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Hello from Long Island NY

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Hello from Long Island NY

Post  nje112103 on 4/10/2017, 2:08 pm

This is my second year using square foot gardening.  We have 2- 4x4 boxes from last year and hope to add 4 more this year.  I have everything to make the new boxes just not fill them.  The initial cost of peat, vermiculite and compost is what kills me.  I started a compost pile last year but it's not that great.  I will need to read up on it and see how to do that better.  If anyone has any tips for filling the boxes less expensively or how to improve my compost please let me know.  I have a black compost bin that I picked up at Aldi last year.

. I definitely need to chop up what I put in which I did not do last year!!

God Bless and Happy Gardening! 
Jennifer
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  countrynaturals on 4/10/2017, 2:21 pm

happy hi from Redding, CA (way north of SF). Looking forward to following your gardening adventures. glad you\'re here to a very friendly, informative, forum.
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/10/2017, 3:57 pm

Hi Jennifer! glad you\'re here

Yeah, started up costs can be a bear but fortunately that's in the past now.
Google 'compost' in the search box at the left and you should be able to study up in it. Also, I get books on it from the library.

Good luck this year! Post some photos of your garden when you get a chance.
CC
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2017, 4:03 pm

Jennifer, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here "Inside" Search will turn up 450 threads on compost just on this Forum. Very Happy

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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  llama momma on 4/10/2017, 4:32 pm

Welcome to square foot gardening. I'm a former LI kid myself. South shore girl.
There are many pages for you to explore in the search box.  I'm a fan of composting on the ground, I think it's easier but that's me. I think you will enjoy yourself here. See you around the forum!
happy hi
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/10/2017, 5:02 pm

Welcome to the forum, Jennifer!
The upfront cost is high - but instead of spending years amending the dirt to create gerat soil, and over those years spending lots of time slowly removing all the weed seeds as they germinate - you're jumping straight to the finish line.
My main suggestion is to go slow, and only add a little each year, to spread the costs out. I can also suggest watching/searching your local Craigslist for free manure - horse and cow need to be composted first, but my understanding is that llama and rabbit manure can be used fresh. Making your own compost is great; keep up the good work!
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  ralitaco on 4/11/2017, 12:45 am

Jennifer, welcome to the forum from Coastal NC. Ditto to everybody else on the compost search.
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  Banned Member on 4/11/2017, 7:27 am

Welcome Jennifer.  

The same goes for us with our garden.  We would like to add more boxes, but the electric company would like to be paid for their services too, and they have no conscience when it comes to taking away our vermiculite and peat moss budget.

I will also endorse making your own compost.  There are numerous ways to make decent compost in less than 3 weeks.  You can find Youtube videos that show multiple gardeners, many of whom use Square Foot Gardening.

I don't really trust the store-bought compost all that much.  Who knows what quality it is?

I don't know your yard situation, so it may require you to source out components to make compost yourself.  However, it doesn't take much for it to work.

We do just fine taking our grass clippings and kitchen scraps and filling up plastic garbage cans that have been perforated for drainage and ventilation.

In my opinion, the easiest quick compost is the one on Youtube titled "Drunken Compost."  This guy from Arkansas takes a mound of grass clippings and moistens it with a combination of one can of beer, one can of cola, and a few ounces of ammonia.  The beer has yeast; the cola has sugar to feed the yeast, and the ammonia has the nitrogen that heats up the pile rapidly.  He gets compost ready to use in 10-14 days.

I can vouch for this method working.  I have several cubic feet of finished compost, and we do not need to buy one bag of anything this year, which is good, since we don't have the funds like in years past.  Our garden soil looks like perfect black gold.

I wish I had thought about snapping some pictures of the compost that was recently started.  It is now 6 days old, and it is definitely more than half composted.  One of our garbage cans produced enough compost to fill a 4x4 square about 3 inches deep. So, basically two garbage cans of compost will fill one square.  

The vermiculite and peat do not feed your crops.  They have their use as soil conditioners, but if you cannot afford to add them, it isn't going to wreck your garden.  FWIW, the largest organic CSA in our area grows their crops in about 8 inches of compost and nothing else.  They do not use added fertilizers, and they do not use real dirt.  Their compost heap is large enough to fill an olympic sized swimming pool.  They have cattle and use cow poop along with what their tractors cut when they mow the fields.

Another solution for you if you cannot afford all the stuff to make a 4 x 4 box is to try container growing using a smaller, less expensive bag of vermiculite (our garden center sells the small bags for less than $10, as well as small bags of peat or coir and your compost.  Also, nobody is going to punish you for using potting mix that has vermiculite or perlite as well as peat and compost.  It is almost Mel's Mix in a small bag.

Good luck.  The key is to enjoy the hobby and to harvest some healthy food that tastes really good.

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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/11/2017, 7:35 am

Hi Jennifer. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

I was born on Staten Island... Does that count, lol?
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Thank you TNGeezer

Post  nje112103 on 4/11/2017, 9:38 am

Thank you TNGeezer!  I just watched his videos. I am going to try making that compost. I can mow and get clippings, I will layer with some of my compost that hasn't broken down well and add the cola, beer and ammonia. I even have a small tiller to turn it. I'm excited to give it a try! bounce
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Re: Hello from Long Island NY

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