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Anyone in Ontario?

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my 2008 4 squares SFG, South Eastern Ontario.

Post  SuperADDmom on 6/3/2010, 2:48 am

We are currently putting in 13 squares in our new home. This 4 square SFG was in 2008 the small one to the right is a 3 by 3 square we let our 6 yo daughter work on. this year we have a 5 yo son, and a 9 yo daughter to work on the garden with us, so they've been given a 4 foot square to plant and work with as a homeschooling project.


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Up and Running

Post  charb_17 on 6/13/2010, 2:58 pm

Hi Everyone. This is the first time I post here. I've been meaning to build my own blog but that hasn't happened, so for now I'll just post here with some pics. I'm from Ottawa, ON and we decided that our first summer project was to build a garden. My wife demanded home grown vegetables and so I started to research the easiest and most efficient way to garden. I came upon SFG, and decided that would be the best approach. A few weeks later, I had a plan[img][/img], some tools from Lee Valley Tools, some natural stone I got on sale and the energy to start. The following pictures give you an idea of what it took to build the garden. Yep, I know I could have done it in no time with plain cedar, but we decided on stone. Anways, I planned for it to take me about 6 hours to build it, fill it and plant - instead it took 2 weekends and about 20 hours of work. Feel free to let us know what you think.

1. Digging out the area..


2. Putting the wall and frame together...


3. Trellis Built, garden filled and plants and seeds are in ...


4. Pics of some of the crop from a week ago (we planted tomatoes, beans, peas, basil, lettuce, onions, radish, beets, carrots, spinach, coriander, green +red peppers).




Anyway, gotta run for now, but I`ll keep posting with updates until my blog is up and running. Let me know what you all think...



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Re: Anyone in Ontario?

Post  Blackrose on 6/13/2010, 4:17 pm

Welcome to the forum Charb! I love your idea to use the stone. It looks really smart up against the house like that. What did you use to define your grid? It looks kind of like wooden skewers, but it's hard to tell from the picture. I see that it's 2 feet deep. How long is it?


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Re: Anyone in Ontario?

Post  charb_17 on 6/13/2010, 7:26 pm

The box was "supposed" to be 16ft x 2ft. However after the learning curve of making the box, it ended up being 14 ft x 23 inches! Should be good enough to start. If it works out this year, then I'll be building 2 or 3 more next summer.

As for the grid - I've temporarily placed wooden skewers (good eyes) but I plan to place 1x1 cedar strips when I get around to it. Everything is planted for now, so I've got a little bit of time before it is required.

The main question I have is when do you know it is time to harvest? My green and red basil were looking prime a few days ago and I harvested them. They were delicious but it seems the red one is now wilting away (not sure why). Also my leafy green and red lettuce looks ready, but I'm not sure how big they are supposed to get. Lastly my corriander looks good as well and probably ready to harvest - but again I don't want to harvest too early.....any helpful hints?


Last edited by charb_17 on 6/13/2010, 7:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)


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Re: Anyone in Ontario?

Post  Blackrose on 6/14/2010, 10:59 am

I'm not sure what tell you about the red basil. Maybe you can post some pics of it. I'm sure there's someone here that can help you figure out what's wrong with it if they can see it.

You can start harvesting leaf lettuce even when it's quite small. Just harvest the outer leaves and leave the inner leaves. They will keep growing and you can keep harvesting from the outside of the plant.

As for the coriander, I assume you mean cilantro? I think coriander is what the seeds from the cilantro are called. I could be wrong. I read that you can harvest a stalk of it at a time and it will keep growing more and become quite bushy. I should have done that with mine. Right now it's very tall and leggy. I'm hoping I can save it.

I hope I was able to answer some of your questions. I'm sure others will chime in with their ideas too!

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Anyone in Ontario?

Post  sbeach on 6/16/2010, 1:04 pm

Hi fellow Ontario gardeners, and welcome Charb!

Your stone square foot garden looks great! My husband and I were planning to buy those same Lee Valley connectors to make our garden out of paving stones, but the cost and the weight of the stones seemed too much for us!

So we went with the untreated cedar and a hardware cloth bottom to keep out the voles.

I haven't done much gardening in the past, but as far as basil is concerned, that is the one thing I've been growing each summer for years, since pesto is the only green food my son will eat willingly.

Sometimes I found that the basil plants would wither and die if I over-harvested. I still don't know the exact formula for how much can be harvested without hurting the plant, but I did learn this year that once the seedlings get to be about 6" or so, you should pinch back one or 2 sets of leaves to help them get bushy. Since I had over 150 seedlings of 3 different varieties, I had plenty from those 'pinchings' to make a large batch of pesto (4 sandwich bags worth) to freeze, and none of the plants were any the worse for wear.

About 2 dozen are planted on my kitchen windowsill, and about 50+ are planted outside:
some in the square foot garden, next to the tomatoes;
some planted on our deck with tomatoes and flowers (nasturtiums, marigolds) in pots which range roughly from 12" square to 16" square;
and some in the flower pots on the front porch, since, in my opinion, you can never have too much basil.

The rest are still on and around my kitchen table, which the family now calls "the greenhouse", since we haven't been able to eat breakfast there since March.

Someday, when my daughter shows me how to use her digital camera, I'll add some photos.



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Re: Anyone in Ontario?

Post  bullfrogbabe on 6/27/2010, 11:17 pm

Update on this years garden here in Petawawa Ontario..

My romaine lettuce is huge and I will start eating it soon!

Broccoli was pathetic yet again, year 2, second attempt -- just 3 mouth fulls, the heads were very tiny despite the larger plants -- one hasn't produced anything. Sugar snap peas will be ready soon but I should have planted more!

Tomatoes are all getting really tall and have started setting fruit. Cucumbers are climbing, flowers coming soon. Carrots, white turnips, and beets have all sprouted and are growing. Radishes have big leaves so far, not sure if they're going to fill out...gave everything a shot of bone meal to see if that will help root production. Onions look good too. Peppers look like they will flower soon.

Buttercup squash has produced 2 female flowers which I hand pollinated with pollen from white custard patty pan male flowers. 3 varieties of summer squash, 1 sweet dumpling, and 2 acorn squash are in but no female flowers yet.

Strawberries are growing well and running like crazy. I have seen several berries start to ripen then they disappear...I think a chipmunk is eating them. I added another layer of mesh over top of the strawberry box, we'll see if it works, I'd like to have some! I think I need a larger strawberry box with a steel cage cover.


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Update -July 10th

Post  charb_17 on 7/10/2010, 12:49 pm

I guess it's time for an update. My garden is doing pretty well. My tomato plants seem to be thriving. My 2 cherry tomatoes are each about 6 ft tall and have tons of fruit and flowers on them. My regular tomato plants (1 yellow, 2 red) are also doing well. There are about 12 tomatoes (still green) that range in sizes from the size of a golf ball to a size of a plum. Looking forward to see them all ripen. Our weather has been scorching hot here in Ontario. I've been watering daily and sometimes twice a day. I use Mel's technique for watering and I fill a couple of buckets of water first thing in the morning, and I let the sun warm it up during the day. I know that many recommend watering early in the morning, but I water my plants in the evening around 7pm. I think the idea of watering early in the morning is to allow the leaves to dry as they get wet, but since I use Mel's technique of filling 1 cup of the sun warmed water and watering by hand at the base of the plant. This technique has proven well for weed control as I'm not watering the whole square foot. On average I probably pull about 5-10 weeds a day - they are small and very easy to pull. Also, the hand watering technique allows me to check the plants carefully, trim the tomato plants if necessary and get rid of any "suckers" when they arise. I've spotted a couple of leaves that have turned yellow and some with some odd black spots on them, but overall I think the plants look healthy.

My basil is doing really well. My leaf lettuce, which was producing enough lettuce for my wife and I to have a salad almost every day slowed down a few weeks ago. I was told they would slow down in the summer heat, but this past week, which has been very hot, it is growing like gangbusters again.

My coriander isn't doing well. It started off so well, and initially we didn't harvest enough so it got very tall and skinny, and then we decided to agressively harvest it and that didn't work either, and so I think we over harvested it and now it's not looking like before. We'll see if it comes back to health. It has developped some hard wood branches and so I think it may have flowered.

Our red and green peppers are doing so so. The green one is great, it has 6 or 7 peppers on it (very small), but has 2 medium sized ones (size of an apricot). The red pepper has not done anything so we'll see how that works out in the next few weeks.

My beans have climbed the trellis and now reach the top of the trellis (approx 7 ft high). The peas are also starting to grow quickly but have not liked climbing the mesh trellis just yet. I tried putting some wooden skewers around them to see if it liked climbing wood instead, and surely enough it wrapped itself around it in one day. I may have to train it to climb the nylon mesh.

Spinach has been very very slow growing. Not doing well.

My radishes have been fully harvested and I will plant the next 16 this week.

Carrots have been pretty slow this year, but the past week the leaves have really taken off. So that looks promising.

My beets seems very healthy last week, but many of the leaves have dried up and changed to a gray colour this week. Not sure if they are ready for harvest or if the heat was too much.

That's pretty much it- sorry for the long winded update. My goal this week is to look into maybe using an organic fertilizer on the peppers and tomatoes. Has anyone used fertilizer? My mom says that Home Depot sells "worm poop" and that stuff is supposed to work like magic. There's also Miracle Grow which sells a tomato fertilizer. I don't think Mel recommends the use of fertilizer, but it would be great to increase the yield. Anyone care to share their experiences with fertilizers?

Keep posting -it's great to hear everyone's updates.


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I'm in Ottawa...

Post  Norm_tog on 9/8/2010, 11:01 am

a rural area east of Metcalfe Ontario but still part of the city of Ottawa.

I am currently reaping the harvest--lots of everything but corn...I had a tough year there.


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Re: Anyone in Ontario?

Post  Blackrose on 9/8/2010, 11:14 am

Welcome to the forum Norm_tog!

We'd love to hear more about your SFG. How many boxes do you have and what size?

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Re: Anyone in Ontario?

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