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new in New Hampshire

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new in New Hampshire

Post  nancycwhite on 2/28/2011, 5:27 pm

Hi everyone,

I have tried SQF in the past with mixed results. I think my biggest problem with past setups was the aisles being too skinny and wobbly with the planks I was trying to walk on. I realized this was my problem only after reading the New SQF book, but looking back on it I think that is why I didn't enjoy SQF last time. I look forward to trying it out again this year. The last couple of years I have gone back to the rows of plants and just ended up with a garden of weeds.

I do have a question about setting up the boxes on ground that isn't flat. We are not exactly on a hill, but I know from trying to set up inflatable pools for my kids that I don't have a flat spot anywhere in my yard. Does anybody have experience with this and have you come up with easy solutions?

Thanks for any info you can provide,
Nancy

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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  camprn on 2/28/2011, 5:35 pm

Hi Nancy, to the forum! Where are you in NH? I love having neighbors here!
So, how much of a slope have you got? I have a very slight slope and I just built a small stone foundation under the down slope corners. If I had a major drop I may consider using wider planking on that side.
Do you have a photo of your spot from last year. I know it wont do any good to walk out there and take a photo now .
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  quiltbea on 2/28/2011, 7:59 pm

Welcome from a neighbor in Maine.

I can't help with your questions about slopes, but I know there are those on here that had the problem and solved it. It might be a good thing to start a new thread asking that precise question in the New England Thread.
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  nancycwhite on 2/28/2011, 10:09 pm

I am in southern NH, the Nashua area.
I don't have a big slope. I was thinking of using a larger board on the lower side and trying to even it up. I didn't want to have to put a bottom piece of plywood on the squares. Do you do that if you put a stone foundation under one side?

Unfortunately no pictures and yes I still have 1-2 feet of snow covering my yard.

Nancy

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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  Megan on 2/28/2011, 10:12 pm

Hi Nancy, welcome to the forum! glad you\'re here

I grew up not very far at all from you, nice to see a (one-time) neighbor! Very Happy Boy do I remember those snowy days, too. Hang in there.
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Welcome

Post  ander217 on 3/1/2011, 7:34 am

Welcome to the forum, Nancy.

I'd say it depends on the degree of slope, how wide your beds are, and what type of irrigation you use.

Our 4' x 4' SFG box is on a slight slope. We placed a 2" x 4" along one side to level it, and filled in with straw - straw degrades over time, but everything seemed to settle in fine with no sags in the MM on that side.

We also have several 4' x 10' raised beds planted SFG style which are higher on one side than the other. Hubby tried to level them as best he could when adding compost and rice hull blends. We've never had a problem with them. We have plenty of organic matter in the beds which hold the moisture as well on one side as the other.

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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  Megan on 3/1/2011, 6:08 pm

Nancy, maybe these will help?

This is probably how I'm going to level my beds:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2011/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/

This one looks MUCH more complicated... but fortunately my slope isn't that steep.
http://transitionculture.org/2008/02/20/on-a-level-the-early-days-of-my-on-the-contour-raised-bed-garden/

I need to take the laser level out into the backyard and find out how bad it really is out there. I'll probably end up chalking a line on the fence so I can get a good visual. I have a very good supply of free corrugated cardboard, so if my boxes are a bit deep on one side I can level them off with wet cardboard on that end. (The main purpose there being to conserve the MM.)
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  NHGardener on 3/6/2011, 4:20 pm

Megan - I was just going to look for thepioneerwoman.com page to post, since you posted it for me a few days ago. Today I got my boards etc. from Lowes, and this was on my mind the whole time. My husband insisted I use cedar stakes to go with the cedar boards, but they only had 2x2 "stakes" without a pointy end. He said he'd cut an angle on the end for me. I saw the pine stakes all nice and pointy, but no, I had to put those back...

Well anyway, the point is (haha - point), I'm anxious to try this. Put together the sides, screw the stakes into the corners (I'm using 4' lengths, so I won't have all those mid-board stakes), and then I THINK what they're saying is to put the high end of the slope into the ground, place a level on the boards, and pound the low end in only to the point of being level, and then underfill that end with dirt or whatever. I don't see how that wouldn't work.

My husband did bring up a point tho - being the granite state, what do you do if you pound in 2 inches and all of a sudden "clink" you hit rock. I really hope that doesn't happen. It's why I'm making raised beds to begin with - so much rock.

Oh,. and one other thing, and I think I'll make a post about this - Mel says to use 6" boards. But a lot of people say 6" isn't enough, and even this pioneerwoman article uses two 6" boards. I was hoping to find 8" but Lowes only had the 6". What is the general feeling here about whether 6" is enough?
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  Megan on 3/6/2011, 4:32 pm

Boy do I remember all the rock in New Hampshire!! I grew up there myself.

Mel recommends 6", and I'd guess 6" should be fine for just about anything, unless you want to grow potatoes, carrots, parsnips or other deeply-rooted veggies (leeks, burdock, daikon, etc.) Pioneerwoman is doing raised beds but not SFG, at least, not as far as I can tell. (I just thought the box construction tutorial was nice.)

I used about 4" depth last year and it worked out fine, even with corn and other big plants. I am going to shoot for 6" for my new beds in the backyard, though.
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  boffer on 3/6/2011, 4:41 pm

I would say that the general consensus on the forum is that six inches is plenty, with a few exceptions like carrots and potatoes. Carrots and potatoes grow just fine in six inches, but the carrots aren't as long as we're used to seeing in the store, and for me, the potatoes didn't get as big as usual.

If you're sitting on rock. set the high side, use your stakes to hold the low side up so the box is level, then cut cardboard to size to fit the gaps. Use the cardboard as a template to mark your box material for cutting.
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  NHGardener on 3/6/2011, 6:23 pm

Megan - wow, 4". That's amazing. Some people are very particular about their soil depth beliefs and insist 6" is not enough. It's the size of my boards, so I'm choosing to believe it's enough. Smile

And boffer, that's true, you really don't need those stakes to go in too deeply anyway, just enough to support the lower end of the box so it stays level. It's not like there's a chance the box will blow away. Smile
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  Megan on 3/6/2011, 6:43 pm

I did fine with 4", even for some very large plants. I used landscaping timbers, not actual boards. I think you'll find that 6" is plenty! Smile
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Depth

Post  ander217 on 3/7/2011, 7:42 am

What was difficult for me to comprehend at first was that when using a properly-mixed rich blend of Mel's Mix which is watered when needed, the roots don't grow as large as they do in conventional gardening because the roots find what they need close by. If they need to stretch more but hit a solid bottom, they will go horizontal rather than vertical.

Think of those photos of trees growing in tiny crevices or shallow pockets of soil on rocky slopes. Plants are very adept at finding ways to get what they need. (Unless it is a rosemary plant growing in my herb garden, then they die, die, die.)
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Re: new in New Hampshire

Post  NHGardener on 3/7/2011, 11:27 am

@ander217 wrote:when using a properly-mixed rich blend of Mel's Mix which is watered when needed, the roots don't grow as large as they do in conventional gardening because the roots find what they need close by. If they need to stretch more but hit a solid bottom, they will go horizontal rather than vertical.

That would explain it! Now it makes sense.
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Re: new in New Hampshire

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