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Hello from SE Virginia....

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Hello from SE Virginia....

Post  utbmom on 4/11/2011, 4:27 pm

We want to grow lots of food, but have very poor drainage, so I thought sq gardening might be the best way to go. We're really broke with the economy being so lousy now, like so many others, and can't afford tons of topsoil, fertilizer, mulch, lumber, or blocks to get the garden going. We haven't even been able to locate a tiller to plant the "old fashioned" way. Last year's garden didn't produce anything really well but tomatoes, and I think that was because my husband got about 100 plants from a neighbor. He just let them wallow, but since we had so many plants it was a bumper crop...he's new to gardening & I wasn't able to do it last year.

Does anyone have any suggestions for producing a lot of veggies/fruit for a large family "on the cheap"?


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Re: Hello from SE Virginia....

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/11/2011, 5:27 pm

Welcome utbmom

Nice to "meet" another SFG'er from Virginia.

Have you had a chance to read ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING book yet? If you don't have your own copy, perhaps you can borrow one from the library.

SFG is wonderful for areas with poor drainage, because you build your bed above the soil.

One way you can save money is to use "found" wood to create your SFG beds. If they are built 4 ft x 4 ft, then you can reach in from all sides to care for and harvest your plants. 4 x 8 or 4 x 12 is ok too, but you will only be able to reach in from two sides instead of all four sides.

You won't need topsoil to build your SFG, but there are three ingredients that are required to make Mel's Mix, the soiless growing medium.
1. A blend of five types of compost. Did you make your own compost last year and still have some on hand? Again, this reduces your cost if you have your own compost, instead of buying it.
2. Peat moss - fairly inexpensive
3. Vermiculite - this is usually the most expensive ingredient in Mel's Mix. Sometimes you can find it at building supply stores, where it is sold as loose insulation. This is often less expensive than purchasing from nurseries or feed and seed stores. You must be sure that it says "Horticultural" or "agricultural" grade on the package.

Hope this helps.

Please keep us updated on the progress of your garden.


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Re: Hello from SE Virginia....

Post  utbmom on 4/11/2011, 7:45 pm

Thanks so much for the prompt reply.

Sadly, we didn't start composting last year. I don't have a clue why I didn't think to do it. I also haven't gotten the book yet. We have a very small, country library & they'll have to order it...part of the joy of living in a rural community!

I'll start checking on Craigslist for the stuff I need, but I guess I'm not really sure what all that is until I get the book. lol I just hope I'm not getting going too late to be able to fill up the freezer for this year!


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Re: Hello from SE Virginia....

Post  middlemamma on 4/12/2011, 12:57 am

Furbalsmom gave you great advice...get your hands on the book, it's the best way you can go.

Good Luck!


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Post  bettyd_z7_va on 4/12/2011, 2:11 am

I'm in Central Va.

This will be our first spring garden using the squarefoot method. We had 2- 4x4s last fall, but got a late start and didn't get much harvest.

I still have to pull out the fall stuff and get the spring stuff in.

We will be planting in the ground as well as using our squarefoot beds until we can get more squarefoot beds going. Hubby built 2 new 3x12 12" deep beds for potatoes and asparagus, but it is going to take a LOT of Mel's Mix to fill those up!

Our landfill has free partially composted leaves. They will even load them for you. Check with your landfill to see if they have anything like that. Advertise on Freecycle about the items you need. Check the local paper for free horse manure.

Ask at the local feed stores if they know anyone who owns horses that you could get free horse manure from. We got some from a lady who put a small sign out by the end of her driveway that said "Free Horse Manure".

Just make sure the owners didn't use any broad-leaf herbicide on their pastures. It will go through the horses and stay in the manure and kill whatever you use the manure on.

Our problem is we don't have access to a truck to haul anything on right now.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.



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Re: Hello from SE Virginia....

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