Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


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Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

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Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/25/2011, 11:29 pm

Hi everyone,
I will try to keep my introduction short (I can be very verbose!) Smile
I have always enjoyed the outdoors, yet growing up, my family was never very "outdoorsy". I became separated/divorced a couple of years ago and since that time have begun to fully enjoy the outdoors. I've learned to go camping (never did that before Sad ), kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, etc. It has been so wonderful and liberating.

Gardening is something I have always been interested in, but other than "helping" my ex-husband with a garden we had several years ago, I have no gardening experience. I decided that I want to learn to garden on my own-- that will be my next new adventure in the outdoors. I have experienced a lot of emotional growth over the past few years and can't help but see gardening as an analogy for that growth. As a single mother, I am also looking forward to sharing this with my children.

I was lucky enough to come across Mel's book when I did a search online. I just received the book through inter-library loan about a week ago and am so grateful that I am beginning my gardening experience the "right" way!

I am planning on building my boxes this weekend if I feel that I am ready. I am so glad I came to check out the website and found this forum. I have a feeling it will be an invaluable resource for me.

Looking forward to "meeting" all of you!

-Kim
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  jazzymaddy on 3/26/2011, 12:03 am

Welcome to the forum!!! I am also a newbie (just finished my box today), and have already found in this place an invaluable resource, and dare I say a little bit of an obsession.

So again, welcome. Glad you could make it.

Tracy
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  Old Hippie on 3/26/2011, 12:32 am

Welcome to you both. It is wonderful to have you join us. Tracy, we are all a little obsessed here, so you will fit right in I am sure! That is part of the fun. This place is very addictive.

It is interesting how the act of growing something, and particularly your own food, can bring such healing to a person's heart and mind and body. Kim, best of luck in your new adventures and personal growth. Hopefully, this will be rewarding to you and your family.

Thank you both, for joining our forum. There are a lot of people on here who are fun and helpful and it is a great place to share your successes and your blunders. Post pics if you have any and don't be afraid to ask a question or make a comment whenever you want.

Gwynn
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/26/2011, 5:44 am

bennyhannahmama

So nice to have you here. Old Hippie is right, We are a little obsessed and this place is addicting!

Lack of gardening experience certainly is no reason to hold you back. In fact Mel says that the beginner can learn Square Foot Gardening so much faster that an "old hand at gardening" because they don't have so much to unlearn (I certainly paraphrased here)

In order to start, finish the book if you haven't yet, and then get those boxes built. Even if you start with one box, that is ok. Then, get your Mel's Mix ingredients. Please try to follow the list. You just can't imagine the difference in soil from your garden and Mel's Mix.

Keep in touch and let us know how it is going for you. (by the way we love pictures, so please share)
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Welcome

Post  ander217 on 3/26/2011, 6:16 am

Welcome to the forum, Tracy and Kim.

It's wonderful that we are adding so many new members. Please share your successes (and failures) with us so we can all learn from them. And remember to read the book carefully. Last year I missed the single line which said that 4 cu ft of peat moss fluffs up to 8 cu ft before mixing, and I got way too much peat in my first mix.

Keep us posted on how your garden grows, and as Furbalsmom said, we love photos.

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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/26/2011, 12:37 pm

Welcome aboard!! You have no idea what you just got your hands on. The best oiled, most efficient gardeing educating system known to man.

The people here are incredibly friendly and love to help. Pictures are worth 1000 words, so use them if you are able/willing. We love to watch others' gardens grow, too. No question should be avoided. If you have it, ask it.

We look forward to meeting you, too, and hope you stick around a long time.
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  boog1 on 3/26/2011, 12:48 pm

welcome aboard great site great advice can b had here i'm an west of u off I-94
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  milaneyjane on 3/26/2011, 9:39 pm

Welcome Kim!!! You have come to the right place! I can't wait to hear how your garden comes together. Very Happy
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  quiltbea on 3/26/2011, 10:29 pm

Kim.....Welcome to the forum and the new job of gardening.
If you can, get your children interested. They'll love sowing radish seeds and seeing the little greens growing in days and harvesting a radish or two in 3-4 weeks. Its always fascinating for kids.

We are all here for each other, to help when we can, to share successes and yes, even our disasters. Just enjoy the experience.

Welcome,
Sandra
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/28/2011, 12:53 pm

Hi Everyone!
Not sure how I missed all these replies. Thank you all so much for the warm welcome. I cannot believe how excited I am about this. I got my boxes built over the weekend and picked up the peat moss. I plan on getting the vermiculite and compost tomorrow. I became a little cross-eyed trying to figure out how much I need of each of the 3 ingredients for 2- 4x4 boxes. Can anyone tell me the exact amounts?

Also, I've seen some discussion about people preferring to use strings instead of the lath boards. I can definitely see the advantages, but I don't want to skimp on anything! I'm trying to follow the book to the letter- lol!

Has anyone used the recycled mulch weed block? That's what I bought yesterday and I hope it works well. I will post a picture of my boxes later today.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Kim
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/28/2011, 12:55 pm

@boog1 wrote:welcome aboard great site great advice can b had here i'm an west of u off I-94

Oh and I work in Jackson and live in Chelsea Very Happy
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  yosoypanadero on 3/28/2011, 1:02 pm

@bennyhannahmama wrote:Hi Everyone!
Not sure how I missed all these replies. Thank you all so much for the warm welcome. I cannot believe how excited I am about this. I got my boxes built over the weekend and picked up the peat moss. I plan on getting the vermiculite and compost tomorrow. I became a little cross-eyed trying to figure out how much I need of each of the 3 ingredients for 2- 4x4 boxes. Can anyone tell me the exact amounts?

Also, I've seen some discussion about people preferring to use strings instead of the lath boards. I can definitely see the advantages, but I don't want to skimp on anything! I'm trying to follow the book to the letter- lol!

Has anyone used the recycled mulch weed block? That's what I bought yesterday and I hope it works well. I will post a picture of my boxes later today.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Kim

I do not know off the top of my head but I know it is in Mel's book. You have to go by volume and not weight. Watch the peat moss as it will expand to double the amount. There is a formula in the book, otherwise, you can guesstimate how much 1/3 is on each and just mix it all up, water it down and plant away!
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  yosoypanadero on 3/28/2011, 1:18 pm

Mel's Mix Calculator
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/28/2011, 4:59 pm

I knew someone would get that calculator in here. It is correct rest assured. But, I always like to add another 10% or so for good measure. I found my MM really settled and I would have liked to put more in.......next year's project is to top up.

Some of us use strings, and different types at that. Jute string can be tossed right in the compost when done. Some of us use lath. It's kind of a personal thing, but Mel prefers wood lath fwiw. I like string because it takes up less space in the garden, and I can space things better.

Point is: this is a debatable topic imo. The grid, itself, makes sure you are following "by the letter." No worries.

Whichever you decide, we would love to see a picture of your setup.
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/28/2011, 8:35 pm

The Mel's Mix calculator is awesome-- thanks so much!

Here's a picture of my progress so far:



That's Jim, my wonderful supportive boyfriend who's helping me get this all going.
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/29/2011, 9:49 am

So I tried the calculator and it came up with 5.34 cubic feet for each of the 3 ingredients. Do you think it will be safe to just round up to 6 cubic feet? Also, since the bags obviously won't come in the exact size I need, how in the world do I estimate? Especially with the peat moss.

Thanks for your patience Smile
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  ashort on 3/29/2011, 9:57 am

Welcome to SFG forums! Lots of us "noobs" here... To answer your question, you should be fine rounding up. If you have extra, just store in the bags that the the compost or vermiculite or peat came in. It will settle a lot, so you will probably be just fine though...
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  elliephant on 3/29/2011, 9:58 am

Definitely round up. MM settles and it really takes more than it technically "should." I also like to throw in a bit extra compost, especially.

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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  yosoypanadero on 3/29/2011, 10:36 am

It can be difficult to estimate when you are dealing with cubic feet vs pounds vs whatever so it can take a bit of eyballing and maybe some google conversions on your part. As long as it is close enough to 1/3 each you are going to be just fine. The plants won't be upset, as far as I know! Just remember the peat moss is actually double the amount that is on the package.
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  boffer on 3/29/2011, 11:23 am

Always round up. Leftovers are a good thing.

A lot of us use a 5 gal bucket as a measuring cup. I'll throw in this reminder too, don't forget to uncompress the peat moss!
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  yosoypanadero on 3/29/2011, 11:33 am

Nice idea with the buckets, I would have never thought of that. How many cubic feet are in a 5 gallon bucket - the google God's probably know....
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/29/2011, 4:04 pm

@yosoypanadero wrote:Nice idea with the buckets, I would have never thought of that. How many cubic feet are in a 5 gallon bucket - the google God's probably know....

Dry 5 gallons = .77 cu ft
Liquid 5 gallons = .66 cu ft

I'm sorry I don't understand the difference.

For my purposes, when using the 5 gallon buckets, I assumed dry measurements, because I was measuring dry ingredients and I rounded 5 gallons to equal .75 cu ft.
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  boog1 on 3/29/2011, 5:14 pm

if u work in jackson an live in chelsa u drive by my place then


boog
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

Post  bennyhannahmama on 3/29/2011, 10:26 pm

For my purposes, when using the 5 gallon buckets, I assumed dry
measurements, because I was measuring dry ingredients and I rounded 5
gallons to equal .75 cu ft.

I think this will be very helpful for me-- thanks!


if u work in jackson an live in chelsa u drive by my place then
I will wave next time I drive by
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Re: Brand Spanking New Gardener! (In Michigan)

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