Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New to SFG!

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New to SFG!

Post  AlwaysHotinFL on 3/11/2017, 3:56 pm

Hola from sunny central FL (9b)!Very Happy

Im new to gardening, so naturally, I figured i'd jump into the best method first: SFG! I read ANSFG and have even skimmed the Answer book and the Best Value veggies guide. Helpful stuff. Unfortunately I started making my bed before I read Mel's book, so I made a 4x8 instead of 2 smaller 4x4s which would have given me more flexibility. I also have a 2x2 just for a couple sunflowers. BUT, I went whole hog with Mel's mix and even got some free compost along the way. I even added onto the vermiculite database you guys have. 

I've read the UF veggie guide and all their different guidance, and have been reading this regional forum quite a bit and found it to be very informative and fun, and I'm looking to get seeds from "Southern Exposure" next time per previous post suggestions. Now I'm fully planted and just waiting for the germination to happen! And yes, I'm prepared for failures too, especially in HOTHOTHOT Florida. 

Anyway, a couple questions for you guys:

-I set up drip line irrigation but I was wondering, just how often do you guys water round these parts? I know Mel says you can't overwater, but I'd like not to just waste water either. 

-My planting area is pretty much full sun the whole day, should I try to provide my plants some shade from the afternoon FL heat?

-Anyone had luck trellising a Ground Cherry?

-Im following Snibb's suggestion to trellis a summer squash and using the fence post and thick rope, hope that works!

Thanks!
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  sanderson on 3/12/2017, 5:12 am

HotFlorida,  Welcome to the Forum from Central California, Zone 8B-9A!  glad you\'re here  You are ahead of the game.  You read ANSFG, browsed the Answer Book and High Value Veggies, made Mel's Mix, made the beds a max of 4' wide, checked with your University, and contributed to the Vermiculite Data Base.  you rock

I hope Dstack chimes in as he has been SFG for 3 years, if I remember correctly.  I think the 3 hottest months of summer are a real struggle with the heat and humidity.  If people and animals suffer in it, plants do too.

1.  Water enough to keep the Mix moist.  Don't let it ever dry out.  Mulch can help keep it cool and reduce evaporation.
2.  Shade can always help in the worst months.
3.  Don't know anything about ground cherries but others do.
4.  I tried growing zucchini and yellow squash vertically but it literally hurt tying it to the stake! Shocked  Another thing, I think in my hot summer (up to 110*F) the leaves provide shade if grown normally as a bush.

Looking forward to your journey, and please post photos!

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Re: New to SFG!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/13/2017, 8:31 am

Hi AlwaysHotinFL. Welcome from Atlanta, GA.

I have to agree with Sanderson in that you're ahead of the game, knowledge-wise.

Yes, I'd suggest afternoon shade. I've been down there during the summer... I know I certainly needed it...

Sounds like you've got everything else under control. :-)
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/13/2017, 9:09 am

I'm in central PA, so I can't help with Florida-specific questions but: glad you\'re here
and thank you for adding to the vermiculite database!

I've tried tying up a ground cherry somewhat after the fact and wasn't successful. Their trunk is pretty short before they start branching everywhere, so there would likely be more to keep track of than just a central vine. My bed arrangement isn't good for trying to trellis them, but I do think it's worth trying! I'd love to see photos of one trellised.

For summer squash, half my solution was growing Table Dainty, which is a vining zucchini with seeds available from Baker Creek. I haven't found a good yellow squash solution. I think lemon squash has a longer central stalk than most, but it's more of a long bush type than a short vine. Probably well suited to Snibbing. I suspect the technique works better with some varieties than others, so let us know which variety you tried when you post about whether or not you succeeded. The other half of my solution was to grow summer squash in containers outside of the SFG proper.
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  llama momma on 3/13/2017, 9:56 am

My ground cherry plants top out around two feet.  I put mine in corner squares and train it to lean out of the box.  Still, it can easily handle any pruning of branches that want to crowd adjacent squares.  When this plant is happy, it's a little beast !
sfg smile
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AlwaysHotinFL

Post  GWN on 3/13/2017, 10:05 am

-Anyone had luck trellising a Ground Cherry?
LM

My ground cherry plants top out around two feet.  I put mine in corner squares and train it to lean out of the box.




I have grown ground cherries for a few years now, but grew them in  bucket. They did not get very far at all, I had never thought of putting them in my SFG, but perhaps I will now.
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  llama momma on 3/13/2017, 10:19 am

GWN wrote:
-Anyone had luck trellising a Ground Cherry?
LM

My ground cherry plants top out around two feet.  I put mine in corner squares and train it to lean out of the box.




I have grown ground cherries for a few years now, but grew them in  bucket. They did not get very far at all, I had never thought of putting them in my SFG, but perhaps I will now.
My bet is you will be happy with results.
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  AlwaysHotinFL on 3/14/2017, 4:28 pm

Great info so far! I look forward to sharing some results and pictures when I have them! As for now everything is sprouting so that's a start.

I'm excited for the challenge with the Ground Cherry, and hey, if it doesn't work out I can always container or dedicate a couple squares to it. And prune as necessary, glad to hear it can take it.

In other news hope nobody planted too early and is about to get a frost- my part of FL won't, but it seems like the rest of the east coast is getting pretty cold temps. Brrr
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  Cajun Cappy on 3/17/2017, 1:37 pm

We live in a semi tropical enviroment which is a wonderful hot house for year round gardening the off season being the heat of the summer.  The only problem is the semi part.  The rare hard freeze or late frost can really reak havock but it is RARE so most years we do very very well.  I aint neva heard of a ground cherry is it a cherry??? and if so let me know how it goes we are always looking for summer heat resistant garden plants but not much luck.  We have pretty much decided not to even plant summer garden cause it is sooo hot.  Welcome to the forum and I look forwards to your posts.
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  AlwaysHotinFL on 3/20/2017, 6:11 am

Thanks Cappy! I've enjoyed your posts in the forum and on your blog so far, good stuff!

A Ground Cherry is a tomato relative but allegedly very sweet, with some even tasting like pineapples! We'll see how it does in the heat. I got mine from seed savers exchange but southern exposure has a different variety as well. Cheers!

http://www.seedsavers.org/aunt-mollys-organic-ground-cherry
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  Cajun Cappy on 3/20/2017, 12:20 pm

Ahhhh I shoulda knowed it.  tomatoes do well down here and usually give up around late june.  Pending on the year
All varieties thrive and should be planted Now
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Re: New to SFG!

Post  TCgardening on 3/22/2017, 9:39 pm

Always,
 Welcome to Florida gardening. This time of year you have to water daily. Humidity is low by Fla standards, 30% or so. We are lucky to get a inch or two per month of rainfall. Of coarse that could go off the rails with a wet cold front & 5-10 inches of rain overnight.
Warm season planting is coming soon.
Tom MacCubbins is up your way, check out his website & Orlando Sentinel section. He has a great seasonal schedule for plantings in Florida. He also has a weekly radio show that I really enjoy. Tom is not all organic or squarefoot based but everything can be adapted to what you want to do with it. Folks in other parts of the country don't have the same intense pest & disease seasons as we do.
Like a lot of things our growing seasons are backwards from the rest of the nation.
http://betterlawns.com/newhome.asp
Good luck with the garden!
 Craig
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Re: New to SFG!

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