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Hello from New Hampshire!

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Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 12:31 pm

New to SFG, not necessarily new to veg gardening - had a veggie garden over the septic field at our last house, which was the only area that got enough sun and was south facing. It did pretty well, wonder why. Smile

Anyway, I ordered the SFG book and was surprised there's so much in it. So much that it's a tad overwhelming, so I'm taking it slowly. Our soil is basically shallow dirt over a whole lot of granite, with hydric soils at that, and I tried a garden here a few years back but it didn't take well. I thought maybe having a backhoe come and dig around here and get the rocks out and smooth everything over would do the trick, but raised bed gardening seems a much better solution, esp. after reading about all the advantages to the system.

So now I'm bogged down with decisions: where to get the cedar, how high it needs to be, what to reinforce the corners with, how to level the slope of my yard out to place them, which type of composting system to use and where, and now which company to order seeds from (only heirloom or open pollinated), which veggies/herbs to plant, when to plant, whether to start indoors and transplant and how to do that... I have a headache.

So. One thing at a time. Glad to be here. I'll just listen in on what you all have to say. Smile
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/25/2011, 1:27 pm

NHGardener,

There is a lot to absorb from the book, but you will find that in the end, SFG is very simple. Just breathe and do things one at a time. Don't forget to try to locate your materials by phone first. There is nothing more tiring that driving from store to store in order to find what you need at the third or fourth place you look. Once your beds are built and filled with Mel's Mix, gardening will be a snap.

Deciding on which veggies to grow, first decide what you really like to eat and what you normally buy. Start with those.

Check your average or last frost date to determine when to start your seedlings indoors or direct seed in the garden.
Frost Dates

If you think starting seedlings indoors is too much to do for your first year, choose veggies you can seed directly in the ground like beans, lettuce, greens and purchase transplants for those plants you really want that take longer to grow, like tomatoes and peppers.

Above all, enjoy yourself.
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 1:53 pm

Great advice - thanks. Once this summer's SFG chores are over with, subsequent summers will be MUCH easier.

There is an ad in Mother Earth News where, based on your location and your plants, they will email you when it's time to plant or transplant, space requirements for each plant, and the next year, they'll look at last year's plan and tell you if you need to rotate or move some plants based on what you had in that spot last year. Anyway, basically an organizer/planner. For $25/yr. That's an interesting idea. If you had 10 different vegetables/herbs and you wanted to plant some directly in the garden, some as transplants, I think you punch in all that and they tell you exactly when to plant/transplant each item. At least I think that's how it works. Plus something about planning your ground cover for the winter.

Anyway... Gardening can become a full time job. Smile
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/25/2011, 2:10 pm

We have discussed that planner before and some members were really impressed with it,

If I remember correctly, there is a free 30 day trial so you can try it out and find out if it is exactly what you want. Of course that won't provide you with rotation information and your 30 days may end before the planting date of some of your veggies.
Perhaps some members who have used the Mother Earth Planner can chime in on what their experience was.

Space requirements, just look on the seed package and use the "thin to" measurement to determine how close to plant.

Some examples are
3 inches apart, 16 per square
4 inches apart, 9 per square
6 inches apart, 4 per square
12 inches apart, 1 per square

If you use Mel's Mix, you may find you do not want to use cover crops, as their main purpose is to add nutrients and assist in aeration of the soil. Whenever you harvest a square, you add a trowel full of compost, so you are feeding the soil as you go. Mel's Mix is so friable, and you don't walk on it, so compacting and aeration is not an issue.

.
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 3:07 pm

Hey NHGardener to the Forum!
Where are you located? I am in Keene and it is so nice to see a close neighbor here.
There are numerous free garden planners available online. Here are a few links you may find helpful with your planning.

Plant Maps

Vegetable Varieties

Johnny's Interactive tools

NHs own Farmers Almanac

Seed planting calculator



Building the garden boxes doesn't need to be extensive or expensive. I built my boxes from basic pine and deck screws, no corner reinforcement; I expect them to last 4-6 years. I chose 8X2 planks and cut them to length at HD. This does a fine job for the basic garden.

Well, that is my starting advice. Please do not hesitate to contact me.
I am Camprn and I am the New England Regional Host and again Welcome to the forum!


Last edited by camprn on 2/25/2011, 3:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added another link)
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 4:04 pm

Hi camprn - Ooh. Pine would be cheaper. I had heard they fall apart, but like you said, if they last a few years, by then you might want to change things around a little bit. (Are they 12" high? or by 8x2 did you mean they're 2 feet high?) And it's great to see those free online planners! I'll give them a look. I'm in Barrington, the other side. Smile

And Furbalsmom - can't wait to read about Mel's Mix. I hadn't thought you wouldn't need a cover crop, but that's nice to know.

I have 2 seed wishlists going, one at VictorySeeds.com, and one at tomatofest.com (because their tomatoes looked really great). Even tho you wouldn't think seeds with all the snow out there today...

camprn, I also see that Epsom is accepting orders for Earth Machine composters for $45 for Earth Day.

Thanks for the tips!

(btw, we have chickens here, looking forward to putting that compost to use...)
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 4:08 pm

Hey, if you get down Portsmouth way, Ocean State Job Lot has Burpee seed at 40% off right now. That is where I get a majority of my seed.

The pine planks were 2"x 8" X 8'. 2 planks made one 4'x4' box. I chose the 8" wide because I fill the box to the top with the soil mix and then after settling there is 6" of mix for the plants to grow in. If you would like to, you can view some of the garden photos here <~~~Click
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RE: Hello from New Hampshire

Post  Goosegirl on 2/25/2011, 4:19 pm

NHGardener wrote:

I have 2 seed wishlists going, one at VictorySeeds.com, and one at tomatofest.com (because their tomatoes looked really great). Even tho you wouldn't think seeds with all the snow out there today...


Last year was my first year using seeds from tomatofest.com. They were AWESOME! I have already received my order of new varieties from them for this year. It was also putting to use the seed starting instructions from their site that made my indoor seed starting successful for the first time ever.

TC
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 7:54 pm

Goosegirl, that is so good to hear! Because I was wondering whether I really wanted to spend a $15 minimum on just tomatoes...

Can you use this year's seeds for next year too? I'll never use that many seeds.

But really, their descriptions, etc., sound so appealing.
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 8:16 pm

Camprn - those photos are awesome! Ooh. I have so many questions. First of all, you dug your dirt up beneath your boxes? That's a lot of work! And then it looks like your first picture was from St. Patrick's Day - will it really be snowless by then? Hard to believe. If that's when 2 of your boxes were ready, then I had really better get busy. And your compost pile - is that strictly leaves & such, and not food scraps? Just wondered with it being open like that, if food scraps would draw critters.

And did you buy bagged soil to start your boxes? Just regular soil? Oh, and what are those potatoes in sacks? You grow them right in the sack? I've never heard of that before.

Your step-by-step photos really help. Thank you for putting those up!


Last edited by NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 8:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RE: Hello from New Hampshire

Post  Goosegirl on 2/25/2011, 8:32 pm

NHGardener wrote: I was wondering whether I really wanted to spend a $15 minimum on just tomatoes...

Can you use this year's seeds for next year too? I'll never use that many seeds.

But really, their descriptions, etc., sound so appealing.

I was hesitant to spend $15 on just tomatoes as well, especially since I don't really like to eat tomatoes! But, I love cooking with tomato sauce, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes, and I LOVE salsa! I grow peppers, onions, and cilantro to make my own salsa. And besides, it is just SO COOL to make all yellow tomato sauce!

So far I have not had a problem using seeds that were 1-2 years old, but I also have limited space, so everytime I find new varieties to try, the old seeds get shuffled to the back of the line!

TC
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 8:35 pm

Oh yes. I could see seed collecting being a big problem in my future...

What kinds of peppers & onions do you grow for salsa?
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  Goosegirl on 2/25/2011, 8:53 pm

NHGardener wrote:Oh yes. I could see seed collecting being a big problem in my future...

What kinds of peppers & onions do you grow for salsa?

This year I am only doing Candy Hybrid onions, along with my 2x6 bed of Egyptian Walking onions. I have done Mars in the past, but I am cutting back to just one kind this year in honor of cleaning and SFGing my scrubby disorganized garden (pics of before and after coming on another thread for this coming clean & organize season!).

I like hot peppers, but DH cannot handle anything other than x-mild, so last year I grew Fooled You jalapenos along with Jupiter bells and Hungarian Wax. This year I have an heirloom Orange Bell from Baker Creek and some Sweet Banana. I missed my timeframe for planting my own garlic, so that will have to wait until next fall.....

Beware: Tomatofest sends a free packet of sample seeds with your order, and it is always something that sounds so good that you have to make room for 'just one more tomato! Very Happy

TC
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 9:11 pm

Well, goosegirl, I would love to get your salsa recipe...

I was talking to DH tonight about my new ultra-consuming hobby here, and how I have to have my indoor seeds planted by March 15 (some of them anyway) and he said - where are you going to put them? So I told him where I was thinking, and he said - you're going to plant those from seeds? Why don't you just go to the grocery store and get tomato plants?

hahahaha

He didn't love my chickens at first either, but he gets used to things. Laughing
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RE: Hello from New Hampshire

Post  Goosegirl on 2/25/2011, 9:16 pm

NHGardener wrote: ...... and he said - you're going to plant those from seeds? Why don't you just go to the grocery store and get tomato plants?

hahahaha

..... Laughing

Until they catch the bug they just don't understand....or maybe we're just a bit crazy! tongue
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 9:21 pm

NHGardener wrote:Camprn - those photos are awesome! Ooh. I have so many questions. First of all, you dug your dirt up beneath your boxes? That's a lot of work!
yes it was a bit more work but i absolutely despise using weed barrier, so the thing I had to do was take up the sod. I put the box on the lawn where I was going to have the garden and cut the sod around the perimeter. Then I took up the box and cut the sod into manageable squares about a foot square then proceeded to lift the sod, knocking out a bit of the dirt but not much, then threw the squares into the wheelbarrow. One 4x4 area took me a few hours. I replaced the box into the dirt then took the sod squares and piled them upside down next to my compost pile. There they quietly composted and I am hoping that I will have some nice soil compost to make a new flower bed in the spring.

NHGardener wrote:
And then it looks like your first picture was from St. Patrick's Day - will it really be snowless by then? Hard to believe.

Yes indeed, we did not have all that much snow last year and it warmed up quickly. I think it will be a bit later to start this year.
NHGardener wrote:And your compost pile - is that strictly leaves & such, and not food scraps? Just wondered with it being open like that, if food scraps would draw critters.

That pile was some leaves, dried grass clippings and all the winters vegetable food scraps from the kitchen. It did not draw critters other than my own old dog.
Compost 101 <~~check it out.
NHGardener wrote:And did you buy bagged soil to start your boxes? Just regular soil?
I made a tweeked version of Mel's Mix. The MM recipe is in the All New Square Foot Gardening book; mix 1/3 peat (fluffed) 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost (need 5 different sources of compost).
I cheated and bought Pro-Mix, a seed starting mix of peat, vermiculite and perlite and mixed in composted cow manure, lobster compost and poultry compost and used coffee grounds.

NHGardener wrote:Oh, and what are those potatoes in sacks? You grow them right in the sack? I've never heard of that before.
Those are burlap sacks I got from a friend who is a coffee roaster, I grew potatoes in the sacks using homemade compost and had a poor harvest. It may have been the compost or the fact that it was SO DRY last summer, or a combination of both. I am hoping for better results with potatoes this season.

NHGardener wrote:Your step-by-step photos really help. Thank you for putting those up!

Gardening is work, but with this SFG method it is less work with great results. Follow the basics in Mel's book for a good start, tweek as necessary and remember, it is a process, not an event.
I am starting to get excited about this coming season! AND I am excited about your new garden!!
OH, don't hurt yourself shoveling that snow. Cheers!
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/25/2011, 10:55 pm

camprn, where do you get your peat and vermiculite/Pro-Mix? Is that something that walmart carries?
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  Megan on 2/26/2011, 6:51 am

NHGardener wrote:Are they 12" high? or by 8x2 did you mean they're 2 feet high?

Hi NHGardener, welcome to the forum! glad you\'re here I grew up in southern New Hampshire, nice to see another NH'er here.

Regarding lumber... I know your question was already addressed, but this link may assist you in planning your boxes. 8x2 lumber is not really 8x2. Link: Nominal Lumber Dimensions Hope this helps! Smile
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  NHGardener on 2/26/2011, 8:12 am

Thank you Megan - I'm sorry you're not able to live in NH anymore Laughing but I do envy you your VA growing season!!
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  Megan on 2/26/2011, 8:16 am

NHGardener wrote:Thank you Megan - I'm sorry you're not able to live in NH anymore Laughing but I do envy you your VA growing season!!

Thanks. Smile I do miss the very small town and that kind of life. We had a farm in NH and it did just fine, though, so I'm sure yours will, too! Very Happy
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Re: Hello from New Hampshire!

Post  camprn on 2/26/2011, 9:21 am

NHGardener wrote:camprn, where do you get your peat and vermiculite/Pro-Mix? Is that something that walmart carries?

What I look for in a mix is peat, perlite, vermiculite. Sometimes there
is lime to balance the pH of the peat, green sand, micro nutrients and
wetting agents. These are all ok.
I buy my peat, pro-mix and compost at either Agway or the local grain /garden store. Here is a link to Premier and shows their product line.
You should be able to buy the Peat, varmiculite and bagged compost in large bags. I do not usually find the large bales and bags that I want at Wally World.
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