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The SFG Payoff

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The SFG Payoff

Post  Chopper on 9/2/2010, 9:08 pm

My least favorite time of the garden year was always the fall cleanup. One of the reasons I never was able to go year round. This year it is proving to be super simple. Square by square I pull out or cut down the spent vegetable stems. I was worried the vine tangled trellises would be an issue but not at all.

One or two squares at a time. Easy on the mind and on the back and everything else. I just bring my clippers and a trash can to be transferred either to garbage or the compost pile. Love it!!!

Has anyone else had that happy experience?

Word to the wise. I remember early in the year one of the things people wished they had done is to cover their SFGs over the winter. Many issues with too many weed seeds flying in over the winter. FYI.

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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Old Hippie on 9/2/2010, 10:10 pm

Chopper, that was always an issue for me too. Last year was such a surprise to me when I discovered how simple it was. My job is physically very demanding so a lot of times I am beat by the time I get home. In the evenings after work, sometimes I could only manage a couple of squares but other times a whole 4'x4' block depending on how my day had gone. Even if I was only able to do a couple of 1' squares, it was easy to do and always looked like I had accomplished something.

Yup! I like it!

GK
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  martha on 9/2/2010, 10:40 pm

I was one of those who wished I had covered up for the winter. I will be doing so this year!
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  boffer on 9/2/2010, 11:37 pm

@Chopper wrote:Has anyone else had that happy experience?

I got a few squares in a few boxes winterized today while the sun was shining. A little here and a little there...pretty soon there's nothing to do!

I second the idea of covering the boxes for winter. Protect your valuable MM from weed seeds and excessive precipitation.
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  martha on 9/3/2010, 11:41 am

what have you folks used to cover your boxes? I have been leaning towards plastic, in the hopes my soil would also solarize (wanting to kill off the fusarium wilt and powdery mildew.)

Any thoughts, suggestions, warnings or ideas?
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  boffer on 9/3/2010, 12:01 pm

I use 6 mil plastic. Take it off in the spring, mark it, stash it, re-use it in the fall.

I've layed the plastic on top of the soil, and I've made little pup tents. I can't say the pup tents are worth the extra work. One by one most of my boxes are getting set up with hoops. I cover them with clear plastic in the fall, and it allows me to get an earlier start in the spring ie a cold frame.

A couple days ago, sorry I don't remember who or where, somebody posted a link about the practicalities of soil solarization. Bottom line: not worth it.
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Chopper on 9/3/2010, 12:35 pm

@martha wrote:what have you folks used to cover your boxes? I have been leaning towards plastic, in the hopes my soil would also solarize (wanting to kill off the fusarium wilt and powdery mildew.)

Any thoughts, suggestions, warnings or ideas?

Where you are in Acton it would not even work unless you could do it all summer long. Might be worth checking to see if there is anything you can put in the soil end of season that would kill lingering fungus, wilts and others.

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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  PNG_Grandma on 9/4/2010, 12:11 pm

I'm a little confused...why would I be covering my garden boxes if I have plants growing?? Here in Modesto CA we get about 265 frost free growing days per year, according to an informational site I found. Our first frost will be in December, maybe late November so I still have lots of growing time. By the end of February we should again be frost free. Soooo, are you saying I should cover the boxes during that time?? thinking
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  boffer on 9/4/2010, 12:32 pm

Some of us have four seasons! And outdoor winter time gardens are not an option.

Every fall/winter I can count on high winds, off and on, for a month or so. I figure they are Mother Nature's fall housekeeping method. Everything gets covered with fir needles, and probably weed seeds. Then, from the end of one growing season to the beginning of the next, I'll get +/- 30 inches of rain filtering through my boxes and robbing nutrients.

That's why I cover mine. I think you and Al can probably skip this thread! Wink
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  PNG_Grandma on 9/4/2010, 12:57 pm

thanks boffer, Al and I are learning from all of you and we both appreciate every bit of info you send our way. Yeah, here in Modesto we don't really have four seasons. Right now we can't decide to be Summer or Fall...temps are almost like a roller coaster lately...108 one day and three days later we're in the 70's. Crazy!
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Chopper on 9/4/2010, 2:02 pm

@PNG_Grandma wrote:I'm a little confused...why would I be covering my garden boxes if I have plants growing?? Here in Modesto CA we get about 265 frost free growing days per year, according to an informational site I found...

LOL! No need to rub it in to everyone else! I am in the same boat, actually. I won't be covering my boxes because I will always have a crop going. But I vaguely remember my years in PA and MA and I am thinking they might not be able to do that.

A few people had mentioned the mess they encountered in the spring when they forgot to cover - particularly with maple trees!

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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  camprn on 9/4/2010, 3:35 pm

@PNG_Grandma wrote:I'm a little confused...why would I be covering my garden boxes if I have plants growing?? Here in Modesto CA we get about 265 frost free growing days per year, according to an informational site I found. Our first frost will be in December, maybe late November so I still have lots of growing time. By the end of February we should again be frost free. Soooo, are you saying I should cover the boxes during that time?? thinking
frustration screm we have about 120 frost free days if we are lucky. sobbing
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  chocolatepop on 9/4/2010, 3:54 pm

@camprn wrote:
@PNG_Grandma wrote:I'm a little confused...why would I be covering my garden boxes if I have plants growing?? Here in Modesto CA we get about 265 frost free growing days per year, according to an informational site I found. Our first frost will be in December, maybe late November so I still have lots of growing time. By the end of February we should again be frost free. Soooo, are you saying I should cover the boxes during that time?? thinking
frustration screm we have about 120 frost free days if we are lucky. sobbing
I hear you, we have about 170 or so Sad

We cover with plastic.
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  dstubbs on 9/5/2010, 7:37 pm

For those of us in - ahem - less tropical places..... how would you suggest I should cover them? I'm thinking I could stretch clear plastic over the boxes and staple it in place around the outsides of the box. Should I build some sort of hoop support to keep the plastic off the soil or does that matter? Some of my plants are perennials (eg - asparagus) -- what do I do about those? My SFG is on my roof, so I can't drive spikes into the ground to support a tarp or whatever, and it's windy up there so I'd definitely need to secure it well. Snow load weight might also be a concern. Any thoughts?
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Chopper on 9/6/2010, 12:10 am

I would think some thick plastic stapled on would be good. To prevent them from just being decimated by the wind you might want to make sure there are no raw edges - fold under at the edge. The point is just to keep seeds from making your beds their new home. On a roof you may be safer, unless you have maple trees nearby.

For perennials I have no idea. Plastic would likely kill them. I would look for recommendations in your area on how to treat them.

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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  dstubbs on 9/6/2010, 9:04 am

Thanks, Chopper, good advice about turning the bottom edges under -- should help avoid undighly rust stains on my boxes, too.
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Chopper on 9/6/2010, 1:20 pm

Wow. That avatar sure looks like some things finally grew dstubbs.

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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Megan on 9/6/2010, 3:26 pm

I'm thinking of covering mine with corrugated cardboard, possibly held down with re-used trellis netting (stapled to the timbers) and/or bricks. Not sure if that will work, but it needs to look fairly good. I'd love to just use burlap but haven't seen any.
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  chocolatepop on 9/6/2010, 3:47 pm

@Megan wrote:I'm thinking of covering mine with corrugated cardboard, possibly held down with re-used trellis netting (stapled to the timbers) and/or bricks. Not sure if that will work, but it needs to look fairly good. I'd love to just use burlap but haven't seen any.

check your gardening stores (like non big box, but sometimes big box) they may have your burlap. Also check farm and fleet places, they have old burlap bags usually.
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Megan on 9/6/2010, 3:54 pm

Good idea, I'll have to check with my local feed store. Thanks!
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  Chopper on 9/6/2010, 7:00 pm

The only negative I see with burlap is that it may not prevent weed seeds from finding a new home. For looks perhaps something less permeable and underneath and burlap on top?

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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  camprn on 9/6/2010, 7:13 pm

I get my burlap bags from a local coffee roaster. Be warned, they decompose in a season. Shocked
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  boffer on 9/6/2010, 7:50 pm

Just some ideas for covering boxes for the winter

The covered wagon look



The pup tent look



The cold frame look



The looks terrible after one winter look
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  camprn on 9/6/2010, 7:59 pm

Hey Boff, the covered wagon, is that just plastic electrical conduit>? How exactly did you secure the ends to the box? Thanks! :?:
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Re: The SFG Payoff

Post  boffer on 9/6/2010, 8:27 pm

Yes on the conduit. I'm slowly converting most of my boxes to the hoop look. I had cut these sticks of conduit and wish I hadn't. I'll be replacing them with full lengths.

I made the brackets to hold the pvc. I'll go take a pic in a few minutes.
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