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Some More Silly Newbie Questions

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Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/24/2011, 2:20 pm

So I'm plugging away at getting my SFG set up and I have a couple of questions.

#1 Is it normal for it to look like the soil has completely settled/decreased after a lot of rain? I can see where that would make sense, but I thought the vermiculite would expand so that the Mel's Mix wouldn't compress so much.

Here's the best picture of my SFG that might show how much the soil has "settled":
Photobucket


#2 My next question is about how I divided the SFG. Of course I forgot to count for the .75" width of the 2x6s (I'm so NOT a math person!) and so my individual squares came out pretty wonky. Do I need to re-do these? Some of course are too big and some are too small. I think you can see what I'm talking about in this picture:



#3 I'm wondering how many of you waterthe way Mel suggests in the book, using a watering can with sun-warmed water, directed right down to the roots. I'm trying to do everything "by the book", while also being reasonable. (I hope I'm happy with the digression I made by using string instead of wood to divide my boxes.

Thanks in advance!


Last edited by bennyhannahmama on 4/24/2011, 2:23 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Switch to a different picture.)
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  Old Hippie on 4/24/2011, 2:45 pm

My squares are somewhat "wonky" as well. When I started this three summers ago, I started with what I had. Some of the frame work that was already in the ground was a bit out of square, to be polite. So some of my squares are not exactly 12 ". As well, the grid takes out some of the space too. You have the grid and you have the mix.

Regular soil settles in raised beds after you till it. Potting soil in plant pots does too. The same thing happens with Mel's Mix. You can add more. It is probably a good idea so you get the correct depth. The vermiculite holds moisture so that you don't have the problem of overwatering.

I water with a watering can with sun warmed water from my rain barrels. I have done that for years, even before I did SFG. I don't like to use city water when the water is just running off my roof and draining away. It seems like such a waste of a precious resource.

Gwynn
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/24/2011, 3:09 pm

Old Hippie wrote:My squares are somewhat "wonky" as well. When I started this three summers ago, I started with what I had. Some of the frame work that was already in the ground was a bit out of square, to be polite. So some of my squares are not exactly 12 ". As well, the grid takes out some of the space too. You have the grid and you have the mix.

Thanks, this makes me feel better!

Regular soil settles in raised beds after you till it. Potting soil in plant pots does too. The same thing happens with Mel's Mix. You can add more. It is probably a good idea so you get the correct depth. The vermiculite holds moisture so that you don't have the problem of overwatering.

Ugh, it was so hard for me to get that first batch of Mel's Mix completed and I don't have any leftover. I don't want to buy more materials right now, so I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed!

I water with a watering can with sun warmed water from my rain barrels. I have done that for years, even before I did SFG. I don't like to use city water when the water is just running off my roof and draining away. It seems like such a waste of a precious resource.

This is a very good point! I need to look into rain barrels.

Thanks for replying, Gwynn!

Gwynn
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/24/2011, 3:28 pm

Hey there, BHM.

1- Yes, completely normal as the Hippie said.
2- I AM a math person, and my boxes are a lot of wonky. No biggie, it's less than an inch or two off with mine, too. So, I lose a carrot here or there......I'm not losing sleep over it.
3- I swear this method is for retired people and/or authors selling a system. I don't have that kind of time. I have three kids and my own business to run. I grab a hose and spray it all over the place until the water puddles. Now, I do like the rainbarrel idea a lot, but they are another expense to set up. Again, over 5 years, the cost minimizes (so I don't sound like a hypocrit). But, I have limited budgets like everyone else, and I blew mine this year on setting up my two new beds, trellises, and hoops in the new house we moved into. Some things can wait. Again, I sleep well.

As for doing things by the book. You are imo. The three unbreakables are MM (third/third/third....or ridiculously close to it), raised bed, and grid. You have those, you have an SFG by the book. All the rest is up for debate in my world.
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/24/2011, 3:34 pm

Thanks so much BYBG, now I too shall sleep well tonight!
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  Old Hippie on 4/24/2011, 3:38 pm

Around here, rain gutters on a house are just standard. If I had to go out and get that done as well......... What a Face..........it wouldn't be happening. Simple as that. You can only do what you can do. Like BBG says, you have the basics. Don't beat yourself up over it. An ordinary plastic garbage can at the corner of the house would get you some rain water if you want. However, gardening should be fun and the whole idea is to garden with LESS work not more. If you just have time for watering with a sprinkler and hose, then do it that way. Beats not watering at all. Just because I water with a watering can from a barrel doesn't mean you have to or that your way is wrong. My kids are grown up and gone and I now have time to do things for me so I am.

Gwynn
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/24/2011, 3:41 pm

No problem, Gwynn! It's good to know where you are in life. I'm a single mom of 2 young children and I work 2 part-time jobs so the hose will have to do for now. I will remember that I'm doing this for enjoyment and stop stressing myself out!
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  Old Hippie on 4/24/2011, 3:54 pm

Let me get this straight........you are a single mom of two kids, have two part-time jobs AND a garden?????!!!! I am in AWE! Seriously!

Gwynn
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  bennyhannahmama on 4/24/2011, 5:07 pm

Old Hippie wrote:Let me get this straight........you are a single mom of two kids, have two part-time jobs AND a garden?????!!!! I am in AWE! Seriously!

Gwynn

Awww...shucks! Thank you Very Happy
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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  Barkie on 4/25/2011, 5:20 am

bennyhannahmama wrote:No problem, Gwynn! It's good to know where you are in life. I'm a single mom of 2 young children and I work 2 part-time jobs so the hose will have to do for now. I will remember that I'm doing this for enjoyment and stop stressing myself out!

I'm impressed an' all. I do "watering can" coz its suits my circumstances but because a hose is what it takes to fit in growing that lovely, tasty, healthy veg for you and your children hose it must be. Have fun because life's not a rehearsal.

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Re: Some More Silly Newbie Questions

Post  Miss M on 4/25/2011, 11:00 am

I agree with everyone else... Very Happy

#1 - Yes, the MM does settle. Vermiculite is already expanded, and does not expand more with water. My husband happened to advise me to buy more than I calculated I needed. We watered thoroughly as we were putting the MM in, so ours ended up pretty much "pre-settled", and it hasn't settled any more. So we were able to add the extra right then as we were filling, since we already had it. You can add more as you are able, maybe before you plant next spring, but I'm sure your plants will be fine. If you bought seeds for 6" carrots, you may end up with L-shaped carrots, but they'll taste the same. What a Face

#2 - I have wonky measurements, too (I call them "short squares"). I use
them mainly for 16/square things like carrots, and plant only 12. I do
have some other things in them, too, though. I stuck a single cucumber in one, which could be planted 2/square.

#3 - I don't water they way Mel suggests. I'd like to, but I just don't have that kind of time right now. Besides, I don't know if I could find the base of each plant at this point. My garden is one giant, solid green mass! Shocked We ran soaker hoses through it, 1' apart, before everything got this big. Our water pressure isn't enough to connect them all end-to-end (we tried, but the one end weeps faster than the other end). I turn it on for 5 minutes per hose. More than that, and water starts draining out of the bottom of the garden. For seeds and seedlings, I hand water, since the soaker hose might not reach them well enough.

Yes, indeed, relax, and have fun! As long as the plants have enough water, they won't care what method you use to deliver it. In Michigan's spring, sun-warmed water would probably get things growing faster, because it would help heat the soil up. Here, where it's been in the 80s since mid-February (and has been pushing 90 for the last week), it isn't as much of an issue. It is normally mild, and this is an unusually warm spring... but that's what we were dealt this year. Cool

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