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Today Is The Day

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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Old Hippie on 9/21/2010, 5:07 pm

@acara wrote:

Everyone say hello to "Stanley", the crack-cucumber ... bounce

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v102/acara/Hosted%20stuff/SFG%20Gardening/SFG%20Week%202/

Hi Stanley! I am delighted to make your acquaintance. I am sure you know how fortunate you are to have found a home in such a delightful space. All the best to you and be sure to tell your gardener he is doing an amazing job.

GK
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Megan on 9/22/2010, 6:14 pm

Hi Stanley! Lovely place you have there. Very Happy

We are still debating on a name for the rampicante. Audrey II is certainly a thought. Or maybe Krakenator. affraid
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 9/25/2010, 3:17 pm

Week 3 update;

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v102/acara/Hosted%20stuff/SFG%20Week%203/




Cukes doing well, tomatoes doing well, squash doing well, cantalope starting to catch up with cukes. Beans starting to show some growth, along with the green peppers ....peas and orange peppers continue to be slightly disappointing.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Megan on 9/25/2010, 3:38 pm

You're not alone on the peas... I had a horrible time with mine this spring, and so did numerous other people. The rest looks great!!!
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 10/3/2010, 9:00 pm

Week 4 update:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v102/acara/Hosted%20stuff/SFG%20Gardening/SFG%20Week%204/?albumview=slideshow

Had my first "critter" experience. Pretty sure I'm battling cutworms. Hopefully the BT and Seven-dust will win the day. Cantalope took a beating & I had to almost completely defoliate.

Good news is the peppers are producng now that the temp has dropped and Stanley continues to grow at an amazing rate (I've topped him off at 8' though).










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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  quiltbea on 10/3/2010, 10:46 pm

I love watching the progress of your plants on that Frankenstein Wonder.
I can see my arms getting caught between bars here and there trying to harvest crops but then, I'm older and don't maneuver as well as I did long ago.
Keep us posted. I want to see this rig in full growth.

Its a fantastic design.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 10/4/2010, 6:00 am

Actually the Frankenstein-build has made it incredibly easy/accessible; both from the sides & at the bottom (trellis starts 12" from the top of the box).

The trick is the daily pruning/tying to keep it "trained and tamed"...... that box alone has more than 90 yards of velcro ties in it (at 4" each).

The side view kinda shows how much space I've got between the rows to work with .... not too bad/difficult (as long as I stay on top of the pruning/training/tying)....




Dont get me wrong ...... this thing would probably becaome an inaccessible/tangled/overgrown mess if I let it go a week or two. I also would have to go with just the single outrigger trellis (like the ones on the front corners) if the box was any bigger (wider)..... but the build works well for me in a 4 x 4 footprint.

I built this 1st SFG for the "learning curve" & I've really learned quite a bit in the first 4 weeks.

"Frankenstein v2.0" is already on the drawing board for Spring Twisted Evil
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Megan on 10/4/2010, 5:11 pm

I am still fascinated by your design, acara. I will warn you from personal experience this year that pole beans would eat that whole rig alive, though! I had no idea they spread like that. Maybe with your expert pruning skills you could stay on top of it, though.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 10/4/2010, 6:41 pm

Actually I wish I had that bean problem ....mine have been lackluster, to say the least
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Megan on 10/4/2010, 6:42 pm

Did you plant pole or bush beans? I'd be happy to share some pole bean seed with you. My understanding is that bush beans tend to come ripe all at once. My pole beans produced for months before I had to rip them out, though yield at any one point in time was probably far lower than bush beans. (I still have more than I know what to do with, though!) 9/30 my Cherokee pole beans were basically done, though they had a few more blooms. The pole limas were NOT done and I need to hurry up and shell some of them to eat them fresh.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Chopper on 10/4/2010, 8:44 pm

I planted beans about every other month - 4 times in all and I can honestly say I am sick and tired of beans. But they sure have produced!

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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 10/4/2010, 8:45 pm

Blue Lake Bush
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1/3 of the way through

Post  acara on 10/9/2010, 9:24 am

* I'll grab the weekly round of pictures as soon as the sun comes up *

*** Warning: Extremely editorialized and opinionated post follows, which will undoubtedly make someone grumpy. Sorry ... not intentional or inflammatory ... I'm just one of those "speak-your-mind" peeps who operates without a brain-to-keyboard filter. I'm appologizing now if I "tipped any sacred cows" in my garden update Embarassed ***

We'll the Friday night Vampire Gardening is done .....so it's time for the weekly update and a couple cups of coffee.

I'm just over 30 days on my first SFG box (4 x 4), which is about 1/3 of the way through the time to fruit/harvest for most of what I have planted.....so I figured I'd post my observations so far;

Weather: We got our "season change" in Central, FL this week. We are seeing lows in the 60's with highs of about 88 (F), and it's obviously a welcome change for the plants. Rainfall has been sparse, but the humidity/heat are way down, so I've moved to automatic watering every other day & augment with hand-watering when needed.

SFG Box construction:
The books recoomendations are great. Everything is as solid as the day I built it. No issues. My only recommendation would be that v3.0 should consider a broader audience ...specifically for age/demographics.
The book seems very cost-conscious (wonderful), but seems to only consider materials as "expensive", or a component of cost. For the 20-40 crowd, especially working suburbanite professionals, TIME is our most "expensive" (precious) resource.
I've already found dozens of items, resources, materials that would/could make SFG gardening faster/easier/more convenient ...albeit at a higher cost (monetary), but the book (and sometimes the forum post) seems to villify or exclude recommending anything that isn't free/cheap/salvaged & I think that may limit the audience (or how much they can enjoy SFG). Completely my personal opinion ..... but "expensive" items what save/minimize time are worth their weight in gold. I completely understand financial restraints, fixed income & on-a-budget; but someone with a $5.00/week gardening budget, but 10 hours a week to garden (without having to ignore their family) is the richest person on earth to some of us Very Happy Very Happy . Personally, I'd like to see more of the available timesaving items on the market today mentioned or utilized in SFG.

SFG Technique (my opinion/observations):
  • MM is holding up well; I haven't had any of the shrinkage/compression others mentioned. Mix retains/drains well and is easy to work with

  • MM remains weed free, as advertised

  • No fertilizer needed .... Okay, maybe ... but there is a huge difference in plant growth/development from even a single dose of the most basic organic fertilizer (like fish emulsion). At this point I'm going to respectfully disagree with Mel on this one ....your cheating yourself & making life harder than it has to be if you exclude the occasional application of "plant yummies".


SFG Plant Selection (again, not trying to tip the sacred cow ...just my opinion/observation).
  • SFG boxes seem wonderful for low, bushing type plants, with the occasional large vine/plant. At least as far as the 4 x 4' boxes go, planting on the 4 corners (if your looking to shade other occupants) or planting along the back row (or single side row) is the easiest. Completely my opinion here, but for most first time SFG'ers (maybe just zone 8/9/10 folks), a 100% planting of stuff like heirloom tomatoes, squash, melon, cucumbers, etc is suicide. If I hadn't grown tomatos for years, wasn't an innate trimmer/trellis guy & hadn't built in the trellis system on my box, I would probably be contemplating pouring gas on the tangled mess and striking a match (I'm planted 70% of the big/vertical stuff). I'd also speculate that the automatic drip irrigation, and keeping the first 12-15" of the plant defoliated/cleared is a huge help with the vertical growing items.
    This is probably my biggest observation/suggestion for SFG Manual v3.0 Very Happy Very Happy ... there could be a liitle more information on the vertical-gardening techniques & percent-composition and location of "large" items requiring trellis support.
    Again, not being critical, just my observations. I can really see someone overly ambitious planting a "species box" (all squash, all heirloom tomatoes, all cukes, etc), everything hitting 6/7/8' heights in a month & having a nightmare on their hands. A few gentle comments/suggestions/warnings on "what you could end up with if you plant too many of these" would probably be helpful for a first time SFG'r (after all, we all know how cute/innocent/helpless those little seeds and transpalnts look in the store....LOL


SFG Maintenance;
All as advertised in the book. This thing is a dream to maintain if you follow the books design/suggestion(the box). I've been weed-free for over 35 days (bows to Mel :!: :!: :!: ).

Pest;
I started out okay, but this weeks infiltration (cutworms) absolutely crippled me. I don't blame anyone but myself for dreaming that SFG would make me immune to critters.
I'm not an organic type, so there was really no excuse for me not to start a preventative application routine as soon as I built the box. *Smacks head* .... I could have probably prevented the mass dosage & defoliation that I had to inflict on my box this week ...lesson learned.

Fun-Factor
SFG has been wonderful so far ...
  • Given me an outdoor activity, even if it is between the hours of 9pm and 3am Very Happy

  • Motivates me to get home and not spend 18 hours/day in the office

  • Probablly one of of the first activties/hobbies my wife/daughter have been willing/able to participate in for quite some time.

  • Given me a topic of conversation with my parents .... which I haven't had for quite some time. My parents actually came up to see me last weekend (first time in 5 years) .... yes, it was because they heard I had a garden & was growing stuff again, but hey, it's a start.

  • I've met lots of great people on the forum (hopefully haven't upset too many with my wierd/sarcastic humor).


Personal Plant Results/Observations:
  • Tomatos (Yellow Pear, Yellow Boy, Better Boy, Brandywine): No real surprises here, but I know what I'm doing with these & they are one of my all time favorites to grow/eat. Surprisingly, I've been very pest/disease free on these so far *knock-on-wood*

  • Beans: Kind of dissapointing so far, but getting a little better with the weather change this week

  • Peas: Peas? what peas? probably the biggest dissapointmment in my SFG .... mostly because it won''t grow, wont die, wont do anything but just sit there ..... same width, height, number of leaves .... grrr. Thinking of just yanking it & replacing with a polaroid picture of a pea plant Very Happy

  • Bell Peppers: Same as tomatos .... no unrealistic expectations here. Green, yellow, red all doing as expected. Orange bell's continue to be my achilles-heel ...can't keep them alive, even if my life depended on it.

  • Cantalope: I was doing wonderful up to the cutworm infestation. My poor cantalope plants are almost 90% defolated now .... but I think I''ve beat the cutworms for now & hope to recover.

  • Squash: Oppssie .... who knew squash was a vigorous growing vine?? (certainly not me). This one caught me by surprise. My wife picked iit out when we were buying our first transplants & I stuck it in an empty (and untrellised) square without even reading the tag. We've since recovered from our ignorance & have been erecting ad-hoc/emergency structural support as--needed. This one hs been lot of unexpected fun.

  • Cucumbers: WOW.... cukes rock !!!!!!. IMHO, this should be listed in v3.0 of the book, with a notation .. "PSST ...plant this if it's yoour first SFG, or you new to gardening".
    This has to be most rewarding, confidence-building and fun plant I've ever grown & gets "Acara's #1 rating" for impatient folks & those with OCD .... cukes will make you break a sweat trying to keep up with. No matter what anything else does in the garden, my cukes will always be the thing I will remember most about my first SFG garden.


Non-SFG Plants;

  • Spinach; Not much to say. It grows, no bugs yet ...just about as exciting as a leaf plant can be ...LOL

  • Radishes; This one has been kinda fun seeing if I could recover from my ignorant stunt of trying to transplant something that shouldn't be transplanted. I would have liked it more if I had installed a plexiglass window in the box so I could see them grow. These are about as exciting to grow as the spinach ...LOL

  • Herbs: Same-same ...nothing changes with herbs. However, I am growing enough to use before the bugs get to them ...so thats a first.

  • Bell Peppers: Same results as SFG ...... still suck at growing Orange bell peppers

  • Dill: doing well ...can't wait to use the fresh stuff on my upcoming pickling escapades.

  • Mint: Another "must have" from the wifes perspective. It's staked & 2' high now .... not sure what to do with it though (evidently neither is she....LOL).

  • Wild Florida Everglades Tomatos; My first attempt at growing from seeds in 30+ years. Jury is still out on this one, but it appears to be doing okay.
Tomatoes;
  • Beefsteaks, Cherry, Yellow Cherry ...all doing as expected & not much to report at this time. Everything does seem much happier with the temp drops & expect to see some flowering soon.


Stanley (crack cucumber);
Still hands-down the most entertaining thing I've ever planted. Stanleys recovering from a fungus & cutworms, but otherwise still the reigning champion of my planting efforts.
The pedicure & haircut worked as planned and he's topped off at 7', and the base pruning (pedicure) and topping (haircut) has forced all the production into center mass. Cukes are 4-6" now, well spaced, hanging vertical and growing with minimal curl.


Again, my appologies for post length & if any of my humor/comments offended anyone..... sometimes my written humor doesn't come across as intended.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Garden Angel on 10/9/2010, 9:42 am

Enjoyed reading your honest post and not offened at all ! don't hear any moos do you ? the only thing I would like to contribute is so far I have been pest free on everything, and I contribute this to a fine mess net over all, even the climbing plants, yeah it can be a pain but the only thing I've done is sprinkle a little DE on the blossoms cause the ants can crawl in there and bring the ahids. Hopefully I'm not fooling myself but I really think this is keeping out the pest, the other day there was a grasshopper just sitting on top of the netting.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  LaFee on 10/9/2010, 9:53 am

Acara, you might want to try peas again next month or so -- I had gorgeous peas this spring (I ate half of 'em before I ever made it back to the house) -- but as soon as it got to 80-85F, they packed it in quick.

They like their cool weather, that's for sure!

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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Megan on 10/9/2010, 10:09 am

My very dear Acara,

Just waking up here and haven't fully processed your latest post, but I think you bring up some very good points.

There certainly should be great big warning signs around planting lots of aggressive growers like curcurbits and tomatoes in a 4x4 for the unwary newbie. Surely you've seen the photos of my front yard and know what one single squash vine can do. (And I trimmed the silly thing!)

Then again, I've seen Carolyn's photos, where in a professional setting she has very successfully grown really big tomatoes very close to one another.

I spent more money than I probably should have on my garden this year (one more reason why I'm irritated by the whole HOA thing), but I'm glad I did what I did, irrigation and all. I really like how SFG presents ideas that can be implemented on a tight budget. I grew up in New Hampshire and the motto "fix up, patch up, make do or do without". But I also think there is nothing wrong with presenting alternatives where you can throw money at a problem and make it go away. The only time where I will have an issue is when someone starts making value judgments regarding who has money and who does not; that's just not right. From what I have seen to date, forum members have been very sensitive with regard to budget and will offer multiple options when presenting ideas, if they can.

Lastly, on a personal note, I have enjoyed each and every one of your posts! Very Happy



Last edited by Megan on 10/9/2010, 10:34 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fix grammar, clarify, etc.)
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  LaFee on 10/9/2010, 10:27 am

I agree with Megan's sentiments.

I think it's a great idea to propose different solutions to problems -- some of us have time and no money, others have money but little time, and still others are somewhere in between...so I see multiple solutions as a way to make SFG even MORE accessible to even more people...then we can pick the one that works best for our own individual situation -- and even our mood at the time!

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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  boffer on 10/9/2010, 10:37 am

Thanks for the most comprehensive 30 day SFG evaluation that I've seen in quite a while. The part I appreciated the most was the Fun Factor section.

Believe me, I understand the time/money balance you speak of. Perhaps there is less talk about expensive garden tools/aids/accessories/etc. because the people who can afford/use them don't have the time to post about it?!
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 10/9/2010, 10:42 am

@Megan wrote:
I grew up in New Hampshire and the motto "fix up, patch up, make do or do without". But I also think there is nothing wrong with presenting alternatives where you can throw money at a problem and make it go away. The only time where I will have an issue is where someone starts making value judgments regarding who has money and who does not. That's not right. From what I have seen to date, forum members have been very sensitive about this and will offer multiple options when presenting ideas, if they can.


Exactly.

My only concern (not sure if that came across right) is that someone will read though the book and/or forums and get the impression that a suggestion/item won't be "accepted" or received well, because of it's price tag.

My impression is that there are some extrememly intelligent/experience peeps on the forum, who all have internet connections, who already know about some of the stuff I'm stumbling across (but I don't see it mentioned anywhere). I'd also go out and guess that everyone here is more financially responsible and/or better-than average at managing their own personal time/financial resources than almost any other forum population.

I sometimes get off the forum thinking .... what's someone not telling or sharing here, because of the perceived feedback on the pricetag. Maybe I'm just being paranoid ..... but I don't always get a "warm fuzzy" that I'm seeing the big-picture.

I'm a big fan of information sharing ....thats what forums are for IMHO.

Toss it out there (regardless of pricetag), discuss it & let everyone make their own "value judgement" ...... price is a relative comment ... "value" is whats important to some of us.


Just because I can't afford it (now or ever), that doesn't mean we can't come up with or reverse-engineer a more cost-effective solution based on the idea.


Hopefully that makes more sense??
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  acara on 10/9/2010, 10:44 am

@boffer wrote: Perhaps there is less talk about expensive garden tools/aids/accessories/etc. because the people who can afford/use them don't have the time to post about it?!

That was as funny as it probably is truthful ...... hadn't thought of that.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Old Hippie on 10/9/2010, 11:40 am

Even though I love and promote free, recycled, reclaimed as much as possible (I AM an old hippie after all! Very Happy) there are times when it is better to put out the money to get a better quality plant, tool or what-have-you. I have some very expensive gardening tools that I have had for years and that I wouldn't part with for anything. But anytime I can get something for free or "on the cheap" it leaves me more money for other things that I want or need. And let's face it, as gardeners SFG or otherwise, we will never have enough tools, plants, space or decorative material for our gardens OR enough time to work in them.

I would hope that no one feels unwelcome here because they spend too much money on their garden or for any other reason. There are lots of people on here who are very scientific and technical as you can tell by their posts. Then there are those of us, like me, who can't remember all the scientific words and technical explanations so we just kind of muddle through. Personally, I haven't gotten that impression but it is good that you are sensitive to how others may feel. Perhaps bringing that up will help us be more careful about HOW we post.

Acara, I have enjoyed all your posts. In fact, I love reading everyone's posts. It is so much fun to learn from others.

GK
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  boffer on 10/9/2010, 11:54 am

Here's another possibility:

There is an interesting phenomenon about certain topics that I have been watching all year. It occurs when the do-more crowd starts talking about how they do things. Then, the do-less crowd just sits on their hands and reads. You see, the do-less crowd has little to say about the subject because the way they do things is simple, fast, works for them, and there just isn't much to say. To contrarily speak up in a do-more topic would be less than supportive. So, often, alternatives are not discussed.
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  Chopper on 10/9/2010, 2:19 pm

Acara, you are a welcome addition to the SFG forum as far as I am concerned. I am fascinated by everyone's different takes on gardening and the different challenges each region brings. And it is very interesting to read, as in your post, how gardening in general and SFG in particular can bring families together.

Spending money is easy and there is nothing wrong with it! It is one of my favorite things to do and I love gadgets and things that improve organization and production. So I figure Mel was speaking to the lowest common denominator and expressing that doing SFG need not be expensive. And for a lot of people being frugal, if not necessary, is fun - esp, like Megan said, those crusty old New Englanders. LOL.

I have had years of no time and lots of money and lots of time and no money. Funny how they don't go together. This last couple of years have been a lots of time, no money time. And believe me I DO appreciate my time in the garden and will especially when it gets dark earlier and light hours in the garden are limited. My only problem is there isn't that much to do! Though I have figured out that Sep/Oct and Mar will be the work months - ending one season and starting the next.

I do not think there is anything wrong with letting vines sprawl if you have them in a side square and have the room. I thought of it but I have dogs who would trample any vines in a second and I think Mel was trying to come up with a way to keep the whole thing compact. Appealing to those with limited room.

I did learn some hard lessons about thickness and lushness of some plants and will adjust accordingly next year. And I am with you about cukes. Mine did succumb to disease but not before being extremely prolific. I ended up with about 20 jars of pickles without even trying. Not to mention all of the fresh cukes I could eat. Wow is right.

Peas like it cool. Most veggies, I have learned this year, simply freeze in their tracks if the growing conditions go too far outside their comfort range. Then it reaches the right balance and they go crazy. I provided shade for mine when I planted and was extra careful to water them once a day because right after I planted it got super hot. It seemed to help. Then is got unseasonably cool and they seemed to grow two inches overnight.

Humor is a requirement on this forum. Don't you dare try to suppress it.

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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  boffer on 10/9/2010, 3:11 pm

acara, I've been wondering what pricey things you were referring to. If we exclude watering/irrigation equipment, what's left? There's manufactured wood and ...?

I think acara should become the forum's gardening gadget and gizmo guru guy. We could call him the g-man!
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Re: Today Is The Day

Post  camprn on 10/9/2010, 3:31 pm

@boffer wrote:I think acara should become the forum's gardening gadget and gizmo guru guy. We could call him the g-man!

good job!

@boffer wrote:Here's another possibility:
There is an interesting phenomenon about certain topics that I have been watching all year. It occurs when the do-more crowd starts talking about how they do things. Then, the do-less crowd just sits on their hands and reads. You see, the do-less crowd has little to say about the subject because the way they do things is simple, fast, works for them, and there just isn't much to say. To contrarily speak up in a do-more topic would be less than supportive. So, often, alternatives are not discussed.

Yeah, what he said! Wink
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Re: Today Is The Day

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