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SFG newbie with preschoolers

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SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Anstar on 3/23/2010, 1:47 pm

Hello all! We are a family of 5 with 3 preschool boys (4, 3, and 1) and another baby due in June. We homeschool preschool, and will be starting HS kindergarten this fall.

I've been having a lot of fun reading up on SFG and getting ready. We are 4a, so we have a month or so before all our snow is melted. I did post pictures on my blog at The Ruby Life.

I'm also considering a mini project for our MOPS group - like everyone build a 2x2 patio box to take home. I'm trying to work out what the cost per box would be so I know if it's feasable. I think the most expensive part will be the Mel's Mix. I think it would be a great project for our small group!

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  choksaw on 3/23/2010, 2:00 pm

Hello and welcome to the foumrs sounds like you got your hands full but growing up gardening will mor then likely produce future gardeners. IM a little confused on MOP group what does it stand for? Lumber can be pretty easy depending on the size of the group and most of your box stores (lowes homedepot etc.) will cut it to length for you makeing it that much easier the mix may be a bit costly but consider if your only doing a 2x2 instead of a 4x4 the ratios and size of bags cuts cut in half or split between 2 beds

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Wyldflower on 3/23/2010, 2:11 pm

ummm choksaw... your math is a bit off... a 2x2 box is 1/4 the volume of a 4x4... so you can do 4 2x2 boxes with the same amount of mix as a regular 4x4 box.

Good luck to Anstar and all the little ones! Sounds like fun!

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  choksaw on 3/23/2010, 2:45 pm

lol thanx for the correction wyld my math never was really too good

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Anstar on 3/23/2010, 2:49 pm

@choksaw wrote: IM a little confused on MOP group what does it stand for? Lumber can be pretty easy depending on the size of the group and most of your box stores (lowes homedepot etc.) will cut it to length for you makeing it that much easier the mix may be a bit costly but consider if your only doing a 2x2 instead of a 4x4 the ratios and size of bags cuts cut in half or split between 2 beds

MOPS is Mothers Of Preschoolers. It's a group for moms with young children. We have a small chapter (12 members), and we have lots of fun doing projects and stuff together. Smile It's so nice to spend some time with adults who understand that the most important part of your day was the 32 diaper changes! Plus then we get some face time with people our age and vocabulary level, lol.

Yeah, 1/4 the mix per box... so 12 boxes would be 3 batches of mix... And Lowes is my best friend for cutting lumber for me! They aren't very precise at our store, but it should be fine for this application.

When you build your boxes, do you really focus on getting a 12"x12" interior diameter, or do you just go with your 8ft board cut in two (four, for patio boxes) and then whatever size the inside ends up being is fine? 2x6s, you would loose 1.75" each way, so it would end up being approx. 11"x11" interior diameter. 1x6s would loose .75" each way, so the interior diameter would be about 11.5x11.5". You loose even more if you use lath or blinds instead of twine to divide the squares. How important is 12"x12"?

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Wyldflower on 3/23/2010, 4:02 pm

I haven't built my boxes yet... that'll be this weekend...

I'm planning 2 - 3x6 boxes. If you set your boards so that it goes around the corner in the same direction, you don't lose as much, I think... (not sure I'm explaining myself right... but let's say side 1 is butted against side 2 with the end of side 1 against the flat of side 2... then the end of side 2 against the flat of side 3, etc...) You would lose the width of one piece of lumber in each direction. I'm using 1x8's so I'll lose 3/4" in each direction. So my inside dimensions will be 2' 11.25" x 5' 11.25". When you divide that up, each square will be 11.75" x 11.87" ... "close enough for government work" as my Dad used to say.

Doesn't Mel say "closies is good enough"? I think you'll be fine with 11" (approximate)squares.

(I do like math.... to a point!)

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  choksaw on 3/23/2010, 5:29 pm

I bet if you show up at lowes like i did they will make sure the lumber is right bring a tape measure with you and dbl check the cuts to make sure the first time they see you do that they will re adjust thier set up and make sure they are accurate

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Anstar on 3/23/2010, 5:36 pm

@choksaw wrote:I bet if you show up at lowes like i did they will make sure the lumber is right bring a tape measure with you and dbl check the cuts to make sure the first time they see you do that they will re adjust thier set up and make sure they are accurate

Hehe, I've BTDT before with a tape measure in hand for other projects where I was a little more picky - as in, 1/4"-1/2" off wasn't close enough lol. Of course I got a guy who apparently didn't know that you can't just mark off all the lengths then cut, cuz you loose some to the width of the board. I ended up having his manager (super nice - maybe too nice) sit there and watch him make every cut, then he measured and I measured before I would accept them. It was a little ugly. I hope they don't run this time when they see me coming!

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  happyfrog on 4/1/2010, 8:11 pm

welcome!

i'm a mom to three young kids 6,4,1. this is second year sfg.

great homeschool projects!

we cut boards in 12inch increments.

yep the squares are slightly less than 12 inches square but the plants are ok with it. we measured the boards for center then divided off from that to end up with equal squares - hard to explain what i mean, but we have 4x4 (16) and 2x4s (8 squares). this year we're gonna have many more as we're increasing our garden significantly.

i can tell you that even with children exuberantly assisting, you will have great success - as long as you follow the instructions for the mel's mix. pls don't cut corners there. you'll be glad you did it right at the end of the season and you realize what a success you had.

we saved more in produce than we spent so it was definitely worth it for us. we're going to hopefully reduce/eliminate ALL produce purchases this summer with the expansion.

we're even going to grow 'weird' stuff - like snake gourds ( i do have 2 boys, lol).

happy gardening!

bettyann

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Jeff Buffington on 4/2/2010, 12:49 am

@Anstar wrote:Hello all! We are a family of 5 with 3 preschool boys (4, 3, and 1) and another baby due in June. We homeschool preschool, and will be starting HS kindergarten this fall.
That's really neat! I wish I could homeschool, but my wife and I both have to work to make ends meet. My sister is homeschooling my niece for preschool, and she's well above her age level for her communication and comprehention skills. She's going to be enrolled in the public Pre-K system for next year, but I think she'll be way ahead of them.

I've been having a lot of fun reading up on SFG and getting ready. We are 4a, so we have a month or so before all our snow is melted. I did post pictures on my blog at The Ruby Life.
Neat blog. I'm thinking about starting one myself, but haven't decided for sure yet. Yours looks really nice.

Glad to hear you've been reading up on SFG... this is my first time trying this method, so I'm pretty psyched about it as well. Last year I had some successes, but also ran into weeds overrunning my 'traditional' garden. Hopefully, I'll have better luck with this method. So far, so good.. Smile

I'm also considering a mini project for our MOPS group - like everyone build a 2x2 patio box to take home. I'm trying to work out what the cost per box would be so I know if it's feasable. I think the most expensive part will be the Mel's Mix. I think it would be a great project for our small group!
That's a really neat idea. My sister was also quite active with MOPS. A 2x2 box shouldn't run that much.. a couple of dollars for the 2x6's (8' length), and as someone else here posted, they can pre-cut it for you if you need. If there are enough of you, you might be able to do even better by going for 12' lengths and getting them cut into 2' sections.

The hardest thing for you to find will probably be the Vermiculite. Check EVERYWHERE. The book isn't kidding when it says it will be hard to find at first, but once you start searching, you'll find places. I've found a couple of sources so far, and am still hunting others. Nurseries, landcapers, feed stores and the like seem to be much better than the big box stores. I did, however, find Miracle Grow Vermiculite available at an ACE Hardware store and something similar at a Lowes; unfortunately they are only 8 quart bags (roughly $6.00 or so).. and the 4 cu/ft bags are much more economical ($14 to $25.)

Second hardest may be finding the different sources for compost. I went to 3 different stores and found the EXACT same brand of compost at all three! One store did have a premium brand (which I'll probably pick up this weekend), but nothing but cow manure compost... none of those fancy mushroom, chicken, horse, or anything else... but I'm still looking.

One thing I would recommend... especially with the kids... try raddishes. Even if they won't eat them, they do grow really fast. The kids will love the idea of watching something grow in such a short period of time, and hopefully it will keep their interest on the other things that take more time.

Raddishes grow really fast, but the longer they stay underground the bigger, tougher (woody) and hotter they get. Just watch out how many you plant. I bought the paper encased (like the paper straws come in) seed strips... and planted a whole 'strip' in one row last year (pre-SFG method.) I had so many raddishes I didn't know what to do with 'em... and the longer I waited to pick 'em, the spicier they got! :o

Still, they are a good way to demonstrate what to expect from the other plants... over different durations. Just my humble opinion tho.

Oh, and don't forget to compost the unused parts.. Wink

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Re: SFG newbie with preschoolers

Post  Jeff Buffington on 4/2/2010, 1:00 am

@Anstar wrote:Hehe, I've BTDT before with a tape measure in hand for other projects where I was a little more picky - as in, 1/4"-1/2" off wasn't close enough lol. Of course I got a guy who apparently didn't know that you can't just mark off all the lengths then cut, cuz you loose some to the width of the board. I ended up having his manager (super nice - maybe too nice) sit there and watch him make every cut, then he measured and I measured before I would accept them. It was a little ugly. I hope they don't run this time when they see me coming!

I think the saw blades are typically 1/8" wide... but I wasn't that anal when I built my boxes... and I cut 'em myself... rofl..

Oh.. that reminds me... PRE-DRILL the holes... I split some of my lumber by trying to take the easy way.

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