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Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

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Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/15/2011, 2:28 pm

Okay, so I've got my boxes built, I finally got my Mel's Mix completed and put in my boxes and the last thing I need to do is the grid. I bought twisted jute gardening twine because I thought that would be easier and neater to work with. (Since I haven't done it yet, if anyone has any big objections to this, please let me know Very Happy )
PhotobucketPhotobucket





So, I thought I would just pick out what seeds I want to go in each square and be good to go. Unfortunately, as I've read more in the book I see that it's not quite as simple as that. Once again I'm confused and overwhelmed :scratch:

What might be my problem is that I'm trying to use seeds I bought in a kit by Greenland Gardner at Sam's Club. It's broken into a "Complete Vegetable Garden Seed Kit" and a "Complete Salsa Garden Seed Kit".

So the salsa kit has 3 different types of tomatoes and the garden kit has one. From looking at the SFG book, my (summer) growing season, isn't long enough to grow the tomatoes from seeds, but the kit states just to plant the seeds.

Do I need to start off most of my veggies indoors? If so, does that mean I need to go out and buy small containers to put them each in? Luckily I have extra vermiculite. I get really excited to move forward and then I get stuck I know that I keep reading that this is so much easier than "regular" gardening, but since I've never done regular gardening I'm finding this very overwhelming. I feel like I haven't even gotten to the part about supports, protecting the garden from critters and the other covers, etc. I see further along in the book

Every time I've posted to this forum I've gotten great advice that makes me feel better. Please don't let me down guys Very Happy!

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/15/2011, 2:35 pm

You'll be great. You are just planting ahead of your reading if you ask me.

I read, either in the book or elsewhere, that big box stores don't often stock local varieties....like short season tomatoes up north.....instead they stock what sells regardless of whether it will even grow in your area. I don't know that this is exactly correct, but I doubt they put a bunch of thought into setting US up for success.

Anyway, according to your frost date, I would get the cool season stuff in now, or as soon as you can. I would possibly start tomatoes inside, but if you don't want to, just buy some transplants that have had a head start and save those seeds for next season.....they should keep.

I would avoid buying "kits" in the future. Sure, they are set up for convience. But, they usually aren't completely usable. Some parts never get used when I buy one. I just tend to do my research first and then plan to buy only what I need/want before I even go to a store.

Your boxes look great. Your design is incredible right down to the touch of pansies along the front. It's going to be fabulous. Others advice will be great, too.

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  quiltbea on 4/15/2011, 2:47 pm

Depending on your frost-free zone, you can probably still sow the seeds for tomatoes now. I just sowed 80 of mine 2 days ago in Zone 5a in Maine. They take approx 6 weeks to be big enough to plant outdoors. By then your area may be warm enough to transplant them outdoors. You should plant tomatoes after the last frost-free date for your area and you'll have plenty of time for them to grow.

You can plant cool-weather seedlings outdoors around 4-5 weeks before your last frost date so if you don't have any broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, parsley or brussels sprouts started, you can always buy seedlings at the big box stores and plant them at the scheduled time.
If you don't have anywhere to buy seedlings, then wait for summer and start your cool-weather crops for fall then. They actually grow better in the fall because its getting cooler, rather than too warm for them, but they take a little longer to mature in the fall.

Don't get kits in future. They are not set up for SFG or for many other kinds of growing. Personally, and this is a personal thought, I consider they are just ways for companies to make money off unsuspecting buyers. Most don't grow well at all.
I tried a couple some years ago before I got into SFG.

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/15/2011, 5:34 pm

Your boxes are beautiful. Because the kits are not set up for each climate, the seeds may not be appropriate for direct planting in YOUR garden.

QuiltBean and BBG gave you good advise on trying to seed your tomatoes indoors. Peppers are also warm weather plants that can be seeded indoors.

Check your last frost date and Mels ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING book for timing of indoor and outdoor seeding, that is all in Mel's Final Summary, Planting Charts pages 252 thru 259. Take your time and think it thru. You will do fine!

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  camprn on 4/15/2011, 5:40 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:Your boxes are beautiful. Because the kits are not set up for each climate, the seeds may not be appropriate for direct planting in YOUR garden.

QuiltBean and BBG gave you good advise on trying to seed your tomatoes indoors. Peppers are also warm weather plants that can be seeded indoors.

Check your last frost date and Mels ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING book for timing of indoor and outdoor seeding, that is all in Mel's Final Summary, Planting Charts pages 252 thru 259. Take your time and think it thru. You will do fine!
here's good links for your frost dates and when to plant what.
Johnny's Interactive Tools <~~Click

Old Farmer's Almanac

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  boog1 on 4/15/2011, 6:42 pm

imo if u think the jute string is more to your liking go for it me personaly i had a grocery bag full of 3 strand nylon rope from a place i worked i used screws and flat washers tyed knots in the ends pulled tight and tightned the screws. it was free i had the washers and screws nough said. as far as the seed starting goes plan ,plan and plan some more. i've filled up a whole notebook with start seed indoors dates, plant in garden dates, sow in garden dates, maturity dates sadly this puter has no excel program. tryin to plan for 25 assorted things takes some planing and alotta finger cramps. Sad


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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  Miss M on 4/15/2011, 8:12 pm

You can make your grid with whatever strikes your fancy! As long as it is reasonably durable. What a Face

Your boxes are beautiful! I love the little pansy bed.

I made my grid with hot pink nylon cord, and used a staple gun to attach it to the wood. Then my mom and I knotted it to each staple. We drew it really tight, and it made a great grid. It's been growing tighter over the weeks, and one of the staples will pop out every now and then. Rolling Eyes So I untie, loosen, retie... and I've learned something.

Michigan... you probably aren't to tomato planting weather yet. I'd go with the suggestions to start them inside.

Don't fret... as long as you look up the weather your plants need and plant accordingly (don't really count what the kit says very much), your garden will be great!!! cheers

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  shannon1 on 4/16/2011, 3:00 am

You are doing great so far. Your boxes look great and I have always used kite string for my grids, use what you like. I think the lath board looks nice but I didn't want to buy something when I had kite line on hand.
The county extenction office here has been a great help in finding what to plant and when to plant it. I like both seeds and trans plants for different reasons. The main thing is to plant what varieties grow best where you live before you go shopping and the county extenction office should be able to help you there. It is a lot to take in at first but everyone here was just like you at one time. Ok there may be 1or 2 that think they were born knowing how to garden Wink but the rest of us had to learn. You are so lucky to start with SFG after the set up there is so little work just watering and bug squishing for the most part.
The folks here are so nice and funny to boot I am sure you will do just great :!:

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  dizzygardener on 4/16/2011, 9:24 am

BIG hug

Don't worry. You are doing fine!

As far as SFG is concerned, follow Mel's advice above all else.

If you want tomatoes plant them indoors now and let them grow indoors before putting them outside. You climate is too cold to start the tomatoes in the ground, but you can still have 'maters if you want them.

Yes, avoid the kits in future. It'll save you a lot of heartache.

If you have string to use for the grid then by all means put it up and get planting those cold season crops! Yes, wood is Mel's preferred method, but you can use anything you want. He's not absolute about us using wood.

My last piece of advice is for you to read the whole SFG book before you go any further. That way you'll know how to plan for what's to come.

Take care and happy gardening!

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  fiddleman on 4/16/2011, 11:42 am

Still plenty of time to start tomatoes indoors... if you plant the seeds soon... they sprout quickly and grow very quickly. I went to a box store (Menards) since they had the starter trays with the 9 packet inserts on sale and then picked up some Miracle grow potting MIX (not potting soil) on March 13. One month later, the plants are 10 inches tall and would be ready to put into the ground now... except we're still a month and a few days from our last frost date. I up potted the tomatoes from the start pack to 3 inch pots last weekend, and I swear they've grown another 2 inches!

There are many ways to start seeds (see the recent thread on starting seeds in vermiculite), but since tomatoes grow so quickly, and can be replanted deeper into the new container than they were ( roots will grow from the stems) you get a lot of growth faster than you might think.

By the way, I love your boxes. I used jute twine last couple of years for the grid... and the twine will only last the season (and maybe not even that) In my experience it dries out and breaks pretty quickly in the garden. but I really love it for tying tomatoes to the trellis... doesn't seem to injure the stems and at the end of the season it's so brittle it's easy to just break off the trellis rather than trying to cut it.

Nice to see other Michiganders!
Mark

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/17/2011, 4:12 pm

You guys always know how to make me feel better-- thank you!
Okay, so as of right now I think I'm going to plant my Nante carrot seeds for the group planting. I will return the seed kit and use that money to buy myself some other (more appropriate) seeds and plants. I will try starting some tomatoes inside.

I think I'll stick with the jute since I already have that and see how that goes.

Thanks for all the compliments on the boxes-- I am happy and proud of how they came out. The little row of flowers came from a suggestion by someone on the forums (can't remember who right now!) and I've always wanted pansies Smile

Off to do some more reading and planning!

Kim

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2011, 6:48 pm

Re: Pansies. I'm going to put them inside my beds. I never thought to plant them along the edge of the beds. Great Idea. I might just do that in a couple of places to beautify the yard.
Thanks,

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Plastic lining in boxes?

Post  Don on 4/14/2012, 10:27 pm

Your boxes look great, but are they lined with plastic? I would be concerned about drainage if that is the case.

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/14/2012, 10:47 pm

Nope, that's not plastic. It's the weed blocker stuff. Worked out great-- I had so much growing out of my garden last year, I didn't know what to do with all of it!

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I was hoping...

Post  Don on 4/14/2012, 11:10 pm

Good. I was hoping that it was weed barrier but in the picture it looked solid and I wondered.... Looks like a great setup. I'm a Michigander but living in New Mexico for the past 15 years. SFG is a little different out here on the high desert! Laughing

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  jamesindetroit on 4/15/2012, 12:29 am

Where in Michigan are you? We've had a Zone Upgrade...Check the new zone hardiness map just released earlier this year. http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

If you are close to Metro Detroit... I have a few spare mater' seedlings that are growing quite finely...some brandywynne, san marzano, bunches of grapes, and thessalonikis.....

You could have a few of each if you wish Smile

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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/15/2012, 9:55 pm

Thanks for the offer, James. Unfortunately, I was unable to set up my garden this year because I'll be moving sometime in June/July.


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Re: Help! Confused (again) in Michigan

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