Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Questions about starting a SFG - Newbie

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Questions about starting a SFG - Newbie

Post  jymarino on 3/25/2011, 7:00 pm

I am thinking of trying the SFG technique in my 14' x 11' foot garden this year but have questions before I get the book and buy all stuff needed. I have tall fencing I used for last year's garden but I planted too much in too little space and everything became overcrowded. In looking at the garden mapping program on Gardener's Supply's website it said that 9 spinach plants would be grown in a 1 foot square plot. Is that correct? Is this for just planting seeds or putting in seedlings? Since I am getting to a late start this year I will likely have to get seedlings from the local nursery. I know that I want to plant the following:

Cherry tomato
Roma tomato
spinach
lettuce
cucumber
zucchini
sugar snap peas
string beans?
broccoli
cauliflower
sweet peppers
green peppers
hot peppers
basil
oregano
thyme
summer squash
strawberries

It is a pretty extensive list but I am hoping with four 4'x4' beds and one 2' x 10' foot bed I should have enough room. The 10' bed is where I am planning to put the really sun loving plants because they'll be up against the garage wall and will have southern exposure more than 8 hours each day.

The soil we have is pretty good actually, even though it is kind of clay like. I was able to grow plenty of produce last year, I just wasn't able to get in the cages to get most of it. I am hoping with the SFG I would be able to keep things under control more. Any advice would be appreciated. Oh, and I am planning to get the book as soon as the bookstore calls and says they have more in stock.

Best regards,

Jennie

jymarino

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Re: Questions about starting a SFG - Newbie

Post  quiltbea on 3/25/2011, 7:48 pm

Yes, you can plant 9 spinach plants, either seeds or seedlings, because you will want to cut leaves often for fresh meals and that will keep the plants small enough to keep to that space.
If you won't be able to give the garden daily attention, I suggest planting only 4 plants.
In any case, you don't want spinach to get out of hand and going to seed from lack of trimming away the outer leaves often.
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quiltbea

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Re: Questions about starting a SFG - Newbie

Post  quiltbea on 3/25/2011, 7:50 pm

jymarino,
I forgot to welcome you to the forum. When you've read the book you'll find charts to help you with placement and so forth, also planting times whether it be seed or seedling plants.

You can come here with questions any time. Some one should be able to give an answer to them.

Good luck and enjoy the experience.
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Thanks!

Post  jymarino on 3/25/2011, 8:19 pm

Thanks, I appreciate it. This last year I had three tomato plants in a 2' x 6' dog run and they totally took over the entire thing. I couldn't get in there at all so I had to harvest from the outside of the cage. I didn't trim the plants back so maybe that would have helped but it was only my second year with a vegetable garden. I am sure I will have lots of questions both before and after I get the book.

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Re: Questions about starting a SFG - Newbie

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/25/2011, 8:22 pm

Jennie

So glad you joined us. SFG is a great way to grow your veggies and to set things up so you can get at your various crops for pruning, harvesting and making sure that plants on a trellis get up in the air where they belong.

Is the tall garden fencing surrounding 14 X 11 garden area perimeter or is it out a short distance from the garden? I am having trouble trying to visualize how you would set up 4-4X4 boxes and 1-2X10 box and still maintain a 3 ft wide pathway all around so that you can access all sides of the boxes. That is one of the conveniences of SFG, access to everything so you don't step on the Mel's Mix. Of course, if you are building beds, you don't need to maintain the exact deminsions of your garden from last year, unless the fence limits you.

Yes, the Gardener's Supply planning website is correct, you can grown 9 spinaches in one square foot. This would be seeds or transplants. Unfortunately, my personal experience was not very successful with spinach transplants as I found they tend to bolt more quickly. (however, I grew my own transplants and they might have been too old when I finally set them out).

It seems that most of the spacings given at Gardener's Supply went right along with Mel's recommendations for seeds or transplants.

Regarding your soil, if you use Mel's Mix, it doesn't matter what your soil is like, because you don't use it. Mel's Mix is a wonderful thing, no weeds, loose and friable, holds moisture well, but also drains well. Because of the blended compost, Mel's Mix is also very nutritious for your plants. Once you have made the MM, you don't have to replace it, ever, just add some compost each time you harvest. Super Easy!

That is a wonderful list of veggies that you are planning. Several of the plants you are considering will do well from direct seeding. Examples are spinach and lettuce for Spring and cucumbers and squash for summer.

Hope you get your book really soon. Please keep us updated with your progress, and if you have questions, please ask.

Again, Welcome!
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Re: Questions about starting a SFG - Newbie

Post  jymarino on 3/25/2011, 9:13 pm

Thanks! The major garden area is 14' x 11' and I have a set of four dogruns that I put up around the area. Last year I put them up individually and had plants growing in each cage. This year I plan to put the dogruns around the perimeter of the area and have the 4 boxes inside. The 10' x 4' area is on the other side of the garage so I am planning on putting either two 5' x 1' boxes or 3 3' x 1' boxes. I am going to put tomatos on that side but I am not sure what else yet. I am waiting for the local bookstore to get the new SFG in stock so I can get it. Hopefully that will answer a lot of questions.

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