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SFG Confusion

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SFG Confusion

Post  Andy on 5/16/2011, 10:29 pm


I'm only in my second year of SFG. I currently have a 4x4 garden, and will probably be adding a 4x10 garden in the next couple of weeks. If everything goes well, I'll probably add another 4x10 next spring.

My confusion comes in the number of squares to dedicate to a particular veggie. My family is two adults (my wife and I), and two small children, ages 1 and 3. I know in Mel's book it says that each adult needs one 4x4 for salad, one 4x4 for daily vegetables, and one 4x4 for "extra"/preserving/etc. The same goes for children, except with a 3x3 box.

So... How many squares do I dedicate to each veggie? For example, how many squares for pole beans? How many for lettuce? How many for broccoli, etc... Are there any general rules of thumb?




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How much to plant

Post  GloriaG on 5/16/2011, 11:00 pm

Andy, I'm just starting my 2nd year of SFG also. But I've learned this: Plant a LOT of what you enjoy +++ Avoid what you don't like to eat +++ Extend your season because everyone really likes what you grow.

We have 2 adults and one 87 yr old senior.

We didn't have enough:
Tomatoes - 4 plants
peas - 4 squares
broccoli - 7 squares
carrots - 3 squares
Beets - 2 squares
Lettuce and other greens - 10 squares (planted at various times)
Spinach - 5 squares
Cantaloupe - 2 containers
Butternut squash - 1 container

We had plenty of:
Onions - 4 squares
Peppers - 2 plants (60 peppers)
Okra - 4 plants (66 okra)
Cucumbers - 1 container with 3 plants

Hope this helps!


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Re: SFG Confusion

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/17/2011, 12:21 am

I would agree. Focus on what you'll eat. Load up on it. Adjust next season.

There really is no rule that fits everyone, imo. Only experience can teach you. For example, you may harvest your lettuces when they are smaller, like I do, and therefore need to plant either more per square, to fill it, or more squares because you never let the plants get very big and leafy. You won't find that in the book.

Carrots are also slow to mature, as you may know. Therefore, you likely need to plant more of them farther ahead of time because the wait will seem like forever. But, they keep well, too. So, you may plant a ton of squares ahead of time and harvest from that single planting all season long.

Things like this experience will teach. The book is a great "guide" to get you started down the right path, but you will always need to tweak to your tastes/preferences......as you gain experience.


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Re: SFG Confusion

Post  Barkie on 5/17/2011, 4:00 am

Hi Andy,

I agree too. Plant what you like to eat and how much of it according to what you can use up. I've tried to calculate how much we eat of various things over a season or year to work out how many boxes to build.


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Re: SFG Confusion

Post  MikeP on 5/17/2011, 9:36 am

That's what we're doing this year... Planting the things we like in as large amounts as possible.

My only problem so far has been that we've used up several squares for companion planting flowers and herbs. Some of the herbs are fine and things we would have planted normally (basil, parsley, oregano, sage), some are good to have because I wouldn't mind having them available this summer/fall as fresh herbs (thyme, tarragon, rosemary, cilantro), but others are questionable to us as far as their usefulness outside of companion planting, such as borage and lovage which I've planted because of their "magic bullet" qualities as companion plants; we have no idea how we'll use them in a culinary application. Also, we have squares dedicated to marigolds, geraniums, and petunias, which I worry might be a waste of squares. On the other hand, if they help me to mitigate pests, diseases, or improve pollination/yield then it may be worthwhile.
I don't feel too bad about the nasturtiums though as I'm looking forward to trying those in our salads.


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SFG confusion

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/17/2011, 9:55 am

One solution to your worry about diverting vegetable space to herbs and flowers is to obtain the large 16" square flower pots and plant your herbs in them, or the long, more narrow types, whatever fits. Set them near whatever big bed you think needs their protection, and you're good to go. We are off-and-on RVers and we always take two of the long, narrow boxes with us, one planted with lettuce, the other with basil. When The Culvert's awning is put out, the boxes are placed under the slanted awning supports to keep folks (me mostly) from blundering into the support. The basil especially has been a great way to meet people--it's fun to offer a bundle to folks and the resulting conversation is always special. One lady told us she intended to take the big-leafed basil and use it in place of lettuce on a roasted chicken breast sandwich. Oh, BTW, our basil pot usually contains at least 2, sometimes more, varieties. Likewise the lettuce box for a mixed salad.


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Re: SFG Confusion

Post  scooter on 5/17/2011, 9:56 am

@GloriaG wrote:
Peppers - 2 plants (60 peppers)

60 peppers from 2 plants?! Oh dear. I have planted 6 plants so far and have a few more to harden off...


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Re: SFG Confusion

Post  Miss M on 5/17/2011, 10:46 am

Yeah, wow... I had no idea... Shocked

Miss M

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Re: SFG Confusion

Post  boog1 on 5/17/2011, 12:45 pm

nobody learns everything there is to know their first year in sfg or second for that matter. the guy i talked to at the plant sale last saterday has been doing sfg for lots of years and the one statement he told me after we chated for awhile was " mel has provided us with a tool box > the sfg book< its up to us to use the tools in the toolbox. pickout the ones best suited for yours/my needs and go from there. if one tool doesnt work try another. learn and grow. experance comes from trial and error.



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Re: SFG Confusion

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