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New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

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New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Miss M on 3/8/2011, 3:48 pm

Hi! I'm a homeschooling mom trying to produce more here at home.

Our yard was engineered as an overflow for the neighborhood some 60 years ago. As a consequence, when we have a good rain, the yard floods, and then the water slowly soaks in. The ground remains wet for weeks at a time. Efforts to grow things like grapes and fruit trees here over the decades have failed (this house has been in the family for a long time).

After some research, it became clear that the only way to grow anything was going to be by building raised beds about 18-24" deep, with at least 6" of sand in the bottom. This is how I heard about SFG. I looked at other methods of elevated gardening, but this seemed to be the best. I read a lot of reviews.

So we have built a bed that is 20 feet long and 18-24 inches deep (the ground is also very uneven), lined it with chicken wire and landscaping cloth, and filled the bottom with 6-9 inches of fill sand (coarse sand with small pebbles). I am in the process of collecting the ingredients for the Mel's Mix required to fill it the rest of the way.

Miss M

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  walshevak on 3/8/2011, 5:02 pm

You might want to check out the tabletop gardens also. Being up in the air is easier on the back and you will definately have no drainage problems. Boffer has some great pics and plans.

Kay

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Megan on 3/8/2011, 5:29 pm

Welcome, Miss M, to the forum and to SFG! glad you\'re here

Wow, what a project...wish I knew more about drainage, but I suspect there are some people here on the forum who may have some great advice for you.

One thing I can say is: You can fill those boxes deeper with that gravel and still be fine, unless you are planning on planting lots of deeply rooted plants like potatoes and long carrots. 6" depth of Mel's Mix is fine, otherwise.

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/8/2011, 5:34 pm

Miss M.

We are very glad you are here. I checked your blog and was really impressed with the garden your DH built, very nice. I like those high posts that you can use for trellises and hanging baskets. It will also be great for holding deer or bird netting to protect your garden from the roaming animals looking for a vegetable buffet.

I find 4 feet very comfortable for me to reach across, but if you can handle the almost 5 feet, wonderful! I can also appreciate getting those extra 24 sg ft by changing the deminsions to build with what you have.

If you get a chance,take some time to review older posts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. We have members that would be glad to assist you. We welcome your comments, so just jump right in if you like.

Again, Welcome.

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  elliephant on 3/8/2011, 6:03 pm

Welcome! Took a look at your blog and it brings back such memories! For just a few short years my parents moved to Idaho and we had chickens and rabbits that we raised for food. I was 4 when we moved there and 7 when we moved back to the CA/AZ desert. Very formative years! Those experiences have definitely impacted my life for the better.

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Miss M on 3/8/2011, 11:08 pm

Thank y'all! Very Happy

I did run the tabletop option by my uncle (who owns the house) and my husband, and they were a bit wary of it, because of how long we wanted to make it. Both preferred the on-the-ground idea, even though I imagine it's a good deal more expensive. My husband built a bench all the way around it, so we can sit comfortably and reach in. Very Happy Another reason we put it on the ground was that where we had to put it (for light reasons) is under some low power lines. If the garden were much higher, we would have big issues with vine crops (we'll have to be vigilant as it is). But if we put it at the same height or lower on a tabletop, we wouldn't be able to mow below it.

The Mel's Mix will be a good bit deeper than called for, true. I do want to grow carrots and potatoes, but the main reason I'm okay with it being this deep is the heat. I'm hoping the depth will help ensure a water supply for the plants. Once it gets hot here, there is no relief until almost November! I don't know if that's really enough reason to have it this deep, but... oh, well. Embarassed

And I am most definitely looking forward to using those posts for protective netting, to keep out all of the :cat: albino :pig: :elephant: (okay, I don't have a problem with pigs and elephants... but there wasn't a raccoon, a dog, or a opossum)! And with plastic on the frame in winter, I can probably grow a selection of things year-round. Very Happy

I'm glad you liked my blog! Thank you for visiting! Very Happy

I am really enjoying wandering around on here and reading, reading, reading. I've already found that I'm not the only one that is using fine grade vermiculite. Thank goodness... I was hoping that wasn't going to be a problem.

Miss M

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/9/2011, 12:53 am

Hi Miss M welcome to the forums

I like the look of your garden, and the bunnies. I take it you'll be growing lots of carrots then. Razz

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Miss M on 3/9/2011, 1:48 am

@Kabaju42 wrote:Hi Miss M welcome to the forums

I like the look of your garden, and the bunnies. I take it you'll be growing lots of carrots then. Razz

Heheheee! As a matter of fact, yes! They'll be getting most of the garden clippings, as well. Most everything except stuff from the Nightshade and cabbage families. And then they'll contribute to the garden. Should work out pretty well. Thank you! Very Happy

Miss M

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Welcome

Post  ander217 on 3/9/2011, 7:06 am

Welcome to the forum, Miss M.

If you live in a hot-weather area, be sure you don't get too much peat in your Mel's Mix. I missed the line in the book which said that a compressed bale of peat moss should be fluffed up to double in size before mixing, and we wound up having to remix our first batch after it formed a dry crust on top and nothing grew well since we had only half the amount of compost we should have. The peat should be well hydrated before you mix, also. It takes a lot of soaking time. In addition, Mel's Mix settles a LOT in its first year so wet it, wet it, wet it, as you layer the mix into your box, and round it up high on top. It is much easier to keep it hydrated in hot temps, rather than trying to get it hydrated after it is in the box.

Keep us posted on how your garden grows, and remember we love photos.


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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/9/2011, 9:08 am

glad you\'re here Miss M, we too are a homeschool family. I have not hoped over to your blog yet, it's time to line the kids out with lessons for the day, but when I get them started I'll hop on over for coffee.

We are in zone 8a, NE TX to be a bit more specific, and it gets pretty hot and dry here too. We are not yet able to get the Mel's Mix ingredients, but we were able to bring in new dirt this year, the soil here is 90% red clay and bakes root crops for you before picking. Where we have our garden, and with the clay factored in, water tends to sit in some spots so it gets pretty messy out there. With the boxes/beds I have seen a BIG difference. We just slosh out there in our rain boots (and hope they don't get stuck in the mud) and garden away.

I believe there are a few homeschool families here on the forum, just do a search, and again welcome!!!

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Miss M on 3/10/2011, 12:37 am

Thank you for the tips, Ander217! I had read that I needed to mist the peat moss and vermiculite, but I will definitely make sure I wet it thoroughly! Smile

Hi, FarmerValerie, it's great to know there are other homeschoolers on here! It makes sense, really, since I know lots of homeschoolers grow gardens. We're getting ready to buy some rubber boots for all of us... there is standing water in the yard even now, and we have so much to do. I like your blog! Smile

Miss M

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/10/2011, 8:02 am

Thanks Miss M, I need to update with pictures again, but I've been busy. A year and a half ago, I really stepped up my blogging, I was posting 3 times a week minimum and started hearing about making money doing it, took a course. Long story short, posting every day took too much time, and being told I HAD to have a word press blog and such just did not sit well, so I stopped. I am now getting back into my garden blog, I run it, it does not run me.

We just got my daughter some rubber boots, Academy Sports had them for $15, for a good pair, so if you have one of those close by check with them, or order online. Funny thing, when I was growing up they were just called rubbers, I knew what it meant, so did everyone else where I grew up. I told my husband a while back our daughter needed some rubbers, he flipped, she's 12. When I calmed him down I explained that she needed boots.......

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

Post  Miss M on 3/10/2011, 12:59 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote: When I calmed him down I explained that she needed boots.......
Shocked Wow, talk about lost in translation! Laughing

I've heard about making money with blogging, too. However, I am also an amateur geek, and the thought of putting ad stuff on my blog that could potentially carry malware does not sit well with me. I regularly help clean up friends' computers, so... I'll just keep it free. Smile

Miss M

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Re: New Square Foot Gardener... with a Waterlogged Yard :)

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