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2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/6/2017, 9:27 pm

ralitaco wrote:Well, it's been a few month and I have not done a thing there. Still have ALL the stumps, have NOT built any new beds. Just generally being a slacker and now spring is here and so is the time to plant.

Since I have done nothing to prepare this area, I am thinking about...OMG I don't know how to say this...I...I...I...I am...thinking...about...about...(deep breath)...PLANTING DIRECTLY IN THE GROUND!
There I said it! I am not happy I said it, but it had to be said. I know it borders on sacrilege or heresy or blasphemy, but I feel I may have no other option.
Razz

I am thinking that the area along the fence may have some decent soil or at least not be completely sand because for years that area was just covered in leaves. I am sure they broke down and between raking and mowing, perhaps they have been mixed in somewhat.

I do have plans to work on my SFG beds this weekend and may have some of last years compost left over. If I do, I will mix that in. But before that, I will have to check and see if I can even get anything planted there as it had a pretty good root mat at one time.

I still have a bunch of Blue Lake Pole Beans from several years ago. I am thinking of just planting them all in a #@% along the fence.
I also have some pumpkin seeds that I have never been able to get to grow much at all in the SFG.
Then I have some Oregon Sugar Pod II Peas that did not do well in my SFG...I think I got 1 edible pod. Again, I may just put them in #@% along the fence.
I have some Artichokes too but the package says to plant in the fall for spring harvest.
Blasphemy! Razz  I had/have old-style SFG sections in my garden-- dirt amended with compost, using SFG spacing. I put together 1"x2" frames so I could still have grids - several of those are now on top of actual raised beds when I converted more of the garden over to ANSFG.  I converted because I've done many plants in both O-SFG and ANSFG, and many do better, some about the same. In my experience beans are an excellent choice for O-SFG. My peas did better in the ANSFG for two reasons: 1-raised beds warmed faster (less rotting), 2- weeds: peas are shallow rooted, and don't necessarily appreciate the disruption of weeding; fewer weeds in ANSFG, an less disruptive to remove when they happen.

I haven't compared squash growth between O-SFG and ANSFG, but pumpkins are heavy feeders; you'll want to amend your dirt with something like composted manure.

In my experience (which may be different vs your situation since we have different native soils and climates) these do okay O-SFG: Beans, Greens (Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula – but more slug issues for me for these in O-SFG) , Cabbage family plants grown for leaves (kale, collards, mustard), Nasturtium, Onions, Herbs

And these I'd stick to ANSFG for: Cabbage family plants grown for heads (cabbage, broccoli), Leeks, Garlic, Root vegetables (beets, carrots, radish, turnip, rutabega, parsnips  - basically everything except Jerusalem artichokes), Nightshade family (peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, ground cherries)

My okra didn't do well either way, I'm trying tomatillos in the O-SFG section this year, and kohlrabi in the ANSFG this year. I've only grown cukes and squash in the ANSFG.

Vs. cabbage head size, it depends on the variety. I've chosen seeds for my ANSFG for cabbages that make small heads, because I don't need huge ones, and huge ones readily annex adjacent squares.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  yolos on 4/6/2017, 10:38 pm

Go for it Ralitaco.  I am almost there also.  I almost got my tiller out the other day to just till up some clay and amend it with lots of purchased compost.  But I broke down today and bought some boards to make three 2'x2' beds for some tomatoes.  I have to plant these tomatoes now.  I have a lot of beds out of commision due to Southern Blight and have not started rebuilding them and adding MM.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/7/2017, 12:06 am

yolos wrote:Go for it Ralitaco.  I am almost there also.  I almost got my tiller out the other day to just till up some clay and amend it with lots of purchased compost.  But I broke down today and bought some boards to make three 2'x2' beds for some tomatoes.  I have to plant these tomatoes now.  I have a lot of beds out of commision due to Southern Blight and have not started rebuilding them and adding MM.
I remember my dad fighting with the tiller in the spring for the family's old school SFG - it seemed to need repairs or something every (other?) year. Cordless drill seems like less work than a tiller (esp. since i don't own one.)
Part of the reason I started ANSFG is that I got worn out trying to double-dig O-SFG beds by hand..err ...by shovel. I got the ANSFG book and immediately switched my plans to raised beds.  But Ralitaco is "stumped" and neither cordless drill nor tiller is the correct tool for that problem.  
Cheers to more growing space!
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/7/2017, 11:04 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:My cabbages NEVER head up...so ANY size is better than what I get.  I end up eating the leaves.
Thanks CC.
I have 4 left and am working on my plans for my squares and right now I have 4 open squares, so they can stay a bit longer I guess. Eventually, I will pull them to use the space.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/7/2017, 11:17 pm

BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Blasphemy! Razz  I had/have old-style SFG sections in my garden-- dirt amended with compost, using SFG spacing. I put together 1"x2" frames so I could still have grids - several of those are now on top of actual raised beds when I converted more of the garden over to ANSFG.  I converted because I've done many plants in both O-SFG and ANSFG, and many do better, some about the same. In my experience beans are an excellent choice for O-SFG.
Thanks for the condemnation Beetles, I feel appropriately chastised now. Very Happy

I appreciate all your input on which plants do better where. I don't know if I will plant in the ground or not, or if I do, I'm not sure what I will do beyond dropping the seeds down with some compost.


BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I haven't compared squash growth between O-SFG and ANSFG, but pumpkins are heavy feeders; you'll want to amend your dirt with something like composted manure.
Funny you should mention pumpkins.



I found these volunteers in my pseudo-compost pile. I swear they were not there a week ago. It appears, that these are from when my wife tossed in some rotting pumpkins back in Nov/Dec.
I am going to try to transplant them and see if I can make a go of them in the SFG and the ground. If I have enough, I may give some to my neighbors to try.
One question that did occur to me: Since they are store bought will they still produce fruit or are they treated some way to prevent that? I am thinking about store bought garlic not being able to be planted.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/7/2017, 11:19 pm

yolos wrote:Go for it Ralitaco.  I am almost there also.  I almost got my tiller out the other day to just till up some clay and amend it with lots of purchased compost.  But I broke down today and bought some boards to make three 2'x2' beds for some tomatoes.  I have to plant these tomatoes now.  I have a lot of beds out of commision due to Southern Blight and have not started rebuilding them and adding MM.
One reason I started using SFG method is because I don't have a tiller. I am contemplating mixing up some MM and planting in buckets, totes and maybe even throwing together some "quick and dirty" boxes and put them on the ground.

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/7/2017, 11:20 pm

BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:But Ralitaco is "stumped" and neither cordless drill nor tiller is the correct tool for that problem.  

You are punny
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  sanderson on 4/8/2017, 8:40 pm

RT,  Tell me it ain't so!  Shocked   You have trees and if you have boxes sitting on the ground, you will be joining Jimmy Cee, Camp and I in re-doing all of the boxes due to root invasion.  Spare your self some pain and lay down some boards or bricks every 2' of the bed(s).  You don't need legs like your other artistic beds.  Just create an air gap.  

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/8/2017, 10:36 pm

sanderson wrote:RT,  Tell me it ain't so!  Shocked   You have trees and if you have boxes sitting on the ground, you will be joining Jimmy Cee, Camp and I in re-doing all of the boxes due to root invasion.  Spare your self some pain and lay down some boards or bricks every 2' of the bed(s).  You don't need legs like your other artistic beds.  Just create an air gap.
Thanks for the reality check Sanderson.
I'm not sure what I'm gonna do. After spending all day in the yard cutting down another tree, a branch the size of a small tree, sifting compost that was full of roots, etc., etc., etc. I don't know if I will do anything...except in my TT's.
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Compost Volunteers: Pumpkin

Post  ralitaco on 4/8/2017, 11:01 pm

So here are some pictures of my Compost Volunteers. I thought I was going to be turning my cold pile today so I decided to try my luck at transplanting these pumpkin volunteers. I moved them into some seedling trays I had that were from my DW's flowers. I put 2 stems with roots in each cup and filled with my homemade compost.

I ended up with almost 4 full trays with 2 seedlings in each.
That works out to 16x4x2-6=122 (I think) OH WAIT +2 for the ones I planted = 124 seedlings. I did try to remove the husks but quit after breaking several plants. I figure nature will take care of itself.



So now I have questions since I have never done this before:
1. Do these have any REAL chance to survive and bear fruit?
2. Since the roots were very small, should I have planted the 2 in the MM?
3. Since they were growing in the compost, I am figuring it will be ok to leave them outside unless there is a frost...right? (no grow lights needed or heat mat)

I know I have other questions, but I'm tired and cant think straight. sawing logs



COMPOST!!!!!
One of 2 wheel barrows full of compost I sifted today which I used to refresh the beds and get them ready to plant. This compost was a combination of kitchen scraps, horse manure, coffee grounds and leaves...oh and apparently some roots from who knows what that I had to sift out. It was sitting since last summer, but fortunately, my sifter rig worked great and I was able to get rid of the roots and a ton of acorns & twigs (my compost bin is under trees)
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Onions

Post  ralitaco on 4/8/2017, 11:06 pm

So some of my onions have these little bulbs on top. 


From what I am reading, this means they are bolting and unless I want the seeds, I should harvest them.
Is this correct?
If so, do I need to do anything special or just pull them out?

Thanks all
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/9/2017, 8:19 am

Simply harvest them. I would recommend getting a hand or trowel underneath rather than strictly pulling on the top - it's annoying when a plant has really good roots in the MM and the leaves break off the plant when you're trying to pull is out... making it hard to remove the root/bulb, and MM (or dirt) gets in the torn spot... 

There are more complicated ways of harvesting onions 'properly', but the point of them is to get the onions into the best state for storing -- and/but bolted onions won't store.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/9/2017, 12:07 pm

Thanks Beetles. I remember now reading that you bend the stems over so you can store them. I guess I can free up a square now. It is odd that only some of them have bolted, but I am guessing the others will be close behind. I do believe I have 3 planted in a 1/2 square that I will let go to seed so 1. I can see what that looks like and 2. so I can have some onion seeds.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/9/2017, 6:14 pm

I would not save the seeds because I think you would be getting seeds for onions that bolt in your climate, rather than seeds for a type that successfully forms onions. Better to get new seeds that are clearly labeled as short-day onions, or new sets that are labeled as intermediate-day onions, when the time comes for another sowing/planting in your area. Long-day onions aren't likely to form bulbs in the south -- maybe bolting is what they do instead. I'm not sure because the web sites I'm skimming are saying 'doesn't work', rather than describing what actually happens instead.

This is interesting to read about onion bolting:
http://www.vegetable-gardening-with-lorraine.com/onion-bolting.html
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/9/2017, 11:16 pm

Thanks again BPSF, I think that is one of the pages I read the other day. I don't understand why these bolted. I bought the sets locally so I would've presumed they were meant for my climate. maybe the MM was too wet or maybe with the flip-flopping  between 70* weather and 35* weather, they got confused. Either way, for experimentation sake and out of curiosity, I will let a few go to seed. I have 3 in a 1/2 square that will be ideal to do this.

Here is what I pulled up today. Oh and you were right about them being hard to pull out. I was surprised how much grip they had. (the one on the right was a garlic...we were curious to see how they were doing)
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/10/2017, 8:28 am

ralitaco wrote:Thanks again BPSF, I think that is one of the pages I read the other day. I don't understand why these bolted. I bought the sets locally so I would've presumed they were meant for my climate. maybe the MM was too wet or maybe with the flip-flopping  between 70* weather and 35* weather, they got confused. Either way, for experimentation sake and out of curiosity, I will let a few go to seed. I have 3 in a 1/2 square that will be ideal to do this.
I actually realize I posted the wrong link - I'd been looking through several and didn't have the one I thought in the cut and paste Rolling Eyes I'm sorry. Try this:
http://tendingmygarden.com/onions-bolting-what-causes-it-and-what-we-can-do/
It doesn't mention long or short day, but the gardener who wrote it is in Virginia.
She mentions a gardener in NC in this one:
http://tendingmygarden.com/growing-onions-determining-when-you-should-plant/

A few weeks of 70s followed by a few weeks of near freezing lows seems like it could have contributed.
Experiments are fun if you have the space! Just make sure to label your seeds and squares (I say this because I'm bad about it.)

The assumption that sets bought locally being correct for your climate is not necessarily a correct one. I bought the wrong seeds last year because I had the same assumption. I tried them anyhow as an experiment, and sure enough I didn't really get onions (well, actually I got green onions, but that's not what I was going for.) I was at one of the box stores the other day, and not only are the selling a mix of right and wrong onion types for my location, they were selling a mix of transplants and sets also not suitable! Evil or Very Mad The seed packet wasn't well labeled short-day (good for south, bad for north), but the transplants were. Inexperienced people were clearly buying them, too. (I couldn't convince myself they were all buying gifts for gardening friends and family before heading south to visit them. I've gotten garlic bulbs for planting as a gift before, but never an onion transplant bouquet.)

There are several threads about onions on this forum. One of them references a map. I don't know if it's this one, but they are all similar:
http://www.dixondalefarms.com/category/onion_plants
If your experiment is a side-by-side, get seeds for a variety that's intermediate(=neutral)-day seeds, or short day seeds.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2017, 3:50 am

RT, That is some mighty fine looking compost. Congrats!

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  Banned Member on 4/11/2017, 7:32 am

Yes sir, that is what compost should look like.  Crops will thrive in that growing medium.

As for the question about the volunteer seedlings in compost, some of our best tomato and cucumber harvests have come from plants pulled out of our cold compost pile.

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/11/2017, 11:34 pm

Thanks Sanderson. That was my failed 18 day Berkeley pile that became a cold pile.

TNG, I sure hope they thrive.
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Top Hat Box

Post  ralitaco on 4/14/2017, 12:28 am

So I put together a Top Hat Box for my two 1/2 squares that I plan to use for Carrot Week.  I had some old 1/4" plywood that I cut down to 6" but I didn't have staples long enough so I tried making some corner pieces. They will suffice for now, but I am looking at using 1/2" pvc in the corners instead. You can see in the second photo, in the lower right corner that the piece split. I might just try to convince my DW that I NEED to get an air stapler, some long clamps and some glue instead.



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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2017, 3:36 pm

Can one really have too many tools and stuff? Wink

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  Banned Member on 4/14/2017, 4:35 pm

Sanderson, if you are a total Klutzenjammer kid like me, more tools just means more ways to need a Band-aid, an ice pack, or an x-ray.   Embarassed

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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  mschaef on 4/14/2017, 8:50 pm

Your garden, plants, and ideas are wonderful!!! Kept up with the picture and updates. I love to garden vicariously through others.
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/14/2017, 10:14 pm

Sanderson...NO

TNG...around here, it means more projects on the honey-do list
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Re: 2017 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC

Post  ralitaco on 4/14/2017, 10:15 pm

mschaef wrote:Your garden, plants, and ideas are wonderful!!! Kept up with the picture and updates. I love to garden vicariously through others.
Thanks mschaef. I wouldn't call them all wonderful, but they are usually creative.
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