Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by AtlantaMarie Today at 8:51 pm

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by AtlantaMarie Today at 8:46 pm

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by donnainzone5 Today at 8:35 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by sanderson Today at 8:30 pm

» SFG not giving the results I expected
by No_Such_Reality Today at 7:21 pm

» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by GardenGal Today at 6:38 pm

» New Member
by trolleydriver Today at 4:14 pm

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver Today at 1:32 pm

» New England, December 2016
by sanderson Today at 12:57 pm

» December 2016 Avatar: Show your Winter Season Colors!
by sanderson Today at 12:40 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by CapeCoddess Today at 12:32 pm

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee Today at 10:56 am

» First season SFG results / lessons learned
by countrynaturals Today at 10:36 am

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by Kelejan Today at 9:46 am

» Mid-South: December 2016
by sanderson Today at 3:39 am

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by sanderson Today at 3:30 am

» Eat Broccoli Leaves? Brussels Sprouts? Cauliflower?
by sanderson Today at 2:55 am

» Winter's Coming!
by sanderson Today at 2:53 am

» Dry versus fresh spices to infuse vinegar
by sanderson Today at 2:50 am

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by sanderson Today at 1:28 am

» Holy snow Batman!
by sanderson Yesterday at 5:46 pm

» Senseless Banter...
by MrBooker Yesterday at 5:17 pm

» Blanching and Freezing Vegetables
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:59 pm

» Your Christmas wish list?
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:29 pm

» SFG Adventure of a first time gardener in ND
by sanderson Yesterday at 4:14 pm

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 2:59 pm

» Fusion Life Brands Power XL pressure cooker
by CapeCoddess Yesterday at 2:39 pm

» Asia Region -Showcase of Gardens - Show Us Yours
by sanderson Yesterday at 2:14 pm

» December: What to plant in Northern California and Central Valley areas
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 1:13 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 12:52 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

SFG Flower beds/yard ?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Wendy HS on 4/27/2011, 4:30 pm

Hi everyone,
I am still new to SFG so this may be a stupid question. Has anyone ever used the SFG model to plant flower beds or bushes around/ up against their house. We have nothing planted around our house. I am wanting to start from scratch and design a (flower beds/ bushes / whatever looks pretty) landscape around my house. I can't afford a lot and so I thought about using a frame made up with the 2 x 12 boards, or something else that would be attractive and inexpensive. The house would be the back side of the frame then filling the beds with the Mel's mix, and planting some stuff. It wouldn't be fancy, but it would sure beat what is there now, which is nothing. We have huge oak trees all the way around our back and front yard so we don't get much sun. Would Mels mix help my yard to grow grass? We basically have dirt for a yard, due to much of it being in the shade. The county extension agent told us there wasn't much we could grow because of the shade, but weeds sure don't have much trouble growing. Any experience for anyone out there with using Mel's mix on their home landscaping needs?

Wendy HS

Posts : 20
Join date : 2011-04-20
Location : Scurry, Texas

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  middlemamma on 4/27/2011, 5:03 pm

Do you have termites in your area? If you do I would read up on wood to dirt contact that close to your house first before I made any solid plans, or spent any money. Any Terminex or Truly Nolan in your area would be able to give you good info.

I may be a little on the paranoid side....but as an x real estate agent I can honestly say I lost more than one commission to termites this way.

middlemamma
 
 

Female Posts : 2260
Join date : 2010-04-25
Age : 38
Location : Post Falls Idaho and LOVING it

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/27/2011, 7:44 pm

Wendy, I do use Mel's Mix in my containers and boxes for flowers and roses and even my single cherry tree.

I definitely would take Middlemamma's words to heart and make sure termites are not an issue in your area before building wooden beds near the house.

You could put beds around the house, but I would build a complete bed and not use the house as the back side of the box. In addition to the concern regarding termites, the Mel's Mix will stain the side of the house, plus you would have constant moisture right on your home.

Furbalsmom

Female Posts : 3141
Join date : 2010-06-10
Age : 69
Location : Coastal Oregon, Zone 9a, Heat Zone 2 :(

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 4/27/2011, 10:36 pm

Hi,
Do not despair about a shady backyard. There are all kinds of under story plants that can attract birds and other critters. Look into native plants in your area. Some folks say to live in your new house for a year to see what comes up. If you cannot wait that long to garden, start working a little bit at a time where you have sun. Everywhere else stick compost. I like my shady backyard. I have plenty of trees for my laundry line and the weeds/grass only gets mowed about twice a year. Happy Gardening.

Patty in Yorktown

Patty from Yorktown

Posts : 350
Join date : 2010-03-05
Location : Yorktown, Virginia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/27/2011, 11:06 pm

First, while I can appreciate the sentiment, if you are on a budget, I wouldn't be putting permanent landscaping in pure Mel's Mix. The cost will crush your budget. Part of why Mel suggests we can make/install the perfect soil in our gardens is because we aren't gardening in a large area. He mentions it's not practical for farmland. It's only because we reduce the size by 20% that we can manufacture the perfect growing medium.

Second, are you thinking of annuals or perennials? Bushes and shrubs in there, or just flowers? It makes a difference because I wouldn't use MM on my bushes and shrubs. I would just amend my soil.

Third, if I were landscaping your property in the picture, I would use layered beds. And, I would use curves to soften the edges of the house. There would be a "flow" to the design to encourage/lead you around the house to see more.

If you had the desire to maintain lots and lots of flowers around the beds, I would at least put filler at the bottoms of all the tiers and only put MM in the top 6 inches of any bed. The rest would be dirt and sand type fillers. Otherwise, your cost would skyrocket....making it more practical to use permanent borders like landscaping bricks and stones. The added cost of the bricks would be nothing compared to what you are already spending on MM....likely vermiculite alone.

However, would stuff grow? You bet it would!

Next, you mention all the oak trees and shade. That puts heavy requirements on the plants that grow successfully in shade, and probably acidic soils. Acorns really acidify the soil over time. But, your plants would be likely full of Impatiens, Caladiums, Elephant Ears, Hostas, Ferns, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and possibly some varieties of Hydrangeas. Maybe some bulbs like Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, and Crocuses for both fragrance and early season color before the oaks leaf out.

Grass? Nope. MM would help, but the roots would rip out with any traffic. And, we aren't supposed to step on MM remember? Compaction is a no-no with MM and the SFG principles. Again, not practical....but it would grow grass. Just not the kind you could walk on.

The weeds you have are likely shade tolerant weeds anyway. To grow grass, I use this analogy with clients all the time....

A bag of grass seed is like the population of the earth. Billions and billions of people in that bag. There are a certain number of professional athletes, successful businessmen, fat people, skinny people, ugly people, and models. And, there are a whole bunch of starving artists, waiters, and cubies just making an average wage with average body types and looks.
What we are looking for in such dense shade is the pure studs. The professional athletes. The guys with the genetics to grow to 6 foot 4 inches and 220 pounds of pure muscle that can dunk a basketball and run a 4 minute mile and swim home for lunch.

How many of those athletes are there in the world? And, how many are in that bag of seeds?
So, to get grass to take under all those trees you would need not just lots of seeds, but lots of BAGS of seeds to sift through all the average people/seeds to get to the athletes to finally grow you some grass.

Now, let's talk about practical ground covers instead.

While a bit impractical, imo, due to costs, MM would grow beautiful landscaped beds. But, you would be better off adding bulk topsoil to raised beds and mulching the crud out of them. The plants and bushes and flowers you would use won't care if you just add some fertilization from time to time to provide the nutrition they need. And, adding that supplemental nutrition would take forever to equal the cost of MM in all your beds across your house.

That's my opinion, and what I would recommend if I were called out to your house to discuss landscaping options with you.

BackyardBirdGardner

Male Posts : 2727
Join date : 2010-12-25
Age : 42
Location : St. Louis, MO

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Miss M on 4/27/2011, 11:12 pm

Another consideration about termites and flower beds against the house is this (which I just learned today, since Terminix came to do the annual inspection): It is important to make sure you can see the foundation all the way around the house, because then you can see if termites start making a tunnel up to your house. If the foundation is covered, termites can enter your home completely hidden, with no dirt tunnels to alert you.

We have flower beds next to the house. But as long as we pull the accumulated leaves out of them, we'll be able to see the foundation. Guess what's on the to-do list? Very Happy

Miss M

Posts : 343
Join date : 2011-03-08
Location : Zone 8b, Coastal & Tropical South

View user profile http://sithrahfarm.com

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Miss M on 4/27/2011, 11:31 pm

Oh -- meant to mention... centipede grass grows in your area and is high shade tolerant (tolerates shade from trees with limbs that are not low to the ground).

St. Augustine grass is very shade tolerant (it's thriving beneath our huge oaks). It doesn't normally grow much north of here, but there's a newly discovered strain of it called "Palmetto". It is able to withstand colder winter temps than other varieties of St. Augustine, and looks promising for your location. Here's some info at the Texas A&M site: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/turf/staugust2.html

Miss M

Posts : 343
Join date : 2011-03-08
Location : Zone 8b, Coastal & Tropical South

View user profile http://sithrahfarm.com

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Wendy HS on 4/28/2011, 4:13 pm

Well this gives me something to go with. I didn't think it would work to do MM, but it was worth a shot. I really like the landscaping bricks so I guess we will be going with those and I will just have to do a section at a time as we can afford it. I've got my work cut out for me on researching and learning. Thank you for the suggestions on the grasses that do well in the shade, we've got to try to grow something, when the spring winds pick up it just isn't very fun sitting in the back yard watching the kids play, you get a face full of sand because there is no grass.

Wendy HS

Posts : 20
Join date : 2011-04-20
Location : Scurry, Texas

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Smartchick on 4/28/2011, 5:37 pm

One word: Astroturf. : )

Ok, just kidding. Although I do have to say the daycare down the street from us just installed a turf-type carpet in their entire playground - no more muddy little feet - and it appears that they put some sort of cushion under it so it looks super cool to play on.

And now for some serious advice - I might also consider planting irises. I'll admit I forgot where you are located but I have them all over my backyard and they seem to grow in just about any condition - I even have some growing in a bed that accidently got salted sand dumped on it from winter street sweeping and they are doing just peachy.

Smartchick

Posts : 105
Join date : 2011-02-18
Location : Omaha, NE, Zone 5

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/28/2011, 5:53 pm

Daylilies are indestructible and naturalize like crazy. I would consider breaking your yard area into smaller portion with flower beds incorporated in, too.

And, yes, step by step as you can afford is the way to go. I hope it all works out for you.

BackyardBirdGardner

Male Posts : 2727
Join date : 2010-12-25
Age : 42
Location : St. Louis, MO

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  walshevak on 4/28/2011, 6:01 pm

Even if you plan to do the work yourself and in stages, a good investment might be a landscape designer. The local nurseries often will do a plan for you and then take the price of plants and services off the cost of the plan if you choose to let them implement some of the plan within a certain time.

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

walshevak

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4310
Join date : 2010-10-17
Age : 73
Location : wilmington, nc zone 8

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  shannon1 on 4/29/2011, 3:15 am

@Wendy HS wrote: We have huge oak trees all the way around our back and front yard so we don't get much sun. Would Mels mix help my yard to grow grass? We basically have dirt for a yard, due to much of it being in the shade.

Thinking outside the box might be of benifit here. I have to confess I realy dislike grass lawns and so far as St.Augustine grass is concerinered Evil or Very Mad it is spikey and not nice to walk on or lie on ( I live in St.Augustine ). There are all kinds of ground covers out there that take less water, time, care and some even like shade. I am not sure what is best for your area but with a little research I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you can find one you like that you can just plant without doing a thing to the dirt you have there already.
Here is a place to start looking http://thegardenhelper.com/shadecovers.html

shannon1

Posts : 1697
Join date : 2011-04-01
Location : zone 9a St.Johns county FL

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Miss M on 4/29/2011, 1:40 pm

It is true that St. Augustine isn't the most pleasant-feeling grass, but ours doesn't get spiky unless it is dry, and it has never been spiky in our shady front yard. Always cool and soft.

However, there are other ground covers for sure, and some of them may be preferable. Very Happy

Miss M

Posts : 343
Join date : 2011-03-08
Location : Zone 8b, Coastal & Tropical South

View user profile http://sithrahfarm.com

Back to top Go down

Leaf problems

Post  Wendy HS on 4/29/2011, 5:18 pm

Okay I've done some research and I need to do a little more, but I am thinking about either Raleigh St. Aug, or Palmetto St. Aug. grass for our yard. The plan is to do a section at a time, we have a huge front and back yard so it would be way too much to do it all at once. Plus if I do a little bit at a time and I do something wrong the whole yard won't die. Our plan is to pass this property on to our kids so we've got plenty of time. Thanks for all of the suggestions. The other types of ground cover that I've seen won't work because our kids play in the yard, so we really need grass down, plus I just like grass.
One other question.
Does anyone know of a way to get up all the leaves and small sticks that fall off of the oak trees every year. We typically rake and burn them, but that will wear a person out. When I say we have oak trees I am talking about the huge ones withs thousands of leaves. We end up with leaves 2 feet deep in places and I am not exaggerating. Is there any kind of equipment that will suck them up like a vaccume cleaner so you can deposit them elsewhere. Those things you attach on the back of mowers that are suppose to sweep them into a container are a joke, they don't work for us.

Wendy HS

Posts : 20
Join date : 2011-04-20
Location : Scurry, Texas

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: SFG Flower beds/yard ?

Post  Sponsored content Today at 8:58 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum