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Need comments and reassurance

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Need comments and reassurance

Post  CPN on 3/25/2010, 1:53 am

i just finished reading the book. First thought is I want to do this. Second thought. This is not going to work . For those that have used this method please comment. I just can't see how most of your summer vegetables can be planted in 6 inches of soil or even in a square foot, especially tomatoes. I have put them in five-gallon buckets in years past and they were root bound before the end of the summer. And unless you single vine your tomatoes no way would they fit in this space. I think that cuts your crop yield WAY down as well. One last comment. In the book before the plant profile, most crops mentioned are spring crops like lettuces. Sure lettuce will grow in 6 inches of soil. Most of the picture were lettuce, marigolds, herbs.... I didn't really see any tomato pictures. When I think of a garden I think of tomatoes. I am in the deep south... Anyone else have success in the deep south? I am not attempted to knock this... I really want to do this. Just uncertain about it. Comments/pictures/experiences would be appreciated.

THanks

CPN

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  choksaw on 3/25/2010, 4:24 am

This is my first season with SFG so im no master gardener on it but ive done alot o fresearch on the internet in the past 3 years and this seems to be the most logical soultion and least expensive in my area check out the "Showcase of gardens" forum to see pictures of other peoples success

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  ayanefan on 3/25/2010, 6:01 am

Donna's Square Foot Garden on Youtube is an amazing chronicle of her efforts with Square Foot Gardening (SFG). She has over 40 videos from start to finish of her growing season in Florida. And as for tomatoes, she grew HUGE beefsteak tomatoes.

Her adventure begins here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3rN-cNhmVw

Her tomatoes (wow!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWVhp59HZmI&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjh7i-WPy6k&feature=channel

This is proof to me that anything can grow in the south.

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 3/25/2010, 7:17 am

Hi,
I live on the coast in Virginia (for a Yankee this is the South) I have been using a squarefoot garden for about 6 years. Tomatoes will grow just fine. I have grown both determinate and indeterminate plants. I usually give the plants a corner spot with 3 other squares (total of 4 sqf) It really is amazing how little work is involved If you are still unsure, build a single box and try it for a season. Happy Gardening.

Patty from Yorktown

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  gettip on 3/25/2010, 7:49 am

Last year was my first year doing SFG. I had not done any vegetable gardening for years. After loosing my english setter I was looking for something to do. I had 3 large trees in my backyard which shaded all but a small area and this area recieved barely 6 hours of sunlight a day. I started looking into this method and my wife bought me the book. I put in an 4x8 box at the first of May, with the standard summer fare of vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, head lettuce, zucchini, squash, beans, and onions. All did very well. As plants stopped producing I replaced them with the fall crops and was harvesting, radishes, lettuce, swiss chard, and carrots, until Thanksgiving.

At first it was difficult to change the way I thought about gardening. But after last year I will not go back to the old way. It is easier and less work intensive than any gardening I have ever done. I live in Ohio, so I am not familiar with what does well in the deep south I am sure that some plants will do better than others in whatever part of the country you live in but that is the joy of the garden expirment. I can say that this does work and after the original investment and start up it is as simple as stated.

During the winter I had to have one of the trees in my yard removed that created the most shade and now the yard will get 8-10 hours of sunlight. I am adding another 4x8 and a 4x4 for strawberries.

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  timwardell on 3/25/2010, 3:24 pm

Hey CPN,
We feel your pain and understand your trepidation. At first SFG seems so totally different from everything you've ever learned about vegetable gardening. But it does work. There are almost a thousand members of this forum - many who are veterans at SFG.

If you're unsure, start small. Make one box and see how it goes, maybe even plant a traditional in-ground garden for comparison if you want.

Go to YouTube and do a search for "Square Foot Gardens" and you will see what others have done growing lots of different veggies (including tomatoes) with great success.

Also, check out the gallery here in the SFG Forum. Not a lot of pics at the moment but it is growing every day. You can find it here:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/gallery/personal.htm

Finally, check out the regional forums to connect with SFG'ers in the deep south - we have some that are regulars here and will happily share their experience and answer your questions.

Best of Luck!

timwardell

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  boffer on 3/25/2010, 4:21 pm

@CPN wrote:I just can't see how most of your summer vegetables can be planted in 6 inches of soil or even in a square foot, especially tomatoes.

Traditional gardeners have been trained to believe that deeper is better, although most couldn't tell you why for certain. The unseen secret to SFG's success is the fact that roots don't care if they grow down or sidewise. Their mission is to find adequate nutrition and water; they don't care where they have to look to find it.

You have pointed out a fact that I wish was discussed more on the forum. Toms do have large root structures, and they spread out in a box into other squares. We have to be careful what we plant next to toms and need to be careful about damaging roots when we harvest. Experienced sfg'ers will tend to plant smaller rooted veggies, that you listed, next to toms. Also, in a nutrient rich soil like mel's mix, and with heavy watering, the root structures of many plants don't need to get nearly as large as they do in the ground.

I tend to spread out similar plants, putting a few each in multiple boxes. One exception is the only pic I have to offer now. I planted five early girls in a row and they did just fine. You can barely see them in a pic in my personal album.

I'll grant you that early girls aren't heirlooms. But as you look around the forum you'll find suggestions from veteran sfg'ers on how to maximize the use of space.

As others have suggested, try one box this year.
My suggestion is: try it, you'll like it

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THANK YOU

Post  CPN on 3/25/2010, 5:20 pm

WOW. What a warm welcome!!! Thank you all for you great comments. Im definitely going to try this out. I just needed a little encouragement. It will still seem odd to plant in 6 inches of soil, but I will just do it and forget it. I have not gardened in a couple years, but I think I will do a small traditional type bed for a comparison. Again, thanks very much. I feel better now. I will take pictures and maybe post..... ir could be a neat side by side comparison.

Happy Gardening!
Parrish

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  titans01 on 3/25/2010, 5:39 pm

Well I'm like you in that this is my first year of SFG and I have my doubts about the tomatoes as well. But we will see because my plan is to have 8 of them in a row to maximize my trellis. I'm going to pinch the suckers as well.

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  boffer on 3/25/2010, 6:04 pm

My personal preference for toms is to plant them using the 'trench' method. In my mind, it gets the root pointed in the right direction-sideways.

I believe Mel describes it in his book.

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RE comments and reassurance

Post  Ray'ssfg on 3/26/2010, 6:37 am

Hi CPN,
I have been growing Toms for 3 years in SFG and they grow fine. I have 1 per square and prune a bit and let them intermingle with each other. I am picking about 10 toms a day at the moment ( more pickles to make this Sat) as it is fall here in Australia. You do have to water them heavily if 1 per square. I have winter tomatoes growing at present as an experiment, the seeds come from Russia and Poland. I will post some photos shortly as they are about a foot high now.
Go for it is my advice.
Cheers Ray Down Under

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/26/2010, 10:05 am

@CPN wrote:First thought is I want to do this. Second thought. This is not going to work .

It is early and this is the first post I am answering. You have me laughing. I am a Christian, we get used to knowing that when God gives encouragement and the means to do something, the enemy of souls counters with doubt and reasons why it will be impossible. I have to remind myself that even though a garden is not an issue of faith, it is constantly used as an object lesson to help wrap our heads around faith. <grin>

When I was young and strong and into edible home landscape (and supplementing my husband’s fishing and hunting with bunnies, chickens, and geese (because they kept the neighbors out of the berry garden better then dogs) I kept a large, French intensive vegetable garden. I feel your doubt about eating from this little box. (It is no sin to go deeper then 6”, many do) I was eased into it by a building project that forced me to garden in my herb & tea garden. That began my experiments and study with container gardening. I was happily surprised at what you could get from a plant in a container. Weeding and pest control became simple. I knew that things could be crowded and produce well from French intensive (I think it might be called bio-intensive now) and from the few flowers that I grew on my deck in pots purposely crowded to look like a bouquet in summer instead of like a specimen. I found out that in the 12 foot knot garden (no longer dedicated to herbs and tea) with its fenced corners where I stacked pots I could grow enough and do it in less space with less work then in the big garden. But the big garden had always been my sanctuary, my sanity, so I was reluctant to give it up. When we moved to town I had hoped to start a new garden but heavy construction had scraped away the top soil and I had managed to age thirty years. Instant yards for instant sales had instant lawn plastic netting just inches under the soil that tangled in the roto-tiller The soil itself was like peat from a bag, dry and clumpy. Weeds were not even prone to grow thickly on it. We are building boxes and the joy is returning. There is life that will contribute to life in my yard again!

Someone mentioned Donna's garden videos, she is who got me excited about SFG. She had never veggie gardened before and jumped in with both, um, hands (no feet in a SFG). Such a can-do encourageer. I had never done video blogs either, I am having SO MUCH fun with that too!

In the PNW one of the things we do to get tomatoes it to trench plant the seedling (as Boffer already mentioned) or our tomatoes never get enough heat. It works great in a SFG.

Deborah ....trying something new too.

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  CPN on 3/27/2010, 1:12 am

r=#1f5b22]In the PNW one of the things we do to get tomatoes it to trench plant the seedling (as Boffer already mentioned) or our tomatoes never get enough heat. It works great in a SFG.

[/quote]

I have never heard of trench planting? Of course, we don't any problems with heat in Alabama......

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  choksaw on 3/27/2010, 1:15 am

Trench planting a seedling means instead of digging deep and dropping the plant straight in you dig a trench and lay the plant on its side. in the case of tomatoes all the litttle fibers along the stem will turn into roots giveing you a better root structure for the plant as it grows you just gently guide it in the direction of your trellis or cage system

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

Post  CPN on 3/27/2010, 2:13 am

OIC. I also found this on the internet as well....University
research found that planting stems
straight down with the root ball in deeper (and cooler) soil can
improve fruit set in hotter weather. Its probably best to do this in
southern areas and trench plant in northern areas (for more
warmth)...... Basically not something to do in HOT Alabama. Who lives
in the "Deep South" and uses SFG? I am beginning to wonder if SFG is mostly done in the more northern states?

CPN

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Re: Need comments and reassurance

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