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Experienced sfg garden plans

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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Sun 10 Apr - 13:21

Hi ya'll,

It seems like it's usually us "newbies" who are posting our garden plans & asking for advice. That's great and I love seeing them, but I'd also love to see the garden plans of some of our more experienced sfgardeners. I think we newbies could really learn from that. How about it?
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  camprn on Sun 10 Apr - 14:00

Garden Plan? :scratch: well, er, yeah, I plan to go out to the garden with my box of seeds and plant them....
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  boffer on Sun 10 Apr - 14:04

+1 thank you, camp!

I have well over 300sf of SFG space and that's how I do it too.

On paper? Not a thing.

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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Sun 10 Apr - 14:16

Ok, guys, make fun of the newbie Embarassed for wanting to learn from your many years of sfg! You guys are my idols and I am selfish enough to want to glean what I can from your many years of experience.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  dizzygardener on Sun 10 Apr - 14:25

Sherry, they weren't making fun of you. With experience comes the knowledge of what to plant when, where and how. Additionally, some folks aren't one to write things down or make extensive plans. Some folks just stick stuff in the ground and what comes up comes up.

I'm sure we have a few OCD old-timers that will chime in. Smile
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  boffer on Sun 10 Apr - 14:42

Sorry for the brevity.

I'm a very left brain person who garden's from the gut. I let my gardening evolve.

I'll be happy to explain what that means when I have more time tomorrow.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  Old Hippie on Sun 10 Apr - 15:12

Not making fun of newbies at all. I envy you all for your ability to plan things out on paper. My garden would most likely be so much prettier and more productive than it is if I did that. I always MEAN to do that and I always promise myself every year that I will make better notes and keep better records. My daughter bought me a beautiful garden journal from Lee Valley Tools one year for my birthday. I have written in it a few times every year. But what can I say other than I am a slacker and the Procrastination Queen. And when it is time to plant stuff....that is what I do....and it just kind of happens however it happens.

I love looking at your different plans and maybe I will make one sometime.....after I read the book I bought in a yard sale about "Procrastination."

Gwynn
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  Blackrose on Sun 10 Apr - 15:34

I wouldn't call myself experienced as I only have 1 season under my belt, but here is my plan for this year. I only had 1 4x3 last year. I've expanded a bit. Laughing

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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Sun 10 Apr - 16:58

Aaawwwwww - it's ok, guys. I really didn't take offense. I've read enough posts to know you guys like to kid around and are really just big soft-hearted marshmallows. But I sure would like to know how any OCD type experienced gardeners out there have honed their squares down to a pattern that they may use often or all the time - or do you keep experimenting with new things.

For you left-brainers who don't plan, maybe some of you could post a hint about something you've found definitely DOESN'T work best in a sfg or some companion planting or intercropping that you especially like using. I'm thinking that okra (I'm a southern girl, so I love my okra.) probably doesn't work too well in a sfg because it takes up so much space. And I have grown bush type yellow crookneck squash in a traditional garden that I think would probably take up almost the whole 4X4 with one plant. It seems that watermelon would take up too much space, also. And I'd love to grow strawberries, but it seems, from other posts I've read, that they might work better in their own private raised bed.

I will probably be one of the right-brain OCD types, even after I am more experienced at it (hard to imagine at this point). I love planning my future gardens. By the by, I just got back from the plant store (also known as heaven-on-earth) where I bought tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, cilantro and parsley. Soon as it cools down a bit, I'm off to the garden to plant. bounce
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  Old Hippie on Sun 10 Apr - 17:22

I have one 4x4 plot designated to nothing but strawberries. This year I am thinking we will add a couple of layers to it and go UP to get more space. If I can beat the slugs to them we get a decent amount of berries out of that space but still not enough to freeze or make jam with.

Since I am in the Canadian Great White North, I know nothing at all about Okra......growing or eating it. So I am no help to you there. My husband doesn't like squash of any kind, zucchini so I don't grow that either since the kids left home. However, from what I remember of it when I did grow it, I would probably allow it 4 squares right in the middle and then smaller stuff around the edges. But others seem to have success training it up on a trellis (depending on the variety you grow) so as much as you can with sprawling, vining type plants put up stakes or trellis and you can make better use of your space.

I get a huge kick out of you people that are waiting for it to cool off to go out and plant while I am still waiting for snow to melt and the ground to thaw. But almost all the snow is gone in my yard now. Maybe by the end of this week it will be gone if we are lucky.

Gwynn
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  middlemamma on Sun 10 Apr - 17:35

I thik gardening has helped my OCD actually.... Shocked If that is possible.

Through the winter I made all sorts of paper plans...but now that I can actually start sticking things in the ground they seem to go out the window. Rolling Eyes I am just so excited to get started I start plunking stuff int he MM and jumping up and down. LOL "The Plan" kinda gets forgotten.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on Sun 10 Apr - 18:41

boffer wrote:I'm a very left brain person who garden's from the gut. I let my gardening evolve.

I thought that was "right-brained?" I thought the left-brained people were the ultra logical over planner types? I thought the right-brained people were the "artsy-fartsy" types....and most of the "red" personality types.

Anyway, I agree that the most experienced gardeners don't plan as much in computer software and on paper as much anymore. Well, maybe less than they used to in the beginning. They have so much experience and information in their heads that they have developed a "feel" for gardening.

But, that said, SFG is a little different imo. "Plans" come down to personality type more. We have lots of squares to be thinking about. And, if we stagger our harvests over weeks, or months, we wind up confusing ourselves if we don't have some form of system we follow. I am not that experience, so I use a calendar to refer back to and I can watch when the last time I planted something was. I can go out two weeks and know when I need to plant again. Lettuces and carrots are really getting me right now, for instance.

However, I couldn't resist poking around on that free software for planning, either.

Here is what I thought my garden would look like in the beginning. What I would plant, and how many squares of each I would plant. http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPJS (Well, this isn't what I planned....sorry. I didn't save this one apparently. This is the same link as below.)

Instead, I mixed it up. I randomly grabbed squares like Mel talks about in his book. I ultimately felt it would be easier to see what was ready for harvest if they weren't right next to each other. Well, I have a little over half the squares planted and it looks nothing like that previous plan. It actually looks like this... http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPJS#loadbed

Hope this helped..
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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Sun 10 Apr - 19:01

BYBG, I think the left-brained types are the "artsy fartsy" ones - I work with one. I'm right-brained - more practical and down to earth, a planner. My coworker and I have clashed at times in the past, but find that our differences actually make for a more well-rounded department if we just let the differences work for us, instead of against us. Someone else will probably speak up and let us know for sure about the brain directional thing.

I tried to see your garden plan, but just saw the basic software setup, not your plan. I think you probably have to log in using name and password? But I appreciate the thought.

Old Hippie, I saw what I thought was a great tip for slugs. I'll look that up and post it back here - probably tomorrow - it was in a book at work.

Boffer, That's an awful lot of square foot gardens. I'm just thinking it would take an awful lot of your favorite free ingredient for compost for all those squares! Razz Nuf said.

Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to post. I just planted cukes, tomatoes (Better Boys and Marion, an heirloom), eggplant, peppers (cayenne, jalapeno, my fave poblano and regular bells), zucchini, cilantro and parsley. What fun! I found a lady bug on the patio table where I'd left my plants. I take that as a good sign! I I love you ladybugs.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on Sun 10 Apr - 21:40

I guess I'll have to screenshot it if you still want to see something? Let me know. I can go either way with posting it or not.
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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Sun 10 Apr - 22:09

BYBG - I'd love to see if it's not too much trouble! I still have a few squares I'm trying to figure out what to plant in, so I love seeing what others are doing.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  staf74 on Sun 10 Apr - 22:10

Someone else will probably speak up and let us know for sure about the brain directional thing.

Not sure about you guys............... but I like both sides of my brain and plan on using them both Wink

Seriously, apart from the obvious fact that you need to simply get out there and physically plant, as some have alluded to, you will learn by your own experience.

However' since you asked Smile my best advice for you in terms of "planning" your garden is to ....

1) Be aware of how big the plants will get as they grow and place them appropriately in your boxes. For example, know which part of the box will get morning sun first and for longest. You don't want to transplant Broccoli in the Southern squares of your box and then plant carrots from seed in the Northern squares. One will shade the other and your carrots will be smaller than they could be. This is especially important for spring and fall plantings when the sun angle is lower. For smaller plants such as Spinach/Lettuce this won't be such an issue.

2) If you succession plant, follow this same procedure. If one bed is for Kale for example, don't plant all at once and when you stagger the plantings, once again make sure you fill the Southern facing squares LAST, Northern FIRST. It will help maximize sunlight on all plants

3) Think of how the sun angle changes from season to season. This might create more sun / shade than you anticipated from one season to another.

4) Just go for it, so what if you get it wrong this time around. Plans need to grow into planTs.

5) Grow mainly what you will eat most of but don't be afraid to try new crops.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  pattipan on Sun 10 Apr - 23:07

I've been SFG'ing for awhile now (before the ALL New SFG book came out) and a conventional row gardener before that. I am still learning too!

This is my SFG plans so far for this year. Not much has changed from last year, except we changed out one 2 x 8 box to a 4 x 8 (8" deep). Kind of messed with the symmetry of the garden, but I wanted more room for beans and basil.



Our garden is designed to maximize space for tomatoes. I'll have a dozen WV '63's and a dozen Opalkas. Plus at least two Sweet 100 cherry tomato plants. In the blank squares there will be peppers, beans, basil, carrots, Swiss chard and more...just haven't decided what goes where yet. I'm planting only bush-type beans -- French filets (Maxibel) and Dragon's tongue (a delicious heirloom). I plant four squares at a time of the beans, spacing the plantings two to three weeks apart for a continuous harvest.

We also have a 2 x 4 box up nearer to the house. It doesn't get as much sun, so I'm planting herbs and more lettuce there. I am trying a new heirloom/early determinate tomato (Mountain Princess) in planters...or maybe another 2 x 4 box, if I can figure out where to place it away from my other tomatoes. As you can see, tomatoes are the most important crop for me. I like to can them, freeze them and roast them and eat them fresh! I make, pizza sauce, salsa and soup as well. When I think about it...everything else in my SFG is planned around the tomatoes!

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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Sun 10 Apr - 23:37

staf74 - Truth is, I need to use every little tiny cranny of my brain that might still be capable of functioning. My brain doesn't seem to work quite as well as it did when I was younger!

Thanks for your great tips. I've tried to balance heights so the taller veggies are on the north. I'm not sure I got everything exactly right, but will learn from my mistakes as I go, hopefully. I'm having a lot of fun with it, anyway.

pattipan - I like your plan. I grew Sweet 100 tomatoes back when they first came out, I think - had a garden one year, then gave up on it. The Sweet 100s are really good. I grew Yellow Pear tomatoes last year in a conventional garden and everyone just loved them. They're so very sweet and cute, to boot. I like your smaller boxes just for the summer squash. I love the yellow crookneck summer squash - it tastes so buttery to me - but didn't want to take up too much space with only 2 4X4 boxes, so I may eventually "borrow" your idea for the smaller squash boxes.

I only have 2 4X4s now, figured I should make sure this is going to work for me before I went too crazy with it. So I don't have as much space as I'd like to grow different varieties. I'll most likely get more boxes for a fall garden.

Thanks for your replies. I enjoyed them tremendously.
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  Old Hippie on Sun 10 Apr - 23:49

One of the great things about SFG is that Mel has done all the figuring out of everything for us. So as long as you follow his rules the whole thing is almost a 'no brainer'. So for those of us who may have given away one too many pieces of our mind or let them out to wander and they didn't come back, it really is the only way to garden.Laughing

Gwynn
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  pattipan on Mon 11 Apr - 0:16

Sherry Owens wrote:staf74 - I like your smaller boxes just for the summer squash. I love the yellow crookneck summer squash - it tastes so buttery to me - but didn't want to take up too much space with only 2 4X4 boxes, so I may eventually "borrow" your idea for the smaller squash boxes.

I like to grow the summer squash in their own 2 x 2 boxes so they have room to spread without covering other plants. I "think" I got that idea from the old SFG web site. I usually plant a zucchini and a yellow or pattypan squash (bush or semi-vining). Here's last year's zucchini just beginnning to spill over the box. I also find it easier to do the daily checking for squash vine borer eggs -- it was a real battle last year, but I won!



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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  duhh on Mon 11 Apr - 0:54

I have to plan my garden so I can make sure to have enough room for things that need to be trellised!!

4x4
cucumber Empty Cucumber Empty
Empty Tom Empty Tom
Tom Empty Tom Empty
Empty Cucumber Empty Cucumber

I planted spin. radishes, micro greens in the empty spaces while the toms, cucumber get bigger
(trellis in the middle with toms)
also enough room to allow cucumbers to grow out of the box

4x4
bean bean bean bean
tom empty tom empty
empty tom empty tom
bell bell bell bel
also planted smaller faster growing things in empty squares
(trellis in the middle with toms)

4x4
empty squash empty squash
tomatillio empty tomatillio empty
empty tomatillios empty tomatillio
squash empty squash empty
(trellis in the middle with the tomatillios)
have enough room to alow squash to grow out the sides

4x4 (nephew)

strawberries let let let
strawberries peas peas pumpkin
Strawberries peas peas empty
strawberries watermelon spin spin

watermelon and pumpkin will be able to grow out of box


4x4
4 sisters
corn x 2 per square.
pole bean x 2 per square
2 pie pumpkins

my 2 1/2 foot box along the wall staggers toms in the back by the wall. In front smaller crops like lettuce, basil, chard, onions, spin, peppers.... watermelons on the end where they have room to sprawl ou of the box.

my 8x4 goes like this..... its in the middle of switching from cold to warm veggies...

peas peas jal cilantro let let pepper pepper
peas peas jal empty tom empty carrot onion
peas peas empty tom empty tom carrot carrot
peas peas tom empty empty radish carrot carrot

will be replacing peas and carrots with toms or maybe more peppers.....


I hope you can get what I have planted from this. Maybe it will help someone who is new. I am pretty new at this and am still learning what to plant with what. The hardest thing I have to deal with is I want to many space hogs that need to be trellised!!!
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  shannon1 on Mon 11 Apr - 1:35

I just make a list of what I like to eat. Use the ag.centers list as to what does best in my area and plant according to hight (tallest on north side). OK so thats the plan but I have not been able to resist new heirlooms that sound interesting. For example went to Ace last week to get some compost and came home with a "Black from Tula" tomato plus a FLOWER called "bat-faced cuphea" they were both so interesting I had to try them. I guess I have mixed brain dominance.
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Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  sherryeo on Mon 11 Apr - 11:34

shannon 1 - Oh no, the dreaded mixed brain dominance. You do know that left brainers and right brainers often clash big-time - imagine the struggle that might be going on in your mixed brain dominance. Hopefully, it will work for you instead of against you, though! Ha. Laughing

duhh (love the name) - Thank you for the plan. I tried growing tomatillos in my "traditional" garden last year. They were huge plants and had tons of tomatillos on them. I was looking up salsa and other recipes for using my bumper crop. Then the stink bugs and other factors did my tomatoes in. I pulled up the dead tomato plants and threw them away. The bugs then went after the tomatillos - which, according to what I'd read were supposed to be "rarely bothered by insects." I didn't get enough in the end to even make one recipe. Sad Here's wishing you much better luck with your garden. I'm too late to plant lettuce now here in south Mississippi, hope to try it for a fall garden.

Old Hippie - I love that Mel has figured it out for us. His book totally makes sense to me and I'm hoping his techniques will work better for me than the traditional row garden. I truly believe that they will.

pattipan - I wish I had two smaller squash boxes made up right now. I got some zucchini plants, thinking they'd be vining plants and I could grow them up the trellis. But they're bush plants, so I'll have to devote at least 2 squares to them. Live and learn. But I think I'll definitely try for some of the special squash boxes when I get the chance.

Thanks to everyone for your posts. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to offer your wisdom!
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  Old Hippie on Mon 11 Apr - 11:57

Mixed brain dominance! Maybe THAT explains the voices in my head arguing all the time!! LOL!

Sherry, if you still have mix left and want to plant more plants, why not try doing some in containers. Even five gallon buckets will do. Not the prettiest by any means but they work.

Gwynn
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Re: Experienced sfg garden plans

Post  Shoda on Mon 11 Apr - 12:49

Last year was my first year with a SFG. I grew a wall of beans on the long side of a 4x6 bed. The other side of the bed was filled with summer squash. The squash was fine, however the 6' long wall of beans was very hard to manage. It got very thick and I couldn't harvest very easily from one side. I ended up hanging over the bed wishing my arms were longer.

My garden beds are 4' wide by 6 or 8 feet. So keep in mind the length of your arms when you plant and don't wall yourself off from any of your squares. If you do put tall things in the center of the bed, I would suggest go toward the middle with smaller things along the edges. Of course if you have LONG arms, disregard my advice.
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