Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello from Richmond

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Hello from Richmond

Post  maryasoroka on 3/27/2017, 12:20 pm

Hi There Everyone!  

My name is Mary Soroka and I'm in Richmond, VA.  New to the Forum and new to Square Foot Gardening.  My Stepmom has the book and I started flipping through it the other day.  Super excited to really dig in and learn all the ins and outs.  I'd like to try it on my 6'x25' raised bed this year.  

My first garden was last year and we had huge success with it.  Moved into a new home and the previous owners had GREAT soil.  I didn't do anything to it.  I just stuck stuff in the ground and it grew BEAUTIFULLY!  I had no plan/rhyme or reason to the layout though, other than a little advice from a family member.  

I'm concerned that I stripped the soil of all it's nutrients last year and I don't know how to replenish it so that I have a great crop this year.  I read up on Mels Mix but that seems reserved more for a brand new bed.  I'm not sure what I should concentrate on adding to the soil that is already there.  Should I do a blend of different composts?  Should I add some peat moss to mix in as well?  I'm just not sure.  Anyway, happy to be here and learn.  Thanks!

Mary Soroka
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Re: Hello from Richmond

Post  yolos on 3/27/2017, 8:33 pm

Definitely do the blended compost.  Neither peat moss nor vermiculite adds any nutritional value.  They help with water retention and structure of the soil.  Some of my beds started out with just soil.  The first year I added lots of compost and then added a little peat and vermiculite each year until I was satisfied with the structure of the soil.  Most of my beds are Mel's Mix but a few are soil with added compost, vermiculite and sometimes peat moss.
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Re: Hello from Richmond

Post  sanderson on 3/28/2017, 3:36 am

@yolos wrote:Definitely do the blended compost.  Neither peat moss nor vermiculite adds any nutritional value.  They help with water retention and structure of the soil.
At least 2" of blended composts (not soil amendments).

Here is just a crazy idea. Use cheap 2" x 4" studs to frame in the planting areas. That would make them 3 1/2" tall, too short for real SFG boxes but would do the trick for you. If you are happy with the existing soil, and don't want to go full SFG, just add 2" of blended compost in the boxes. For mulch, you can top with chopped bedding straw to keep the roots cool in the summer and reduce surface evaporation. Why boxes? They will be where you plant and never walk, never trampling on the microorganisms and their little underground cities, the worms and other never-seen critters that are so important to feeding the plants. The isles become the areas you can tromp around on with your wheel barrow full of blended compost. Make the isles 3' for your comfort. Cover the isles with cardboard and bedding straw for weed-free isles. The most recent book is All New Square Foot Gardening where dirt is NOT used. But, there are great ideas in the book that you can incorporate.

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Re: Hello from Richmond

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/29/2017, 6:25 am

Hi Mary. Welcome from Atlanta, GA. Glad you found us!

Both Yolos & Sanderson have some great ideas there.
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Re: Hello from Richmond

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/30/2017, 6:45 pm

Hi Mary, Welcome to the forum!

I agree with Yolos - add some blended compost. Just mix it into the top 1/2" to top few inches - if your soil structure is good, you don't need/want to mess with it by digging. Peat moss doesn't really contain any nutrition, so if your soil worked last year, and you are only worried about replacing some of the nutrients, peat moss isn't needed.

I did something similar to what Sanderson suggests for the parts of my garden that aren't raised beds - but I used 1"x2" pieces to frame and yarn + nails to grid. They aren't holding up well but they did what I needed. I used 1"x4" pieces for another section, this worked better. I love the grids of SFG because I love to plan, and I like to be efficient as possible with making use of my limited garden space.
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Re: Hello from Richmond

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