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My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

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My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/19/2017, 1:57 am

Last year my wife and I discussed some of the pros and cons of the new square foot garden method to growing in soil that was amended with horse manure and leaves, tilled in and mulched with leaves and our homestead grass. The latter occurred when we did field gardening and growing food as an organic farmer for three years.   We found using soil in our garden had better results than working with soiless soil. We did add the above ingredient every year which was labor intensive for 4000 sq feet., but the results were almost no disease and insect pressure was almost nil.
When I look everywhere I find all plants growing in soil. There something in the soil that we haven't discovered in the soil food web that creates higher production yield. I don't know what it is, but it works.
I have 15 beds and will be expanding to 18 beds because I feed other people who can't provide fresh food at home and are financially challenged. It's just a mission for me that I enjoy.
My challenge with my beds is producing enough compost for my beds. It too expensive to buy and it's very laborious producing it on site because when it's all and done it still a bed filled with mixed compost. I collected about 500-600 bags of leaves each fall. I have two bags left as I write.  I found my food web activity is so aggressive toward my compost it will shrink approx six inches in 2-4 months thus exposing my aquajet subsurface PVC pipes which are approx 5 inches beneath the soil. PVC doesn't like UV rays, so I quickly have to cover it with compost.
When I'm  growing in the soil it rarely shrunk but became better and better with organic material which developed an awesome, incredible healthy food web. 
So last year we took four beds my wife had me raised to her waist level and decided to go back to the Original Square Foot Garden Method and brought in 50-50% of sandy loam/ compost mix.  The results have been amazing. Just like when I did field gardening. The soil has been holding its height even though the compost and organic material is being consumed. The water holding capacity is significantly improved. So I will convert the other beds to OSFGM this fall. 
Another challenge I had was hand watering freshly planted seeds 2-3 times a day because of our heatwave. The aquajet waters and aerate the root beneath the soil, but not on top. so I had to develop a system that would water on top. I decided to use drip irrigation with a micro sprayer set for one min. So far, so good. 
You know I'm a lazy gardener.



pg 60







Zone 8  above ground drip irrigation micro sprayer









 
 

using flags for plant identification which allows use to see what they are when the plants are large.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/19/2017, 3:05 am

part of that 500-600 bags of leaves is for my pathways. I'm going back to woodchips because the leaves blow around till the micros cement the leaves together.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/25/2017, 11:12 pm

As mentioned earlier, I have almost stopped my shrinkage of the soil. I will need to tweak the original square foot garden soil just a little bit. This video gives greater clarity about my decrease in soil shrinkage, soil amendments and pest pressure that I'm experiencing. I will be uploading a new soil test soon.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/27/2017, 5:04 am

I'm not sure what happen to the  posted video I posted earlier. This is more work being done on my original square foot garden beds. More video coming. hoping for better clarification.

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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/27/2017, 1:47 pm

there are some of us that have change 1-2 beds or more to the original square foot garden and that ok. BeetlesPerSqFt is one I can think of off the top of my head that mentioned it within a thread and I have seen others over the past 2 years. 

My posting is about expenses for a large operation since I'm giving freely to others and the financially challenged /poor. Also helping them to garden on their own turf. Have not got the community or churches involved yet. Bonton farm who using the original Square Foot Garden in Dallas was able to it. I hope I can do it also.
In their neighborhood that I am working in, free wood is not hard to find, but mixed compost is hard to locate unless it bought from the store. I'm also working with the age group of 60-90's. Once they get the bug, it's on. 
this thread is for those who want to do the Original Square Foot Garden for themselves and may also want to help the very poor by allowing them to work within their budget by using what's  available. The best wood is free wood. The best soil is free soil.

One of the things I have found is the importance of healthy biological activity in the soil. Hence, the soil food web.

Now the video I'm posting explained how plants build soil in real soil, not soilless compost. This is a great advantage for the poor or any else growing in soil.
It also shows that you can cut the plant at ground level to feed and build the soil.
the showing of mixed manure grass in the video is great for farming, but not for The Original Square Foot gardening, Buttttttt the concept is the same. Plant all kinds of wonderful edible vegetable in soil and they will build soil and cause the soil food web to expand to its optimal level. An awesome idea for the financially challenged or anyone growing in the improvised soil like Mel taught.
Remember Thomas Edison tried several hundred experiments to create the light bulb. He said he just found several hundred ways it didn't work. 
Please don't look at the weeds, but see the flowers.
I'm building up the info. Please give me a chance.
Here's the video
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 9/27/2017, 2:10 pm

I actually wrote of changing some of my OSFG to ANSFG, and replacing the OSFG by expanding my garden. I have *not* converted any of my ANSFG back to the original square foot garden method. However, I do maintain a OSFG section in my garden for a number of reasons, and am likely to continue to have some of both going forward as both methods have advantages for my circumstances.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/27/2017, 2:14 pm

awesome to know. thank you. keep sharing, please. please. please.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 9/27/2017, 2:19 pm

this one is showing my failure of planting my seeds in soil that was not cool enough for my fall/winter crops. Hope it's helpful.
from [url=tomclothier.hort.net/page11.html]tomclothier.hort.net/page11.html[/url]
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/28/2017, 2:13 pm

@has55 wrote:
this thread is for those who want to do the Original Square Foot Garden for themselves and may also want to help the very poor by allowing them to work within their budget by using what's  available. The best wood is free wood. The best soil is free soil.


The purpose and main focus of this forum is ANSFG. Mel was adamant about that in all of my dealings with him. I would encourage you to start your crusade elsewhere if that is your objective (to boost support for the old method).

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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 10/1/2017, 5:54 am

@RoOsTeR wrote:
@has55 wrote:
this thread is for those who want to do the Original Square Foot Garden for themselves and may also want to help the very poor by allowing them to work within their budget by using what's  available. The best wood is free wood. The best soil is free soil.


The purpose and main focus of this forum is ANSFG. Mel was adamant about that in all of my dealings with him. I would encourage you to start your crusade elsewhere if that is your objective (to boost support for the old method).
"The purpose and main focus of this forum is ANSFG".  I absolutely agree. Sometimes the writing makes it seem like something else when you're not in person to explained it.  Basically sharing some of my results that led to this because I am doing a one man large scale operation that's expanding for delivery of food and my adventures with those who are too weak to make compost themselves or buy it. I'm at 15 beds and will expand by adding three 4 feet by 20 ft beds for a total of 18 this fall. tried to do it this summer , but too busy. Long term goal is 50 beds. so this seems to be working and cost effective with decrease labor. I'll be sharing results of the compost tea next. biological activity effects on the plants. again it was only for those who have a bed or two set up like that. If you want, move the thread to where only old members can see it.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 10/1/2017, 10:20 am

Good Morning everyone. Rooster, would you bump this thread under the  "has55's R & D Journey" Please. I think that would be the appropriate place. 
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expansion of SFG beds

Post  has55 on 10/1/2017, 10:40 am

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seedling sprouting from overhead mirosprayer

Post  has55 on 10/1/2017, 10:42 am

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Cumbers pruning update

Post  has55 on 10/1/2017, 10:43 am

I saw several cucumber beetles. How have the group addressed this issue? Most were squash in my hand.

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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 10/1/2017, 5:34 pm

@has55 wrote:awesome to know. thank you. keep sharing, please. please. please.
Some people have better soil than others, and it takes effort and often money to amend it. From p17 of the ANSFG book (1st edition) Mel “conducted a survey asking gardeners how long it took them it improve their soil until they got it just the way they wanted it. The average answer was seven years.” If you found something that works very well for your climate and preferences and didn't take that long, that’s great! But for many MM represents a shortcut that works. It doesn’t have to be better or the best to be worthwhile. Setting up an ANSFG bed takes me a LOT less work and time than digging an OSFG bed into the native soil. ANSFG costs more money, especially at start up, but I have a good garden now, instead years from now. I've grown many plants in both my OSFG and ANSFG (usually different years rather than side by side), and most have done as well or better in the ANSFG.

For larger gardens, purchasing compost by the bag does get expensive (another reason why new gardeners should start small.) For keeping up with shrinkage in a larger ANSFG garden, I suggest those weary of the expense of individual bags look into buying compost in bulk. If you can find something that’s $25 per cu yd, about 4” worth in 18 4’x4’ beds would be $100 (albeit not including delivery fees.) That may be a lot of $ at once, for some, but think about the value of the vegetables an 18 bed garden is bringing in! Since one’s base MM is already a mix of composts, I’d think it would be fine to alternate the source of additions each year rather than trying to buy a little of this and that every year. (One's own compost, limited as it may be, plus bulk leaf compost one year, composted manure another, mushroom compost the third, and so forth.)

One plant I won’t grow in my ANSFG are Jerusalem Artichokes (an aggressively growing tuberous sunflower) because they would be nigh impossible to dig out without destroying the raised bed – the roots/tubers won’t stay inside it, they would go deeper and wider. My clay-heavy soil also supports these tall plants better than MM would (even so, they still need wrangling to keep from getting wind-toppled.) Jerusalem Artichokes are the main reason I keep an OSFG section.

Another reason I have an OSFG section is that I’m renting, and am at (or beyond) my limit for the number of raised bed boxes I want to figure out what to do with when I eventually move. What condition will the wood be in, in an unknown number of years? Will I actually want to move them? Give them away? Dispose of them?

I grow wildflowers in my OSFG sections, too. The wildflowers appreciate a little compost but they don’t need the rest of the treatment. They grow fine in unamended native soil anyhow, and I’m not harvesting much from them, so I don’t need to put much (compost/nutrients) back in.

The other plant I grow in my OSFG is pole dry beans. They do grow better in the ANSFG, but well enough in the OSFG that I can “set ‘em and forget ‘em” until fall when I harvest. Unless it’s a wet year -- the clay in my soil holds and wicks moisture better than my MM does, which works to my advantage in a moderate to dry year, but not so well in a wet to soggy one.

My tomatillos grew better in the OSFG this year vs the ANSFG last year, but it’s not a single variable comparison: different sun, different weather/rainfall/watering, different compost additions, different starting times...
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 10/1/2017, 6:12 pm

@has55 wrote:I saw several cucumber beetles. How have the group addressed this issue? Most were squash in my hand.
I go out in the morning and scare/knock mine into soapy water. I check the undersides of the leaves for them (easier with trellised cukes) and inside the flowers.

This thread has other suggestions and links to more information:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t20946-saving-cantaloupe-from-cucumber-beetle
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 10/1/2017, 11:46 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
@has55 wrote:I saw several cucumber beetles. How have the group addressed this issue? Most were squash in my hand.
I go out in the morning and scare/knock mine into soapy water. I check the undersides of the leaves for them (easier with trellised cukes) and inside the flowers.

This thread has other suggestions and links to more information:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t20946-saving-cantaloupe-from-cucumber-beetle
BPSF, excellent advice, info and pointer on your other post. Well received.  Now on this post I looked at the link and forgot about the light weigh mineral oil I used and the duster buster the women of the forum introduced in that thread. I'll use both of them. Thanks for the link.
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10/2/2017 what is this bug on the hunt on my cucumber plant

Post  has55 on 10/2/2017, 10:05 am

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oct 2/2017 cucumber update that's growing on line trelis

Post  has55 on 10/2/2017, 10:08 am

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Re: 10/2/2017 what is this bug on the hunt on my cucumber plant

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 10/2/2017, 11:47 am

I'm sorry - I can't make anything out from the video, it's too out of focus. Is there any way you can get a still shot that's more in focus?
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 10/2/2017, 8:41 pm

I'll see if I can pull a rabbit out of the hat.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

Post  has55 on 10/3/2017, 9:30 am

@has55 wrote:
I moved this question to the " Re: Bug/Pest Identification....Help!" thread.
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Re: My SFG Journey:Returning to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

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