Square Foot Gardening Forum
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New from Michigan

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New from Michigan

Post  fiddleman on 3/22/2011, 9:01 pm

Hi all,

I have always been interested in gardening since I was a kid and my neighbor's gardened - I loved going out and helping to pick the vegetables and especially the strawberries!.

Later, I learned about SFG, by watching Mel on our local PBS station ( the first time around) many years ago. I thought it was interesting, but I stuck with the traditional methods. I have tried raised beds since, and they worked more or less, but the worst thing was the weeding which was needed to be done all the time. Eventually the weeds would overtake the garden, and the harvest would be picked all the time I would be embarrassed at the way the garden looked. I used several truckloads of leaf compost (free from our city) and the soil was the best I'd ever used, but still it was so time consuming.

2 years ago I finally bought Mels book, and decided to give it a try and put in the best soil I could get out of the garden. It worked, and I harvested as much as I ever had in less space and I had a lot less work - some how it all the weeding seemed more manageable, because it was broken up into 4 foot sections. The aisle-ways were weedy, but the boxes stayed pretty nice. Last year, I had a number of cardboard boxes, so I cut them up and placed them on the aisles between the SFG's and they completely blocked the weeds out- with the added benefit of keeping the aisles neat and clean. You could go out and water or weed without getting your knees dirty, with the added benefit of working like padding to make it softer while kneeling down! I weighted the cardboard down with some larger decorative rocks, and it looked neat and worked as well as I could have hoped.

I had pretty good soil after many years of improving it, yet I knew if the soil was lighter it would be better for the plants and be easier to manage. I looked and called many places, and they didn't carry vermiculite; so last year I had to go with the soil I had yet again. Even so, I still had the best garden in the neighborhood and mine produced while many others didn't.

I have finally (thanks to the Vermiculite Database here) been able to find some vermiculite for the garden! The soil is so great now with my "Mel's Mix" I can't wait for the weather to improve so I can get out there and see what it can do! It is so light, and easy to work, I didn't think it was possible. YEAH!
My son's are getting into gardening too, it's great to see them so excited.

For all the hard work people have went through to put together the vermiculite database, I say heartfelt and deeply appreciative "Thank you"!!!

Happy Gardening,

Male Posts : 121
Join date : 2011-03-21
Location : Mid Michigan

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Re: New from Michigan

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/22/2011, 9:28 pm


What a great intro. So glad to hear you were able to change over to Mel's Mix. In addition to providing a light, friable and nutritous soil for your veggies, the lack of weeds is amazing.

Everyone contributes to the data base when they enter their finds. It is so nice to be able to find vermiculite when other members have done all the footwork for us. Wardinwake is our resident Verm Data Base Guru and he updates the information on an "as time is available" basis.

Please keep us updated on the progress of your SFG and please share pictures when you can.

Again, Welcome

Female Posts : 3141
Join date : 2010-06-10
Age : 71
Location : Coastal Oregon, Zone 9a, Heat Zone 2 :(

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Re: New from Michigan

Post  boog1 on 3/22/2011, 9:30 pm

hey mark welcome to the site i'm a buckeye transplant as it were. been in michigan goin on 5 years now. will b my first year tryin sfg, the other half thinks me a nut but we'll see who has the last laugh.

Male Posts : 260
Join date : 2010-09-01
Age : 61
Location : jackson,mi

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Re: New from Michigan

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/22/2011, 11:12 pm

Great story, Mark! Welcome aboard. You will find the friendliest people on the gardening planet right here. Betcha lots of others have felt your pain and both winced and nodded while reading that.

Don't forget peat moss is 1/3 of the mix. Nothing fluffs the soil and makes weeds easier to pull than peat moss. Start working that into your dirt, with the vermiculite, and watch how much easier things become.

Give us a pic when you can. We would love to see all your years of effort. Where in Michigan are you? I didn't catch that part.

Male Posts : 2727
Join date : 2010-12-25
Age : 44
Location : St. Louis, MO

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Re: New from Michigan

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/25/2011, 11:38 pm

Hi Mark,
I'm another newbie from MI (I just posted my intro.). When I came across your post, for a second I thought it was mine!

In what general area of Michigan do you live in? I live outside of Ann Arbor.

@boog1 wrote:hey mark welcome to the site i'm a buckeye transplant as it were. been in michigan goin on 5 years now. will b my first year tryin sfg

Hi boog1,
My boyfriend is also a Buckeye transplant and is actually out watching the game right now with another transplant friend of his Very Happy What area of MI do you live in?

Oh and I'm a NY transplant (via NJ, MA and IL!)

Female Posts : 34
Join date : 2011-03-25
Location : Ann Arbor, Michigan vicinity

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Post  ander217 on 3/26/2011, 6:02 am

Welcome to the forum, Fiddleman.

So nice to hear that your sons are also getting involved in SFG. How old are they?

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


Female Posts : 1450
Join date : 2010-03-16
Age : 63
Location : Southeastern Missouri (6b)

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Re: New from Michigan

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