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My spring SFG is off and running !!!

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My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  staf74 on 2/20/2011, 3:52 pm

I am lucky to have a great local farmers exchange. They import a wide variety of sturdy transplants from Bonnie but also raise their own seedlings and stagger them for local growers. I do grow from seed myself but it is also easy to buy those transplant trays, break out the trowel and VOILA !! Instant gratification.

Anyhow, here goes for my spring 2011 SFG here in upstate SC. No hard freezes in the 10 day forecast and 74 tomorrow !! Here is a pic of the first few lettuce squares of Simpson Elite, Red Sails, Romaine and Bibb.



The first 6 broccoli are in. Will plant 3-4 more every week until box is filled to stagger the harvest.



Arugula....first time doing these. I'm told to pick early to avoid hot leaves.



Temps creeping up nicely here. Hitting 60 most days with some unusual 70's. Hoops are at the ready though. Last frost is around mid-April so going in this early I know i'm in for a battle !!

Carrots showing lush regrowth from winter dormancy. Planted from seed too late last fall and left them in.


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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  staf74 on 2/20/2011, 4:00 pm

DUH ! posted this in Europe.....Ander or another mod.....please move to Middle South.

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  camprn on 2/20/2011, 4:06 pm

Hi Staf, you will need to contact Middlemamma to get the thread moved to the correct regional forum. By the by, your garden is looking fine! :!:

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  staf74 on 2/20/2011, 4:13 pm

Thanks Camprn ! Will contact Midmam. Love your avatar BTW Very Happy I need one .

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  middlemamma on 2/20/2011, 4:19 pm

I moved it already....Smile

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 2/20/2011, 6:48 pm

One sweet looking garden.....so jealous. Also, love the hoops anchored by rebar instead of bracketed inside the boxes. Great idea.

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  staf74 on 2/20/2011, 8:10 pm

Thanks BBG !

I went for the rebar spaced outside the boxes (which was a real snug fit over the 3/4 PVC pipe and is going nowhere) to give me some more wiggle room. The plants, especially Broccoli and Kale, just got sooo big that having the hoop run down and inside the box meant they just got crushed by the plastic. Mel's method is fine with lettuce, spinach, chard etc but bigger plants on the outside squares will need a more space when "hooped" in my experience. That's no criticism BTW of the big fella, just an individual modification Very Happy. More importantly though, the cold temps will create another problem of pretty bad freeze damage when foliage is in direct contact with frozen plastic.

You'll be ready to go in no time, your bed looks great! I really have no choice but to start early; we'll be hitting 80 come April and all the cool season crops will bolt.

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 8:22 pm

staf74 wrote: More importantly though, the cold temps will create another problem of pretty bad freeze damage when foliage is in direct contact with frozen plastic.

I can personally identify with that cold foliage against frozen plastic. First time I camped in Yellowstone our tent was set up on a slant Embarassed and in the middle of the night I woke up with icy tootsies - in my sleep I had slid downhill in the tent and woke up with my feet pressed against the side of the tent affraid which was completely covered in frost when we got up the next morning - wouldn't wish that on any poor little broccoli plant!


Last edited by Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 8:25 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : goofed up the quote!)

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Re: photos

Post  ander217 on 2/22/2011, 1:36 pm

Your garden is looking great, Staf.

My arugula usually tastes fine until the temps heat up, - even the large leaves. I tried planting a later planting, thinking the small leaves wouldn't develop the bitterness, but it didn't seem to make a difference for me. If they grow in the hot weather they get bitter - at least they do in my garden.

Carrots are biennial, and they will go to seed and the roots will get woody their second year, so you might want to harvest them as early as possible. I let a parsnip go to seed last year in my garden and I couldn't believe how big it got. It was pretty so I just left it, not thinking about the fact that it would self-sow. In late fall I had little parsnip plants sprouting all around my garden path.

Thanks for sharing your photos. Your lettuce plants are making me want a salad. (Good thing your garden isn't located next door.) Wink

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 2/22/2011, 1:40 pm

@staf74 wrote:Thanks BBG !

I went for the rebar spaced outside the boxes (which was a real snug fit over the 3/4 PVC pipe and is going nowhere) to give me some more wiggle room. The plants, especially Broccoli and Kale, just got sooo big that having the hoop run down and inside the box meant they just got crushed by the plastic. Mel's method is fine with lettuce, spinach, chard etc but bigger plants on the outside squares will need a more space when "hooped" in my experience. That's no criticism BTW of the big fella, just an individual modification Very Happy. More importantly though, the cold temps will create another problem of pretty bad freeze damage when foliage is in direct contact with frozen plastic.

You'll be ready to go in no time, your bed looks great! I really have no choice but to start early; we'll be hitting 80 come April and all the cool season crops will bolt.

All makes great sense. As you can see from my HH, my juggies are on outside squares. I don't need a ton of early spring space. Fall space? That may be a different story. But, for now, the jugs are serving as risers for my row cover, too. Only the inner squares are being used. However, I have no doubt things will change again....and again.....and.....

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New SFG

Post  sharonrn on 3/9/2011, 2:27 pm

May I ask what lengths are your hoops and rebar?
@staf74 wrote:I am lucky to have a great local farmers exchange. They import a wide variety of sturdy transplants from Bonnie but also raise their own seedlings and stagger them for local growers. I do grow from seed myself but it is also easy to buy those transplant trays, break out the trowel and VOILA !! Instant gratification.

Anyhow, here goes for my spring 2011 SFG here in upstate SC. No hard freezes in the 10 day forecast and 74 tomorrow !! Here is a pic of the first few lettuce squares of Simpson Elite, Red Sails, Romaine and Bibb.



The first 6 broccoli are in. Will plant 3-4 more every week until box is filled to stagger the harvest.



Arugula....first time doing these. I'm told to pick early to avoid hot leaves.



Temps creeping up nicely here. Hitting 60 most days with some unusual 70's. Hoops are at the ready though. Last frost is around mid-April so going in this early I know i'm in for a battle !!

Carrots showing lush regrowth from winter dormancy. Planted from seed too late last fall and left them in.


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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  dixie on 3/9/2011, 2:40 pm

I'm drooling! Can't wait for a good fresh salad from the garden, but it'll be a while for me.

@ander217 wrote:

Carrots are biennial, and they will go to seed and the roots will get woody their second year, so you might want to harvest them as early as possible.

Thanks Ander, last year was my first for carrots and parsnips, I had some carrots too small to harvest, so left them in the ground, now they are really growing, but still not big enough to harvest. Should I just pull them up or wait until warmer weather & see?

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  staf74 on 3/9/2011, 5:30 pm

I've been playing the waiting game for mine also. We've had some big soaking rains for a couple of weeks now. The top re-growth is getting bigger by the day and quite impressive but the roots themselves however have not filled out as much as I would have expected with all that rain. So I know I'm taking a gamble by leaving them in but I've come this far.

Is there a certain point / temp / daylight length that will trigger this woody process?

Of course, I guess the best solution is to pick one every now and then and test. I'm down to about 60 in the box.

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  Clayton on 3/9/2011, 7:05 pm

[quote="sharonrn"]May I ask what lengths are your hoops and rebar?

I hope he says 2' long rebar and 10' long hoops.... that's what I installed this past weekend. I sunk the rebar in pretty far though, leaving about 4" sticking up. A 3' length would have been perfect but the choices were 2 or 4 foot. I just didn't see pounding dozens of 4' rebar into the ground.

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/9/2011, 7:46 pm

Clayton and Sharonrn

When Mel build's trellises he uses 18 to 24 inch rebar and pounds it about half way into the soil, assuming the soil is not loose, then you would need to go deeper. I would want at least 8-10 inches of rebar inside the PVC.

The 10 ft lengths of PVC are just right to cover your four foot wide beds. It will give you about a 4 ft rise (very approximate)

Hope this helps

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  Megan on 3/9/2011, 7:54 pm

Staf74, your garden looks great!! Very Happy

For my trellises last year, I bought 4-foot rebar and cut it in half, then pounded it halfway in. I had some heavy loads, though. If I had to do it again, and I didn't have hardpan clay under me, I would have left the 4-foot rebar as-is and driven it about 18" down.

I'm pretty concerned about my backyard, actually, as there are a ton of tree roots back there. I may have to locate my trellises based on where I can get the rebar in.

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  staf74 on 3/9/2011, 9:35 pm

Hey Y'all,

Missed the recent activity on this thread. Thanks Megan, I want to do trellises too and will go for longer rebar...thanks for the tip.

For my hoops, I did go for 2 foot rebar with about 8-10 inches protruding from the ground and yes, I found the ten foot length of 1/2 inch sized PVC piping to be a perfect fit. I tried bending the 3/4 pipe at lowes but it felt too rigid, like it might snap. They also had some electrical plastic conduit piping too that was a little cheaper but slightly more flimsy....be sure to check out that isle too and compare for your needs. I also made sure that the rebar was a real snug fit into the pvc piping before purchasing so that it would resist slipping off in high wind. I have to twist the PVC over the rebar and so the tension holds it in place, super sturdy. I drilled through the piping and just used zip ties to attach the support running along the top although I was lazy this spring and did not attach it and just used the bent hoops. So far no problems. I've covered up four times tital so far this spring and anticipate maybe four more until i'm home (frost) free Very Happy

Side note - I went six inches out from each corner of the bed to place the rebar; essentially making the hoop diameter 5 foot wide and losing a little in height. That gave the plants a little more wiggle room. Bear in mind you won't see the point of doing this in the early spring as plants are smaller but some plants easily spill over the beds sides in the late fall (as you protect them from the first frosts close to maturity). This minimizes the plastic touching the plant leaves that can cause freeze burn.

Also, be sure to weigh down the plastic on all sides....COMPLETELY. Any gaps will be found by the wind and render your hard work perhaps worthless. Clearly it won't be airtight but you want it quite close to that. Pull the plastic pretty tight (not crazy tight). I used scrap wood from a fencing project, some tires and bricks. Not rocket science but the details might save you a few tweaking steps of your own. Sorry if these baby steps sound clearly obvious to you Embarassed

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Re: My spring SFG is off and running !!!

Post  dixie on 3/11/2011, 5:11 pm

Regarding parsnips & carrots, I pulled a parsnip today & it was very woody, so I'll be pulling all of them tomorrow & putting in the compost pile.

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