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Hello from Central Illinois

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Hello from Central Illinois

Post  gmont on 4/15/2017, 10:09 pm

Hi...I've been a sfg'er for a few years now.  I've been reasonably successful, but I still wonder about the amount of space needed for various plants.  It seems like my beds get over crowded and  plants tend to dwarf others.  Have any of you figured our a manageable combination of plants for each 4X4 boxes so plants don't over grow each other?  I currently have 6 boxes.

Thanks!
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Re: Hello from Central Illinois

Post  ralitaco on 4/15/2017, 11:55 pm

gmont, Welcome to the forum from Coastal NC.

Plant spacing is always a challenge. My first year I planted a zucchini vine in 1 square Embarassed As you know, zucchini don't grow on a vine, and their 12" leaves flopped on top of the surrounding squares smothering whatever it was I had planted there.

Anyway, you may want to share what you are planning on planting in each box and I'm sure the wonderful, nice folks on this forum will share their thoughts to assist.

good luck and welcome again.
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Over crowding

Post  gmont on 4/16/2017, 12:32 am

I guess that is why gave my first post.  I'm looking for suggestions on plant combinations that can be put in one box without the over crowding.  I have tomatoes and squash figured out because they need so much space.  It's the plants that can be packed into a small space where I need the advice.

Thanks
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Re: Hello from Central Illinois

Post  sanderson on 4/16/2017, 4:19 am

Hi Gmont! Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here Do you have any photos of past gardens so folks can see what you are planting?

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Garden photos

Post  gmont on 4/16/2017, 1:07 pm

Sorry, I don't have any photos.  Here's the line up:

Sweet Salad mix w/multiple lettuce varieties in one packet
Also trying Red Velvet lettuce and Burpee Bibb lettuce this year
Large leaf Spinach
Small leaf Spinach
Bush beans
Boston Pickling Cucumbers
Beets
Experimenting with Short Carrots and long Carrots to see which grows the best
Early Scarlet Globe Radishes
Zucchinni
Straightneck Yellow Squash 
Starting with 4 tomato plants (different varieties), but could end up with 6.

I have six 4X4 boxes ready for planting.

Thanks!
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Correction to list

Post  gmont on 4/16/2017, 1:12 pm

Sorry, I don't have any photos.  Here's the line up:

I forgot to add Peppers (Red, Yellow, Pepperoncino, and Poblano).  Up to 8 plants.

Sweet Salad mix w/multiple lettuce varieties in one packet
Also trying Red Velvet lettuce and Burpee Bibb lettuce this year
Large leaf Spinach
Small leaf Spinach
Bush beans
Boston Pickling Cucumbers
Beets
Experimenting with Short Carrots and long Carrots to see which grows the best
Early Scarlet Globe Radishes
Zucchinni
Straightneck Yellow Squash 
Starting with 4 tomato plants (different varieties), but could end up with 6.

I have six 4X4 boxes ready for planting.

Thanks!
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gmont

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Re: Hello from Central Illinois

Post  Banned Member on 4/17/2017, 12:48 am

Welcome aboard Gmont.  Are you anywhere near Route 66 in West Central Illinois?  The Mrs. and I love the little town of Carlinville.

If you live in that area, I hope you also consider trying the original method of SFG, because your area has some of the richest, deepest top soil of anywhere in the country.

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Re: Hello from Central Illinois

Post  herblover on 4/18/2017, 3:31 pm

Do you have the ANSFG book?  That should provide info on spacing within a square.  I usually plant green leafies (spinach, lettuces, kale and chard) 5/square, 1 in the middle and the 4 corners.  Carrots, radishes, and some varieties of beest 16/square.  Other beets 9/square.  Pepper plants are 1/square.  HTH.
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Re: Hello from Central Illinois

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/19/2017, 11:35 am

Welcome to the forum, Gmont!

Your biggest space issue that I see is that zucchini and yellow squash, because they will each eventually take up 9 squares - and even then, they don't necessarily sprawl evenly, making it hard to effectively use the other 7 squares (16-9=7). Some people put them in the corner of the box, and try to coax them over the edge so they only take up 4 squares inside - but I've been hesitant to do this because I don't want squash leaves in my path.  Here's what I'd suggest instead -- put both in one box, 16 squares is close enough to 18 (=9+9), especially since a lot of what they need is above ground. Grow radishes in the inner squares, and your first lettuce and spinach successions in the outer edges, but don't replant after you harvest - let the zucchini and yellow squash just take over that bed. I've tried to diagram what I mean for just the one 4x4, shown repeatedly over time:

Now                  2wks from now    4wks from now   6wks
--   S3  -- L4     --  S3  --  L4        L6  S3  r4  L4     L6  S3  r4  L4   
S3 r2  --  --      S3  r2  Y   L5       S3  r2  Y   L5       S3  --  Y   L5
--  --   --  S3     L5  Z   r3  S3       L5  Z   r3  S3      L5  Z   r3  S3
L4 --  S3  --      L4 --  S3  --         L4  --  S3  L6      L4  r5  S3  L6

8wks              10wks from now    12wks from now
L6  --  r4  --      L6  --  --  --        --  --  --  --  
--  --  Y   L5      --  --  Y   --         --  --  Y   --
L5  Z   --  --      --  Z   --  --         --  Z   --  --
--  r5  --  L6      --  r5  --  L6        --  --  --  --

Key: Z=zucchini, Y= yellow squash, L=lettuce, S=spinach, r=radish;
Numbers refer to succession planting, once every 2 wks.  I'm working off the charts in the back of the 1st edition of the ANSFG book, and assuming your last frost date is 1 week from today - which means you've already theoretically missed some possible starting dates (which is totally ok!) but is why the numbers above don't start at 1. Bold is plants going in, -- is nothing (either not planted yet, or harvested.)

There are 4 squares of spinach, 2 of each type, which may be too much, but you can of course modify this. There are 2 squares of lettuce for each succession; for each pair, I'd sow one at 4/sq of the sweet lettuce mix, and one with 2 of the Red, and 2 of the Bibb. It's all give or take a week, but it does take a to-do list to keep track of so you get things in on time.

I'm assuming vining/pole (indeterminate) varieties of tomatoes. If so I'd plant your tomatoes in the back (northeast side) of your most northerly two boxes, so they don't shade anything, with 3 per the back half of the box. The book says 1/sq, but I find that to be challenging. I prefer something closer to one and a half, but I'm growing in 4x8s, so I need different reach space because I can't come in from all sides once there's a trellis in the way. Three tomato plants evenly spaced on the back should give you about one and a third for each, and your 4x4s should give you enough room to reach everything.  Plant your bush bean successions in the front halves of those boxes.
  T    T    T
--  --   --  --
Bn Bn Bn Bn
Bn Bn Bn Bn

Plant your cucumbers up trellises on two different boxes, 2/square, across the back. This will give you 16 plants and you will probably have cucumbers for way more pickles than you need, so you might want to cut back on that... Plant your carrots in the and your fall spinach front 2 rows of those boxes. And your later (fall) successions of lettuce in between so that maybe they get some shade from the carrots.
Ck Ck Ck Ck
L   L   L   L
Cr S Cr  S
S  Cr S  Cr

I think I'm up to 5 of your 6 boxes (1 zucc/yellow squash, 2 tomato/bean, 2 cuke/carrot/greens). For the last box plant your peppers all next to each other (1 per square), taking up half a box. Several people here have reported they like growing touching each other, and my experience is the same. Plant your beet successions in that box, early ones in squares closer to the peppers, later ones further away so that you are less likely to disturb the pepper roots when you pull the beets. After the spring beets you could wait a few weeks and put in additional fall lettuce. 
P P Bt2 Bt4
P P Bt2 Bt4
P P Bt3 Bt5
P P Bt3 Bt5

That was fun, so I hope it's sort of what you were looking for!
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Re: Hello from Central Illinois

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