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HELP My SFG isn't doing well

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HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Wendy HS on 4/20/2011, 11:22 pm

I planted March 3rd in 3 different 4 X 4 boxes with plywood bottoms. I was meticulous about reading the book and, "doing it by the book". I made sure I did the mels mix correctly and the planting spaced correctly. I checked my frost dates for my area and I don't think I planted too early (maybe I did?), but my SFG isn't doing well at all. The plants are small or non existent, and some should already be ready to harvest, and there is nothing to them. I planted corn (seeds), beans, peas, caulflower (plant), broccoli (plant), tomatoes(plant), several different kinds of lettuce, spinach, squash, watermelon, cantalope, and strawberries (plant). My cauliflower plants and first tomato plants died, so I replanted tomato plants. The red/green leaf lettuce, spinach, carrots, corn are all puny and pathetic. I think the second set of tomato plants are dying. The broccoli has one good plant and one small plant. The only thing that seems to be doing okay and not great is the peas, and beans and maybe one broccoli plant, every thing else is pathetic. I am really disappointed, and wondering what I did wrong. Did I maybe plant to early, or maybe watering too much? I really don't have a clue what I am doing wrong. I live in Scurry, Texas. The planting guide shows maybe I planted too early, but only by maybe a week. Could that be what has made them all small and pathetic? Is it too late to pull it all up and replant? Good grief I was sure looking forward to at least somewhat of a decent garden this year. I have three little children to take care of and was so excited to not have to go outside and pull weeds all day, this seemed like such a great idea.

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Help my SFG isn't doing well

Post  westie42 on 4/20/2011, 11:46 pm

You are basically Dallas. It has been very dry in Texas. Did you water the mix as you built its depth in the box. Folks in St. Louis are already gardening you should be able to plant close to the dates you started. If it has been unseasonably chilly there then possibly cool has slowed it down but would not kill plants unless frost struck them. Dig down in a few places to make sure that water has sunk in to provide some moisture uniformly clear to the bottom of the MM. As dry as Tx has been lack of moisture is the natural enemy at the moment. You said you may have overwatered supposedly that is very difficult to do in SFG with MM "soil". If I use too much city water here the chlorine will actually retard growth. Hopefully you found a proper variety of compost components to build the MM with (at least 5 different types of true compost). You said plywood bottoms are they then elevated off the ground like table top ones. If not elevated ones then why the plywood bottoms. Do you have pooled water on the plywood bottoms of the boxes causing soggy soil that is choking the roots out. One important issue has been judging how much peat moss is correct. It almost always comes in compressed bales. you need to fluff it up and will become about double in bulk. Three level five gallon pails of ingredients makes two cubic feet of measure. The vermiculite is ready to measure out of the bag. Compost is basically ready but a little toss to loosen it is best there. My moss was in 3.9 cu ft bags and that counts as 8 cu ft when properly fluffed up. The 2.2 bails make about 4.5 cu ft of peat moss when fluffed. Wished I had more help for you luckily it is still plenty early once you solve the riddle. Always ask back if you have any doubts plenty in here will try to help you succeed and you will. Just stick with it. See you at the Mesquite Rodeo.


Last edited by westie42 on 4/21/2011, 12:15 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Old Hippie on 4/20/2011, 11:54 pm

Hi Wendy. Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to come with your questions. We have lots of friendly helpful people on board.

I am from Central British Columbia, Canada so as far as knowing whether it was too cold or too hot or whatever when you planted, I am not much help. We still have snow here although my yard is almost clear now. Yayyy!

It is so disappointing when things don't go the way you had planned and hoped. But take heart my dear. Perhaps all is not lost. In order for us to help you better can you be more specific about your Mel's Mix. How much vermiculite and how much peat moss did you use? What kinds of compost did you use? Were you able to get five different kinds. It sounds a bit to me like your ratio for you mix might need to be tweaked a bit.....possibly more compost. Often people don't realize that the peat is compressed and once it gets wet it fluffs up and you actually have more of it than you thought.

SFG IS a great way to garden. The lack of weeding etc. makes it so much easier.

We will help you get it figured out. Hang in there.

Gwynn

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  ashort on 4/21/2011, 12:21 am

I feel your pain, my results have been very mixed thus far. for me, I have deduced the likely problem to be insufficiently composted compost purchased at the local blue store and the local orange store. For the short term, I have added a weekly miracle grow feeding to my bed. Longer term I am going to add more compost to my mix to add the nutrients. This weekend I am going to be pulling out the broc / cauli and finish harvesting the greens and then plant some toms and peppers. I will be adding in some composted cotton burrs and some composted cow manure to the bed along with some bone meal / blood meal / fish meal. I will probably add in a bit of peat and vermi as well...

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Wendy HS on 4/21/2011, 12:58 am

These are my notes on when I went to buy the mix. This is the mix I bought and used for.....

Items needed to make 3 4x4 boxes

______ 2- 4 cubic bags of vermiculite (8 cubic feet)

______1- 3.9 cubic foot bale of peat moss (expands to 8 cubic feet)

______8- cubic feet from at least 5 different compost bags. Go by volume

o Organic choice= $6.77, 1.5 cubic feet

o Tomato and Plant mix= $6.91, 1.5 cubic feet

o Mushroom= $3.97

o Cow manure=$4.77

o Other type (Organic humus)

o Other type (plant and soil builder)

- I still didn't think I had quite enough to make 8 cubic feet of compost, so I went back and bought another 1.5 cubic feet of another variety and added it to what was on the tarp and mixed it really good. I don't remember what kind it was, but it was a completely different kind than any of the above, so I had a variety of at least 7 different types.

I've since started a compost barrel, and we've put old hay, leaves, horse manure, a variety of home compost (fruit/vegs pealings, egg shells, ect...), but I've not yet used any of it on the garden.

Something that is interesting is that I planted two of the same size broccoli plants and one is taking off and the other is much smaller, each in it's own square foot. The peas seem okay and maybe the beans, but the lettuce looks like it is barely sprouting and it hasn't grown any since it sprouted, neither has the corn. I planted the lettuce from seeds and the beans and peas from seeds.

As far as watering. I water most every day, and I literally soak it, until I see the water pool a little then I move on. It soaks in quickly and stays moist down low, I've checked. The only axcess to water is our city water, which I am sure has chlorine in it. We do have a good sized pond out back, I guess I could carry water from out there, but that seems like a whole lot of trouble, it is on the back 60 acres. I can say that our row garden grew great squash, corn, tomato, beans, and spinach, and I used the same water on it. The only thing we did to that soil was till it, and one year we added a truck load of mushroom compost, but I hated the weeds!!!!! and we got way too much to eat at one time.

The plywood bottoms on my SFG were so that I could move the boxes if needed. I want to add to the garden each year until I have all boxes I want, and I wasn't exactly sure if these would be their permanent places. I drilled the holes every square foot and in the corners. The boxes are setting on our existing soil that is dirt, where our row garden use to be.

I would say it has been chilly off and on since I planted, and I do think the first tomato plants did die due to a light frost. If I did plant to early, but the plants are still green and alive do I just continue on or will they never mature?

If I am watering too much what would be the signs of that? We haven't gotten much rain, but I am still wondering if I am soaking it too much. I saw the PBS videos and he (Mel) watered using a little cup and it looks like he only gave each plant about a cup full. That doesn't seem like much.

If it is the mix, then what do I do? I would really like to stay away from chemicals.

Would getting pictures or video help? I think I could figure out how to post them.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Wendy HS on 4/21/2011, 1:15 am

I also forgot to add that I planted potatoes from our store bought russets, after they got a few sprouts on them, I cut them up into smaller sections and planted them. They are coming up out of the ground nice and green and I am assuming they are doing okay. I had no idea that potatoes looked like this while growing.

I have to say that I am most disappointed in the spinach and lettuces. I so LOVE a good salad and green smoothie. Our spinach in our row garden did so well the last two years. I thought for sure it would kick boody in this SFG, and my little spinach and Red and Green lettuce is really a sad sight. It looks like something an ant would maybe enjoy eating it's so small, and even then the ant would proubably say, "WHERE'S THE BEEF!!!!?

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Barkie on 4/21/2011, 4:06 am

That's awful for you. I don't know what your last frost date is or what your weather has been like (it might be a bad year and you get frost after your date) but you say it has been chilly at night and some of your plants have been plants you bought. Is "starts" the right word? Could it be that some of your plants were grown indoors and have not been hardened off sufficiently before you got them and planted them outside and it has maybe been too cold for them at night as well? Are you covering your plants before dusk? If not it might be the soil isn't staying warm enough and the air temp is too cold at night to promote growth.

Your potatoes sound completely fine. They will put up with a cool night and even a touch of frost and bounce back when it's better weather.

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Re: help my sfg

Post  westie42 on 4/21/2011, 11:25 am

It looks like your MM proportions are fine. Compost bags are difficult to judge unless they specify cu ft on the bag. But it sounds like you were cautious in measuring. The idea of not well done compost could be real and like ashort suggested and used miracle grow help for a while to overcome that issue. Raw compost can be real troublesome and do just what you said is happeneng. However you mentioned raw and most raw foodies try hard to only use pure organics so miracle grow is some against that concept. Look at several other COMPOST TEA articles. I make it in a 5gal pail using a fish tank air pump in it for about 36 hours. Lovely stuff, organic and everything I have watered with or foliar sprayed has really loved it and looks great in a few hours. In my compost tea worm castings are probably the most beneficial component. It is organic and cheap to produce just a little time involved especially getting set up. I have total praise for good aerobic compost tea. As Barkie said the combination of cool and possibly a bit more wet than ideal could cause damping off problems making it difficult to harden into your season. Over watering usually shows first as poor plant color with leaves then stems getting pale and yellow tips which worsen. To me soil should dry at least slightly between waterings and your plywood bottoms will dam the water flow somewhat. If the MM is at all boggy excess water would be the culprit. I say that mostly because you mentioned flooding the boxes which could work on an irregular basis especially if the excess had somewhere to go. I hope more local folks will chime in to help you out. Do you have a friend from a local nursery or plant store to talk to or get them to look at it. SFG can be terrific when you get it right but sometimes doing so without going broke can be a challenge.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/21/2011, 4:12 pm

Wendy. Glad to have you here, and sorry your SFG is not doing as well as you anticipated.

Because you said your cool weather plants did so well last year, do you remember when you planted last year? Was it as early as this year? Usually peas, spinach, lettuces, and broccoli do well in cool temperatures, though if it really cool they may be delayed.
How long ago did your seeds germinate for the peas, spinach and lettuces?

My lettuces, peas and spinach each took over two weeks to germinate this year in our cool spring soil.

As far as watering, Mel does recommend watering with a bucket and a cup. In my garden, a cup is not enough water per plant to keep the whole bed moist. Once our rain stops, I do need to water every day or every other day, especially when germinating seeds.

I agree with westie42, it sounds like you took care and did a great job on your mel's Mix.

It sounds more like the cool weather is delaying great growth on your cool weather veggies.

For your warm weather veggies, what is your soil temperature and how cool is it getting at night? Last year our soil and air temperature stayed cool exceptionally later than average.

Keep us posted!

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  dizzygardener on 4/21/2011, 4:13 pm

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

Glad to have ya!

I'm so sorry you are having trouble. We will do the best we can to help you out.

The thing that sticks out to me is your compost. What is in "Organic Choice"? What is in the "Plant and Soil Builder?" What is in the "tomato and plant mix"?

Just from looking at your list I'd say that your mix is deficient in nutrients. There are only 2 types of compost from your list that I know for sure are good and that's the mushroom compost and the cow manure. The others probably contain more fillers and peat moss than anything else.

Peat moss has no nutrient value. Fillers like bark and mulch are incomplete and will continue to break down in in your box thus robbing your mix of nitrogen.

The good news is that this can all be address right now! All you need to do is add nutrients in the form of fertilizers and rich composts.

Can you locate Worm Castings or bat guano? If so you can create a compost tea with those and water your boxes with that. The compost tea will give your SFG an immediate nutrient boost.

Another option is to find a good liquid fertilizer. A good one is fish emulsion (warning: it stinks to high heaven). If you mix this according to the directions and treat with that you will also get an immediate boost.

Another thing you can do is top dress/scratch in a slow release fertilizer or top dress/scratch in a blend of rich composts like the Worm castings I mentioned before or chicken manure or lobster compost or forest floor composts.

Call around to local garden centers and feed and seed stores to find out what they have in stock. Also, if you have a hydroponic store near you they tend to have an excellent selection of fertilizers and composts.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  AZDYJ2K on 4/21/2011, 4:24 pm

Last year was my first year SFG'ing and I had very similar results as you are having. I built a 4'X4'X7" as you did as well as a 3'X3'X6". I used MM that was prepackaged so there shouldn't have been any issues with the ratios on the mix.

I put beans and watermelon during the summer and did not get very good production. Matter of fact, I got 1 small softball size sugar baby watermelon. I planted corn and pumpkins in the 3x3. Got a couple of small ears of corn and no pumpkins.

In the fall I planted broccoli (4 squares), cauliflower (4 squares), lettuce (2 squares), spinach (2 squares), carrots (2 squares) and bok choy (2 squares). I got 1 small head of broccoli, 1 small head of cauliflower, 1 decent head of lettuch, one bunch of spinach and one bunch of bok choy. The carrots came in very nicely though.

I didn't have any home made compost and didn't like the stuff at the stores so I used Miracle grow organic fertilizer. I have since started my own compost heap and hope to have some good stuff by the fall. I did start a compost heap last year and the stuff looked incredible, very fine texture and a nice earthy aroma to it. Unfortunately, we moved and I didn't take it with me.

I have seen on this forum that it takes a year or 2 before the MM breaks down a bit and gives good nutrients. I think that if take the 5 way compost and let it break down a bit more it should help. At least that's what I'm banking on.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  dizzygardener on 4/21/2011, 4:29 pm

@AZDYJ2K wrote:
I have seen on this forum that it takes a year or 2 before the MM breaks down a bit and gives good nutrients. I think that if take the 5 way compost and let it break down a bit more it should help. At least that's what I'm banking on.

Where did you read this? It isn't accurate. The nutrients in good compost are immediately available to the plants.

Your mix does break down over time, but nutrients are used up, not created, over this period and organic matter continues to break down. There are some plants that add nutrients to the soil like beans, but that is not enough. This is why Mel recommends that you add a trowel full of blended compost to each square before you start your garden the following year.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Wendy HS on 4/21/2011, 4:31 pm

I think most of the people around where I live that could help, do row gardening and might not understand the concept. I am going to try less water. I took some pics of all of my boxes. Here is what I planted: I will try to attach pics also.
Box # 1
Corn (seeds) corn Corn Peas (Seeds)


Salad (Seeds) salad Spinach (seeds) Spinach
2 weeks later 2 weeks later 2 weeks later 2 weeks later


Potatoe (from clippings) potatoes Onion (plants) Onion (seeds)



Watermelon (seeds) Watermelon Tomato (plant) Tomato (plant)


Box #2
Brussel sprouts (seeds) Brussel sprouts Beans (seeds) Beans (seeds)



Cauliflower (plant) Cauliflower (plant) Broccoli (plant) Broccoli (plant)
Died replaced with Died replaced with
Squash plant


Carrot hybrid (seeds) Carrot sweet (seeds) Red/Green lettuce (Seeds) Bloomsdale spinach (seeds)


Swiss Chard (seeds) Red/Green leaf lettuce (seeds) Salad bowl lettuce (seeds) Hybrid spinach (seeds)


Box # 3
Corn 2 weeks corn 2 weeks Beans Beans
later later 2 weeks later 2 weeks later


Squash from Seeds squash squash squash
1st plants barely came up then dissappeared, replanted and now it is growing again already. The first seeds took forever to break the soil, the 2nd time I planted about 3 or 4 weeks later, they broke the soil in less than a week.


Squash squash squash squash




Cantalope (seeds) cantalope strawberry (plant) Strawberry (plant)


Box # 1



Box #2




Box #3



Sad Carrots


Sad, Sad Red and green leaf lettuce (look at that one little bunch, isn't it cute!!!)


Corn


Spinach

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  jumiclads on 4/21/2011, 7:12 pm

Hi Wendy and welcome to the forum.

I put in all the same types of seeds as you have and had problems with poor germination and what did germinate had yellowing leaves and some were even badly formed. Looking at you photos you seem to have a lot of wood shavings in the mix (same as me). This was one problem for me because as the wood decomposes it robs the seedling of nitrogen and the cabbage family love nitrogen. With the radishes I sowed 16 seeds and got 7 come up badly formed and carrots the same.

With the watering, we have had temperatures in the 20's all week and you get the urge to water and water and water, but the way i have been doing it is by removing the small amount of compost in an empty square or in a corner of a square down to about and inch deep to see how damp it is and if it is still damp I leave well alone till the next day. This seems to be working for me as all seedlings are growing strong now after a few days of following this regime. Obviously you must keep an eye on the dampness or it will get too dry and cause problems the other way.

You say you have ply bottoms on the boxes and they look like they are on the ground. Is the drainage in the bottom of the boxes enough or are they staying too wet. Check this aswell.

Also it is a good idea to start some of the plants in modules or small pots and then plant them out when they are big enough. That way they will get a good start and not waste your precious time in the box.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/21/2011, 9:15 pm

@Wendy HS wrote: I am going to try less water.

I wouldn't worry about overwatering. Mel, himself, tells you that you CAN'T overwater MM. Page 138-9, if you have the book handy.

"With Mel's Mix you cannot overwater. Remember the sponge? Each little piece can hold moisture so a plant root can grow around that piece and take out the moisture when needed. When that little sponge gets saturated, the rest of the water drains right out through the bottom. That's how Mel's Mix works, and that's why you never have to worry about giving your plants too much water.

"But, because your soil mix drains readily when saturated, it also has a tendency to dry out quicker than most garden soils. Regular soils stay saturated, so single-row gardeners may be used to turning on the sprinkler or flooding the garden twice a week and that's it. Your All New Square Foot Garden is different. You have to water a little more often and pay more attention to watering."

I suspect overwatering is not an issue, especially in Texas. I suspect a common mistake is to overestimate the vermiculite's ability to hold water all year long. And, the resulting mistake is actually underwatering. Not saying you, specifically, are overestimating the vermiculite. Just pointing out that cutting back the water is only going to create another potential problem. I wouldn't change my watering habits until other things have been completely ruled out. In fact, I would likely water more until I ruled other things out.....in case I was accidentally underwatering instead.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  myhouseofBOYS on 4/21/2011, 9:42 pm

If you are concerned about chlorine in the water you can fill a large container with water and let it sit out overnight I think it is, then the choline will evaporate. That is how you are supposed to prep goldfish tanks, or buy drops to get rid of the chlorine before adding fishies.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  Wendy HS on 4/21/2011, 10:37 pm

I checked the boxes today down deep for soil wetness and they are damp, but not soggy in anyway. They seem to be draining just fine, so I am now beginning to think water in not the problem. Someone mentioned the number of wood chips in the compost and I guess one or two of the compost bags that I got must have had a lot of chips in them. I wonder if it is just lack of nutrients? I will look into trying to find worm castings and Bat Guano, any other recommendations for an easy cheap way to put in some nutrients until my own compost pile gets done? I have a source to get some really good mixed compost at a mushroom farm, our first row garden did great after we put a load of this stuff in it, I may try to get some of that. How do I add it to my boxes that are already filled with mel's mix. I thought mel's mix was suppose to be the best, but I guess the store bought stuff is not as good as the homemade stuff. I looked at my pictures and it does seem like there is a lot of wood chips in the boxes. The cow manure I put in was pure, but that may have been the only good stuff in the bunch. If you could name your top five compost ingredients what would it be?

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  shannon1 on 4/22/2011, 1:04 am

It is said in the book you can not over water mels mix and I believe it so I would not cut back on watering. Intuition is telling me things will pick up as it heats up and very soon things will be bigger evry morning when you go out to water. Very Happy Just hang in there. BTW is your garden getting at least 6-8hrs of sun a day? That could be a factor as well.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/22/2011, 1:13 am

@Wendy HS wrote: How do I add it to my boxes that are already filled with mel's mix?

If it were me, I would grab a handful of what's in there from a square and put it in a bucket or wheelbarrow. I would then grab the same amount of compost I wanted to put in the garden and drop it in the spot I just removed from. I would do this in every square.

Once my "excess" was removed, I would take the pile of "old" stuff and add any remaining compost to it and mix it all up. You would then have a new batch of MM ready to go where you want it to go when you want to use it.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  AZDYJ2K on 4/22/2011, 1:46 am

@dizzygardener wrote:
@AZDYJ2K wrote:
I have seen on this forum that it takes a year or 2 before the MM breaks down a bit and gives good nutrients. I think that if take the 5 way compost and let it break down a bit more it should help. At least that's what I'm banking on.

Where did you read this? It isn't accurate. The nutrients in good compost are immediately available to the plants.

I don't want to pass on false info but I'm sure I read it on the General forum last year. There were some posts that mentioned it may take a year or so before you get good production. Here's one post mentioning that MM gets better over time: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3714-strengthening-my-mel-s-mix

Sorry, I certainly don't want to pass on false information. However, I'm hoping that MM get's better with age as long as I keep adding good compost to it.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  camprn on 4/22/2011, 7:16 am

@AZDYJ2K wrote:
@dizzygardener wrote:
@AZDYJ2K wrote:
I have seen on this forum that it takes a year or 2 before the MM breaks down a bit and gives good nutrients. I think that if take the 5 way compost and let it break down a bit more it should help. At least that's what I'm banking on.

Where did you read this? It isn't accurate. The nutrients in good compost are immediately available to the plants.

I don't want to pass on false info but I'm sure I read it on the General forum last year. There were some posts that mentioned it may take a year or so before you get good production. Here's one post mentioning that MM gets better over time: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3714-strengthening-my-mel-s-mix

Sorry, I certainly don't want to pass on false information. However, I'm hoping that MM get's better with age as long as I keep adding good compost to it.

In my opinion your Mel's Mix will improve with time. The beauty of the soil-less mix that Mel proposes is that you get a very nice friable (loose) mix in which to grow food without a lot of hassle of busting sod, turning over dirt, adding the amendments to the dirt and battling weeds. The peat and vermiculite in the original mix do not offer nutrition to your plants, they are considered soil conditioners, improving the structure of the growing medium, making it friable.
As time goes by and you add more compost, the original peat will break down a bit more to what one would call a humus which continues to help the structure of the growing medium. The nutrition that the plants get comes from the compost you add. SO, if you are true to Mel's advice and add compost you will have an improved growing medium.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  dizzygardener on 4/22/2011, 9:49 am

Camprn, you are right, but the key there is that you have to do something. You have to ADD to the mix, and much of what you are adding is to replace what the plants used up the year before.

I just want everyone to be clear that your first year mel's mix has all the nutrients you need so long as you used a blended compost put together according to Mel's instructions. You don't have to wait a year for the nutrients to come on line.

AZDYJ2K don't worry about it. There is so much good information floating around on the forums, but occasiinally something is said that is just a little bit off. Folks are usually pretty good about correcting it, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. I just want to make sure that folks don't think they have to suffer through a mediocre first season in order to get to a good second season. That isn't how mel designed the system.

You know, with traditional row gardening you have to wait years to condition your soil to grow veggies. This is one of the most burdensome and demoralizing parts of gardening for most people. You have to add fertilizers and lime or sulphur and test the ground every year until you get you soil just right. Meanwhile you suffer with failing crops. SFG was designed to get around all that hardwork not replicate it.

If folks have struggling SFGs there is a reason why, and that can be addressed immediately and easily.

I hope I'm being clear here. If I'm not please let me know.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  camprn on 4/22/2011, 10:06 am

@dizzygardener wrote:Camprn, you are right, but the key there is that you have to do something. You have to ADD to the mix, and much of what you are adding is to replace what the plants used up the year before.
yup! and the compost continues to condition the soil, maintaining great friability. Wink
is friability a real word? Very Happy

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  AZDYJ2K on 4/22/2011, 11:40 am

@dizzygardener wrote:
I just want to make sure that folks don't think they have to suffer through a mediocre first season in order to get to a good second season. That isn't how mel designed the system.

Last year was my first year and I was disappointed with my yield. Since I had purchased the Garden Time MM, I thought that it would be good to go right out of the package and perhaps it was. Another factor with my poor yield last year is that I probably started too late for my zone (zone 10) when I started in late May/early June. Then when I planted my fall garden I used a commercial compost and some I bought from a local small farmer. The local stuff was a bit "chunky" and probably not broken down enough. So I'll chalk last year off to bad timing and not having good compost.

I think it's important that 1st year folks make sure that they have good compost to start off with and that is one very important key in MM. Thanks.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

Post  boffer on 4/22/2011, 11:45 am

@AZDYJ2K wrote:I think it's important that 1st year folks make sure that they have good compost to start off with and that is one very important key in MM. Thanks.

Now that you're a believer, perhaps you can come up with some dialogue that those first year folks will listen to. Some of us talk till we're blue in the face, yet pretty boxes get most of the attention and money, and compost becomes secondary.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Re: HELP My SFG isn't doing well

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