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SFG Research

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SFG Research

Post  erbarnett on 9/22/2010, 3:28 pm

I am fascinated with the SFG concept, but have found little information about it in agricultural journals or the like. I am talking about research, say by a the Agriculture Department at a major university, which has conducted research about the efficacy of traditional gardening as opposed to SF Gardening. The research might focus on amount of time needed to produce food, the quantity of food grown, the cost savings, and so on. For instance, a 250 square foot area might be assigned to a traditional garden, while the same amount of space would be devoted to a SFG. Both areas would be near one another, would receive the same amount of sunlight, the gardens would be started at exactly the same time, and so on. At the end of a specified period, observers would count or weigh the harvest, and collect other data. Then, the results would be reported to a panel for inclusion in a professional horticultural journal.

Are there other people out there who are interested in this kind of thing? I am pretty sure the SFG would win hands down. Still, I would like to see scientific data.

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Re: SFG Research

Post  camprn on 9/22/2010, 6:15 pm

You are right, there is not a lot out there on the web. And hard to find specific to SFG. There are some articles about raised bed, intensive style growing, which is what SFG is (less the grid).

http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/HORT2/MF2134.PDF

http://www.communitygarden.org/rebeltomato/pdf/Science_Pages/raisedbed_science_page.pdf

This one is real sciency stuff with charts and graphs and stats and stuff regarding planting in beds v. flat surface planting...
http://aciar.gov.au/system/files/node/703/PR121%20Part%20A%20for%20Web.pdf

I have run out of time to poke around for more info.
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Re: SFG Research

Post  erbarnett on 9/23/2010, 10:15 am

Thanks for trying to look this up, camprn.

I think that many or most of the agricultural extension agents in the USA are a bit intimidated about a vegetable garden that is productive and takes little time and space. Many may never have heard of SFG, and were never taught it in school. Maybe that is the reason no one apparently is too interested in doing research that could prove that the traditional gardening methods are wasteful and time consuming. That is just a theory.

Our WV garden calendar, put out by the WV University, does describe SFG in some detail on the March page. However, we were never taught the SFG method in our Master Gardener classes. We were taught to rototill, plant in rows, and so on.

Do other people think that the agricultural establishment is intimidated or threatened by SFG?

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Re: SFG Research

Post  LaFee on 9/23/2010, 11:57 am

Threatened...just think at the damage SFG would do to the markets for rototillers, weeding implements, shovels.....there wouldn't be nearly as much money to be made in the garden industry if nobody had to spend half their time tilling and weeding and digging up their compressed pathways....

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Re: SFG Research

Post  Chopper on 9/23/2010, 12:18 pm

I imagine they see it as a niche or do not understand it. And SFG is not useable in every circumstance, plus it is relatively new. I do not think it is a planned conspiracy to not include it. I imagine there is little awareness or interest in a community that is pretty well entrenched already.

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Re: SFG Research

Post  LaFee on 9/23/2010, 12:22 pm

Having spent an awful lot of my life in the construction and garden industries....there are those who see SFG as a bunch of crackpots, a few more whose products fits in with SFG who think it's a great idea....and a whole lot who hope it never catches on because they'd be out of a job.

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Re: SFG Research

Post  martha on 9/23/2010, 9:55 pm

If they would only figure out that they could get jobs selling PVC and rebar instead of rototillers and herbicides!
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SFG research...

Post  trustinhart on 9/23/2010, 9:59 pm

Think of how many pesticide dealers would be out of business. Monsanto would shake in it's boots.
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Re: SFG Research

Post  LaFee on 9/24/2010, 12:59 am

The sad part is that an awful lot of my friends and colleagues are already out of a job, as there isn't enough (and never will be) of a market for rebar and PVC in an SFG to keep them employed, and the rest of their business has all but dried up.

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Re: SFG Research

Post  shinjite on 9/24/2010, 5:22 am

I am beginning an experiment with SFG on a large scale. I have had to redo my farm layout because SFG is not easy to fully implement in all aspects. I am having to do more intensive amount of planning than the traditional raised bed method that I was using. It also requires more monetary investments than the traditional method did. I have had to do a lot of brainstorming to figure out ways to cut costs. But despite all that I am quite fully prepared to try SFG. I was already using a soil mixture because I am extremely allergic to the soil where I live anyway.
Extension offices are looking at a lot of other growing methods - hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, soilless growing, raised bed, container growing, etc. They might be researching SFG for all we know.

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Re: SFG Research

Post  erbarnett on 9/26/2010, 5:46 pm

I just found out today that the Master Gardeners of Putnam County, West Virginia is conducting a class this November 2010 for the Master Gardeners in Training. The topic is SFG. The extension agent is a knowledgeable man who is probably in his fifties.

I suspect that it takes many years for new ideas to take hold and be accepted in any field. My wife and I will be attending his lecture. It is heartening that some extension agents are aware of the SFG method. Maybe he can present data comparing the SFG with the traditional garden. If so, I will share the data with this group.

I think the SFG is a perfect way to introduce Community Gardens to the general public.

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