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From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

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From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/21/2011, 3:26 pm


Found the SFG book in the back of my Baker Creek catalog. Placed my first order this year and I got all types of tomatoes (Black Cherry, Reisentraub, Paul Robeson's, Belarusian Heart and - the ones I'm most looking forward to: Vorlon), cukes (Beit Alpha and Dragon's Egg), spinach, romaine lettuce, calabrese broccoli, swiss chard, mini sweet bell peppers, anaheim peppers, large jalepenos, marigolds (to attact bees) and Siam Queen basil (at Mel's recommendation).

Using an apartment patio in Chandler, AZ so space is limited but we do face south. A large tree blocks midday sun which may not/may be good since in AZ. I've built the SFG with a bottom and will soon hoist it up on blocks to allow / collect drainage. For now it remains empty while seedlings grow inside.

Had tough time finding four pack trays after lifting seedlings from vermiculite so I went to Target and bought a bunch of cheap short plastic cups, which I can easily label and reuse. The drill easily went thru 10-15 cups at a time to create three drainage holes.

( I'm also growing for a friend and mother-in-law - that's why so many plants are starting.)



Been trying to be ecological. I cut the bottoms off water, soda and OJ bottles to hold vermiculite and seedlings. I'm using the box that held my AMD Athlon II processor to hold all my seed packages. My black box used for soccer coaching broke it's handle. I covered the outside in thick white paper and packing tape, drilled some holes and filled it up with Mel's Mix. It's a roughly a cubic foot and now has half amarillo carrots and half cosmic purple carrots seeded.



(the wife decorated the outside)

I know I won't have room in my SFG for all my plants, so I'll just use the pots I've acquired over the past year for tomato plants - but I know I only need to plant 6-8 in. deep rather than 10-12 in. To free up two pots and two wire trellises, I transplanted two of my four Ferry-Morse cherry tomato plants into upside down containers. They were started in the fall and two are small compared to the other two. They aren't in Mel's Mix and I figured the soil could be hampering... so I figured what the hay, it's worth a try.



(the two tomato plants at left are about to be bombed with sunlight for several more hours while my hardy swiss chard continues churning out chow)

I used a 2 liter soda bottle and a 1.75 liter OJ bottle with a wire hanger drilled thru the sides to hang it. Did the deed late in the afternoon when the sun had passed. They looked good the next day but they caught a little too much sun and they almost died. Most of the leaves hung limp. I quickly moved them to shade, added water (can't overwater Mel's Mix, right?) and prayed. They both looked good several hours later aside from a couple stems / leaves that each plant had decided to sacrifice for survival. I trimmed them off and I think both transplants will be a success. Leaves feel strong again and they are reaching happily for light. Anxious to see how they perform being upside down and with Mel's Mix, as opposed to potting soil with sand at the bottom.



They will eventually hang over the SFG so water can be used twice. I also plan to cut an old pair of jeans up and slide the cut leg pieces over the plastic in the upside down garden. I plan to paint the jeans white to help reflect light/heat.

Back to the SFG, I'm thinking placing tarp between the bottom plywood and the concrete blocks. I'll place a block in each corner and one in the middle. In the four quadrants I'll create a hole and then slice the tarp a few inches each direction to create a "funnel" under which I'll have four pans to collect draining water to be reused.

Will try to keep updates coming. I did seed some spinach and india mustard outside in a 2' x 6" plastic planter and I see the first little guys coming up. Forgot to mark which was at each end so... I'll have fun figuring out who's who. study
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jkahn2eb

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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  middlemamma on 1/21/2011, 6:53 pm

You are just really on top of the economy end of gardening! Awesome....

Love your whole set up.

I lived in Prescott for 13 years and have moved here to Idaho recently...

I am loving the Pacific Northwest, every once in a while I am a little envious of your nearly year around season. bounce

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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  duhh on 1/24/2011, 1:51 am

Your set up looks great! I look forward to seeing your progress this spring! SFG is perfect for your space.
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Welcome

Post  ander217 on 1/24/2011, 5:42 am

Welcome, jkahn2eb. Your setup looks great. I also buy seeds from Baker Creek. I love their catalog.

You mentioned planting marigolds to attract bees. I read on the 'net that bees aren't attracted to double marigolds because they can't reach the pollen. If memory serves, single blossom types were the only ones they visit, and French marigolds were best for attracting them. I'm no bee expert - just something I read.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of your photos as your garden grows.

glad you\'re here
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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/24/2011, 10:21 am

Thanks all. I've made plenty of mistakes already but none catastrophic.

Ander - the marigolds are the Petite Mix out of Baker Creek - as the packet reads: "a dwarf mixture of the crested French Marigolds; only grow to 10"-12" tall with bright colors." I guess I lucked out based on the info you provided.

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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  quiltbea on 1/24/2011, 11:20 am

jkahn.....You live in an entirely different cosmic zone than me, but I, too, find that experimenting with different methods and ideas fascinating.
Keep up the good work.
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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/24/2011, 11:49 am

@jkahn2eb wrote:Had tough time finding four pack trays after lifting seedlings from vermiculite so I went to Target and bought a bunch of cheap short plastic cups, which I can easily label and reuse. The drill easily went thru 10-15 cups at a time to create three drainage holes.

I'm using the box that held my AMD Athlon II processor to hold all my seed packages. My black box used for soccer coaching broke it's handle. I covered the outside in thick white paper and packing tape, drilled some holes and filled it up with Mel's Mix. It's a roughly a cubic foot and now has half amarillo carrots and half cosmic purple carrots seeded.

(the wife decorated the outside)

I have a whole bunch of clear plastic cups leftover from the holidays, just figured out what to use them for finally instead of recycling them. Thanks for that! I'm fascinated by the carrot box, and growing carrots in general. Don't know why either... You've got quite the set-up, can't wait to follow along!
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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  elliephant on 1/24/2011, 10:39 pm

A cheap "pot" you might be interested in...Dollar Tree has 2.5 gallon buckets (for $1 of course). They are black, but I'm going to spray mine with a $1 can of white spray paint from WalMart. Just drill some holes in the bottom. It's a really good price for something that big...and you'll find that although things grow fine in 6 inches of MM it also dries out really quickly during the summer, so you may have trouble with smaller pots.

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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/25/2011, 9:18 am

Nice elliephant. Will check that out.

Made a cutting of a big branch from my one rockin cherry tomato plant as the plant was a bit too bushy. Pruned off suckers on the branch and shoved it in a two-liter filled with vermiculite. Will then empty most vermiculite and pour in Mel's Mix but I'm already thinking I should have just put Mel's Mix in and skipped the vermiculite. Oh well, it's just an experiment. What a Face
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Update - let them be hardened

Post  jkahn2eb on 2/12/2011, 8:04 pm

Tomorrow I move all my seedlings outdoors to begin hardening. They've been receiving some pretty intensive sun/heat in the morning thru the window. I've already put a couple trays out and the last three trays of seedlings will venture out tomorrow where they don't get as much morning sun, instead they get afternoon sun. I have a sunshade cloth to protect 'em - my tomatoes I placed outside are doing just fine. I'll keep a close eye on everyone.

Looks like the last of the cold sub-40 degree nights are over in Phoenix though everyone will remain in cups which are in trays in case something unforeseen happens. I'm eager to plant my tomatoes into my garden and bigger containers but I feel I must fight the urge and let them grow taller / longer so I can lay them vertically in soil.

My one, fully grown cherry tomato plant continues to flower like mad and there must be about 30 green tomatoes but none has started changing colors. Perhaps they are waiting for warmer evenings. We hit 80 today during the afternoon.
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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/12/2011, 9:28 pm

Sounds like great progress jkahn2eb, I can sympathize with your wish to get those plants out in their permanent places, but you have the right idea, waiting until the tomaotes are a bit sturdier and the weather a bit more predictable.
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Re: From AZ - First SFG - This forum has helped fill in a lot (though the book's been great)

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