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Hello from NW PA!

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Hello from NW PA!

Post  Henrietta on 5/1/2011, 3:29 pm

Hi all! Hubby and I are turning to raised bed gardening this year after five years of struggling with the hard clay soil we have. We are renters and really do not want to invest in making the soil here better ans we hope to NOT be here forever! SO we made raised beds with bottoms that we will be able to take with us if (WHEN!) we do move.

I haven't read the book yet but will be buying it soon. We've gardened the normal way for years and are excited about trying something new. We just built our two 4'x8'x12" beds yesterday (can check them out here if you like: http://ahensnest.com/2011/04/building-raised-bed-garden.html ) and now need to fill them with soil and divide into grids using my trusty roll of garden twine. I think I will either stain the outsides and insides first or lay down and staple landscape fabric to the inside to try and keep them from rotting out too quickly.

I also used the kitchen garden tool planner on the Gardner's Supply website to plan the beds, but now I'm getting a bit worried that I'll be over planting the boxes! What do you think? Any suggestions? I also tried to keep in mind companion planting as much as I could. I think we may take out the summer squash and move them to a small mound out in the area of our old garden and just put two flowers in those squares instead, unless you think they might work?

Anyway, thank you for any advice and I am loving the forum already!


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Join date : 2011-04-29
Age : 37
Location : Erie, PA

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Hello from NW PA!

Post  sherryeo on 5/1/2011, 4:13 pm

Hi Henrietta!
I just wanted to drop by and say to the forum! I think you'll enjoy it immensely. There are lots of nice folks here who will always step in to help others with their problems and concerns. There are also some who are just wicked funny, so it helps to have a sense of humor! Sometimes a good laugh helps ease the worries about our garden situations!

Do you know how to make the Mel's Mix that really works magic for sfgs? If not, you'll for sure want to get the book asap! It's just not a sfg without Mel's Mix! Our soil here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast has some soil borne diseases that can just devastate our veggies, especially the tomatoes I so very much want to have good luck with. Mel's Mix is the main reason I wanted to try sfgs.

Personally, I wouldn't stain the inside of my garden box - you might get unwanted chemicals that will leach out and adversely affect your vegetables.

Post often to let us know how things are going and post pics when you can! Check out your regional forum when you get the chance - it's really great for getting advice from people who live in your area and can answer questions specific to your gardening environment. Hope to see you around the forum! Very Happy


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Age : 64
Location : Mississippi Gulf Coast Zone 8B

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Re: Hello from NW PA!

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/1/2011, 11:35 pm


Nice to have you with us. Two 4 X 8 beds is a good bit of space.

I enjoyed your plan for the two beds and don't see any overcrowding issues unless your squash is a bush type. They can really take up a lot of room unless you have a vining variety and you can trellis them. Was wondering which side of each box faces North. I am concerned that some of your taller trellised or tee pee grown vining plants may cause a bit of shade around your sun loving plants.

I checked your blog and was happy to see you drilled 1/4 inch drainage holes every square foot. Good Job!

So glad you will be getting the ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING BOOK soon, it is such a great resource. I refer to mine very often. The recipe for Mel's Mix is pretty simple, unfortunately another expense, but so worth it. Not an amended soil, but a soiless mix that has great drainage with good moisture retention, no weeds, and a very nuitritious mix for your veggies.

Please keep us updated on your progress.

Again, Welcome


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Re: Hello from NW PA!

Post  dizzygardener on 5/2/2011, 7:58 pm

So very glad to have ya!

My number one recommendation would be to read the All New Square Foot Gardening book before you fill your boxes. Pay special attention to Chapter 5 on Mel's Mix. The growing medium for SFG is soil-less: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 blending compost. The book is a fantastic resource for those who are just starting out with SFG. You'll find just about everything you need to know in that book.

Why do you feel you are over-planting the boxes? Your spacing looks perfect to me. SFG is an intensive gardening method. We plant things closer together than a traditional row garden, but we use a "perfect soil" (Mel's Mix) that more than makes up for it.

Which way is north on your plan?

What a gorgeous chicken you have there! We LOVE pictures around here, so please keep them coming! If you have any other question don't hesitate to ask.

Take care and happy gardening.


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Re: Hello from NW PA!

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/3/2011, 11:05 pm

I see you are reading our welcomes are bullseyed on the fundamental of SFG....Mel's Mix. For so many reasons, it is worth the investment....especially since you plan to take the gardens with you. In fact, Mel mentions that in his book, too, to put a bottom on it and make it portable.

You are off to the right start. Just trust us on this one (the MM.) Without it, all you have is a raised bed. Here, we are nuts about SFGs.....and there's a huge difference which you will find when you get the book.

Happy Gardening. Ask lots of questions; we love to answer them. And, I hope to see more of you hanging around here.


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Re: Hello from NW PA!

Post  middlemamma on 5/4/2011, 12:06 am


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Re: Hello from NW PA!

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