Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

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New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  jhendon5 on 9/25/2010, 9:19 pm

I want to grow veggies next spring but have never gardened so started searching the Internet for ideas re. planning a garden and found SFG just yesterday. I love the SFG concept as it is so efficient and labor-saving.

So I ordered the new SFG book but it's a few days away and I'm curious about a couple of things:

1) Why does the planting box require a bottom if there's good soil beneath it? The bottom will almost certainly deteriorate more rapidly than the sides because of drainage so I'm wondering how essential the box bottom is.

2) The earliest I can plant is next April/May. I can build the box anytime before that but I'm wondering what other preparations I should be making and when I should be making them.

Any ideas/suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  CarolynPhillips on 9/25/2010, 9:33 pm

glad you\'re here jhendon5

You do not have to put a bottom in your grow box. It is not a requirement. It is good for
patios and elevated grow boxes.

Make your own compost-----start now so it is ready for Spring. Don't worry if you're are not able to make tons of it, you can use commercial to go along with your homemade compost. Homemade is richer.

Buy a Graph Notebook. You are gonna need it.

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  sceleste54 on 9/25/2010, 9:50 pm

I put weed cloth in the bottom of my 2 (so far) beds.. you do not HAVE to put anything down... come as close to the Mel's Mix as you can, and plan to amend and add to as you go.. gardening is a growing experience... you grow as you go... Very Happy


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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  Garden Angel on 9/25/2010, 10:19 pm

Welcome from California!! you were wise to search for info before you started , glad you found us here !
Garden Angel

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  Wyldflower on 9/26/2010, 12:40 am

Hi JH and welcome from Colorado Springs. It's great to have another 'neighbor' here! You're in a great location for gardening - I'm thinking about the wonderful melons I get at the farmers market that come from near you.
The advice already posted is great. Will you be doing your raised beds at ground level? If so, then you don't need the bottom board, but weedcloth will help prevent any residual weeds from popping up in your beds. If you have the storage space, you may want to gradually collect the ingredients for Mel's Mix over the winter. The vermiculite can add up if you're buying for multiple boxes. Check the vermiculite data base for places to get it... you don't want to buy the little bags you may find at the box stores.

If you are doing tabletop boxes, you might want to look at posts from Boffer - he's the tabletop 'expert' around here. I have two ground-level boxes, but may put together a tabletop for next year. This is my first year gardening, and I'm finding this method is amazingly easy.

Happy Gardening!

edited to add: Start perusing seed catalogs.... and maybe make a visit to the cooperative extension to get specific advice for your area as to what will or won't grow well.

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  Megan on 9/26/2010, 3:24 am

Hi JH, welcome to the forum and to SFG! glad you\'re here

Box bottoms are not required. Like already mentioned, if you are doing a table top garden then you would need one. Other reasons for a box bottom include aggressive weeds like Bermuda grass, or pests such as voles.

Have fun planning your garden this winter! So much fun. Smile

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  Weedless_ on 9/27/2010, 10:10 am

I used composite board, which won't deteriorate and is safe. It looks much like wood, heavier and pricier. I got lucky and found uniform scraps at "the orange store", which was enough for building 2 boxes, and bought 1 continuous board for the third, which came down in price substantially.
No bottoms here, I simply laid brown cardboard boxes and garden refuse bags (empty vermiculite bags, too) smack on my lawn, set the boxes on top of them, and filled them with mel's mix.
There were a few grass blades here and there coming back through the season, but nothing too annoying. I just kept pulling them.
This worked for me. In terms of preparation, I'd definitely follow the suggestion of using variety of composts in your mel's mix. Try your local county extension office, or sanitation department - many of them have garden refuse composting programs, and give away wonderfully rich compost for free. Fresh Mel's Mix needs amending, so extra rich well rotted manure and/or kitchen compost, rabbit manure, chicken manure, etc... whatever you can add to make it more nutritious - would definitely help. I know I had to amend mine, even though I followed all the instructions for initial set up.
Good luck, its going to be fun!

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  Old Hippie on 9/27/2010, 10:32 am

Welcome to the site and to gardening. SFG is fantastic. It is perfect for raised beds and tabletop gardening but is great for ground level as well. Except for the new box I made this year, I don't have bottoms on most of my boxes. I just amended the garden plot that was here when we bought our house. In the new one I made I used very heavy cardboard about 3/4 inch thick.

This winter will be a wonderful time to research, plan and dream. Enjoy! There is nothing like growing your own veggies.

Old Hippie
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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

Post  ribarr4 on 9/27/2010, 11:22 pm

Like previously mentioned composting is something you can start right away. Here in TN the leaves are about to start falling and I will be driving around picking up garbage bags full of leaves that those in my neighborhood leave by the road. I wind up with a pile of 15 to 20 bags. I fill up my compost bin, turn every week and add more bags as it goes down. You can construct a very simple bin to start with.

Good luck and good gardening.

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Re: New to SFG from Crowley, Colorado

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