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some questions about SFG

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some questions about SFG

Post  IndustriousIris on 3/14/2010, 2:49 pm

Okay, I'll try it in english as well, because I see that it is not possible to post in a separate dutch group, is it? Unless I reply I guess to a post.
Well I am new to SFG and this forum and have some questions.
In the first place about the plastic lining that is used to prevent (perennial) weeds growing into your box. Here we can buy a woven plastic black cloth for this purpose. My garden (an allotment I rent) is full of couch grass, this is so sharp it can grow right through this cloth, I have seen it, so it will not help I am afraid... Second about the cloth: it is plastic and it contains most certainly bpa's which will leek in the soil. Will these be absorbed by the plants do you think?
My other questions are about the mix. I do not like the idea of using peat moss, it is not sustainable to use this, do you think I can replace it with cocopeat? Any experiences with cocopeat?
And I was wondering about the pH of peat moss, it has a low level, so it is acid and compost usually has rather low pH too. I just do not understand how this can work so well as Mel describes, shouldn't I use some kind of lime to neutralize?
And isn't the soil for certain crops too rich in nutrients with all the compost? For example witloof (Belgium chicory) doesn't do very well in nutrient rich ground, becomes too leafy.

Well that are my questions for now, have a nice day/night

Iris, the Netherlands

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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  boffer on 3/14/2010, 3:44 pm

Hi

There are dutch speaking members on the Europe forum. I'm sure you'll get a reply soon. They tend to use whatever language is most comfortable at the time. Some of your questions are over my pay grade, so I'll let someone else answer them.
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This might help.

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/14/2010, 3:59 pm

It is in English but he gardens in England. He talks about the problem of Peat and finding vermiculite. No help with your liner though.

Hope it helps.

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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  mckr3441 on 3/14/2010, 4:52 pm

Not an expert here on these subjects...
If you're really concerned about what's underneath your SFG, why not put a plywood bottom on your boxes (drill drain holes as shown in Mel's book All New Square Foot Gardening) then put the box up on bricks or legs to keep it off the ground.

I have one box with the plywood bottom and it works quite fine.

Hope this helps a little
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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  IndustriousIris on 3/15/2010, 11:02 am

mckr3441 wrote:
If you're really concerned about what's underneath your SFG, why not put a plywood bottom on your boxes (drill drain holes as shown in Mel's book All New Square Foot Gardening) then put the box up on bricks or legs to keep it off the ground.

I have one box with the plywood bottom and it works quite fine.

Hope this helps a little

Thanks for your reply! The problem is, I can't afford to make the boxes of wood. Here in Holland it will cost me a fortune to make all the SFG out of wood! So I'll use bricks, bit difficult to explain what kind, they are 1 meter long (about a yard), I guess 20 or 25 cm high and 5 cm. wide (2"). These have to be burried a bit in the ground to be able to keep standing up. It is impossible to make a box with them with a bottom. When using wood, I have to replace the boxes once in about 5 years I guess, brick will last forever.

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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  mckr3441 on 3/15/2010, 3:48 pm

Can you line the entire bottom of your box with brick and have landscape cloth under and over the brick?

One never knows how lucky one is until they hear from others with bigger problems! I thought snow and ivy were nuisances! Please let the Forum know how you solve this because I am sure others will be looking for a solution to similar problems.
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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  timwardell on 3/15/2010, 5:32 pm

IndustriousIris wrote:
In the first place about the plastic lining that is used to prevent (perennial) weeds growing into your box. Here we can buy a woven plastic black cloth for this purpose. My garden (an allotment I rent) is full of couch grass, this is so sharp it can grow right through this cloth, I have seen it, so it will not help I am afraid... Second about the cloth: it is plastic and it contains most certainly bpa's which will leek in the soil. Will these be absorbed by the plants do you think?
My other questions are about the mix. I do not like the idea of using peat moss, it is not sustainable to use this, do you think I can replace it with cocopeat? Any experiences with cocopeat?
Iris, the Netherlands

I can only speak to two of your questions:
Could you use newspaper or cardboard in the bottom of your beds? I've done this in Texas and it works well - and allows me to reuse and recycle the newspaper and cardboard. By the time they rot away they have smothered the weeds.
As for the cocopeat, it is my understanding that it has a MUCH greater water retention than peat moss. If that is true, you might want to use less of it to avoid drowning your plants. (I assume it doesn't get really hot in the Netherlands.)
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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  IndustriousIris on 3/16/2010, 12:08 pm

timwardell wrote:

I can only speak to two of your questions:
Could you use newspaper or cardboard in the bottom of your beds? I've done this in Texas and it works well - and allows me to reuse and recycle the newspaper and cardboard. By the time they rot away they have smothered the weeds.
As for the cocopeat, it is my understanding that it has a MUCH greater water retention than peat moss. If that is true, you might want to use less of it to avoid drowning your plants. (I assume it doesn't get really hot in the Netherlands.)

That is a good advice about the cocopeat, thanks!
About the cardboard, that will not work, I tried this last year and the cardboard becomes wet and soft and couch grass will grow right through it:-(

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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  IndustriousIris on 3/16/2010, 12:19 pm

mckr3441 wrote:Can you line the entire bottom of your box with brick and have landscape cloth under and over the brick?

One never knows how lucky one is until they hear from others with bigger problems! I thought snow and ivy were nuisances! Please let the Forum know how you solve this because I am sure others will be looking for a solution to similar problems.

I do not know what landscape cloth is and whether it is available here in Holland. When it is not plastic or at least bpa free, It is okay for me to use. To line the bottom with brick is an exellent idea too, but I will need many bricks:-) Luckily my brother 's job is to make pavements, I do not the name of it in English, in dutch it is literally 'streetmaker' LOL. So sometimes he is able to give me some leftover bricks. So I have to be patient to be able to line them all. I think when I put a thick layer of newspapers on them, it might be fine. I'll keep you informed!

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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  LaFee on 3/16/2010, 2:49 pm

Hello, Iris, Google tells me that it's "anti-onkruid stof" -- I don't know how accurate that is!

There has to be an organic version available somewhere -- from what I can tell there are far more organic products available in Europe than in the US, so hopefully there's a garden centre somewhere that can help you.

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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  mckr3441 on 3/16/2010, 2:52 pm

Iris, I'm glad you are getting so many ideas here. When many minds work together the outcomes can be spectacular!

Keep us posted.


Last edited by mckr3441 on 3/16/2010, 7:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: some questions about SFG

Post  IndustriousIris on 3/16/2010, 3:09 pm

LaFee wrote:Hello, Iris, Google tells me that it's "anti-onkruid stof" -- I don't know how accurate that is!

There has to be an organic version available somewhere -- from what I can tell there are far more organic products available in Europe than in the US, so hopefully there's a garden centre somewhere that can help you.

Well fabric is 'stof' indeed, but is this made of plastic, is it woven? What I can get here is woven straps of black plastic. And talking about organic in Europe vs the US, well Europe is big, like the US are and the Netherlands are small. Unfortunately organic is still not very common here and we are way behind many other European countries. When it is organic, I bet is biodegradable?

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