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Northern WI (zone 4)

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Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  Daynannan on 3/10/2010, 11:40 am

Hello,

This is my second year doing a SFG. Last year I managed to kill everything in my garden. I had a baby March 25 2009 and by time I got every thing planted it was way too late in the season and well...with an infant I was busy. I did get my boxes built and filled w/ Mel's Mix so I'm way ahead this year.

I want to start Broccoli, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Pumpkin and Kohlrabi indoors. I want to direct sow Green Beans, Edamame, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots and I'll probably get some Onions too. I have all my seeds from last year except the Tomatoes, my dad is giving me some of his though.

Yesterday with the beautiful spring weather I added some more peat moss to my boxes. I didn't quite enough Mel's Mix last year so they were low. Our landfill sells compost from lawn bags they collect. I think I'll go get some of that and mix it in. I don't have the grid on the boxes so it'll be easy to add before I put those on.

If you can't tell...I'm really excited about this. I'm determined to do better this year. I might even get to can some of my harvest.

Any other people in my zone? I'm zone 4.

Dayna

Daynannan

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 3/10/2010, 5:18 pm

Hi Dayna. Welcome!!!

I'm happy to hear that someone up "north" here can actually see their boxes, let alone begin to add to their soil! I am envious!

I haven't seen anyone in the N&C Midwest from area 4 yet that I know of. But wait. They'll be sprouting like weeds (oh, sorry, we SFGers don't do weeds) very soon. In the meantime enjoy the conversations and ask for any help you need.

One caution I would have about the compost from the landfill would be if there were any chemicals, weed spray etc. on the grass they are composting. Now, if the compost has been really cooked you may not have a problem but at least you should be aware.

I relate to your excitement. Spring brings that out in all of us!

Keep coming back to the forums and keep us posted with your successes.

mckr3441

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  Daynannan on 3/10/2010, 5:32 pm

I guess I didn't think of chemicals in the compost. I could go back to Menards and get some mushroom compost again until I get mine going. I built a composter out of a plastic barrel. Thanks for the tip.

Daynannan

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 3/10/2010, 5:36 pm

Mushroom compost is GOOD.

mckr3441

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  upnorthgardener on 3/12/2010, 3:21 pm

Hey Dayna!

I'm a second yearer too. I am getting so excited to plant as my SFG is completely melted and the weather has been really unseasonably warm.

I am farther north than you, Zone 3a, about 60 miles north of Duluth. I had great success last year with broccoli, peas (the little buggers were over 10 feet tall!), carrots and chard. The tomatoes did ok, but it was the weather, not the garden!

I hope to get a second SFG in this spring for more tomatoes and some peppers. My twin grandsons just love picking fresh tomatoes and peas from the garden and eating them on the spot. You can't get more whole foods than that!

Good luck with your second season and hopefully, we will get a few more Up North people on the site!

Happy Planting!

Lori Jo

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  Daynannan on 3/12/2010, 4:01 pm

Lori Jo,

Oh boy...your way up north. I didn't have much success last year due to the fact I started too late and we had bad weather. With my boxes built I'm sure I'll have a better year this time. Looking forward to seeing how it goes for you.

Do your grandsons live near? Oh how I wish my mom lived near so she can take care of visit with her grandsons...my 3 year old and 1 year old.

Dayna

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I'm a 4!

Post  new2this on 3/21/2010, 8:54 am

I'm responding a little late to this thread, but here I am......a new SFG'er in southeast MN.

I'm a stayhome mom of 3. We live in a small town, but my heart is in the country. I've thought about gardening for a few yrs now, but was worried that it would be too "unattrative" for in town, and too much work. Well, I heard about SFG and this is my year - I'm gonna have a little slice of the country right here in town!!!

I am very excited about this new adventure for me and my kids to enjoy. This dratted MN weather is bumming me out though - but I should get real. It's what we all expect up here, huh?

I will be planting 2 4'x4' beds, 1 2'x4' bed, and I've seriously been thinking about raspberries and blueberries as well. Any thoughts on the fruits from you 'northern zone 4' gardeners?

Thanks,

Tonya in se MN

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 3/21/2010, 12:26 pm

Dayna, Thanks for starting this Zone 4 thread. I'm not sure what Zones are in the N&C Midwest Forum as I never paid much attention to any but my own Zone. I hope I can learn what other zones are here and start special sections for each. Your post should bring together folks in Zone 4 and for that I thank you. (You get .

Happy Forum using and Happy Gardening.

P.S. Everyone can help me make this Forum even better if you will check your frost dates and post them in the thread for frosts. Thanks.

mckr3441

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  Anstar on 3/22/2010, 2:02 pm

Hello! I'm totally new to SFG, but not new to gardening in the North. Very Happy We're 4a here in Bismarck, ND (3b, depending on where you're at in town relative to the river).

I'm excited to start! We still have a good foot of snow in the yard, though. It's melting, it's just not gone. DH (darling husband) really, really wants to build some SFG's and turn them into cold frames on the south side of the house - probably 2'x4'. I'm not so sure - we have had such good luck with the spring tulips in those locations, and I'd hate to loose them even to vegetable production. We have a large yard, and plenty of other places to put SFG's.

So far I plan on doing 2 2x4 SFGs where I wish we had a fence between the neighbors and us, and then more 4x4's in the back. I have yet to figure out how many - it's a 12'x24' garden area, but I haven't worked out how many SFG's will fit.

As to fruits in the north... We have had good luck with gooseberries and concord grapes. Raspberries do well. Some strawberries, but I haven't settled on a favorite variety.

I'm just starting my planning for what I want to plant this year. Haven't even made it through my first rough list yet, lol. I'm not too concerned yet, but my start date for some seeds is April 1st, and April 20th for tomatoes. So, very soon!

Anstar

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 3/23/2010, 1:03 am

Welcome to the Forums, Anstar . I'm so glad you joined us here in the Northern and Central Midwest Forum. This Zone 4 topic is drawing more people each day. I guess it's because your snow is finally melting .

I hope you enjoy yourself on the forums and in the gardens this summer. And, post pictures any time you can. If you have a chance and haven't done it already could you check your frost dates and post them in the Frost thread? Thanks.

mckr3441

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  Anstar on 3/23/2010, 12:35 pm

I had to laugh when you said to post pictures. Well, okay... You asked for it....



This is the view of the yard from my back patio. Notice the plum tree in the center and the rose bush and grape arbor in front of the shed. The main garden area will be just to the right of that shed.



Here's the garden area. It's about 12' x 24'. Notice the compost bin in the back on the left. Also, notice the shade from the currently leafless tree. That will change, I promise. Most of my yard gets limited sun in the summer, and this is one of the best spots. There is a spot up front that gets more sun, and that's where I will be planting my tomatoes and peppers.



Here's my plan for the back garden. It's in 3x3 instead of 4x4 in order to leave room for 3' walkways. Additionally, I'll be carrying around a new infant starting in June and I don't expect to be able to reach the center of a 4x4. We have three young boys, and they will be helping as well.

In the plan, you can see two melon plants with lots of space around them. I do plan to trellis the Cukes, but I thought I would try one of the smaller "bush" type melons and see how they do without a trellis. It's an experiment, so bear with me.

Also, it probably looks like a lot of peas, beans, lettuce, spinich, and carrots. That is due to our participation in our state ag department's variety trials. We plant two varieties of each crop, and compare them at the end of the harvest season. The trials include enough seed for a 10' row, but I'm not sure how to convert that for SFG. I assume that the 1 plant per square plants will work like one square equals one foot row, and that the 9 plants per square plants will work like one square equals 3 foot rows. Does anyone have experience converting foot rows to squares?

Anstar

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 3/25/2010, 1:34 pm

Love your pictures Anstar! Our yard looked just like that a matter of a few days ago. We are so happy to see our crocus blooming now

Using 3x3 boxes to leave walking space around them is a very good idea. Those also are the size boxes recommended for children to garden. So you are right on track!

Have you read the All New Square Foot Gardening book yet? Mel describes the conversions in the book. You can get a copy at most libraries, although I understand there's a waiting list at some libraries.

In general we think, 1, 4, 9, 16 and "thin to":

If the seed packed says thin to:

  • 12" apart = 1 plant per sq.ft.
  • 6" apart = 4 plants per sq.ft.
  • 4" apart = 9 plants per sq.ft.
  • 3" apart = 16 plants per sq.ft.

Hope this is helpful . May the sun shine on you and your garden.

mckr3441

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 3/25/2010, 1:38 pm

Hi Tonya! WELCOME!

I miss a day on the Forum and I miss new members! Thank you for coming to our site. We look forward to hearing your garden stories and I hope you have already enjoyed some of the stories on the Forums.

We're all just getting going as you probably can see by now. But we are going to be a very busy group.

Keep coming back!

mckr3441

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Questionable Compost

Post  capsounddad on 4/9/2010, 10:00 pm

Daynannan,

Just a thought about compost from questionable sources. If you have the time and a little extra space, a separate bin that is somewhat protected from the elements (in a shed for instance) can be further processed by a horde of red wiggler worms. An organization in Milwaukee called Growing Power has "grown" their own growing medium for years now by accepting landfill compost mixed with brewery wastes and having the worms not only break it down further but add nutrients to it in about 6-12 months.

Rick Melcher

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

Post  mckr3441 on 4/9/2010, 11:26 pm

Hello again, Rick,

Just saw your post in the Welcome Mat. I'm glad you found the Northern & Central Midwest Regional forum. We hope you'll hang out here and give us a regular report on your weather, planting (and building if your starting from scratch), and harvest.

I think I remember that you have had some SFG experiences, so many of us will be looking to you, as one of experts, for guidance.

Welcome

mckr3441

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Re: Northern WI (zone 4)

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