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Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

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Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  XLT_66 on 4/4/2011, 10:39 am

Hey everyone,

So I planted seedlings for all my tomatoes, cukes, and peppers but then I have seeds for my radish, lettuce, chard, green onion, and spinach.

I've never gardened before but I've been doing plenty of reading.

I have a 9'x3' SFG raised box on legs (container?) I have a nice Mel's Mix going with several types of compost, etc.

When sowing seeds though... Should I not be planting them directly into the box? I don't have the setup to start them indoors just yet. Maybe next year though...

So if I do plant them directly into the box, do I plant literally 4 lettuce seeds into a square or should I plant a whole bunch of lettuce seeds and this just thin out the seedlings once they've sprouted?

Any help would be great.

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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/4/2011, 10:48 am

!!! You are already off to a good start, asking questions! We love them, and we love pictures even more.

Yes, you can plant directly in your box. Do you have a copy of The ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING? If so Chapter 6 (pg 107) is devoted to answering your question. The Apendix, Basil and Beyond, gives more plant specific information. If you do not have the new book, check with your local Library to see if they have it so you can get started reading right away, until you get your very own copy, but don't loan it out, they tend to not come back home, ask BackyardBirdGardener.
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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  XLT_66 on 4/4/2011, 10:55 am

Here is my little bed.

I'm most concerned about how much good direct sun I will get. I've planted the tomatoes along the back where they'll get about 6 hours of sun each day. From about 11:00-5:00. The cukes are on the closest side and they should get about the same sun, maybe a little less. I'm hoping that if the tomatoes and cukes can just start growing vertically then they will get exponentially more and more sun the higher they get. I'm prepared to support them as high as they will climb.

The peppers are along the middle and as of now, get about 4 hours a day and I don't have much hope for all the seeds on the far end as they only get about 3 hours a day of direct sun. I'd like to get the radish, chard, and lettuce to grow but I have some very good local farmers to get these from if it just doesn't work out.

However, as summer progresses, and the sun shifts along the horizon, my patio should get more and more sunlight every day.

Here's a picture of my little first garden.


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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/4/2011, 10:59 am

Looks great, you should try lettuce in your least amount of sun area, it is very hard to grow lettuce in the late spring and summer here in TX, you may just be surprised.
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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/4/2011, 10:59 am

Welcome aboard. Great to have you. The people here are oh so friendly. When you get a second, head over to the Regional Subforums and take a gander at your region. Sometimes you can find some information tailored a little more towards your locality there. But, asking any question is great....we love to help.

Directly seeding into the SFG is the preferred way once you are past your frost date. I took the liberty of looking it up and for Austin's Municipal Airport in Travis County, your frost date is back closer to Valentine's Day. So, you have been in the clear for quite awhile to plant away. When you see/hear us talking about starting indoors it's likely because a lot of us are cheating Mother Nature a tad and starting early. But, put that idea on the back burner for next year if you want an earlier start in the future. You may like it, too.

If you haven't picked up a copy of Mel's book, I would highly recommend it. This will quickly become your most trusted resource, well...that and this forum, when it comes to learning to mimic the principles of SFG and grow a garden that will make your neighbors green with envy.

Mel recommends 4 lettuce plants per square for the leaf lettuces. However, by reading around here you will find some contradictions. If you go another way, make sure you know why. A lot of people putting more than 4 plants per square are harvesting earlier, too. That way they don't overcrowd the mature plants. And, remember to plant a couple of seeds (2 or 3) per hole. You don't want to encounter a dud seed. Plant a couple and thin them out in a couple of weeks.

In the beginning, I would stick to the system as closely as possible. Once I get a bit comfortable with the principles and techniques, I would consider branching out in some areas....but not until.

Great to have you here. Hope to see you around.

And, yes, Val's right....the books don't come home like pigeons. I had to go get mine back yesterday. And, my neighbor asked when he could borrow it again. I told him next time we have a beer on his driveway, he can read it WITH me...lol.
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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/4/2011, 11:06 am

I just saw the picture you posted. I like the idea you have. But, one word of caution.....I would put a grid on there demarking my one foot squares.

Spacing is so important to the SFG and your plants, especially if sunlight is a known concern. In the front row, I see what looks to be a pepper plant awfully close to something else. Peppers need a whole square for themselves. That other little guy might not make it long.

Definitely adhere to the proper spacing as you plant. We can help you with anything you ask. But, it's just so important when wanting a successful garden. I can't begin to count the number of questions like, why didn't this grow in my MM?, that could have been avoided with proper spacing.
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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  XLT_66 on 4/4/2011, 11:09 am

I have grid lines drawn on the wood frame and I used a straight edge to put lines in the soil as I was planting. The tomatoes each have 2 sq. ft and all the peppers, cukes, and basil are all planted in the center of their respective squares.

I think it looks like an optical illusion or something as they plants do seem to be a rather close together.


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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  XLT_66 on 4/4/2011, 11:12 am

Also, it was recommended by an employee at my local nursery that if any of the plants begin to bud within the next two weeks that I should remove the bud/flower to promote the roots to keep growing stronger.

Is this a recommended technique? A couple of my pepper plants are already growing buds and I'd figure I'd ask before I popped them off. The plants just went into the soil yesterday.

I got a late start because I just moved...(the whole reason I'm starting a garden..I finally have somewhere to give it a shot).




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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/4/2011, 11:14 am

I've heard that too, and done it a few times, I just wanted the plants to be more established before fruiting. By pinching off the flowers you will not kill your plant, so if you want to give it more time to establish itself, go for it.
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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/4/2011, 11:21 am

I used old vinyl mini blinds for my grids, I measured them 2" longer than the box, so I could fold the end and tuck it into the dirt, it gets windy here. Then stapled the junctions. I did mine on the porch instead of in the box, except for the bigger boxes, I was out there stapling in the garden, not doing that again. I just measured and marked each foot on the strip, and where the two marks crossed I stapled.
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Re: Sowing Seeds Directly Into Box? Help...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/4/2011, 12:01 pm

@XLT_66 wrote:Also, it was recommended by an employee at my local nursery that if any of the plants begin to bud within the next two weeks that I should remove the bud/flower to promote the roots to keep growing stronger.

Is this a recommended technique? A couple of my pepper plants are already growing buds and I'd figure I'd ask before I popped them off. The plants just went into the soil yesterday.

I think the more you look around, the more conflicting advice you will find. I don't know that either way is preferred, or proven. It makes sense to pinch buds and encourage the plants to grow bigger before putting their energy into fruit.....hence, giving more fruit later. But, if one doesn't have the time to do all that, one doesn't have the time. I doubt it's critical either way.

@XLT_66 wrote:I got a late start because I just moved...(the whole reason I'm starting a garden..I finally have somewhere to give it a shot).

I missed my fall season last year due to the same thing. But, we are much happier now, and I get a full season this year....yay!!

Glad that was an optical illusion. Thanks for pointing it out.
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