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what is your gardening experence?

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what is your gardening experence?

Post  gridgardener on 3/12/2010, 2:48 am

how long have you been gardening?
what methods did you use before you started using square foot if any?

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Experience

Post  choksaw on 3/12/2010, 3:59 pm

I always gardened with my parents as a child be it with mom in the flower beds or the family in the vegtable garden my dad taught me alot of interesting stuff about good and bad bugs and mom taught me alot about companion planting so i grew up with it. This will be my 3rd season doing it on my own and my 1st season doing it SFG alot of hard work and effort went into the first 2 seasons doing it old school but i had a pretty decent harvest even with the god forsaken soil this state has (florida only thing that grows good in natural soil is weeds lol) a friend that i met at a local gardening center recommended this book and said hes had an amazeing success with it so off to the books a million i went im very excited to see how things turn out.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/12/2010, 4:47 pm

Both of my grandma's kept huge gardens for huge families. One had apple trees, black and Logan berries, strawberries and amazing flowers. My mother also keeps beautiful flower gardens. One of my grandfathers kept another huge vegetable garden. My grandparents were married. They lived on Whidbey Island off of the Washington coast. They had a home in the main town of Oak Harbor and in Greenbank they kept the last 5 acres of their homestead. Grandma kept the gardens in Oak Harbor. The strawberries, some of the onions, apples, blackberries and Dahlias grew in the huge garden on the back of that property. I’m sure there was more but I was more interested in my aunt’s horse or going to the beach with my cousin. If we worked hard and were very careful grandma would let us have ONE of her huge sweet strawberries. Once she let me crack open a pea pod for holding the sack while she harvested. She didn’t really need me but let me tag along. What an amazing taste those peas released! I wanted more but knew not to ask. I did ask her what to do with the pod. “Eat it” was her clipped answer. It was a little stringy but I did love the taste. (long before sugar snaps became all the rage).

My grandpa’s garden had all the big space, less fuss late harvest food. Potatoes, corn, Hubbard squash, carrots, big tomatoes, and more berries. The potatoes and corn grew in a bed at the front of the property. Heaven help the grandchild who would dare run through the corn patch. The rest grew in a garden that was surrounded by a fence so high that the gait had a door frame in a fence that went a good 5 feet above the door. To this day I am not sure if the fence was to keep deer out or people. There was a big old lock on the door.

They were stoic but the simple food, supplemented by salmon, clams and crab and duck was fantastic. I was NEVER very interested in flowers, just vegetables and fruit.

I talked my mom into buying me an all in one tomato starting kit when I was small. I don’t remember them doing well. But the beans she bought me did fine. That was fun. As a bride my brother-in-law would come till up a place for me to grow vegetables. I got cucumbers carrots and a few tomatoes in spite of how the weeds took over. When my own boys were young I read a book about substance living on less than an acre and how a group of collage kids were practicing edible landscaping in Berkley. I knew I could do that. Eggs and bunnies were added to the harvest that year. The garden was a big French-intensive. Now they call it bio-intensive.

When we built a new house on our old place my garden shrunk to what had been my herb and tea garden. That was the year of learning about container gardening. Very satisfying. When we left our sweet mountain valley and came to Everett we tried to jump back into edible landscaping, but the heavy equipment that had been used to build the development we now lived in had been cruel to the loam. Instant lawns had been rolled out on dead soil, complete with the plastic netting that held the sod. Enter the world of square foot gardening. I’ll let you know how that works out for me.

Deborah …loves the adventure. (and does know this is too long)

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  boog on 3/12/2010, 6:19 pm

well lets see first garden i helped in was a farmer i helped milk cows for near columbus ,ohio, lotta hoe'n(hated it) then a few flowers for the 2 ex's over the years i moved to michigan the winter of 07, 08 i/we decided ta try our luck at one old style, bought landscaping cloth planted lots of stuff not much grew cept the maters and cucombers had tons of those. same happened last year baskets of maters, broccoli. not much else, squralls ran off with the corn what little there was of it. seen one tryin ta pull a 2 inch round ear thru the plastic fence with 1/2 in. square holes, wish i woulda had a vid cam to tape it he/she spent dang near 20 minutes tug'n an pull'n on it. so's this year i'm on a mission ta try the sfg way,we'll see how this go's


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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  happyfrog on 3/12/2010, 6:48 pm

second yr sfg here. only did container plantings before.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  Jeff Buffington on 3/12/2010, 9:33 pm

@gridgardener wrote:how long have you been gardening?
what methods did you use before you started using square foot if any?

Two years ago I tried the prefab plastic planters... they've pretty much disintigrated in the Florida sun. I tried to grow some tomatoes... and it didn't work too well. I believe I used potting soil.

Last year, I tried a regular 'traditional' garden. Spent hours tilling up the ground.. and I haven't been able to get my Ryobi started since. Sad

I planted corn, but a storm came through with high winds and blew it over just as it was about ready to be picked. I planted four tomato plants, and we managed to get a few (litterally... like 3).. before the bugs invaded and ate my tomatoes alive. My carrots never matured enough to be, well, normal sized. My peas died before fruiting, my onions and chives never grew, and my beets got eaten by moles. My pickling cukes never grew, and I only got one regular cucumber.

On the bright side...
I had plenty of raddishes, and learned that I need to pick early and pick often... or they get too hot and way too tough. I had two crops of those, and was pretty pleased. Having learned my lesson about when they sould be picked, I think I can do well again with them this year.

My first bunch of bush beans turned out really well. The ants eventually invaded, but wasn't too terribly bad. I still have one jar I managed to can; the rest I gave to a friend.. and she said they were great. Wasn't thinking about the whole "managed" garden thing at the time. I'm going to bear that in mind this time.

My banana peppers was my highlight. I bought a bunch of them already started (9 packs I think.) They grew really well here! I have several jars of them which I canned last year.. one in the fridge, the rest in the cupboard (gave one to my Dad to try.) I'm still trying to perfect the taste on these puppies.

I lived just outside of Chicago (in NW Indiana) until 1982, when my folks moved us down here (I was like 9 years old then.) Up there we had good sweet banana peppers which were more sweet than vinegary. I've been trying to replicate that taste ever since. I tossed a habenro each in a couple of jars just for the heat (I like spicy stuff.)

All of the commercial canners have 'crispy' and extremely vinegary tasting peppers. My dad misses being able to get an Italian Beef sandwich or a Kielbasa with 'em. I think I got it pretty close, but anyone up in the Chicago area.. if you know of a traditional Chicagoland canning recipe for them... please let me know.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 3/12/2010, 10:59 pm

Hi,
I have always lived in the city/suburbs so my gardening has been somewhat limited. As a kid I helped my Mom around the yard and got her started on herbs. Large amounts of time and schooling have passed, when I had to survive with houseplants and an 8 foot tall cactus. I moved to the South and got married. Our house has space for a garden, so I started with herbs for a number of years while I worked. It was during this time frame that I got the squarefoot gardening books. I started with a number of raised beds which I have dug up and moved and rearranged until the present look of my garden. I am very happy with it. I just spent a very pleasant rainy evening re-potting my seedlings. I am almost out of space. The lettuce really needs to get hardened off and go outside. Just in case anybody is wondering fish emulsion should not be used in the house when your spouse is home nor should it be saved for 2 weeks under the kitchen sink. Happy gardening.

Patty from Yorktown

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  jerzyjen on 3/13/2010, 8:50 am

My grandfather grew up as a farmer, which eventually he and my grandmother settled down in this quiet little rural town i live in now. He wasnt a farmer by profession but he loved his little garden after he retired (which is what i remember as a kid). I remember really enjoying his jersey tomatos in the late summer. My mother was not interested at all. We didnt even have a single flower.

When we built our house a few years ago I started learning about planting flowers and bushes and things for the landscape. Last winter I decided I might want to try to grow some veggies so I picked up a book - The Idiots Guide to Vegetable Gardening or something of that nature, since I pretty much had ZERO experience or knowledge on how to grow much of anything. In one of the chapters the author discussed various methods and had a paragraph on SFG. Wow this sounded right up my alley. So I did some searching and found Mel's book and got my first SFG up and running last year. I give myself a B- on my first year. I did really well all season with my lettuces, snow peas and cucumbers, but struggled with peppers, onions, and had really small broccoli heads (but they were delish!)

I didn't realize how much enjoyment I would get of it. I'm a bit of a history buff, and gardening sort of makes me feel not only connected to mother earth but connected to my ancestors in a weird way, just knowing they didnt run down to the supermarket to pick up whatever they wanted they had to grow their own food to survive. I just love it, and I love going green as that has also been a goal of mine of the past few years, to reduce my carbon footprint.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  new2this on 3/13/2010, 5:21 pm

This is interseting.
Well, last yr I planted a flower garden out front and have really enjoyed watching everything grow. I wanted a veggie garden in our backyard, but to be honest, I was scared to even try; scared that it would fail, look tacky and be too much work.
When a friend told me about SFG I thought it sounded perfect for my backyard.....now it will look nice and neat, produce lots of veggies, and be minimal weeding. My kids can help without me fearing that they will walk through my rows and stomp on everything; this will provide physical boundaries that my kids can see and respect. They will be able to be a part of this new learning experience for us.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  titans01 on 3/13/2010, 5:51 pm

This is my 2nd year of gardening. Last year my wife and I had a row garden and really only the tomatoes and cucumbers really grew decent partly because we didn't know what we were doing and partly because my soil is crap. This year I found SFG and decided this would be a better way than trying to improve the existing soil especially since I rent the place I live at. We are basically building 12 - 4x4 boxes which is going to be kinda expensive for the Mel's mix I'm finding out but I think it will be worth it in the end especially since I'm eating a ton more vegetables the past 7 months to improve my health and lose some weight. It will be nice to have good fresh vegetables right out the back door. Good luck to everyone in their 2010 gardens.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  timwardell on 3/14/2010, 9:16 pm

@Jeff Buffington wrote:
I planted corn, but a storm came through with high winds and blew it over just as it was about ready to be picked. I planted four tomato plants, and we managed to get a few (litterally... like 3).. before the bugs invaded and ate my tomatoes alive. My carrots never matured enough to be, well, normal sized. My peas died before fruiting, my onions and chives never grew, and my beets got eaten by moles. My pickling cukes never grew, and I only got one regular cucumber.

I swear that sounds like the story of a country song (if they wrote country songs about vegetable gardening). Very Happy

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  timwardell on 3/14/2010, 9:39 pm

I was brought up gardening. As far back as I can remember my Dad has had a garden. He in turn learned from his mom, my grandmother. She had a twin sister that starved to death during the Great Depression. No doubt that had a big impact on her, my grandfather, and probably everyone in that generation. I don't recall there ever being a time when they didn't have a garden either. I learned a lot about gardening from all of them, but especially my Dad who was always (even now) ready to answer my questions. The difference was my grandparents gardened in East Texas where the soil is loose and sandy. I grew up in North Central Texas (south of Dallas) where the soil is heavy black clay and a PAIN to garden in. Everything is more difficult - tilling, weeding, hoeing, planting, etc. Nonetheless I developed an appreciation for eating lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and more right out of the garden. I helped my dad with the garden every year until I moved off to college. Those are some very fond memories of mine.

10 years later my new wife and I bought a house and I tried planting the type of row gardening I grew up with (the only type of gardening I knew). Somehow my childhood memories didn't account for what a pain in the butt it turned out to be. Nothing grew, it took a ton of work, the weeds and the bermuda grass from the lawn invaded at every opportunity. Yikes. I gave up after that first attempt on my own. A few years later a I studied permaculture where I learned about bio-intensive gardening, raised beds, companion planting and so much more. I decided that were I to garden again I'd certainly use raised beds. But, alas, the wife and I split up and so began many years of apartment living. Luckily we've gotten past our troubles and are good friends and great parents to our two kids. A couple of years ago she bought a new house with a big yard for the kids and it dawned on me that they were growing up without an appreciation for gardening akin to what my Dad had instilled in me. With her blessing I built two long raised beds and a butterfly garden in her backyard. The kids helped. They loved seeing butterflies, hunting for caterpillars, watching the veggies sprout, and picking them when they were ripe. The garden was huge hit. That same year I learned about SFG and decided to convert my raised beds to that system. Which brings me to this year.

And the adventure continues.

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Gardening experience

Post  jollo on 3/15/2010, 1:43 am

As a youngster, my family sometimes grew a garden in what I hoped and prayed would some day be my 'horse pasture'. It was typical row gardening with mounds for squash and melons. I remember it being enjoyable, but also remember I hated turnips. And I did finally have my beloved horse!

When my three children and I were left to fend for ourselves, I gardened that year with a neighboring cousin out of desperation. For two seasons, we literally ate what we grew in the garden, supplemented only by what the county gave us once a month. Times were tough, but the garden was a joy and a blessing. My cousin taught me to grow strawberries.

When the runners were getting out of control, I dug them up, soil and all, placed them in cardboard flats and took them to the swap meet to sell. I was amazed that people would pay to have my thinnings, and the cash was sure welcomed.

Now its many years later, I'm been happily remarried a number of years, and I don't 'have to' garden. But when our two grandsons arrived to stay, and one of them needed homeschooling, we began a garden as a home school project.

We have several boxes in our backyard, and just this weekend we rototilled and laid out beds back in my old horse pasture at my folks home down the street. So we'll be back and forth between our back yard garden and the pasture garden down the block all summer long.

Three generations gardening together. It's a beautiful thing.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/15/2010, 8:37 am

I planted my first garden when I was around 10 and never turned back. Up until 10 years ago, I've moved every 2 or 3 years my entire life and the first thing I do in a new place is plant a veggie garden. Ornamentals come later. My maternal grandfather in England always had a garden, so I guess it's in my genes.

My most successful garden was a double-dug French intensive (lot's of work to get it started but well worth it!). That is what got me started with (sort-of) raised beds and using block methods of planting instead of rows. I found Mel's book in the early '80's and switched to SFG. At that time Mel recommended 2x2 blocks divided with wood planks, and that's what I've followed for most of my gardening since then except for crops like asparagus, okra, squash and corn, etc. Those were planted in larger blocks. Depending on where I've lived and the soil conditions I've had some spectacular failures and an equal amount of huge successes where I've fed dozens from my garden. My goal this year is to raise enough tomatoes and squash to provide for our local food pantry which provides food for around 40 families a month. In my imagination I can see the baskets of heirloom tomatoes and summer squash on the tables by the standard boxes. What fun that will be!

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How long have you been gardening?

Post  GloriaG on 3/15/2010, 10:40 am

This will be my first year.

My Grandfather had a large garden which he and my Father tended regularly. I really only helped "harvest" and did a lot of canning, preserving and cooking. So this will be a new experience.

I know it's a little early for some things, but I've planted some strawberry sets in "Strawberry pots" and I've worked out what we want in our square foot plot. Right now, I'm looking for Coarse Vermiculite near the Dallas area. Can anyone help with that?

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  ayanefan on 3/15/2010, 1:44 pm

2 years now with a little plot on the ground. 1st year went well with radishes but the 2nd year was a disaster with Carrots, none came up. Shows how I didn't know squat about row planting. I read New SFG and Cash from SFG, I can't wait to start my garden this year, almost time.
I found that I'm getting to be a cheapskate every day. I started my seeds and thought that a nice window will suffice after they sprouted. Well the seedlings are now suffering from a bad case of the Rubber Necks.
So I wanted to get one of those artificial light growing stands but I was not ready to pay 200$ for it. So I found an old 5 shelf metal utility shelf in the basement and nailed it to the wall. Then I emailed my co-workers to see if any had an old 4' fluorescent light fixture they could give me, I scored 1!

Now I have my light fixture up under one of the shelves, I need to get some lights and I'm ready to make some great hardy seedlings.
Total project cost = 5$ for new lights.
Very Happy

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  timwardell on 3/15/2010, 5:00 pm

@GloriaG wrote:
I know it's a little early for some things, but I've planted some strawberry sets in "Strawberry pots" and I've worked out what we want in our square foot plot. Right now, I'm looking for Coarse Vermiculite near the Dallas area. Can anyone help with that?

I live in Frisco (north of Plano). There's a feed store on main street that carries the 4.0 cubic foot bags of vermiculite. That's where I got mine. I'm sure there are some other sources as well. Someone recently commented that they found some at a feed store in Plano. There's a whole section on the forum about vermiculite sources. Check it out at:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/vermiculite-sources-and-information-f30/

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  SFG in Chicago on 3/15/2010, 11:16 pm

Except for container gardening, none. I've never had any place to have a real garden. I've been fairly successful in my containers when I lived in FL, mostly flowers & herbs though. I'm new to the Chicago area, only 1 growing season here & last year I did some peppers & herbs in window boxes. We're in a temporary rental house (temporary meaning we thought we'd be here only a year but now it looks like it will be a couple more), last spring I emailed the land lord & asked if I could do a small garden. He never even replied so this year I got the idea to do a raised bed & just decided screw it I'm going to do it with or without permission. We'll just put some grass seed where the SFG was when we move out.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/30/2011, 10:08 am

@jollo wrote:
Three generations gardening together. It's a beautiful thing.

That's what we have every other weekend, my oldest has divorced and moved back home, and his son comes to stay on "dad's" weekends. That is my treasure time, taking my grandson to the garden, working, then sitting under the big shade tree and looking at what we just did. I have a fold out cloth lawn chair, he has a Lowe's bucket with a lid he sits on, and we just talk about what ever he wants to, he's 5 so no telling where the topic leads. Our last garden conversation was about how he wants to marry the farmer's daughter and raise cow's and horses. One weekend my mother in law (aka partner in crime) came to help pick her zipper peas, we had 4 generations in the garden that weekend.

I now live in NE TX, in fact any further NE and you are in Arkansas. We are right on the "Zone" line. I was born and raised in Central Illinois, and come from a long line of farmers on both my mom and dad's side. In fact on my maternal grandfathers side we are descendants of Martha Washington. Both of my grandmothers, and the 2 great grandmothers I was privileged to get to know had gardens. I learned from one great-grandmother that the best place in the world for asparagus is right next to the train tracks.

I grew up thinking dirt was black, I did not know it came in colors. I could, and still can, roll down my window and smell and name the types of manure being spread on the pasture. My favorite memory is running barefoot in corn fields, and pulling corn off the stalk and eating it right then and there, never mind they weren't our fields, we just lived next to them. To this day I have yet to meet someone who can shuck corn faster than I can, must be the eat and run experience, kinda like Peter Rabbit.

My parents, to the best of my memory, did not garden. But as soon as hubby and I got some land of our own, we tilled, rowed, and grew everything we could. The second time we did this, he got busy with work and I was pregnant (BIG pregnant) and the garden was on a nice slope. Getting down the slope was fine, getting up was another (yes I did try using a wheel barrel to assist me), I had to stop gardening, he was very busy that year, and our boys did what they could, we still kept more than we lost.

We've moved again, have just slightly over an acre, and last year was our first attempt at boxes and SFG, I had to draw most grids in the dirt, supplies and finances were limited, but we did what we could with what we had, and did okay until I hurt my back. This year we are bringing in dirt, not much but southern peas will grow in NE TX clay, and we have lots of rocks in our chosen area, which heats up the clay. I'm still using landscape timbers on some boxes, making real ones as we can, and later replacing the old ones. Hubby still likes to fire up his dad's tractor and row things, I let him, it keeps us both happy, he gets to drive the tractor and I get to do what I want in my plot.

My favorite thing to grow in the garden, is the next generation.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/30/2011, 10:16 am

Do you have a blog Farmer V? I love the way you write.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/30/2011, 10:20 am

@Lavender Debs wrote:Do you have a blog Farmer V? I love the way you write.

I do, I did not update for a bit, due to the back injury and then playing catch up. I'm at http://rocksinmygarden.blogspot.com.

Be warned, I put all my booboo's on there, like the time I used salt ON my plants to kill slugs...... Thanks for asking, how about you, do you have a blog?


Last edited by FarmerValerie on 1/30/2011, 10:36 am; edited 1 time in total

FarmerValerie

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/30/2011, 10:35 am

Uh-oh, I am only getting a window telling me that the blog I am looking for cannot be found. Could you check the address? Thanks.

My blog links are in my signature. The first one is my main blog, the other is for details. Both are good reading when you cannot sleep and want to.

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/30/2011, 10:37 am

I think I fixed it if not try here. http://rocksinmygarden.blogspot.com/

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  quiltbea on 1/30/2011, 10:40 am

I obviously missed this thread last year. Glad FarmerValerie bumped it to the top.
This will be my 3rd spring veggie gardening. I started when I got Mel's book spring of 2009 and read it thru in one nite. It got the juices flowing and my eagerness to begin sprang forth.

My son built my 4x4x12 boxes for me, nine of them. I had ordered a truckload of garden loam so had some leftover and built up 3 berms (raised beds without lumber), one for strawberries and 2 others behind the boxes for other things which I change each year. I added peat moss, composted manure, and amendments like pimestone, greensand, etc.

I've experimented and had gains and losses, but its all been a great experience for me.

I got a heating mat and three 4-ft shop lights with daylight bulbs last year so was able to start so many seedlings, I gave some away to my daughter, some to other community garden members (we have a local community garden that started last year and contribute much to our local Food Pantry and this year I do PR), and gave several seedlings to the local library for their June Plant Sale to buy books. This year I'm eager to try new varieties.

I designed and built an A-frame last spring to start things sooner. It fits nicely over one of my raised beds and it works beautifully and was easy for me, a 68-yr old with back and leg issues, to make by myself. I'll use it again this year to start early spring crops and in the fall to extend my harvest into early winter. I've read Eliot Coleman's "Four-Season Harvest" so again I'll be experimenting this fall.

My favorite books are Mel's "Square Foot Gardening," Bob Thomson's "The New Victory Garden" (he gardens in New England), Barbara Damrosch's "The Garden Primer" (like me, she gardens in Maine) and for checking up on anything at a glance, "Rodale's Ultimate Encylopedia of Organic Gardening."

I love to keep up my 3 blogs pretty well. I keep one on SFG, one on our community garden adventures, and one on quilting, my other favorite pastime.

Enjoy your gardens everyone. Try something new each year. You just might like it.
I love this forum where everyone shares their losses and gains and we can learn from each other. A really great group of individuals.
See ya in the garden this spring!

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Re: what is your gardening experence?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/30/2011, 10:48 am

I was lucky enough to find Mel's book at our local library. They only had the older version, but I devoured it, not as quickly as you did because I had 5 other books open at the same time, and I go back and forth, spreading them all over the table. I even opened both drop leaves, and added the center extension to my Walton's size table, when full opened for this endeavor, this time last year.

Just a thought for everyone to chew on, consider buying the newer version of the book, and possibly a DVD or two, and donate them to your local library and/or a school, or even a prison. If donating to a school or prison or even a shelter, consider a gift certificate to your favorite seed place. Pay it forward garden style, we all know we reap what we sow!!!

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