do my own composting I composted on an industrial scale using lots of different species of animal dungs & assorted beddings . I learnt about the Berkley 18 day hot composting method .. it worked exceedingly well .   I still use it too ....it's that good .

 Now came the problem , my neck top computer kept having data bank crashes . I ended up having to get a large day on two pages diary . Hour by hour I made notes , I was able to look back and know exactly what I'd done ..it made me realise the frailty of the human memory machine .

 Looking back it was one of the best things I did .  It led me to teach myself using the  , "  eXcel for dummies book "  to use eXcel to design & make seed record charts , a full years planting  crop by crop schedule in alphabetical order that has a square for each week for each sown crop at a time .
Using the charts at the back of Mel's book two I was able to plan when to sow  , transplant & harvest etc every single crop I wanted to grow .

 When I was happy at the preview stage I copied the plans to CD & took them to the nearest " OFFICE WORLD " , who for a small fee ran a debugging device over my CD then printed off as many copies as I wanted .

 I kept my seed data charts as A3  ,was able to make notes in HB pencil as needed but had the master gardening schedules printed on thin card in A2 . I filled the A2's in with  thin fine point " Pilot  0.05 mm point  "  pens using different colours for sowing periods harvesting & thinning /transplanting.
 Whenever I actually sowed  n a given date the charts were  marked " S " in the right place with HB pencil .

 Initially it took several weeks of me struggling over the first winter to get the charts /planning etc done  , being able to see at a glance what is where & when it can be harvested helps no end .

Same with my stocks of seeds . it's very useful to learn about the seed viability & storage times & conditions  it can be kept in for the longest viability period . using readily findable info in the site  .

 Here in the UK our big garden centers put all unsold seeds up for sale at a fraction of the normal price around the end of October , so that they have space for the Christmas tat they can / want to sell .

 Knowing I am heading in the direction of a large garden center 20 miles away at that time  of the year I simply take my seed charts with me , read what I needed & was able to pick up 40 or more packets that would still have a couple of years more storage life ..
This year it saves us about £36 ( $ 50 USD ) each year & now only costs about £ 15 ( $ 23 USD for a whole years seeds ( we have about 250 sq feet of those high beds these days )  .

 One thing you may like to try , though it will take you much longer than it did me .....I did  about  five weeks of reading for 1/2 an hour every day , I not only do I speed reading  ,I did it six years ago when the site data banks held far less info ,  is to read the whole site from day one to the present date .

It gave me a lot of very useful info about things ANSFG  , helped remove all the old silly gardening  ideas that have developed  by mistake , ignorance & witchcraft over the years out of my thick skull .

 Have fun , I look forward to reading of your successes & ideas

Dave .



Last edited by plantoid on 12/9/2016, 7:30 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: New Member

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 12/9/2016, 7:22 pm

Hi Scherml! wave smile

I'm in central Pennsylvania. Next year will be my third year of ANSFG (all-new square foot gardening) myself, though I have some prior experience with old-style square foot gardening because my parents had one. But I still have a lot to learn. Like how to grow carrots.

It looks like although your hardiness zone is lower than mine, your last and first frost dates aren't much different than mine - mine are only about a week or two farther apart than yours depending on which reference I use.

I know you haven't looked through your catalogs yet to pick specific varieties, but which vegetables (or flowers) are you most excited about growing?

This forum has a ton of information, lots of friendly folks, and I've found it very useful for planning.
I'll offer two pieces of advice specifically because you're new to SFG:
1. Mel said to start small, and it's good advice.
2. Bush zucchini really do take up a lot of squares.

Happy catalog browsing!
- Beetles / BPSF

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Re: New Member

Post  Scorpio Rising on 12/9/2016, 8:28 pm

Welcome, Scherml!  

I am in Ohio, and will be entering my 3rd year doing ANSFG.  I did the old SFG version in the 80s with a lot of success, and struggled with a traditional organic garden for years....weeds, much?

You will love the ANSFG!  Mel really knew his stuff.  And the productivity!  Wow!

Do you have any gardening experience?  What do you like to eat?  

I agree, start small, and take notes!  You will learn so much this first year.  Plan, then execute and make notes about each, they will differ! 

Again, glad you\'re here
Scorpio Rising

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Re: New Member

Post  Kelejan on 12/10/2016, 12:53 am

Gosh! Plantoid:  I wish I could do a Vulcan mind-meld with you, or perhaps a Dr. Who Time Lord meld so as to get all your knowledge into my head, and understand it at the same time. Very Happy

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Re: New Member

Post  sanderson on 12/10/2016, 3:47 am

Scherm,  Welcome to the Forum from California!  glad you\'re here  There's a ton of information on this Forum as the Search Box will show!  After you have read All New Square Foot Gardening, you may come up with questions.  The folks here are friendly and will help you.

Here are my recommendations for your first year.  Keep a journal.  Make a plot plan and fill in with pencil as you may change your mind a dozen times. Wink   Take photos of your journey.  We love photos so don't be shy of sharing with us.  If you have a wide open space, wonderful.  If you have to work around trees and shrubs, you may want to elevate the beds off the ground with an air space so the roots will not invade the boxes.  I know three of us have had to redo all of our beds to get them off the ground and out of harm's reach. Embarassed  Trees and shrubs love the nutrient rich, blended compost that you will be using.

This is a great time to start locating and gathering your supplies and Mel's Mix components.  Some composts, seeds and garden supplies are in deep discount now.

Again, welcome to the the Forum.


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Re: New Member

Post  AtlantaMarie on 12/10/2016, 7:29 am

Welcome from Atlanta, GA, Scherml! Glad you've joined our party!!

You've certainly received a sufficiency of advice here, so I won't add any.

But I will say that we like pictures... Hint, hint...

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