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How much money did you spend when you started??

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/4/2011, 5:04 pm

@tkdtara84 wrote:In January when I first read the book, I started stashing away whatever was left from our grocery budget every couple of weeks, and I still have some of that left, so I feel like I'm in good shape!

This is all I've ever said should be done....if possible. Phenomenal planning!! cheers

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  tkdtara84 on 4/4/2011, 5:19 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
@tkdtara84 wrote:In January when I first read the book, I started stashing away whatever was left from our grocery budget every couple of weeks, and I still have some of that left, so I feel like I'm in good shape!

This is all I've ever said should be done....if possible. Phenomenal planning!! cheers

I figured if the garden is successful, then I'll be spending a lot less on produce anyhow, so it will end up evening out. I plan to do this again from fall to spring. It's not that hard, and then when planting time comes I don't have to feel guilty about spending so much on plants.

Even aside from the SFG, there are always plants and misc. yard expenses in the spring.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/4/2011, 5:23 pm

You have NO idea how much I wish others thought like you. Hope you aren't a stranger around here.

In case you haven't been welcomed, I would like to extend the formality. Welcome aboard!! You are in the same region I am....Northern & Central Midwest. Poke in that forum, too, when you get time.

Pictures are worth TONS here, and we love to help answer questions.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  lizzo on 4/4/2011, 5:31 pm

The first year, we spent a bunch. The second year, hardly anything. Years 3, 4, and 5? Uh...since hubby makes our compost...I bought some seeds...and some seed potatoes that we haven't tried before...and um....gardening the SFG way is looking really really inexpensive for years to come.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/4/2011, 5:58 pm

Hey, if anyone needs some recipes for home made NATURAL cleansers let me know, I make my own, and my own laundry detergent!!!!

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  selenamorning on 4/4/2011, 6:21 pm

Let's see...

we have lots of boxes... aren't really going with just the typical 3x3 or 4x4.

We have the 4 foot in the front 6 foot in the back funky angle box for peas, 4 2x8 boxes across the back (going to trellis for melons and pumpkins), one 2x8 across the side (squash or herbs, depending on of I get my way or not, lol) one 2x10 across the front (cucumbers and edible flowers) and 2 4x4 and 2 2x4 in the middle for tomatoes, onions, carrots, radishes, salad greens, peas, more edible flowers, garlic, peppers, etc.

$130 on nails (I know, I know... lol) and 2x6 lumber from Home Depot

$60 on soil (we aren't quite doing Mel's Mix, mostly just the spacing and the raised bed construction part of SFG) about 2+ yards of loamy topsoil from his grandparents house for free (they had some gorgeous soil dumped from someone's property who was having a pool dug) plus 2 yards of nice rich soil from the landscaping company (on sale!!), a 12 pack of beer and gas for the old truck to haul the trailer Wink

$10 so far for 2 packs of potato seedlings (yukon and purple) and 2 80 set bags of onions (yellow and red)

FREE chip/mulch for between the beds from Chris's work. He works for a tree service and they give away free chips so we used the leftovers from doing the back yard play area to do the garden area.

We are still discussing what we are doing for trellises.. we have some old um.. t posts I think they are called? and are thinking about putting up some sort of panels on them... plus we have to go seed/plant shopping. We have a fabulous nursery here that carries botanical interest and baker seeds so I am hoping we can get all the fun goodies we want in the way of seeds for around $40... maybe $75-100 if we get all excited and buy plants but I am hoping to reign him in and do seeds.

So, in total, probably another $200 for trellising and plants/seeds so um, tentatively/hopefully around/under $400 total this year. We didn't want to invest too deeply in the wood and soil because we are hoping to move next year (we rent) and didn't want to worry about having to move the garden or leave an expensive investment here when we left. We have a pretty big family (2 full time kids, 3 part time kids and one on the way) plus an extended family that loves fresh produce so we are excited about the garden this year. Chris has been gardening his whole life, starting as a child with his grandparents... and I am a dabbler/dreamer of long standing so we are hoping for good yields Very Happy

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  lizzo on 4/4/2011, 6:30 pm

@selenamorning wrote:
$60 on soil (we aren't quite doing Mel's Mix, mostly just the spacing and the raised bed construction part of SFG)

Mel's Mix, the most important part...why wouldn't you use it?

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How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Goosegirl on 4/4/2011, 9:14 pm

@lizzo wrote:
@selenamorning wrote:
$60 on soil (we aren't quite doing Mel's Mix, mostly just the spacing and the raised bed construction part of SFG)

Mel's Mix, the most important part...why wouldn't you use it?

I believe I read the word "free" in there, and I know from my own empty wallet....... flower

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  lizzo on 4/4/2011, 9:36 pm

I like free. I also like quality.

The poster spent $120 on nails and lumber. The question here isn't about lack of money; it's priorities. Mel's Mix grows veggies; pretty borders don't.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  selenamorning on 4/4/2011, 9:37 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:
@lizzo wrote:
@selenamorning wrote:
$60 on soil (we aren't quite doing Mel's Mix, mostly just the spacing and the raised bed construction part of SFG)

Mel's Mix, the most important part...why wouldn't you use it?

I believe I read the word "free" in there, and I know from my own empty wallet....... flower

lol... uh huh... free was a good start. My honey was the other half. This is the soil he wanted so this is the soil we got Wink He insists on square foot gardening but doesn't do MM??? not sure why but what can you do? I get my way on some things... not on all Wink

And, yes... priorities.. his priorities. I just wanted flowers Wink

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  lizzo on 4/4/2011, 9:41 pm

OK Very Happy

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/5/2011, 12:44 am

@selenamorning wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:
@lizzo wrote:
@selenamorning wrote:
$60 on soil (we aren't quite doing Mel's Mix, mostly just the spacing and the raised bed construction part of SFG)

Mel's Mix, the most important part...why wouldn't you use it?

I believe I read the word "free" in there, and I know from my own empty wallet....... flower

lol... uh huh... free was a good start. My honey was the other half. This is the soil he wanted so this is the soil we got Wink He insists on square foot gardening but doesn't do MM??? not sure why but what can you do? I get my way on some things... not on all Wink

And, yes... priorities.. his priorities. I just wanted flowers Wink

I sympathize with you, Selena. I do. But, my allegiance is to the forum supporting Mel's methods in their entirety....and the brand newest gardener wanting to learn THAT system. Please understand this is not an SFG. It's raised beds with possible grids.

Mel's Mix, raised beds, and grids/spacing are the foundation of the system. They should be 99.9% undebatable on this forum. Lots of other topics are up for debate. But, these three pillars are what make an SFG separate from ANY other form of gardening.....mostly, the Mel's Mix. If you don't have ALL three pillars correct, you have a garden...not an SFG. (See Chapter 5, very first sentence.)

Lots of us will fall on different sides of the fence here. But, it is MY opinion that this forum needs to uphold it's principles to continue to distinguish itself from any other gardening forum on the web. THIS is the forum endorsed by Mel's techniques. Theoretically, we bought into the system. If we truly bought in, it's OUR responsibility to uphold his principles.

My suggestion to you would be to build ONE of your beds by the book. And, plant some of the same things in it that you plant in your other beds. Then, compare the two. We can debate those results until the cows come home because one is authentically SFG.

My suggestion to anyone questioning their committment to the system would be to do the same. At least then, we would be comparing apples to apples....or more likely tomatoes to tomatoes. If you follow the system for a season or two, and have better results with another method, good for you. Switch to that! And, you need to write your own book. Seriously. I'll support you like I support Mel. I just haven't found any better method than SFG....yet.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  selenamorning on 4/5/2011, 10:39 am

I don't want to write a book. I just want to have my garden. Not sure why it's an issue. I have noticed a lot of people posting adaptations to the system. Wasn't trying to say my way is better. Just came here looking for gardening people and a little help with some things.

I will back off for a bit and just read.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/5/2011, 11:08 am

Please don't back off. I totally understand where you are coming from regarding a husband who insists on doing it his way. I also understand how hard it is to try to persuade them to your way of thinking, and how the best method is to convince someone like that that it was their idea to begin with. Don't get me wrong I am not critizing anyone's husband, just saying from what I read our husbands may have alot in common.

I agree with everything said about MM. I also uderstand where you are coming from.

It may just be best to let him do it his way the first time, there is no sense in trying to change his mind, heck I get better results spitting into the wind than I do trying to change my husbands mind-but thats just me and mine.

An idea may be to re-read chapter 5, and make notes, when you get time, but say nothing. When the season is done (or he is not happy with the progress half-way through) you may want to mention the results that others here post, and that Mel says using his MM is the only way to get 100% of the harvest, and it might be worth trying next year at least in one box.

Again, please don't fade into the background, keep posting, sharing, and asking.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  middlemamma on 4/5/2011, 11:10 am

@selenamorning wrote:I don't want to write a book. I just want to have my garden. Not sure why it's an issue. I have noticed a lot of people posting adaptations to the system. Wasn't trying to say my way is better. Just came here looking for gardening people and a little help with some things.

I will back off for a bit and just read.

Hi selenamorning! Welcome to the forum if I haven't said so already!

I just wanted to respond to you frustration here.

A lot of people do adapt the system...and that their choice of course.

The reason you will find that it becomes an issue is not an issue with you per se, it is an isue with the information presented on the forum. As we don't mind you sharing your way at all and welcome that...we have to make sure that if a new member comes to the site they are not confused at all as to what Mel's book teaches. If you make an adpatiption obviously that's your choice, it just needs to be listed as such.

Over the last several months here on the forum, Mel's Mix has kinda fallen away as an unimportant part of the system as people have adapted it and shared here, and everyone has been encouraging and supportive of everyone. We are making the extra effort to reverse that train of thought, well because it simply isn't true. Mel's Mix is the backbone of an SFG.

If you just want to garden that's great! There are tons of "just gardening" forums. This is an SFG forum. There are many ways to adapt the system and keep the basics of the system, the raised bed, the grid and the MM.

So you will find when it comes to Mel's Mix it is a hot topic. It can be frustrating...it is an important part of SFG and we are passionate about it! Smile And every one of us has a different way of expressing it. SOme of us are a little more "bees with honey" and some of us shoot a little straighter from tho hip...it's what makes the world go 'round.

I would really like to encourage you to try BBG suggestion to just try one box with MM. I think you will find it is absolutely wonderful to grow in. I expect you will love it so much you may just be able to convince hubby. Smile If you have kids it would be a great experiment for them to watch. Smile


Happy Gardening flower

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  martha on 4/5/2011, 11:50 am

Good morning, Selenamorning!

Middlemamma, as Forum Administrator and a lovely woman, did a good job explaining why you are getting the responses you are getting. (However, as a restaurant owner, I frequently tell my guests - it is your opinion that counts, not mine!)

I have been away for a few months, but unless things have changed a lot since I was here last, the folks responding to you are very friendly people. Something else that has changed since I was here last is the posting of the mission statement on the home page.

I am glad to see the mission statement, and I am glad to read MM's comments. It is hard for me to know how to phrase things, because I believe in all of the components of SFG, and I also want to be respectful of Mel in Mel's house. But how do I support SFG and Mel without coming across sounding like a hardass?

I don't know (yet) the answer to that question, but I suspect a number of people here are having the same issue.

One of our regulars here said something last year that made a lot of sense to me - the first time he tries a recipe, he follows the recipe exactly. After that, if he wants to make adjustments, he knows what the original concept was.

I am sure that with the lovely (free) soil you have, your garden is going to be lovely and very successful. The difference, IMO, will be in coming years, as the nutrient content of the soil changes. The other big difference about MM vs. soil is the water retention, while at the same time providing wonderful drainage during "monsoons". (Betcha didn't know New England was susceptible to those, didja? Wink )

I know that when this forum was new, there were a lot of people who would post and say, "Well, I did X,Y and Z differently than Mel says, and nothing grew, therefore, SFG doesn't work."
So again, for me, the struggle begins of how to adhere, in writing, to the principals of SFG without sounding like a complete jerk. I don't think any of us want a private club where you need to know the secret handshake to gain admittance.

So, please, do not feel criticized, insulted, attacked or unwelcome. Speaking only for myself, I might stumble a little bit during this journey. But (Middlemamma, correct me if I am wrong) if you are doing raised bed gardening with grids, I would welcome you hanging out here and learning, listening and sharing the differences.

Peace!

Martha

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  walshevak on 4/5/2011, 12:04 pm

Can I chime in here and remind everyone that even Mel recognizes that that all areas of the world can get the ingredients for Mel's Mix and have to use what is available locally. Compost is the answer, pure compost. Yet he still considers them square foot gardeners.


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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  martha on 4/5/2011, 12:12 pm

Walshevak, did you mean he recognizes that "not" all areas can get the ingredients?

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  fiddleman on 4/5/2011, 12:18 pm

Hmmm... this is my first year doing the whole Mel's Mix thing... and if my seed starting is any indication of what the garden may do this year, I am in for a real treat. The start up costs for me, since I re-did my raised beds this year have been...

  • $ 5.00 Weed barrier fabric ... got a deal on this 4'x100' roll on closeout at Lowes
  • $ 40.00 for 18 2x8's
  • $100.00 for Vermiculite
  • $ 20.00 for Peat Moss
  • $ 35.00 for Compost
Total $200.00
Which in my case works out to $1.71 per square foot.

I am not counting some other stuff I bought (seed starting trays, green house making supplies, seeds) because they would be in whatever garden type I used ( traditional row vs SFG). Yes, it is a bit of an expense at the start (especially for me), but the enjoyment alone of raising my own vegetables makes it worth it. My current soil is pretty exhausted, and so rather than spending a bunch to bring it back up to snuff, I decided to give Mel's Mix a try. I bought a bunch of the ingredients in the very late off season, ( beginning of March in our case) and everything I bought was marked down. The garden center doors were closed but not locked so I went out and perused what they had and was able to get a bunch of stuff CHEAP!

In a row garden I would have had to bring in the same amount of peat moss and a truckload of compost, so the cost would have been about the same I guess if I thought about it. So for me, it's kind of a wash as far as the costs go.

Seleena, I used the Square foot garden type system the last two years, and have done fairly well, but this year I got off my Keester, and went and gathered the stuff to convert fully to this system. I am sure I will be quite satisfied with the results since the best compost mixture is really the heart of the system I think, and the other items are mainly their to help support the compost with water retention and structure. So perhaps when your other half has as good of luck with the layout portion of the system as I did he will be more willing to convert more fully to true Square Foot Gardening as I was this year... it kinda gets in your head after a while!

Best wishes,
Mark

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Jay Bird on 4/5/2011, 12:29 pm

Too Much $ but it was worth it!

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  middlemamma on 4/5/2011, 12:34 pm

Hey Martha! Thanks...Nice to see you on the forum again!

if you are doing raised bed gardening with grids, I would welcome you hanging out here and learning, listening and sharing the differences.


The truth is everyone is welcome here. If you don't even do SFG, you are welcome!

The only thing trying to be done here is to make it clear for a guest lurking, or a absolutely new person trying to learn is that a SFG is not just a raised bed with a grid. In order to call it a true, by the book SFG it must have Mel's Mix. Mel's Mix is the backbone of Mel's method...he says it himself in the book.

Yes, in famished, 3rd world countries where there is no Lowes or garden nursery down the trail he recommends using straight compost. If you choose to use compost that is your business and prerogative. But you are going to hear me say again and again and again...the Mel's Mix is important, it cannot be easily dismissed. In Mel's own words it in the backbone, the most important part of SFG. Compost will grow plants, yes. And if we get any posters from starving 3rd world nations that are trying to learn how to grow food I will be the first to encourage them to use straight compost! In the meantime I am going to try hard to persuade as many people as possible to try the Mel's Mix. Smile Because that is what we are here for.

You may garden anyway you choose and be a member here. We want you all...the knowledge base is huge and that helps everyone. All we ask is that folks remember there are people here on this forum that have not read the book and are looking to find out what an SFG is per Mel, per the book.

As previous posters have said...don't go away, don't be alarmed, just understand our goal here is to promote SFG as described in the book.

I personally also realize everyone doesn't garden the same in every aspect of their garden. I myself have 8 square foot garden beds. I have other crops growing differently. It's not a problem. If I were going to talk about my corn rows or my pumpkins...NOT SFG...I would just say that. It isn't a big deal. But my regional hosts wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't ask me why Middlemamma are you not doing your corn in SFG? Why are your pumpkins in tires? I would tell them....well I don't care about them...they are an iffy crop in my region and I don't wanna spend the money on a maybe crop. I wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to call them something they are not. They are not SFG...and it's no big deal.

We have commercial growers on this site that don't use SFG for everything. But we love those members just the same....those knowledge bases we compile together from everyone is great and helps the whole forum community.

Lastly, everyone expresses themselves differently, especially in writing.

We are all doing our best here to express a message to everyone and try and spread Mel's method. Not in part, but in whole.

Once the message is expressed and you get it and you make your personal decisions for your garden don't worry that the same message will be repeated time and time again, because as long as new members are joining the message will continue in repeat mode.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  walshevak on 4/5/2011, 12:42 pm

@martha wrote:Walshevak, did you mean he recognizes that "not" all areas can get the ingredients?

Yep, mind got ahead of fingers thanks for the correction

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  shannon1 on 4/8/2011, 12:52 am

Middlemoma your post brought tears to my eyes. Your DH is realy a dear. One gets so much more from gardening than a harvest. It feeds the soul.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  shannon1 on 4/8/2011, 12:59 am

So far I have spent 20 dollars on 4cubic feet vermiculite
10 dollars on a 2.2cubic foot bale of peat moss
10 on different composts
7 on an organic soil builder (maybe I don't need it) reading some of the posts I thought I would add it just to be on the safe side if the compost is lacking.
$47 so far.

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Location : zone 9a St.Johns county FL

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  slotti on 4/8/2011, 8:43 am

I don't know if this post is good or me or just freaking me out. Shocked I knew this was going to cost money but I hadn't priced MMs yet. Maybe I won't tell my husband how much it could cost and just purchase the stuff (shopping around, of course!) AND THEN fess up to how much I spent.

slotti

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

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