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New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

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New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  kerriejo1961 on 3/26/2011, 11:47 pm

Hello, I am new here and also to SFG. I am waiting for my 4x4 to be delivered and am trying to figure out how and what to plant.

I am wondering about the vine plants that grow up the tomato trellis (tower?)... I bought that also, and am anxious to see some tomatoes and etc climbing up it!!

The vines I want to plant are tomatoes, squash, pole beans, cantaloupes, cucumbers... is my garden just too darn small for that many?

Also, if there is a vine plant that you can plant more than 1 per sqft, like 9, for example, do you plant all 9 and just let them grow till they're long enough to reach the trellis, then started weaving them through it? All 9 of them together? (side by side, I mean)

AND what about the plants that are 1 per 2 sqft? I think it's squash that is 1 per 2... do you plant it smack in the middle of one square and leave the one next to it empty?

Thanks for any clarification you can give!!
Kerrie

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new gardener

Post  westie42 on 3/27/2011, 1:17 am

Welcome to SFG. Mels book "All New Square foot Gardening" is pretty much a complete reference for SFG. Chapter 8 is vertical gardening and tells how to groom plants for successful growing on the trellis. Chapters 3 thru 7 cover planning and planting in your new SFG. Otherwise about everything you could wish to know is in this forum if you can find it. I use both the book and the forum almost daily.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  Chopper on 3/27/2011, 5:03 am

Vertical gardening stumped me at first too. The best way to learn is to just do it as best you understand it and everything will be clearer. I did a little too much crowding at first.

For peas I planted 9 per sf I believe and I did what you said. When they got big enough, I trained them to the trellis. It is all definitely a live and learn type thing for the challenged gardeners like myself. LOL

For those that require more than 1 sf per plant just use your best judgment. I have decided to keep the bushiest ones close to the side of the box so it can have more of its fair share.

Hope that helps. I like to be clear as mud as often as possible.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  kerriejo1961 on 3/27/2011, 6:46 am

Westie, I have the new book (old one, too, lost in the shuffle somewhere) but
didn't get the complete answer to my Q about trellis plants from it...
I'll go look again... And about using the forums - I'm here! Thanks!

Chopper, Thanks for sharing your experience... I was hoping this was a topic that had been talked about a lot and I wasn't the only baffled one!! LOL... well, I have NO gardening experience at all except to till up the ground and start row gardens at 2 different places we lived, but never followed thru with working them year to year to get the soil right and learn what I was doing... I am much more hopeful regarding SFG!! Thanks!

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New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  Goosegirl on 3/27/2011, 7:09 am

@kerriejo1961 wrote:....... I have NO gardening experience at all except to till up the ground and start row gardens at 2 different places we lived, but never followed thru with working them year to year to get the soil right and learn what I was doing... I am much more hopeful regarding SFG!! Thanks!

I know exactly what you are talking about. Hubby groans and gets a glazed look every year when I start talking 'garden' because I have always ended up with an ugly (yet productive) mess and much of it ends up getting wasted. This is my first year with SFG and I am hoping to mend my messy ways!

TC

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  Megan on 3/27/2011, 8:35 am

@kerriejo1961 wrote:The vines I want to plant are tomatoes, squash, pole beans, cantaloupes, cucumbers... is my garden just too darn small for that many?

Also, if there is a vine plant that you can plant more than 1 per sqft, like 9, for example, do you plant all 9 and just let them grow till they're long enough to reach the trellis, then started weaving them through it? All 9 of them together? (side by side, I mean)
Kerrie

Hi Kerrie, welcome to the forum and to SFG!

To be honest, I think you are cramming too many big plants into a 4x4. Mel's Mix is rich enough to make them grow, but you are looking a potential jungle! Smile But assuming you want to go ahead, here are my thoughts.

First off, tomatoes, squash, and cukes can be bush plants or vining depending on variety. (I'm not sure about cantalopes, but I've never heard of a bush cantalope so am guessing they vine.) The bush plants take up much more width.

If you are going to plant all of those plus pole beans in a single 4x4, you are indeed going to have a tangled mess on your hands, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. I planted 2 kinds of pole beans and one very aggressive squash in a 4x4 last spring (along with a bunch of other things, and a 4x4 directly to the right--actually a 4x8, the trellises were at either end of the 4x4) and this is what I wound up with:



The two "ears" of that tall mess are pole beans, planted on diagonally-opposing corners of a 4x4. It's a modified Three Sisters, in fact. I had a great harvest (except for the corn) but it was a challenge to get in there and to spy the sneaky little beans as they came ripe, hiding behind other things. (On the other hand, playing "hunt the bean!" for 15 minutes a day after coming home from work was quite relaxing.)

To try to make your plan work, I suggest you get some cheap bamboo poles or similar, and a container, and try to set up your pole beans a little ways away from your 4x4. The reason I say this is because they weave in and around EVERYTHING and make it hard to get in there, and you will have to be watching your other big plants closely to keep everyone playing reasonably nicely together. Just guessing here, but tomatoes like "air" and the pole beans might choke them. I tried to keep my tomatoes and my "other" big vining plants separate last year, to protect the toms.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  NHGardener on 3/27/2011, 9:28 am

Kerrie - Do you have to limit yourself to one 4x4 box?

I found that a lot of my plans for this year ended up being trellis-based plants too. I thought about making an L-shaped trellis so I have 2 trellises on one box. But now I'm thinking of throwing in the towel on that idea and just making an additional 2' x 8' box so the back row can be devoted completely to trellis. I want to be able to breath when I look at them outside.

I already have four 4'x4' boxes made (not set out yet) and now I'm planning an additional 2'x8' box. It had better get warm quickly here or I may end up making 100 boxes. LOL. (It's completely freezing outside still...)

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  camprn on 3/27/2011, 9:30 am

@NHGardener wrote:I found that a lot of my plans for this year ended up being trellis-based plants too. I thought about making an L-shaped trellis so I have 2 trellises on one box. But now I'm thinking of throwing in the towel on that idea and just making an additional 2' x 8' box so the back row can be devoted completely to trellis. I want to be able to breath when I look at them outside.
This sounds like a good plan.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/27/2011, 9:44 am

Kerrie bush beans do very well down here in our neck of the woods, have you considered switching the beans to bush? I am pressuming you mean KY Wonder, they do make a wonderful snap bush now. Check at your local garden center this year to start with, they will have what grows best. It will not be totally organic, but starting small and growing a bit each year will benefit you best.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  kerriejo1961 on 3/27/2011, 7:43 pm

Thank you, everyone!! So much excellent info here... about limiting myself to a 4x4... they aren't cheap!! I don't have any spare lumber or anything hanging out around the house... and I'm not sure that going and buying the lumber would be cheaper than just getting the box pre-fab. I also just want to get it and go... AND another reason for limiting to one 4x4 is to see if I'm going to do this or do I just like the idea of doing this... you know what I mean? If I complete this year, am successful, and the thoughts of doing it again make me happy, then I will add more!!! Definitely.

So I think I'm just going to nix the cantaloupe and choose between the squash, beans, and cucumbers for this year. No way am I going to cut out my tomatoes!! :-)

Thank you all for your welcome and your wonderful ideas... I'll go back thru this later when I have more brain power to absorb what you're telling me!!

Thanks!!

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/27/2011, 8:33 pm

Keep in mind we have a long growing season here and if the cukes don't tolerate the heat and it comes time to pull them up again (you can plant a later crop if you want to) you can plant melons in August and still get a few by first frost. On another thread for our region (lower south) I posted a link to a print out for planting in NE TX, and it's from the Tyler area.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5862-planting-guide-for-ne-tx
Best wishes, and holler if you have any questions.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  Megan on 3/27/2011, 9:30 pm

Kerriejo,

Regarding the lumber expense: Yesterday I bought 12 reclaimed 14-ft long 2x6 for $4.20 each, plus a 8-ft one for $2.30. If you look around, you can find things like these. But I completely understand the need to take it one step at a time and I think you're wise to do a trial run if you have doubts. Good luck with your 4x4, I am excited to hear about how it goes!

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  jsavolt on 5/3/2011, 2:25 pm

KerrieJo, one thought I had was to incorporate a few large pots of tomatoes near your 4X4 square. You could trellis these a different way. I agree that they would all get tangled up and you wouldn't be happy with the result. You could also plant some Roma tomatoes in the front that wouldn't need a trellis. Good luck! It's all in the planning and spacing. Mel's book is great for this!

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

Post  kjenkins82 on 5/3/2011, 11:04 pm

That's exactly what I'm doing this year. I ended up with more tomatoes than I have room for in trellis squares, so I've got them in Smart Pots in a long row. I'm stringing each one from a brick with a hole in it to a 6 foot trellis frame (no netting). Can't tell you until fall how well it works but that's what I'm trying! Smile The Smart Pots ended up being about $7 each and the conduit and rebar for the frame are super cheap. It may not be the best method but if I get some tomatoes it'll be better than abandoning my extra seedlings.

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Re: New to SFG and have Q's about planting vine crops

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