Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New Here

Post  happycc on 7/30/2010, 3:53 pm

Hi Everyone:
I am new at Gardening but not my husband. I live in Castro Valley, CA. Specifically off of Crow Canyon Rd on a hill. We are renting a house off of this horse ranch land. I have seven children. So there are nine people in the family (ummmm 28 boxes for the family).. We have deer, rabbits, skunks, wild turkeys running through our garden regularly.

This is where we are on the path to Square Foot Garden:
1) I just finished the whole book last night.
2) I will be going over and highlighting parts
3) Sort of made a general need of how many boxes will be needed in the end....28 boxes...14 4x4 and 13 3x3 ....We have 2 adults, 3 teens, 4 kids, and a pet box (we have a bearded dragon and horse).
4) Made a rough sketch of what the garden may look like. It only accommodates 6 4x4 boxes and 7 3x3 and one 2x3 and one 2x4. Don't know where I would put the rest of the boxes yet. Perhaps patio and railing and stair area and of course the front of the house we have a make shift garden right now and would like to convert to square feet garden eventually. I have to convince husband to use Mel's Mix.
5) Have begun our compost pile. Has some weeds that I justed weeded on Sunday, banana peels and some corn husks.
6) Watched a few videos on the SFG garden today. Will share with hubbie tonight or so. I love the rain barrel idea as we are on well water and who knows what else the ranch adds to the water for the horse ranch.

Several questions:
1) I am trying to picture what is suggested for hill planting. Does anyone have pictures of their square foot garden on hills?
2) I am checking the frost information (and it says it doesnt frost here in Castro Valley)but it doesn;t take account the fact we live in a canyon and on a hill. I know at times when I drove the kids to school there was frost on the lawn and had to scrape frost off the car windshield etc. So how do I figure this out for my particular area?
3) Where have you found vermiculate and peat moss in the size recommended?
4)Where to get rain barrel supplies?
5)Is it cheaper to get materials from the website or just go to Home Depot to build the grids and beds and supports?

Thank You in advance.


Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-07-30
Age : 46
Location : Castro Valley, CA Crow Canyon Rd.

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Re: New Here

Post  PNG_Grandma on 7/31/2010, 3:19 pm

Hi and welcome! I'm in the Central Valley but we're still pretty much in the same type of growing climates. We recently found bales of peat moss at OSH, 3.8 cu ft that expands to 7.6...and they're not kidding! It was $15.95 a bale, we only bought one and still have about half left over after working in 3 4'x8' boxes 8" deep. We mixed it with the compost and Vermiculite and have great soil to begin our garden. We also found OSH had the least expensive Vermiculite ($17.95) over Home Depot ($19.95) for the 2 cu ft bags. My husband cut strips from left over 2x4s on his table saw for our grids and they seem to be working very well. A neighbor was getting rid of 3 perfectly good 8' 2x4s so I hauled them home and our grid is now free! Good Luck with your project...keep us posted!

Female Posts : 295
Join date : 2010-06-20
Age : 70
Location : Modesto CA, Central Valley, USDA Zone 9b, Sunset 14, AHS Heat Zone 8, whew!

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Re: New Here

Post  Shoda on 7/31/2010, 4:26 pm


I am not sure what zone you are in. Have you looked it up yet? Here in Danville they say the last frost date is April 15th. Not sure what the last frost date is because no one in the nursery's has a clue.

There are websites where you can look that information up. You might try searching for "Frost Dates" and see what you can find.

Parts of Castro Valley can be quite brisk. It sounds like you have the land for your boxes but you are going to need to plan for the critters. Our house backs to a creek and it is a constant battle. The deer you have in your yard can wipe out your entire garden in one evening. Rabbits are also a tough one.

I would suggest you make sure you put hardware cloth at the bottom of each bed to avoid moles and gophers. Since you are in a rather wild area, you probably have those too!

I posted the prices of vermiculite at Navlett's nursery in the vermiculite database. They usually only have 2-4 bags on hand but can get more for you should you decide to go that route.

Good luck! We would love to see pictures and hear about your progress.

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Hubbie with fever will have pics eventually

Post  happycc on 8/1/2010, 1:04 pm

Thanks for your replies everyone! I just announced to the family that everyone will be working on their own boxes. We have a 15yrs old, a 13yrs old, a 12 yrs old, two 8yrs old, a 6 yrs old and a one yr old. They are excited I think. It will hopefully keep the kids busy and off the computer and away from the the TV (we don;t have cable but they still watch videos). Not sure how it will work once school starts. But it sounds like maintenance will be easy. I am thinking of making a powerpoint presentation of the SFG method and call for a family meeting to show the kids.

I will have pics eventually posting what on earth our land looks like. Actually we don;t have a camera but a video camera. Hmmmm. Our video camera does take pictures though.
Anyways I was going to do all this today (take pictures and search for more items for SFG) but hubbie has had a fever all weekend and I am his nurse reminding him to drink, not to cover so much blah blah blah. He is the techie (and the cook and shopper) in the family. Well actually my 15yrs old son is techie but getting him to do anything is like pulling teeth.
It seems like getting the SFG going for us is going to take a lot of steps due to time, finances etc.

By the way we are planning to get some chickens-got to get some eggs laid around here. So any fantastic ideas about keeping deer and chickens out of your garden? I guess the plastic covers could work....



Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-07-30
Age : 46
Location : Castro Valley, CA Crow Canyon Rd.

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what zone I am in

Post  happycc on 8/1/2010, 1:07 pm

I typed in 94552

it states it is 9-10 or something like that. I looked at the dates and thought no way.

It gets much colder much longer up here. It must be for the flat lands. I might go for the 8a zone-sounds more reasonable. What are the dates for that?



Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-07-30
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Location : Castro Valley, CA Crow Canyon Rd.

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Re: New Here

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