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Your story HERE...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/7/2011, 11:01 pm

I'm sure this has been done by most of us. But, Middlemamma put together such an inspirational post this week, I felt some others may want to get their stories out there, too. Feel free to post behind me. You never know how your story might affect another person.

I felt things go best in here so the newest of the new can read them. Post your story, mistakes/insecurities and all. Let's help others feel more comfortable in trying something new...or changing old habits.

My story...

As a kid, I had grandparents. A lot of us did. But, mine practically raised me along with my mom. (Picture an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.) But, mine taught me all kinds of things, too. Hunting, fishing, birds, gardening, lawncare....everything but how to file paperwork (their basement was a disaster area of old magazines and newspaper clippings...lol.)

My grandfather had several heart attacks through the years, and in 1986 had what was an "experimental" surgery then called Triple Bypass. There were only about two docs in the world doing it then. He pulled through great and got in the best shape of his life afterwards. But, avoiding strenuous activities were now a priority...along with reducing stress. So, his doctor gave him a book one day with a funny looking man on the cover sporting what I learned that day was called a goatee. It was Mel.....and his first book on SFG.

Gramps' garden looked so freakin' cool! I wanted one just like it when I grew up....I was 12 in 1986. Years passed, and finally, my wife and I bought a house. We had kids, and I had a busy, strenuous sales job on commission only. I knew a garden would be therapeutic, but couldn't commit the time.....and it was killing me. (Not physically, just mentally.) I finally moved on to another strenuous job, and another. But, it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I started my own business and finally had control of my schedule. NOW, I could tend to that garden!!


My first year, we tilled up some mud behind my shed in the backyard. We planted all sorts of things as an experiment to see if anything would grow for the kids. We had good results with lettuce, carrots, and weeds. We never knew, though, that novices such as ourselves could grow carrots in tough soils. We were hooked. The next year, we tried corn along with the lettuce. Corn failed pretty bad, but it sure was cool to watch grow up so high.


Then, I discovered SFG on the web. I tried to adhere to the principles. I tried to build my beds right. And, we had the best garden we'd ever had. Finally, we grew tomatoes.....after 8 years of terrible results. (We tried toms in everything from Miracle Gro to containers to fertilizers....and I do my research.) If we hadn't been so successful with lettuce and carrots, I would have likely given up gardening. I'm so glad I didn't.


This year, I had my wife buy me Mel's updated book for Christmas. :idea: Click. Everything has been by the book since. And, I'm trying other techniques of his to stretch myself. I know others around the web are not as positive about SFG, but I won't try anything else. As a rank amateur, I can tell you this method is as close to sure-fire as anyone can get....if done right.

Study the fundamentals, and apply them. You'll likely feel like a Master Gardener in a season or two. This fall, I plan on trying Arugula. I didn't know what that even was a year ago...lol.


Happy Planting, and Keep Chuggin'! I'm so glad I did.

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Post  Goosegirl on 4/8/2011, 8:35 am

I will give this a try.

My dad was gardener. If it was out in the dirt, he was doing it. Being a daddy's girl, I can't remember a season that I wasn't in the garden right behind dad. At 7 years old I found an ad in a newspaper insert for tulip bulbs and asked if I could get them. Dad let me fill out the coupon myself, with the address and info, and I sent it off with my cash (yes, I mailed cash, but it was a reputable company and I got my bulbs!) and impatiently waited for my treasure. We had decided that I could move the rhubarb from the front yard and put my tulips in its place all along the front of the house. Of course, they came during the week, and I had to wait until Saturday to dig and plant. TORTURE! That Saturday I spent all day carefully digging out the rhubarb, then spacing and planting all of my bulbs - Dad would come out now and then to see how I was doing. I did it all myself and they popped their little heads up right on schedule in spring - every single one. I had never had any doubts that they would grow, because I had never seen anything that Dad planted not grow.

We had 7 more years gardening together before I was on my own to make the dirt work its magic. I never knew how hard gardening could be because Dad had always made it look so easy. In the 3 decades since then I have had mostly little container gardens because of lack of space, but the last 5-6 years I have had real garden plots but have never kept the organized, neat look throughout the season. Harvests have been great, but visually? BLEAH!!! This drives my Aspie husband crazy, but since he is trying hard to let me have it even though he cannot understand the emotional need, I am hoping that the organized structure of permanent SFG beds with walkways and specific (nice square grid Very Happy ) design will help me keep it more neat and visually appealing for his organized, logical mind - as opposed to the usual WEEDY CHAOS affraid that inhabits my brain and my garden!

Before and after pics to come later, and we will see if the organization and structure make this more bearable for Mr. Asperger Hubby!

TC

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/8/2011, 9:23 am

Great story. My middle son is Autistic. I would love to talk in more detail someday.

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Goosegirl on 4/8/2011, 10:51 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:Great story. My middle son is Autistic. I would love to talk in more detail someday.

PM anytime!

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Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 12:24 pm

I got into this gardening thing later in life than most. I was 51 when I planted my first veggie seed ever because I wasn't the least bit iterested in gardening my entire life. That year a friend gave me a five gallon bucket of compost and a couple half empty seed packages. He told me to dump the bucket on the ground near my fence, stick in the seeds, water, and walk away. No shovel, no rake, no tools involved. So that's what I did, and that's how I ended up growing my first zucchini and green beans.

So I went to him the next year, told him I wanted to do more, and asked about the best way. He told me to make a box with the pile of rocks I had, and he sold me a dump truck load of compost to fill it with. Well, my wife couldn't resist all that bare brown soil talking to her, 'plant something here plant something here plant something here plant something here plant...' It's nearly impossible to visualize what a veggie seed will look like at the peak of the growing season in order to accommodate for the space needs. We planted, watered, waited and watched. WOW Did we ever plant a jungle! Just a dense, lush, vibrant wall of varying heights. We ate some good veggies from the garden that year, but the truth is, we let a lot more veggies rot on the plants because we couldn't find them.

So, I started thinking that maybe this gardening thing isn't so much work after all, and I went exploring on the internet. I came across the ALL NEW SFG book, bought it, read it, and bought into the method, hook, line, and sinker. For me, it was so easy to believe in because I had so little gardening experience or knowledge with which to compare or contrast. That made it easy for me to want to do it by the book. A box, a grid, and Mel's Mix. The idea that Mel eliminated the need to learn about amendments, and fertilizers, and additives, and 'stuff' definitely closed the deal. The truth is, my interests were more aligned with the prospect of making boxes and trellises for the garden, rather than the gardening itself. I started with a couple boxes the first year, added a couple more the next, and the next, and the next, and I'm still at it. I'm still not very interested in gardening, but I'm a heck of a box maker!

The first or second year of gardening the SFG way, my wife and I had simultaneous epiphanies, if that's possible. She and I are serious meat eaters. We eat our veggies because that's how we were raised, but meat has always been the main course. But that summer, as the harvest developed and we were able to eat multiple veggies from the garden at each meal, something strange happened. We would sit down to eat, and we would turn our plates so that our veggies, and not our meat, were closest to us. Then, we started serving our meat on a side dish, and then we quit bothering to fix meat at all. This wasn't a conscious, orchestrated, health kick we decided to go on, it just happened, to both of us. We found that the quality and substance of our veggies to be so sating and satisfying that we just weren't interested in eating meat. Occasionally we would cook our veggies on the grill and throw some steaks on too. We didn't eat the steaks; they went into the fridge as leftovers. That's totally unheard of in our house. Then, when the harvest started slowing down, meat slowly crept back onto our plates. Grocery store veggies just don't cut it.

It's a cycle we're on now. Veggie eaters in the summer; meat eaters in the winter. Going into our sixth year, we've adjusted our planting to have more and more of our veggies available to store and eat throughout winter. As good as our stored veggies are, they can't keep meat at bay like fresh from the garden veggies can. Maybe it's the cold and gloomy dark skies that dictate our winter diet, I don't know.

Perhaps you can see why I say that 'I garden for the veggies, not the gardening.' I'm still not very interested in gardening, but I loves my veggies! The SFG method makes it possible. If I had had to learn about amendments, etc., I never would have continued gardening because I'm not interested in learning that stuff. I might not even have learned about how good home grown veggies are. I believe that I'm gardening today because I started gardening by the book. I remember thinking when I finished reading the book the first time, that it was a book for beginners, that at some point I might have to learn more about whatever it is experienced gardeners need to know. I've changed my mind. It's still the only gardening book I own or have ever read or will ever need.

I'm a Square Foot Gardener, and I just wanted to say...



Thanks, Mel!

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Post  slotti on 4/8/2011, 1:04 pm

@boffer wrote:He told me to make a box with the pile of rocks I had.

How did your rock box do? I never would have thought of that and I will still go with wood for my vegetables, but perhaps for flower areas I can put some of these rocks in my backyard to good use.

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Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 1:50 pm

They work fine as garden borders. Mine were 5-10 inches, ovalish and roundish lol. If you were to use them for a sfg box, there would be fewer options for a grid, and you would have to reach farther across the rocks to reach the middle rows.

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Post  kjenkins82 on 4/8/2011, 2:07 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forums but I hope you don't mind if I jump in and share my story too; I've enjoyed reading all of yours.

When I was born, my parents were living in a cabin in rural Maine with no electricity and no running water. My dad hunted for our meat and my mom crew our vegetables and cooked it all on a woodstove. My baby food was ground moose meat! They both were really into outdoorsy things like hiking and canoeing and preferred this lifestyle over being in town. I remember going out with my dad to collect wild fiddleheads or raspberries (in gallon buckets!) and helping my mom crimp the edges on the heaping pie that resulted--to this day the best thing I have ever eaten.

We moved to more populated Southern Maine so that my sister and I could get a better education, but bought a 200 year old farmhouse outside of town that sat on 60 acres. We had apple trees and pear trees, acres of pumpkins and strawberries, and of course a good sized patch of vegetables. My sister and I were little entrepreneurs and would sit out by the road side selling quarts of blackberries and cherry tomatoes. I have so many great memories of being in the garden with my dad, learning about tomato hornworms, cucumber beetles, when to harvest onions and how to cover strawberry plants in the fall. In the kitchen with my mother, I helped can dilly beans, make rhubarb sauce, pickle beets, and stir huge pots of jam. We had a cellar that housed our boxes full of root crops and winter squash and a bookshelf filled with gleaming canning jars of all colors, begging to be opened in the cold winter months.

In the years since, I have moved from Maine to Maryland to Oklahoma, and lost both of my parents to cancer. I'm in my late twenties now and bought my first house in 2009. The first two years, I had small backyard gardens but between the clay soil in Oklahoma that I wasn't used to and the rabbits that overrun my neighborhood, I lost all of my peas and lettuce and was lucky to have a few tomatoes, cucumbers, and some herbs in pots. I stumbled across the SFG method on the internet this spring and was sold--ran straight to Barnes and Noble for the book and read it from cover to cover while I waited for it to warm up. It solves a lot of my problems so simply--lack of space, poor soil, and my desire to have a little bit of a lot of things instead of way too much of just a couple things. Smile I started with 2 4 x 4s in March, intending to just keep it at that for this year, but have already added 2 more including one just for strawberries. Yes, the start up costs are high, but when you compare that to the $40 a week that I shell out to my co op for a share bag of organic veggies, I'm sure I'll come out ahead in the end! The spring crops are going well and I am excited to get the summer plants in this weekend and see what I can do.

Although I am very far from my childhood gardens in Maine, there is something so universal about the experience. The sun warmed tomato plants smell the same way I remember them and the lessons I can still hear my father teaching hold true across all these miles and years. With a little luck, in a few months I will be using my mother's recipes for dilly beans and strawberry rhubarb pie and feeling an undeniable connection to my very special childhood.

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Post  Goosegirl on 4/8/2011, 10:26 pm

@boffer wrote:The first or second year of gardening the SFG way, my wife and I had simultaneous epiphanies, if that's possible. She and I are serious meat eaters. We eat our veggies because that's how we were raised, but meat has always been the main course. But that summer, as the harvest developed and we were able to eat multiple veggies from the garden at each meal, something strange happened. We would sit down to eat, and we would turn our plates so that our veggies, and not our meat, were closest to us. Then, we started serving our meat on a side dish, and then we quit bothering to fix meat at all. This wasn't a conscious, orchestrated, health kick we decided to go on, it just happened, to both of us. We found that the quality and substance of our veggies to be so sating and satisfying that we just weren't interested in eating meat. Occasionally we would cook our veggies on the grill and throw some steaks on too. We didn't eat the steaks; they went into the fridge as leftovers. That's totally unheard of in our house. Then, when the harvest started slowing down, meat slowly crept back onto our plates. Grocery store veggies just don't cut it.

It's a cycle we're on now. Veggie eaters in the summer; meat eaters in the winter. Going into our sixth year, we've adjusted our planting to have more and more of our veggies available to store and eat throughout winter. As good as our stored veggies are, they can't keep meat at bay like fresh from the garden veggies can. Maybe it's the cold and gloomy dark skies that dictate our winter diet, I don't know.


I love the accidental vegetarian thing you two have going! Last year I had to change my diet for health reasons, and being someone who LOVES to eat, I was amazed at how much volume I could eat at a time when the calories were all veggies! Nothin' like steamed veggies right out of the garden.

TC

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Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/8/2011, 11:30 pm

I loved your story KJenk! You truly did have a special childhood and sounds like you really appreciate that. It reminds me of reading and re reading all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books!

I grew up in the burbs in a house that sat on an acre of yard, an unheard of amount of space for our neighborhood. When he bought the house, my Dad had a picture in his head of a great garden, grape vines and fruit trees of all kinds. He bought 2 of each of several different fruit trees and built a grape arbor as long as the garden that he tilled( a big traditional row garden) The fruit trees ended up being a big bust. Every single one of them. All I remember is big beautiful green apples that tasted horrible and a plum tree that produced only furry pits. yum His garden did well, but as my sister and I got older and our 100 year old house needed this or that done, he didn't have the time for a giant row garden anymore and he ended up planting grass over it while I was still young. The only thing that remained of his dream yard were the grapes. We also had a wild gooseberry bushes as well but I doubt they did much with them because between my sister and I and the birds, not many made it into the house. Once I was old enough though, he made a new garden bed, much smaller and closer to the house because I always wanted to plant something or grow something. We had a great strawberry bed and we would plant sunflowers and tomatoes and flowers. I loved it but would get very frustrated at the amount of time spent weeding those beds and then having the birds steal away all my hard work.
When I got married, I had this idea in my head that I was a gardener that had just never happened to have grown anything. I have an extensive collection of gardening books and magazines but for some reason, each year I would never make it further than planting a tomato or two, a pepper, and strawberries. I couldn't even get my houseplants to thrive. My husband called me the plant killer and started apologizing to the many plants that I would bring home as I brought them though the door. A year a a half ago, we moved houses. Not far, just across town. But with a whole new yard, that put me into planning mode again, which my husband was used to. I was browsing around on Amazon for god knows what when I found Mel's book. I bought it on a whim along with another called Let It Rot about composting. I'd been wanting to compost for a while. When spring rolled around last year, I had a million things to do with it being the first spring in a new house. The people that owned our house before us had a really nice honeysuckle orchard and poison ivy garden going on in the backyard, 2 60 foot by 30 foot "gardens" 20 feet high- the honeysuckle ate 2 trees!). I would very much like to eradicate both from the planet so that was the quest. Unfortunately, by the time I finished that mission and we had grass where one garden was and a new shed in the place of the other and I finally picked up Mel's book and started reading it, it was way too late to get started from scratch. So I had to wait all winter. I was driving my husband crazy. I bought the wood for the beds and built them in my unheated shop/garage with kerosene heat months before they could go outside. He would come to bed at night and have to move notebooks full of grids out of his spot just to lay down. After reading that book, I went from someone who let all her plants in the house die because I forget to water them and never remember to repot them to the lady obsessed with her seedlings. I even saved my 2 houseplants that I was sure were way past help. As much as he grumbles about my constant grid-making, he said the he can see that I've finally found something that I can love doing. ever since our kids were born, I've been trying to find a "hobby". Before kids, my favorite thing to do was hop in my car with 3 diet cokes and my camera bag and be gone all day. I couldn't do it if I had company, it wasn't the same. I flat out didn't enjoy myself and couldn't create anything. So with 2 kids and a husband that travels constantly for work, needless to say, I "don't get out much anymore" So I'm a trooper, I figured I could back to it again when the boys are older, I just need something to enjoy until then. So I tried scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, each time, I would get interested enough to try but none of them grabbed me. I got a little into woodworking but again, not exactly something I can do with 2 little ones underfoot.

Boffer said he does it for the veggies and I can totally relate to that, that is the reason I was looking into this in the first place. We eat all organic when it comes to produce and dairy but finding organic at the local market is not easy. Usually, getting anything other than apples, milk and a handful of other veggies involved a trip across town to Whole Foods. My city has an amazing Farmers Market but again, it's across town. So I really feel that I need both! My family has a need for fresh healthy food and I need an outlet for my crazy. Win-win!

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Post  genes on 4/9/2011, 10:02 am

Thank yous. Would love to read more SFG stories!

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Post  kjenkins82 on 4/9/2011, 9:39 pm

Thanks GG! I enjoyed reading yours too--you had me laughing with, "I had this idea in my head that I was a gardener that had just never happened to have grown anything." We can all relate to that in one way or another.

Although the harvest is important, I'd have to say that for me it's about the veggies and the experience in equal measures.

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Post  shannon1 on 4/10/2011, 4:51 am

I moved to florida 22yrs ago with my Mom and brother from Anch.AK. I never gardened before ran across Mel's 1st book and it made great sense to me so with the permission of our land lord my brother and I set about constructing our garden the old SFG way. Double digging, solarising (root knots a big problem here) and had 5-4'x4' boxes. Did all our veggies and herbs organicly. I was a wonder to my youngish eyes that you could plant and water and almost watch the stuff grow.
We went to a metting at the ag. center here, they had them monthly and it just happened to be the one they anounced the annual gardening contest for the county. We entered the small organic devision and came in second that year. Thanks to Mel and SFG two complete novices made a good showing of themselves.
This year after 3yrs of some pretty bad health problems I asked my brother if he would build a couple of table top beds for me as a B-Day gift and he was almost as excited as I was at the idea. My Birth day is this week and the beds will be up soon I have all the MM stuff ready to mix. My lovely Mother gave me a copy of Mel's new book as an early gift. Can't way to try the new way.

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Post  Old Hippie on 4/10/2011, 3:23 pm

These stories are wonderful. and an early Happy Birthday to you Shannon.

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Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/10/2011, 9:15 pm

@Old Hippie wrote:These stories are wonderful. and an early Happy Birthday to you Shannon.

Gwynn

I agree! And I love your sig line Shannon!

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Post  Goosegirl on 4/10/2011, 9:50 pm

@Old Hippie wrote:These stories are wonderful.
Gwynn

+1! Everyone here on the forum has a story waiting to be told. Setting up this thread was an inspiration!

TC

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Post  shannon1 on 4/11/2011, 12:24 am

Thanks Gwynn and Glendale-G. Every one here is soooo nice and reading their stories is a treat.

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Post  Ha-v-v on 5/7/2011, 2:43 pm

I thought I would chime in Smile My husband I moved to 2 acres (raw land formerly a pine plantation full of pines) in Southwest Mississippi in Jan. 2007. I have always wanted to garden, always toyed with some sort of seeds each spring where ever I was. Once we moved here to the south (I am in heaven) the urge to provide for us grew as well as gardening being therapy for me. I row gardened for the 2007, 2008 and 2009. The first year it was right near the travel trailer we live in and that was a joke, no compost no nothing just seeds and water Smile Then my husband cleared a spot for my garden and I grew two years there and really liked it except when I had to till it or weed, talk about ugh a rama !!! When the row garden was tilled I can remember hating walking all over it too. (something that sfg has taken care of) I did get a good production from the peppers in that garden. Learned about feeding plants in that garden as well.

I first heard of SFG from a friend, she has a co-op of sorts where she lives. We were heading out on a trip last March and I picked up a book on SFG at Dollar General, 5 bucks was a bargain for me ( I have since found out the book was a shorter version of the full book I later purchased.) I read that book in no time and was sold!! I thought this takes care of the weeds, the tilling and walking all over that and takes care of the mega amounts of compost needed to get my soil amended. I saw tons of success where I saw failure in the row gardening. I went over board of course, I didnt start small lolol. I have since added more beds, but not more space to the garden area. I want to utilize all the space I have before I go forth and open up more land to the garden area. I also want to have table top sfg, ChexMix has the best one for me yet Smile Love her layout.

Row Garden 2009 not at its full height of those peppers, they did well and were pretty tall at the end of the fall.
Of course some token corn, didnt do well but still liked growing it.



First Year SFG before trellising etc. April 2010



Second Year SFG March 2011


I love what has happened to our garden because of SFG !!

Ha-v-v

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  ErinAdkins on 5/7/2011, 3:49 pm

My story? Well...

My parents divorced when I was very young. My dad stayed in Ohio my mom moved to Georgia. I would visit my dad during the summers. Since he worked my dad's mom would watch me. She had the greenest thumb ever. Her yard had tons of flowers and she had a huge row garden in the backyard. I don't ever remember her fussing over it but her rows were perfectly straight and there wasn't a weed in sight. She is in her late 80s now and she still has flower and veggie gardens.

My mom had a relationship with a man in Georgia who gardened. I remember having a huge garden in the back yard and him bringing in tons of produce. I never showed much interest in the garden then, I was more interested in riding my bike between the rows.

As I got older I began to appreciate plants more. As a teen I grew roses and made sure to plant annuals in our front flower beds every year.

My interest in growing things and gardening has continued to develop. My husband and I lived with his parents who were disabled. Every spring his mom would sit in her shady spot on the porch and tell me where she wanted things to be planted. Those plants would thrive. Everything I planted on my own died. Sad

After his parents passed away and a short time living in Florida, we moved to Ohio (where my both of my parents now reside). We rented a house for 7 years. The last 4 of those years I planted a traditional row garden. I had broccoli, carrots, beans, tomatoes...not much else. There would be mud in the rows even with a layer of straw it would be too muddy to walk in. I had to water relentlessly. I loved the little bit of harvest I got but didn't like all the work.

When my husband and I bought this house 2 years ago in March, I knew I wanted a garden but we have a small town lot. My dad suggested square foot gardening. He told me "build some beds, fill it with good garden soil, put on grids for 1 foot square, and plant. That is not exactly what I did. I filled them with some dirt from some flower beds in the front of our house. The dirt was hard and things didn't grow very well. My hubby, who works at Lowes, bought bags of garden soil at the end of the season last year and we filled my beds with it late last fall.

Then one day, while doing my household shopping I came across the All new Square Foot Gardening book. I began reading it this January and learned tons but I didn't have the money to ammend my soil this year (maybe next) but I have learned alot from this book

My goal for my tiny yard is to have mostly edible foliage growing around it. I have Blackberry and raspberry bushes now, a hanging strawberry planter, various containers of herbs, and of course my 3 4foot x 8 foot beds.

I would like to be able to can some of my harvest and donate to our local food pantry. Having an edible landscape is going to help us save money in the long run as well. That last fact is great because we are a family of 6 living on 1 income because childcare costs are outrageous and jobs are scarce around here.

I think that is about it. Very Happy

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Just starting

Post  pwjan on 5/8/2011, 7:05 am

This story is only starting. The wood for our first SFG is in the back of the van. Getting it ready to go is my Mother's Day present. It's the only day of the year I can force the family to help in the yard, so I use it to my advantage. Very Happy They are more willing now that they are grown, but it was the only way to get it to happen when they were younger.

I grew up all over the place because my dad was career Army. Mom stayed home and raised her family of six children. My dad loved canned vegetables. I don't know why, but he did. I think to keep her sanity, that made mom just as happy to open a can, dump it in a pot, and just heat it up. I truly did not know people ate fresh vegetables until I was in high school. Can you say "sheltered"? Even then, I thought the only people who ate fresh vegetables were the hippie-types.

Fast forward a few years to when I met my husband. I attended the University of Maine and he was a Vermont boy attending seminary in Bangor, Maine. His dad was a darn tender in VT and this boy's backyard was a vast piece of land overlooking the darn. He would plant a vegetable garden in the summer and ride his bike around the neighborhood selling produce to the neighbors. That concept was just foreign to me.

Fast forward a few years and we are invited to dinner at a parishioner's house for dinner after church. This older couple had a HUGE garden and seemed to grow everything under the sun. Dot was a great cook and everyone looked forward to being invited to her house for dinner. We were poor as church mice, so any free meal was a treat. So, Dot and I are in the kitchen while I help her prepare for the meal. I can still see her standing at the counter, dripping red beets in hand as she peeled them. Her face was beautiful. She had more wrinkles in her face than any other person I had met before. Her eyes twinkled and she always wore a smile. I watched her as she peeled away. I got a little confused as I watched the red juice drip off her hands and into the bowl. I thought beets were all white like turnips and that the dye was added "for effect", so I asked her, "You mean they already come that color?" I thought she was going to die, she laughed so hard she cried. She never let me forget that.

A few more years and we have lived in homes in Massachusetts and Maine. We have large and small gardens, but they are my husband's responsibility, supposedly. Weeds, weeds, weeds. The young pastor is too busy with work and I can't tell the difference between a weed and a vegetable plant. We did get vegetables, but after a few years we lost interest and didn't have the time for tending a garden.

In spring 2010, I came across Mel's book on SFG. We got psyched, then we got busy, then we couldn't easily find vermiculite...

Now it is spring 2011, we are psyched again despite an even busier spring and summer (the girl's getting married!), but we are determined to have a SFG this summer. With rising fuel and food costs, it only makes sense. So the wood is in the van, cut to size. Still looking for vermiculite, but after reading last night about looking in the insulation section at Menard's, I have hope it will happen. Breakfast, church, and then slave labor.

To be continued...

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Barkie on 5/8/2011, 7:40 am

We are a diverse bunch.

I grew up in a city. We had a typical lawn surrounded by borders of shrubs and perennials. My job was to help my father sweep up the hedge trimmings. One day I found a packet of seed and the instructions were simple so I asked to have a patch of ground, after much pleading and promising to water them my dad gave in. I liked the results.

My first garden was too small to make rows so I grew a few edibles in with the flowers cottage garden style. Because it was such a small garden I spent more time reading about gardens and gardening than doing it. I liked making and producing something. Eventually, frustrated at a lack of space and not using what I had spent a considerable amount on learning over a few years, I went into business creating ornamental gardens for clients.

Gardens have been a creative exercise, a place to relax, a hobby, a place of work and the means to put fresh food on the table. I have grown a few vegetables cottage style in with the flowers, whatever I have had room for, but there is a huge amount I have never tried which I can get as excited about as growing those first seeds. There are plants that are like old friends which I always have to find room for in a new garden but I'm still learning and exploring new directions especially the edible side. I think SFG will fit in nicely with what I want to do.

That's about it really.

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Goosegirl on 5/8/2011, 10:02 am

@Barkie wrote: One day I found a packet of seed and the instructions were simple so I asked to have a patch of ground, after much pleading and promising to water them my dad gave in.

"Might I have a bit of earth?" Quote from The Secret Garden.

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Barkie on 5/8/2011, 11:18 am

@Goosegirl wrote:
@Barkie wrote: One day I found a packet of seed and the instructions were simple so I asked to have a patch of ground, after much pleading and promising to water them my dad gave in.

"Might I have a bit of earth?" Quote from The Secret Garden.

You have read the book then Goosegirl. I think I saw it as a film on tv. All I could remember of the premise of the story was that there was a locked door with a forgotten garden beyond so I googled and it and found the text is free online if anyone fancies a read.

http://www.online-literature.com/burnett/secretgarden/

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Unmutual on 5/8/2011, 12:26 pm

My job requires me to do shift work. 2 years ago, 2 spots opened at a station where I no longer had to do the graveyard shift(anyone that's worked this can tell you it's a rough one). After a couple months of only working 2 shifts, I started to notice that I wasn't always tired and this new found energy prompted me to pick up woodworking again.

What can you say about woodworking...unless you're planning on building all your own furniture there really isn't much to do. The backyard was looking very boring so I decided that gardening would be my outlet for woodworking. Sometimes I think these 2 hobbies were made for each other.

After a month or two researching gardening methods, I came across SFG on some forum or another(pretty sure not this one) and I decided to grab Mel's book because it sounded like the perfect solution to traditional gardening. Though I love computers and the information I can get online, I still like the traditional reference books too.

So 2 years ago, in February, I built some 2x4 SFG beds and put them on legs just in case we got a flood. Since I didn't horribly kill everything growing in them, I've been adding to this garden and now the lawn in the front yard is looking like prime veggie real estate too!

I've come across a lot more information on this type of gardening, but I know there is still a lot more I can learn(and I love learning things, which is odd since I hated school). Between Mel and his little 4x4 garden and John(growingyourgreens.com) and his back yard/front yard SFG garden(not all have grids, Mel would be sad at this), I've been inspired to pass along this great way to improve your health, life and community.

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  pwjan on 5/8/2011, 1:16 pm

His dad was a darn tender in VT and this boy's backyard was a vast piece of land overlooking the darn.

Oh, boy, I must have been tired when I wrote this. It should say that his dad was a dam tender and the vast piece of land overlooked the dam. I spelled it wrong and it got changed to "darn". LOL. My apologies. Embarassed

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Re: Your story HERE...

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