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Hooray for a new Garden!

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Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 2/27/2011, 10:23 pm

My husband and I did a trial run of veggie gardening last year in containers and that worked so well that we graduated ourselves to raised bed gardening and since we had the space, we made 2 5.75 ft x 4.25 ft boxes. A bit large but figure that will give us opportunity to plant lots and learn many lessons this year! Razz
We bought the wood weeks ago and finally assembled them today. Next up is getting the soil. We were told mixing in Steer manure will help (a successful raised bed gardener told us about that one). Also decided to buy some copper flashing to tack to the outside of the boxes to see if that will deter our lovely slugs. It's over 3 inches wide...surely that should work better than the narrow tape stuff right?!?

Best places to get starts and seeds from in SW Portland? We live around the corner from Al's Garden Center. Thanks!



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RE: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Goosegirl on 2/28/2011, 8:02 am

Dr. Bigfood

Greetings from South Dakota! Welcome to the forum!

We love pictures, so post pics of your new boxes and what grows in them as you can!

TC

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/28/2011, 11:46 pm

@Dr.Bigfoot wrote:My husband and I did a trial run of veggie gardening last year in containers and that worked so well that we graduated ourselves to raised bed gardening and since we had the space, we made 2 5.75 ft x 4.25 ft boxes. A bit large but figure that will give us opportunity to plant lots and learn many lessons this year! Razz
We bought the wood weeks ago and finally assembled them today. Next up is getting the soil. We were told mixing in Steer manure will help (a successful raised bed gardener told us about that one). Also decided to buy some copper flashing to tack to the outside of the boxes to see if that will deter our lovely slugs. It's over 3 inches wide...surely that should work better than the narrow tape stuff right?!?

Best places to get starts and seeds from in SW Portland? We live around the corner from Al's Garden Center. Thanks!



DrBigfoot

It's nice to have another SFG'er from Oregon!

Please, Please, Please let me know how that copper flashing works. The slugs here on the coast are horrendous.

Unfortunately, I rarely go to Portland, so I can't make recommendations for purchsing starts and transplants. I will say that I love Territorial Seed Co, out of Cottage Grove, Or. I do find their seeds as some of my local stores like the Grange, so you may find them locally too.

Are you planning to use Mel's Mix in your raised beds? I find I am less and less inclined to dealing with weeds and the Mel's Mix does make life so much easier. No weeds, except those that may blow into the mix.

Again, Welcome! Please feel free to ask questions when you have them and comment on other topics if you like. Remember that we I love you pictures.

ps Composted Steer Manure is great, especially if you can blend it with other types of compost. Mel's Mix calls for a blend of 5 types of compost in order to provide the most balanced nutrition for your plants.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 3/1/2011, 10:47 pm

Thanks for the tip! I'll have to look for that brand. Hopefully in the next couple weeks we'll get the time to get the copper flashing on and get our dirt so we can start the planting. I planned our garden and so excited to move on to the next step. I'll be sure to snap some photos of the garden once it's all filled up with soil. Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can find the square foot gardening book. Does it give guidelines on how many of each type of veggie you can grow in each square foot?

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/2/2011, 3:33 am

@Dr.Bigfoot wrote:Thanks for the tip! I'll have to look for that brand. Hopefully in the next couple weeks we'll get the time to get the copper flashing on and get our dirt so we can start the planting. I planned our garden and so excited to move on to the next step. I'll be sure to snap some photos of the garden once it's all filled up with soil. Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can find the square foot gardening book. Does it give guidelines on how many of each type of veggie you can grow in each square foot?

The book has most veggies and their spacing listed in an easy to read format. It also tells you how to determine your square foot spacing based on the "thin to" instructions on your seed packages.

If the seed package says thin to
3 inches = 16 per sq ft
4 inches = 9 per sq ft
6 inches = 4 per sq ft
12 inches = 1 per sq ft

When shopping for the book, make sure you find the ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING book from about 2006 or later (the title really is all in caps).
The orignal Square Foot Gardening book is good and has a lot of information, but the All New has many improvements that make the SFG system soooooooo easy to use.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 3/2/2011, 9:12 pm

The bookstore only had the new one so that's what I got! Had to go to a 2nd bookstore since the first one was out. I'll start my education tonight! This is so exciting!

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Megan on 3/2/2011, 9:21 pm

Hey there Dr. Bigfoot, welcome to the forum and to SFG! glad you\'re here

Good to see another person from Oregon. I lived in Portland for a time and still have family there. There are some challenges growing in that area (which I know from family--didn't try it myself while I was there) but it can certainly be done!

Please let us know about your hopes and plans for the coming year.

Happy gardening! flower

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 3/2/2011, 10:06 pm

Our hope is to not kill our veggies! LOL! Last year we kept forgetting to water the plants so the squash were little bitty things, tasty, but tiny! We're hoping to make salads from our garden. The lettuce, chard, spinach, and snap peas grew beautifully, despite our delinquency so we're hoping to be better this year. Maybe we can fashion a drip irrigation system somehow...

Things we're going to grow: Yellow squash, zucchini, pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, chard, cucumber, sweet peppers, onions, garlic (that one will have to wait to the fall to plant), cauliflower, sugar snap peas, radishes, rhubarb, celery. According to our veggie growing book, apparently you can get a rash from celery...anyone ever get that rash?
For herbs: basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, oregano, chives, sage, parsely, tarragon, mint. The herb goal is to not kill the mint. Yes, I know mint grows like a weed but I have successfully killed mint 5 times. Again, forgot to water it. I like to joke that I practice Darwinian gardening - survival of the fittest! Razz

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  dixie on 3/2/2011, 11:51 pm

Welcome to the Forum! So glad to have another SFG'r.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/3/2011, 2:32 am

To water the garden last year I used canvas type soaker hoses purchased from Wal-Mart. They were less that $15.00 for 50 feet and about $10 for 25 ft. I had to buy several. Because it was one large raised bed with a 2 ft wide path in the middle, I connected the soaker hoses end to end, then ran them up and down the length of the garden with stakes at the curved ends. The final placement was about 1 ft apart. They worked really well.

This year, I will have to make some adjustments as there will be three or four 4X4 Table tops so I plan to use one 25 ft soaker hose per box. The soaker hose will be on the inside of each outer edge and then back and forth every foot in between. (a total of 5 - 4 ft lengths and plus the turns on the ends should cover each box. To connect each box I will probably use short lengths of garden hose between the Table Tops, fastened up and down the TT legs so the weight won't pull the soaker hoses out of the bed. At least this is how I plan to take care of the watering issue.

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Welcome

Post  ander217 on 3/3/2011, 7:07 am

Welcome to the forum, Dr. Bigfoot. Glad you found the book. It answers so many questions. For any other questions we're always here on the forum, happy to help in any way we can.

The SFG foundation also sells easy-to-use drip irrigation systems. You might check those out on the web site.

For me, the most important thing when starting your first SFG is to get the blend right on your Mel's Mix. If the soil mix isn't right, your plants won't grow well. I didn't use enough different composts last year, and I also inadvertently added too much peat (missed the line in the book where it said compressed peat doubles in volume when fluffed), so I had to add blood meal, bone meal, and epsom salts to my mix before my plants took off growing. This year I'm trying to do it correctly from the start in my new boxes. We also have raised beds for crops such as corn, watermelons, and okra which would take up a lot of space in a box. We still plant our raised beds SFG style even though they don't contain Mel's Mix.

Keep us posted on how your garden grows.


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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 3/3/2011, 11:04 pm

The book says 5 different composts...so stupid question - can I count steer manure as a compost type?

Also do any portlanders know where to get vermiculite? The book makes it sound like it's not so easy to find. Guess I'll start calling around to the different garden centers. Better than driving around and wasting gas.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/4/2011, 1:42 pm

@Dr.Bigfoot wrote:The book says 5 different composts...so stupid question - can I count steer manure as a compost type?

Also do any portlanders know where to get vermiculite? The book makes it sound like it's not so easy to find. Guess I'll start calling around to the different garden centers. Better than driving around and wasting gas.

The following link is to our Vermiculite Data Base. Listings are in State Order. There are a few listings for retailers in Portland and Salem. Please before you rush out, give them a call to make sure they still offer vermiculite, and check their current prices.

The button on the left US FORM is for you to enter new sources
The second button from the left is US DB, the data base that includes sources previous reported.

VERMICULITE DATA BASE


Steer manure is one type of compost. As far as compost types, I found composted steer manure and composted chicken manure, mushroom compost and a branded product "Whitney Farms Planting Compost". I am still looking for another type of compost.

I think if you check out the ingredients label on your compost, you will find that several "types" of compost are made of a blend of ingredients.
Mushroom compost in my area has the following ingredients: composted straw, poultry waste, spaghnum moss, gypsum and cottonseed meal.
Whitney Farms Planting Compost has the following ingredients: softwood bark compost, forest product compost, composted manure, dried poultry waste and feather meal.

Following this line of thought, I have steer manure, chicken manure, straw, cottonseed meal, softwood bark, forest products, and feather meal, so I feel that I have a good assortment of ingredients. If I find another "type" I will add it to my compost blend, if I don't I still think I am covered.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 3/5/2011, 12:35 am

Thanks!

So I just went through and created our garden for this year and plotted out where we'll grow each veggie in the boxes. Won't really try much secondary plots this time around. We decided to also build a support to allow the squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peas to grow up vertically though I'm kind of confused how that will work with the peas since those can be planted 8 per square but the support will only be near the back row of that square. I guess it just grows toward the netting?!?

I'm so glad I found this place!

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Megan on 3/5/2011, 8:05 am

Congrats! Planning is so much fun.

Some peas are climbers (like the Tall Telegraph sort), others have shorter vines/more of a bush type, but even the bush type are reachy-grabby and will latch onto anything, including each other. Your peas towards the front will grow toward the netting unless there is something bigger that's closer. My peas didn't do well at all last year, but in the two squares I planted, they climbed my cucumber cage and a large, sturdy plant growing adjacent.

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Peas

Post  ander217 on 3/5/2011, 8:18 am

I don't plant my peas all around the square as with most veggies. Instead I make two rows of them, staggered, on the fence side of the square. That leaves a little room in front to plant something else in each square. Last year I planted carrots in front, but the voles got them so I can't say how well they would have done there.

If memory serves, this is how Mel suggests planting pole beans, too. Does anyone have their book handy?

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Megan on 3/5/2011, 8:24 am

Mel says... let's see here:

Sugar Snap Peas: 8 per square. Plant direct with innoculant, 1" deep. No comments about actual planting method, though he does say "keep the vines trained up the vertical frame".

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 3/5/2011, 10:18 am

LOL! Last year the one I planted grew into the net we hung to keep the birds out and then I had to spend a few minutes gently removing it from the netting. We got a ton of them and they were so tasty! We planted the Oregon Super Pod II(I think they're sugar snaps...they tasted sweet). Not sure I'll need all 8 so maybe I'll just do 2 or 3 and plant stuff in the front of them...like more carrots! Yummy!

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  quiltbea on 3/5/2011, 10:38 am

I only plant two rows of peas within my squares; one row just behind the netting and one row in front of the netting. I put one in every 1 1/2"-2" across.

Here are my snow peas starting their trip upwards.

I think if you fill in the whole block instead of just the back half of the squares, you'll have crowding problems.

My sugar snaps in the next box.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  camprn on 3/5/2011, 11:05 am

Pea planting last year




How well they grew


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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/5/2011, 11:43 am

That is an awesome setup for Peas Camp.

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Megan on 3/5/2011, 11:55 am

That's neat, camp.... what did you have at the top to support the string?

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  camprn on 3/5/2011, 12:03 pm

I used the conduit for the vertical support, then down on the box I put a strip of old molding on either side of the conduit. I then used the over and under method of stringing. I used jute twine and at the end of the season I simply cut the twine off and composted the whole kit'n'kaboodle. Very Happy

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Megan on 3/5/2011, 12:09 pm

Sweet. I am going to have to build more trellises this year!

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/5/2011, 7:55 pm

Camprn and Quiltbea, thanks for your posts with pictures and descriptions of the trellises. I searched and searched trying to find these for DrBigfoot without success. So now we have info on both the trellis netting and the string system. cheers (plus I have to set up some type of trellis system at the Community Garden and I'm still dithering as to what to use)

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Re: Hooray for a new Garden!

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