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Adjacent Squares Different

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Adjacent Squares Different

Post  karencoutts on 5/17/2011, 7:26 pm

I read in All New SFG on page 112 that we are supposed to "plant each adjoining square foot with a different crop" and Mel proceeds to list 5 reasons, the last of which is it being "pretty."

I've looked through the plans on this site and it seems that most people have disregarded this advice. Before seeing these plans, I spent hours looking at companion plant combinations trying to avoid certain combinations. Unfortunately, I've already planted the whole thing (4x12). If I ignored Mel, it would have saved me lots of time since I wouldn't have had to plot things out quite so much.

Did I miss a revision to the book, or is there a reason to ignore his advice?

Thanks!

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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  quiltbea on 5/17/2011, 10:32 pm

As in everything in life, one does their own thing.

Last year I put some crops close to one another, like 8 sqs of cabbages all together. It worked great to cover them all with light row cover to defeat flea beetles. This year the only things side by side will be tomatoes and I'm putting pairs of peppers together to they 'rub shoulders' together. There's no repeats together elsewhere in my raised beds. I also considered and planted according to likable companions in the boxes.

I thought it might work for saving nutrients in the soil for its neighbors and to confuse insects so they don't attack all the same crop.

Next year I might change my mind and put several of one thing or another side by side.

So you did good. Its your choice and with doing all the homework about companions, its best to stick with it and see how it works out for you.

Good luck and enjoy it.




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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/17/2011, 11:43 pm

@karencoutts wrote:Did I miss a revision to the book, or is there a reason to ignore his advice?

I love this question! You're right, we shouldn't disregard his advice if we are following his plan. But...

Mel is making a recommendation here. He says so at the top of that page (p. 112). His reasons are primarily to get away from row gardening....the motivation for the concept of SFG. He mentions other reasons like companion planting and he refers to crop rotation in reason four.

However, he is not nearly as adamant about following this idea as he is others. My interpretation is that Mel doesn't like row gardening and would do just about anything to avoid resembling one. Not that these aren't justifiable reasons to randomly plant squares.

His adament fundamentals are: Raised beds, Mel's Mix, and Grids. Most of us on the forum won't waver here. These are the backbones of his system. These are what separates a true SFG from any batch of dirt in a box....or row. He lists very technical reasons why these rules should be followed by the letter.

There aren't any technical reasons in choosing to plant squares other than "north side for climbers." The rest is based on aesthetics....not science (disregarding the science behind companion planting). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

You didn't miss anything. But, I decided from the git-go that I wasn't going to spend those hours learning about companion planting yet. I say "yet" because some day that may be the most important thing to me. It just isn't right now. And, next year, sooner if possible, I will go back to more of a row mentality in my SFG. Seeing things near each other helps me keep my plans organized. I like a more organized look to things. I will never have a traditional row garden. It may look like I do, but I never will.

Happy Gardening!
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  buttaflie143 on 5/18/2011, 9:25 am

@karencoutts wrote:I read in All New SFG on page 112 that we are supposed to "plant each adjoining square foot with a different crop" and Mel proceeds to list 5 reasons, the last of which is it being "pretty."

I've looked through the plans on this site and it seems that most people have disregarded this advice. Before seeing these plans, I spent hours looking at companion plant combinations trying to avoid certain combinations. Unfortunately, I've already planted the whole thing (4x12). If I ignored Mel, it would have saved me lots of time since I wouldn't have had to plot things out quite so much.

Did I miss a revision to the book, or is there a reason to ignore his advice?

Thanks!

Wow! Wouldn't you know it, I was just reviewing some info in the book and came across this very information highlighted in my book. I obviously forgot about it. I was going to post this question because I planted the my veggies in clusters. Thanks.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/18/2011, 9:40 am

Somtimes it's easier to have certain things in one spot, I have in my boxes that have tomatoes, 4 tomatoes, and something that grows well with them, like peppers, onions, or carrots. Those 4 maters are the same kind, but several boxes away are different tomatoes. Some plant a box of cool weather crops in one box, to make covering easier. Then when the warm weather come, spread things out a bit more. I have some boxes that have almost a different thing in each box, and some that have 4 squares in a row of the same thing. My Southern Peas are 5 in a square, and a row of 4 squares, so that I can put 3' stakes in the ground, wrap twine around the stakes and give them a bit of support in a storm, I do the same for my peppers, like this.


I just simply wanted all my Tequilla Sunrise peppers in one box, to save hassle, I water those by cup water. Some things I water with the hose, some by cup, some by cup and 2-liter bottle (tomatoes), so to save time running back and forth, those are "grouped" in one box.

I agree with BBG, Mel is giving us a whole new concept here, and trying to get away from row gardening, and let's face it if your brain can handle it, it truly is prettier. My husband cannot wrap his brain around the fact I do not put all my beets in one box, no matter how I have tried to change his mind. This is how he was raised, you get 5 acres a tractor and make the kids work it, selling what you do not need (it's called a truck patch). I told him if that's what he wants fine, go for it, but don't expect me to help, he leaves me alone now.

I spent alot of time reading up on comanion planting, made note of a few ideas and ran with it. The radishes really did help keep the bugs off of my squash, so much so I'm planting more, we don't eat them, so we give them away and let the goats eat the tops-cheap feed. Don't worry about what goes where too much, just get some dirt under your nails and have fun, THAT is the key, having fun.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  ModernDayBetty on 5/18/2011, 10:03 am

This is my first year. I only planted vine crops next to each other, like tomatoes, cucumbers. I did split the multiples up between two boxes but still have several next to each other. All my other boxes are like "quilts" as suggested by the book. I noticed too that a lot of people didn't take the advice but I read a lot of people on here thankful that they did follow the advice. Some people wrote after one plant got infected they only lost one plant because the other plants were in different squares.

I'm reading carrots love tomatos right now (reads like an encyclopedia) and they give a lot of reasons to place different plants next to each other. I would suggest getting it at some point prior to your next round of planting if you haven't read it yet. There's advice on how to minimize pests and mineral depletion all through placement. But apperently there are plants that don't do well next to eachother. I found out after planting that onions and peas/beans don't agree so now I am waiting for all my onions to sprout (from seed) so I can move them to another box.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  Luci Dawson on 10/13/2011, 9:42 am

@karencoutts wrote:I read in All New SFG on page 112 that we are supposed to "plant each adjoining square foot with a different crop" and Mel proceeds to list 5 reasons, the last of which is it being "pretty."

I've looked through the plans on this site and it seems that most people have disregarded this advice.

When I read this I thought it meant don't plant the same type of crop in the square, i.e., rotating crops without having a fully fledged rotation plan. That is, follow heavy feeders with soil builders, etc.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  quiltbea on 10/13/2011, 10:45 am

I plan to go back to putting all the same crop side by side in my blocks such as 6 sweet peppers and 6 eggplants in the same 4 x 4 bed and so one. Eggplants need warm nites of 60* or more and can be more easily covered to retain heat in the evenings if all in one place. Lettuce in a few blocks beside a few blocks of spinach because they both need shade to not overheat and bolt. In a nutshell my reasons are thus:

1. Watering needs and liquid composting of same plants are more easily met if side by side.

2. Covering with shade cloth or for added heat or plastic for warm is easier with same plants together.

3. Mulching or not mulching of plants depending on the crop. In the spring, heat loving plants don't want mulching so the soil can warm up quicker. Others need the mulch from day one.

4. Easier to cover one whole bed with plastic to bring soil temps up so warm-loving plants can be transplanted earlier in the season.

As in every garden, one must plan for what works for the individual. I tried it both ways and found that separation of crop types made things harder for ME to control heat, shade, watering, pests. Do what works best for you.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  janezee on 10/13/2011, 10:52 am

I'm with you on that, quiltbea. I'm just trying to figure out how to deal with all those squares I planted willy-nilly late in the summer here and there, filling in where other things came out. Seems really silly to plant garlic all over the place, too. I'm hoping to harvest it all at once and have a nice empty place for my fall crops next summer.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  quiltbea on 10/13/2011, 1:38 pm

I, too, had to think about my garlic. I planted them in the 3rd row across one bed where I will string toms in the back row and sow bush beans in the front 2 rows. That way when the garlic is harvested, I can sow more bush beans in their place.

I still have parsnips growing in 2 squares in another bed where I will leave them to overwinter. After last year, I found out they taste a heck of a lot better the following early spring. When those come out, my French filet beans will be sown and in the squares all around them. I can still plant all beans 10 days apart, but they will all be in the same adjoining squares.

We're always learning as we garden. Its wonderful.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  quiltbea on 10/13/2011, 1:44 pm

You can always plant fall cool crops like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower after the first of the assorted beans are harvested. There'll be plenty of room for them and again, all in one area where you can shade them against too much sun in the summer until the cooler days arrive.

Spinach and carrots can be ongoing. Stagger the plantings in the adjoining squares and sow new ones when first squares are harvested for that season so you can have them right into late fall.

You have all winter to juggle with your garden plan to see what might work best for you with your early and late plantings, your cool and your hot, your shade needing and your evening heat needing plants.

I think its a fun exercise for the winter months. Enjoy.
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Re: Adjacent Squares Different

Post  janezee on 10/14/2011, 10:59 am

Wow, thanks so much, qb! That's so much good information in three posts. I'm copying it into my planning notes for my winter planning sessions. Scheduling has never been my strong point, and this helps immensely. :idea:

Does anyone else have some wisdom to add to this from their personal experience? I need all the help I can get with planning, if you can.
Thanks!
j
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