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Hello from the UK

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Hello from the UK

Post  Yaffley on 4/29/2011, 2:44 am

BackyardBirdGardner (of the American Gothic Avatar) recommended I pop over here to introduce myself. So here goes.
I'm in the UK, the Midlands to be precise. My wife and I are new to SFG, having just made up our first ever bed this week. We are pretty excited about it.
Our biggest problem has been obtaining Moss Peat. When you ask for it in the UK, you may as well confess to eating babies it seems to be such a crime.
I know a bit about the internal gubbins of plants and compost heaps, and we already grow (with mixed success) all sorts of things in our native sandy, alkaline (or basic as it should be) soil. We have a series of containers on our patio full of everything from loganberries to arbutus, so we're looking forward to seeing how Mel's technique works. It does seem to make a lot of sense.
I'm here to learn, so feel free to correct me when I'm wrong.
Have a good day - we have a bonus public holiday due to some chap getting married. Can't be bad.
Y

Yaffley

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  walshevak on 4/29/2011, 8:00 am

Just watched the wedding. Britian can be proud of this day.


Kay

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Barkie on 4/29/2011, 8:10 am

Hello Yaffley

to the forum.

I know what you mean about the Moss Peat thing. It's got like you have to ask in a whisper if they have any under the counter. I'm hoping the garden centre I found an hour's drive away actually does have some in stock ready for making my first beds in a couple of weeks.

People are really helpful if you have questions about spacing or anything.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  dizzygardener on 4/29/2011, 8:40 am



So very glad to have ya!

Do you have the All New SFG book? If not, you should definitely consider buying it. It is a fantastic resource for those who are just starting out with SFG. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask them. We are always eager to help out fellow SFGers if we can.

Also, please share some of your own knowledge with us. We are all here to learn from each other as well as help each other where we can. When you get your SFG up and running please post some pictures for us.

Also, please stop on when you have a chance. Regional forums are a great place to get region specific information, ask regional questions, and generally get to know folks from your area.

Take care and happy gardening.


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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/29/2011, 10:48 pm

Instead of referring to the peat moss as such, ask for sphagnum moss, which is part of the composition of, but not endangered like, the peat mosses (composed of more than just sphagnum moss). Here in Oregon, we get sphagnum moss from Canada, where it grows and is harvested before it starts the process that produces peat. At least that's what I was told. It certainly looks too dry and loose to be "rotting" into peat.

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Peat Moss

Post  Yaffley on 4/30/2011, 3:25 am

Thank you all for making me feel welcome.
To answer a few questions - "Yes" we have Mel's new SFG book, which we have been carefully using. Working out how many things per square using it has been extremely helpful. Sadly the book has now accumulated a few "Mel's Mix" thumbprints!
I have found enough peat moss after a long search - one of the compost firms here sells it, and going to its website allows you to search by post (zip) code. We found a supplier with about a pallet load left. Next bed we make, I will search for sphagnum moss. We have the moss here, it's used as a liner for hanging baskets, I sow rolls of it yesterday.
We too saw the wedding - which we enjoyed too due to the rather wonderful simplicity and understatement of it all.
I'll head on over to the Europe forums (fori? Fora?) as suggested.
Thanks again
Y

Yaffley

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  shannon1 on 4/30/2011, 4:55 am

Welcome Yaffley,
Another alternitive to peat moss some people use is coconut coir as it has excellent moisture retention, it can hold 8-9 times its weight in water. Coconut coir is free of seeds, weeds, and other particles, it resists bacteria, mold, and fungal growth. It ensures good drainage, preventing root rot while encouraging strong and early root growth .
I have not used it myself but others love the stuff.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/30/2011, 1:42 pm

Yaffley

So glad you found us. This really is a helpful bunch.

As you have now discovered, the book is a great source of information. Once your boxes are filled with MM, the hard work is done. My book has MM fingerprints too Very Happy because I refer to it often.

Glad you were able to locate a source of peat moss, as it is the recommended ingredient in Mel's Mix.

Please keep us posted on your progress. We I love you pictures and would enjoy seeing yours too!

Again, Welcome

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Kelejan on 4/30/2011, 2:28 pm

Hello Yaffley:

Welcome to this great guest book and site.

I was born and raised in England and came to Canada when I was getting on for middle age and I love it here but still miss my English countryside and weather.

Started SFG last year with two boxes and added a third at the end of the season as I intended to do a bit more this year. I had this 1981 book around just about forever before I decided to give it a go and I am glad I did. My husband bought it for 50 cents and I do intend to get the latest version.

I was very happy with my results as I was not too successfull doing the row stuff as my soil was really poor so now I can concentrate all the goodness into a small space. It really does make sense and reduces the laboue and makes the whole thing a wonderful experience.

I like the way one has to be economical with seeds, and the weeding of one square foot at a time is great. I kept myself and a neighbour friend in salads all summer and fall.

We will all follow you results with great interest, please keep writing to us.


Last edited by Kelejan on 4/30/2011, 2:29 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : As usual, the computer makes the mistakes.)

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Ian Brooks on 5/5/2011, 4:57 pm

Hi, I'm Ian & just joined forum. I'm in Abingdon, just south of Oxford, UK. Recently retired & just read Mel's book. Interested in SFG as I only have postage stamp sized garden with poor sandy soil on site of former concrete works in the 70s. I'm also looking into recreating Mel's Mix using UK resources. Look forward to finding some answers here.Re Royal Wedding: It managed to combine traditional British ceremony with some modern touches. New Duchess seems very able & attractive and we all hope they both will be very happy & with none of the problems which Diana had.Bye for now & Good Gardening.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/5/2011, 5:34 pm

Ian,

Glad to have you join us. You will find this is a great group of people sho enjoy growing veggies.

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING is just the thing for a small space with poor soil. We have other SFG'rs in the UK who were able to prepare Mel's Mix.

Please keep us posted on your progress, as ask questions when you have them. We will try to help when we can.

By the way, we love pictures too.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Yaffley on 5/5/2011, 6:06 pm

Hello and welcome!

You'll find vermiculite easily enough - but try to buy in bulk as the tiny bags from DIY stores cost a fortune. Compost is easy, most garden centres/DIY places have a good variety, so find the five or so (try to avoid your own first up - it's not sterile).

Peat is an issue. Above coir and sphagnum are suggested. I found one of the compost manufacturers has a search from their website (it has a compass direction in its name) where you could pop in a postcode and it would tell you who stocks its peat.

Good luck - we are doing well so far, a pile of seedling appeared today after about a week. That's outside, just cut up pop bottles as cloches over them.

Y

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  walshevak on 5/5/2011, 7:09 pm

@Ian Brooks wrote:Hi, I'm Ian & just joined forum. I'm in Abingdon, just south of Oxford, UK. Recently retired & just read Mel's book. Interested in SFG as I only have postage stamp sized garden with poor sandy soil on site of former concrete works in the 70s. I'm also looking into recreating Mel's Mix using UK resources. Look forward to finding some answers here.Re Royal Wedding: It managed to combine traditional British ceremony with some modern touches. New Duchess seems very able & attractive and we all hope they both will be very happy & with none of the problems which Diana had.Bye for now & Good Gardening.

Hi Ian. I know where Abingdon is. I lived at RAF Croughton for almost 3 years. Loved gardening in England, but only did flowers. There were some of the most interesting garden shops all over, and I tried to hit a lot of them.

Welcome to the forum and please post pictures when your get your garden planted.

Kay

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Icemaiden on 5/6/2011, 5:52 am

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Instead of referring to the peat moss as such, ask for sphagnum moss, which is part of the composition of, but not endangered like, the peat mosses (composed of more than just sphagnum moss). Here in Oregon, we get sphagnum moss from Canada, where it grows and is harvested before it starts the process that produces peat. At least that's what I was told. It certainly looks too dry and loose to be "rotting" into peat.

I don't think that is quite true Smile (and yes, I do have peat moss in my boxes).
Asking for spagnum moss in the UK is likely to get you the undecomposed stuff which is green and looks like long strings of moss. It is used for lining hanging baskets and I think it is still "live".
The Canadian Spagnum Peat Moss Association say that their members harvest peat in a sustainable manner and return the harvested bogs to functioning wetlands.
Environmentalists might argue that a functioning wetland is not the same as a peat-bog.
One of the criteria given for selecting a bog for harvesting is that it needs 2m of peat to make it worth while. Common sense suggests that it took nature a long time to lay down 2m of decomposed spagnum moss. The CSPMA say that it will take hundreds of years for peat to be replaced but that, in the meantime, the way they manage things the wetlands will still perform the most important functions of a bog.
I'm not saying that we should or should not use peat moss for gardening, but I do think that we need to make informed decisions.
http://www.peatmoss.com/concern.php

Well, that was kind of heavy! And not like me at all Shocked

Nice to see more UK members joining up. I'm a Midlands Lass myself, at heart, so I'll look forward to seeing what you grow.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Barkie on 5/6/2011, 8:37 am

@Ian Brooks wrote:Hi, I'm Ian & just joined forum. I'm in Abingdon, just south of Oxford, UK. Recently retired & just read Mel's book. Interested in SFG as I only have postage stamp sized garden with poor sandy soil on site of former concrete works in the 70s. I'm also looking into recreating Mel's Mix using UK resources. Look forward to finding some answers here.Re Royal Wedding: It managed to combine traditional British ceremony with some modern touches. New Duchess seems very able & attractive and we all hope they both will be very happy & with none of the problems which Diana had.Bye for now & Good Gardening.

Hi Ian

Welcome to the forum. Congrats on retiring.

Biggest problem for me has been getting the sphagnum moss peat. I found mine in a little family run garden centre but it wasn't on display. I had to ask for it, the boss fetched it from his yard where he keeps it. I got Erin brand (Irish bogs) which doesn't come from conservation sites. Pull it apart and fluff it up if it comes as a compressed bale before you measure it out to avoid ending up with too much peat in the Mix.

Vermiculite, you can get at least cost from a builders merchants sold as insulation, maybe a stoves firm, or a hydroponics stockist.

Yeah, the Royal couple and wedding I agree with you and wish them both to be as happy as me and mine.

Do shout up if you have any questions and join in and you'll find people are pleased to help.

Barkie

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Moss or Peat

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/6/2011, 11:05 am

A thanks to Icemaiden for the additional peat/moss info. Funny how business interests like to slide over such information when their wallets are involved. You helped me remember many years ago when I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, that areas where the cover of plants and mosses had been removed (like for homesteads), in a short tiime sank as the underlying permafrost thawed out. Also, remember the surprise iin finding out permafrost consisted of chunks of underground ice. But what did I know...I'd just moved up from Central Texas!

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I too am from the Midlands

Post  supersebtastic on 5/6/2011, 12:51 pm

I too am from the Midlands (Birmingham) and am starting with SFG found a place in Bridgenorth that sell 100l bags of Irish Moss Peat for around £5.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Barkie on 5/6/2011, 1:14 pm

@supersebtastic wrote:I too am from the Midlands (Birmingham) and am starting with SFG found a place in Bridgenorth that sell 100l bags of Irish Moss Peat for around £5.

My partner is from Birmingham, I'm from Yorkshire. My Irish Moss Peat was £5.99 for a 100l bag. Have you got your beds set up? I'm off shopping for wood and vermiculite this weekend.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  supersebtastic on 5/6/2011, 1:28 pm

I used old scaffolding boards for my beds, bought them very cheaply on ebay really happy with them really solid, for the vermiculite Selco do bags of Micafil Vermiculite which is used for insulation for £15 for 100l not checked it out yet but it's the best I've fond and a lot cheaper than my local garden centre. The thing I'm finding difficult to find is the nylon trellis netting for my tomato supports.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Yaffley on 5/6/2011, 2:09 pm

@Barkie wrote:
My partner is from Birmingham, I'm from Yorkshire. My Irish Moss Peat was £5.99 for a 100l bag. Have you got your beds set up? I'm off shopping for wood and vermiculite this weekend.

Make sure you get the "coarse" vermiculite, not the really powdery stuff. I internetted (I think I just made a new verb) ours, but I have no recollection who delivered it.

Have a good weekend - we have rain forecast, and for the first time in ages, I'm glad.

Y

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Unmutual on 5/9/2011, 5:33 am

@Barkie wrote:My partner is from Birmingham, I'm from Yorkshire.

Welcome to the SFG forums!

I grew up in Brough, North Humberside. Even though my family moved to the states when I was 10(father was a naval architect, back in the 80's a lot of ship builders were closing so we ended up in Louisiana), I still get terribly homesick, though I've lived in the same house in Louisiana for the past 27 years. If not for my daughter, I'd probably move back to England when I retire.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Barkie on 5/9/2011, 7:49 am

@supersebtastic wrote:I used old scaffolding boards for my beds, bought them very cheaply on ebay really happy with them really solid, for the vermiculite Selco do bags of Micafil Vermiculite which is used for insulation for £15 for 100l not checked it out yet but it's the best I've fond and a lot cheaper than my local garden centre. The thing I'm finding difficult to find is the nylon trellis netting for my tomato supports.

I'm thinking scaffolding boards too. Good, solid 2" thick. I am having my roofer mate's old ones as he replaces them, he's had half a bag of cement off me when he was short of a bit to finish a job but I'll see him right with a supply of seasonal veg. I bought Micafil locally at £18 for 100L. It says on the bag it is good for hanging baskets and tubs and for fruit storage.

Strong trellis netting - have you seen the brown plastic ones for clematis? Wilkinson's is a good cheap place for garden supplies like nylon anti-butterfly netting and wire btw.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Barkie on 5/9/2011, 8:50 am

@Yaffley wrote:
Make sure you get the "coarse" vermiculite, not the really powdery stuff. I internetted (I think I just made a new verb) ours, but I have no recollection who delivered it.

Have a good weekend - we have rain forecast, and for the first time in ages, I'm glad.

Y

Hi. Yes, I have bought a "coarse" grade, I must say it is unexpectedly glittery compared to the "fine" I use for seed but I think the range of particle sizes will do nicely.

It looks like we are all finally having April showers and the odd "stair-rods" now.

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Re: Hello from the UK

Post  Barkie on 5/9/2011, 9:21 am

@Unmutual wrote:
@Barkie wrote:My partner is from Birmingham, I'm from Yorkshire.

Welcome to the SFG forums!

I grew up in Brough, North Humberside. Even though my family moved to the states when I was 10(father was a naval architect, back in the 80's a lot of ship builders were closing so we ended up in Louisiana), I still get terribly homesick, though I've lived in the same house in Louisiana for the past 27 years. If not for my daughter, I'd probably move back to England when I retire.

Cheers Unmutual.

Brough, the capital of the Parisi in the Iron Age and famous for Dick Turpin. I've been living in the same part of West Wales for 6 years and I like it a great deal but I still think of going back to Yorkshire now and then.

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Re: Hello from the UK

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