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first year, help with layout

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first year, help with layout

Post  lisaphoto on 3/22/2010, 6:22 pm

I know lettuce and spinach don't like too much sun. I thought about either putting a row of tomatoes along the south of the boxes to shade all the cool weather crops, or a tomato at each corner. Would this be bad? Most of the plants I am planting this year are either cool weather crops or tall/vining crops. I would love to extend my growing season, I just was wondering if blocking them from the south would be too much shade.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  boffer on 3/22/2010, 7:28 pm

Hi,

We'll have to compare notes at the end of the season. One of my experiments this year is to put a box where it will get no direct sun, and plant cool crops in it. Just to see what happens. However, I will still plant the same stuff in the sunshine boxes as backup!

I don't have definitive experience to offer yet, sorry.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  MsMinchin on 3/24/2010, 8:33 pm

I'm trying that this year too. We set up trellises down the center of our 10x4 box, which divides the box roughly N/S. I plan to grow cucumber vines, melon vines, snap peas and corn on the south side to shade the lettuce and spinach, etc on the North side.

If I need it, I may drape shade cloth down from the trellis too.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  Wyldflower on 3/24/2010, 9:05 pm

Smile this sounds exactly like what I am thinking of doing, as well. I'm building my two 4'x6' boxes this weekend. The boxes will be trellised (is that a word?) along the length, running east-west, so I hope to shade an area 2x6 on the north of each box for my lettuce, spinach and broccoli. I'm looking for a vining zucchini and yellow summer squash to put up on the trellis along with pole beans and tomatoes.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  lisaphoto on 3/25/2010, 8:37 am

I swear I have changed my layout at least 5 or 6 times!
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  lisaphoto on 3/26/2010, 9:43 am

So here is my final (I think) layout. I decided to connect my boxes and make a 4x12 instead of 2 4x4s. I tried to think about companion planting, using taller veggies to block to sun of my cool weather crops in mid-summer, and for the few squares I wouldn't be able to reach b/c of trellises, I placed garlic that needs to grow all year anyways. Please any feedback would be great! Oh and the top of the photo is North.

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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  castoral on 3/26/2010, 12:21 pm

Can you point me in the direction of where you built that layout? That's fabulous! I've been trying to make one in excel, but I have no idea how to post it on here.

As far as the layout, I personally think 4' wide is too much. I wouldn't go more than 3', but then again, I'm short. I would think it would become VERY difficult to get into some of those bean plants late in the season. But then again, my actual experience is VERY limited to tending our neighbors garden while they go on vacation. Haha! So take it for what it's worth.

Oh, and summer squash....from what I've been told, needs a MINIMUM of 2'x2' section, but more than likely need a 3'x3' section. I've actually decided to move one of my plants to a container (galvanized tub we have laying around) and the other I'm planting in a 3'x3' space bordered with carrots and lettuce.

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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  lisaphoto on 3/26/2010, 2:13 pm

Castoral, I did the layout on gardeners.com but you can't copy and paste it as a whole picture. Luckily I have a program that allows you to capture whatever is on your screen, or a part of it. The boxes are 4 feet deep, but I do have access from all sides, meaning I will only have to be able to reach in 2 feet.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  castoral on 3/26/2010, 3:34 pm

Thanks for the gardeners.com tip! Looks interesting!

And yes, I see that the boxes are 4' deep, for me that's too much. Our neighbors did this same thing and for me at least, it was such a pain to step on the leetuce to get to the back ends of their tomatoe plants. I'm short though. My husband had no problem and they obviously don't either since they are doing it the same way this year.

Hopefully someone else has some input on your layout...I'm def. no expert!

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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  boffer on 3/26/2010, 4:02 pm

This is an excellent freeware program that captures not only the screen, but the whole page, and offers options to easily manage the capture.

http://easycaptures.com/
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vertical

Post  chaseme on 3/26/2010, 4:50 pm

I was wondering where you have trellis? It is down the middle from left to right of that pic all the way down all 12 squares?
I did my first sfg last year and started with only three boxes of 16 square with one edge to climb. I am currently researching how to better my layout and would love to talk with you about why you have certain things in certain spots. I just wondered what info I might be missing before I try to really understand.
I love the pic and am headed to that site to do this. I guess I am wondering why the tomatoes are split into two spots and which crops you were planning on climbing and which were just going to bush.
Is this your first year? I am having trouble making sure that nothing is planted where it was last year since Mel says to always replant with a different crop and rotate them. Is that why some of your stuff is split up?
Thanks.

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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  lisaphoto on 3/26/2010, 5:14 pm

This is my first year too. I split up the tomatoes b/c I wanted to be able to reach all squares. By putting my larger plants toward the ends, then squares that are north of them can still be reach from the side (east or west). Also, I am not trellising my tomatoes, I'll probably use stakes or cages. I also read that you want different types of tomatoes at least 5 feet apart, and the different sections are 2 different tomatoes. The zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, and peas will be trellised. I will have two smaller tomato/veggie trellises I bought at Lowe's. So all the space between those will not be trellised.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  chaseme on 3/26/2010, 5:23 pm

Hmm... I never heard that about the different variety tomatoes needing distance. Thanks for the info. I planted cherry and plum only last year.... and had tons of both... right next to eachother. I bet I will get more if I space them apart. Are your beans bush beans or pole beans. That matters for placement. If you have pole beans.. you will want them to have at least a tomato cage to climb. I am going to try and trellis my squash and melons this year... my grandmother always said not to put tomatoes near peppers.... that they just don't do well... have you heard this?

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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  Wyldflower on 3/26/2010, 5:45 pm

I hadn't heard that tomatoes need distance between different varieties, but I had heard that about peppers - especially if growing both sweet peppers and hot, as they each could take on the characteristics of the other type... I guess it makes sense for tomatoes too, since they are in the same (nightshade) family as the peppers.

~Wyld
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  boffer on 3/26/2010, 5:51 pm

I'm by no means a tom expert, but it's my understanding that the purpose of spacing is to avoid cross-pollination. Cross-pollination does not affect the current years crop. If, however, you will be saving seeds from this years crop, it needs to be considered.

Look at the bright side: It is recommended that different varieties of corn be space a minimum of 300 feet apart to avoid cross-pollination.
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Re: first year, help with layout

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/26/2010, 6:25 pm

@chaseme wrote:Hmm... I never heard that about the different variety tomatoes needing distance. Thanks for the info. I planted cherry and plum only last year.... and had tons of both... right next to eachother.

If you save seeds and want the children to be true to the parents, then placing tomatoes 10 feet apart will help. If you are not saving seeds, you can place different varieties next to each other. Beans only need 3 or 4 feet as they are self fertile.

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