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New from northern Alabama...

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New from northern Alabama...

Post  tsid10d on 4/13/2011, 3:27 pm


I'm new to the forum and to gardening in Alabama, but not entirely new to SQFt gardening. About 15 years ago in NY I had raised beds and used Mel's old book. The soil here is much worse. Almost impossible to dig in the red clay, so Mel's new method of not having to dig really appeals.

My husband just built me three 4 ft by 4 ft raised beds and I'm in the process of gathering together the ingredients for the Mel's mix. I'm planning on putting some raw linseed on the bes them to help them last longer since we just used plain lumber. We bought 2 x 10's because I like the beds higher than six inches (easier on the back). My problem is what to use in the bottom 3.25 inches. I know Mel says to use sand, but he also assumes that sand is cheaper than anything else. That does not seem to be the case from looking at the prices at Lowes and Home Depot. Since sand is also really heavy I'm wondering if I can just buy some top soil or something else that's cheaper and easier to handle than sand to put on the bottom? I'm wondering what other people have used.

I have found 4 types of compost: Cow, Hen, Mushroom and something called "Organic Compost Soil Conditioner from the forest floor". I also bought 2 bags of "Worm Castings". I'm not sure if that would be considered compost or just soil conditioner, but I guess I will treat it as my 5th type of compost.

Has anyone grown Broccolini (aka Baby Broccoli)? My family loves it so I figured I would try.

Any advice is appreciated Smile



Female Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-03-21
Age : 54
Location : Northern Alabama, Zone 7a, Heat Zn 7

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Re: New from northern Alabama...

Post  dizzygardener on 4/13/2011, 4:41 pm

glad you\'re here glad you\'re here glad you\'re here

June, it's good to have you.

Worm castings definitely count as compost. It's one of the richest you can get!

As to what to fill the bottom of your box with, well you can use anything really. Topsoil, gravel, plastic bottles, scrap wood.... whatever you can get your hands on that's cheap. If you use something inorganic or something you don't want your veggies to come in contact with, make sure to cover it with weed cloth or cardboard or something else before filling with MM. You might want to leave a portion of the box deep so that you can plant your carrots, etc. there.

Do you have the All New SFG book? If not, you'll want to pick it up. It is full of all the info you need to implement the new system. It is a lot different and a lot easier than the original method.

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask away. Also, if you have any tricks or tips to share please don't hesitate to do so. Pictures are always welcome.

Also, stop on by your regional forum. If you are north of Birmingham you are in the middle south region. South of Birmingham is the lower south region. Regional forums are a great place to get in contact with others in your region and to get region specific information.

Take care and happy gardening!


Female Posts : 668
Join date : 2011-01-26
Location : WNC 6b

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Re: New from northern Alabama...

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/13/2011, 5:21 pm


We are really glad to have you here.

Dizzy gave you some really good information on your wormcastings. They are great compost.

You are really going to love the ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING method. Using Mel's Mix is really the way to go, no digging, no weeds, just wonderful.

Have fun with your three new beds. Keep us posted on your progress, and PLEASE share pictures.

Again, Welcome!


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Re: New from northern Alabama...

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/13/2011, 6:42 pm



I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

FB: Square Foot Gardening 4 U


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Female Posts : 1842
Join date : 2010-09-30
Age : 57
Location : Glen Burnie, MD

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Have Mel's Old and New Books

Post  tsid10d on 4/14/2011, 10:55 am

I do have Mel's new book. It's amazing how far he has come with the spread of SFG, the foundation, etc. The new method of not having to dig also fits in perfectly with being 15 plus years older than the last time hubby and I did this!

I will post pictures as soon as I have some. I'm also going to see if I can dig out the pictures of my old garden (which are not digital of course). I had an 8 ft high fence then because we had deer. The deer would sometimes take a bite out of a cucumber that was sticking thru the fence. Here there are no deer so we are not putting up a fence. I will have to check out the regional forums - middle south I think, since I am north of Birmingham, close to the Tennessee border.

Thanks for the warm welcome.



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Re: New from northern Alabama...

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