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A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

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A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  hankyknot on 11/22/2010, 12:34 am

Hi Folks, just joined the forums and about to start planning my SFG for next year and have a few questions. I'm planning on having raised beds that are 3x3 placed in the center of a 4x4 sheet of plywood so that I'll have a 6" shelf around the whole thing for tools etc while gardening.

My first question is how thick the base needs to be as I plan on standing the beds on a couple of saw horses so I can do my gardening standing up?

My second question is a lot more vague and subjective, not deliberately and I know the first part of any answer will be the words "It depends..." but I'm trying to gauge how many square feet the average person would need in order to provide all their vegetables. Is it even feasible to do this? I want to grow as much of my vegetable consumption as possible and can and preserve everything so that nothing goes to waste. Ideally I would eventually like to be self sufficient for vegetables with a little excess.

hankyknot

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A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  boffer on 11/22/2010, 11:38 am

Hi,

Welcome to the forum. Most folks use 3/4 inch ply for their bottoms. It will last longer and have less sag/bulging than thinner stuff. I would suggest using the entire 4x4 ply for garden space because you nearly double your squares, 9 to 16. If you search the forum for 'table tops', you'll find lots of info and ideas about them. Your idea of needing shelf space is a good one. I would suggest creating a movable, portable, hanging shelf of some sort.

You're right; your second question is more difficult to answer. There is no right answer. Mel throws out some numbers in his book, but everyone I've talked to thinks they are low.

After five years of SFG, here is what has evolved for me, for two adults, mostly due to my weather, interest, and laziness. I can grow most cool crops and root crops every summer. This year I grew 16 squares of carrots, beets 22, potatoes 60, onions 10, turnips 10, and garlic 12. That will last us till next April or so. Broccoli, BS, greens, etc, we eat fresh during the growing season, but we don't put any up. I probably had 40 squares at any given time of that stuff growing, in some combination.

Warm crops are a treat for me. I have a 'corn patch' that is not SFG, 8x25 feet. In a good weather summer, we'll eat corn for lunch and supper every day it's in season, and we'll freeze enough to last through the winter. In a bad summer, like 2010, we got so little from the same space, that we had to ration ourselves to make the harvest last longer than a week. And we didn't put any up. This summer I planted 25 squares of tomatoes and peppers. I didn't get enough harvest to warrant a picture. In a good year, we eat tomatoes like apples, put up dozens of jars of toms and salsa, and still have enough to give away. We typically will have 30-40 winter squash plants; that will last us through most of the winter.

Maybe that gives you some ideas, or maybe not. Folks have lots of reasons for starting a garden. If they stay at it a couple years, the reasons for them to continue gardening are narrowed down and more defined for their preferences and circumstances. Is it to save money, eat organically, challenge the weather, novelty food, etc. They also become more realistic about the time involved to grow, prep, cook, or store different veggies. And, they begin to understand that gardening is a humbling experience!


boffer

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Re: A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  outsideasy on 11/22/2010, 1:36 pm

hankyknot, I put a cheap plastic hand trowel I got at Home Depot for a buck in one box and leave it so I don't need anything else to turn the soil after harvesting. It doesn't take much to care for a SFG box, a pair of scissors to snip and harvest leafy greens and chasing bugs off with (spray bottles) BT and Neem Oil and a few other bug deterrent things but nothing to warrant a shelf around each box. boffer suggests a movable tray and I second that and just want to say use all the space for growing not holding tools and things. My wife has MM in a 4x8 ft box and I have a mix of soil and MM as we couldn't afford all MM, both are easy to weed and care for and both grow plants well, although I have supplemented my soil with Dr Earth organic fertilizer and we also have used some fertilizer on hers as we thought some of the plants needed something to help their health. We are first time SFG gardeners but have had small gardens in the past so it is kind of new and we are still reading and guessing about treatment and solutions for a healthy garden. As for how to judge the amount you need to be self sufficient, I don't know but adding boxes as you need them would be my approach and if you have the room, the more the merrier.
All the Best
Al

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Re: A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  camprn on 11/22/2010, 5:52 pm

@hankyknot wrote:
My second question is a lot more vague and subjective, not deliberately and I know the first part of any answer will be the words "It depends..." but I'm trying to gauge how many square feet the average person would need in order to provide all their vegetables. Is it even feasible to do this? I want to grow as much of my vegetable consumption as possible and can and preserve everything so that nothing goes to waste. Ideally I would eventually like to be self sufficient for vegetables with a little excess.
I found a few web sites that may offer you some good info whilst planning the coming vegetable garden Most profitable plants

and try this one fromMother Earth News grow $700 of food in 100 square foot

camprn

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Re: A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  dstubbs on 11/22/2010, 7:03 pm

Hi Hankyknot,

I just noticed your post. I'm in Saint John and I've met a couple of others on here from the Sussex area. Welcome to the world of SFG!

dstubbs

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Re: A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  Rolanaj on 1/24/2011, 10:25 am

@hankyknot good to see there are a few people from New Brunswick here.

Rolanaj

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Re: A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

Post  hankyknot on 8/7/2011, 6:45 pm

Thanks everyone for the welcome.

So far this year the gardens are going well. I've stalled abit on the planning due to the nice weather giving me chance to get on with shingling my shed (this will be year 4 of the process, as you can guess I don't like to rush things ;-) )

I will get back to planning next week as we are supposed to be in for a couple of days of rain. I have added a couple of books to wishlist about preserving what you grow and I'm also going to look into putting a root cellar in the basement beneath the kitchen.

Strangely enough my father tried for years to get me interested in gardening and it just never took but since reading Mel's first book I am totally hooked. I have already worked out some designs for the next set of gardens I plan to build and am looking forward to eating something I grew in the not too distant future.

So what does everyone do with their SFG's over the winter?

hankyknot

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Re: A total newby in Richubucto, New Brunswick

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