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Planning my first SFG

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Re: Planning my first SFG

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/22/2011, 12:55 pm

Just had to offer my 2 cents..... This is my second year with Mel, last year we had boxes and I had to go by memory of the old book I checked out from the Library. As Mel said "It's not SFG if you don't have a grid". This year we added boxes, and armed with the new book (I bought it this time) and a suggestion for using old mini blinds for grids, I am officially SFGing. I am unable to get MM at this time however. Last year we tilled up and scooped up what we had. This year we dug that up, and filled with what our local supplier calls mulch, but it has more dirt than mulch so I used it straight. My husband is still not sure about this SFG concept and knowing the more I try to convince him the more he will resist the idea, we are to much alike in that area. This year we probably could have gotten MM, but he had the opportunity to invest in bees, and will be bringing home 2 goats in the next few days, something we both have wanted (the bees and the goats-$100 for one billy & one pregnant nany btw). I refer to my husband as the keeper of the checkbook, he is aware of this and thinks it is funny, I say this to let everyone know that although his spending somewhat annoys me at times (mostly because he does not get what ever I want at the time, like a good, responsible husband should not do just because I stomp my foot and throw a fit), he is usally right. Having said more than was probably asked for on this, if I could I would have started with MM, because now that I have filled my boxes twice, I will be digging it out and refilling it just as soon as the keeper of the checkbook says I can, we will also be getting rid of the landscape timbers and going to cinder blocks, and raising up them in a few years for our aging backs. We still have 2 kids at home so finances are tight, but we do what we can, as we can, I just hope we get it all said and done before these 2 leave home, or I will have my grandkids out there doing it for me.

My point (took me long enough didn't it) if you can in any way shape or form use MM and all reccomended methods, then by all means do it, it's been proven to work over and over. If not do what you can with what you have and gradually work towards getting MM and what ever else you need.

What bothered me personally the most about not having what Mel suggested was not having grids. Wood was out, we have a huge squash bug problem here, and laying wood grids on the soil was giving them a place to hid, as is the landscape timbers we are currently using. Seeing the post about using the old mini blinds was a breath of fresh air for me, because again Mel said "If you don't have a grid, its not a SFG". New book pg 61, under Grids and Materials.

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Re: Planning my first SFG

Post  middlemamma on 3/22/2011, 1:37 pm

This isn't the first time we have hashed this concept out on the forum. Sadly in times past we have lost members over this, and it need not be that way. As the admin of the forum now...I want you all here, MM or not. MM is not a reason to segregate ourselves here.

Yes MM is a foundational key to Mel’s SFG'ing and CANNOT be dismissed with the wave of your hand as not integral to Mel's system. It is integral to doing it Mel’s way if that is what you decide to do. And if you decide or don’t decide that is entirely your choice and no matter what you decide you are still WELCOME HERE!

Now...is it integral to gardening? Heck no...gardening has been, can be, and will be done thousands of different ways till the end of time.

Do you have to have MM to be here on the forum? Heck no!

Will “we” tell you MM is awesome and to try it because we believe in it and love it? Heck ya!

Will we still answer your questions out and help you out the best we can even if you don't have the mix? Heck ya! (but we might also ENCOURAGE YOU to try the MM!)

ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT....GROWING FOOD... that's why we are all here.

These are tough times, and I understand costs being inhibitive. Mel understood that as well as some things being scarce in different areas. Rare things become expensive really quick and thus cost inhibitive. That is why Mel himself offered suggestions as to alternatives when something cannot be found.

Everyone needs to know they are welcome here MM or not...but they also need to understand that we are here and this forum exists because of Mel and his ideas so it's likely you will be encouraged to use MM.

Can you do that one box at a time? Heck ya! Can you use straight compost this year and over the years add the other ingredients? Heck ya! Can you do it anyway that works for you? Heck ya! Do it anyway you need to...or if you insist, don't do it at all. As previously stated, it is your business completely what is in your boxes.

But just be prepared that here on Mel's site that is backed by his foundation we are going to be gently, nicely, encouraging you to try his recipe. Smile

The key words I have used here are GENTLY, NICELY, ENCOURAGING, SUPPORTIVE.

I need you all to follow those key words here on the forum. More than Mel's Mix these words are ESSENTIAL and IMPERITIVE to this forum community. Please always remember we are here to support one another in the endeavor of growing food MM or not…I believe that Mel would be okay with that while commenting often and kindly that if you would just give the MM a try you would LOVE IT!

I think even Mel knows that you catch more bees with sweet beautiful flowers than you can with negative and derogatory comments. I bet we can get more people to try MM with positive and supportive comments than we can by being mean and nasty to each other. And I believe that is what Mel would want us to do.

And please remember this goes both ways...if you don't use MM feel free to continue to be supportive and contributory here on the forum...but let's not be derogatory towards the founder’s recipe.

Support...Encouragement....Kindness...grows beautiful communities large and small.

Last edited by middlemamma on 3/22/2011, 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Planning my first SFG

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/22/2011, 1:43 pm

Jennie, one year out of sheer curiosity we filled some boxes with rabbit manure and stuck some field corn and tomato plants in it, yep they grew. I would not recommend digging in it with your bare hands, but hey we were bored and had nothing better to do....

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Re: Planning my first SFG

Post  quiltbea on 3/22/2011, 3:45 pm

When I started my SFG I'd never heard of Mel's Mix. Last year was the first I'd heard of it and its great results but couldn't find it. I'm all for it, when I can afford it. Until then I'll stumble along with what I have and can afford.

This year is the year I plan to add MM to my beds. It may only be one bag or two, but its a start. I have to have crops growing for my family. I try this and that and experimant to see what works best for me in the cold north country.

I have every faith that MM must be good. I think Mel has done a terrific job in teaching us how to get the best from our gardens with what we have available. In fact, his DVDs from years past is inspirational and tells us we can always improve.

That doesn't mean that raised beds without it are awful. The concept is Square Foot Gardening, after all. That's the main feature.
The additions of hot beds and cold frames and tents and Mel's Mix all add to the concept.

To that end, I say get your SFG started. That's the most important thing. Those blessed with the funds can start with MM right away. Those without can start as Mel did those many years ago, and improve each year.

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