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Newbie from Virginia

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Newbie from Virginia

Post  Alarion on 5/21/2011, 8:16 am

Hello all, my name is Sean and I am a new SFGardener! I picked up the book on Amazon after wanting to do raised beds anyhow and am still reading through it, but I decided to start with the SFG method this year.

We bought our house out in a rural area a few years ago, and last year my wife tried to maintain a garden that was over 1000sqft for her first go round. We got quite a bit, but the weeds hit hard - especially when she had to devote some time in the late spring/early summer to care for her mother. She used not only rows, but she went out there and turned the rows into row-mounds/hills. It was a lot of work, and now she is pregnant this year with the baby due any day now.

So needless to say, I am the gardener this year. I started by tilling up 4 basic rows instead of re-using her hills. They are covered with weeds and grass now, and just don't have the patience to clear them all out. So like I said, I till up 4 31'x3' rows (one is 5' wide). Our outdoor cats now want to use those rows as a potty. Evil or Very Mad I have some lettuce, a few cucs and some okra growing in the rows, with a few tomatoes coming.

BUT, I just built up my first 4x4' SFG. I had to substitute some perlite for the vermiculite as I couldn't find any. I didn't have any of my own compost, but used two 25lb bags from one of the big box stores - one bag of cow based compost and one bag of mushroom compost. I didn't see any other types of compost there. I mixed in some Bone Meal to help make up for not having as much compost as I should. I also mixed in some lime since our well-water has a pH near 8. I have all but three squares filled with either transplants or seeds and so far, I can see this is going to be so much easier on my back!

Hoping to share some of my progress, and hopefully get some help from forum members - and eventually maybe I will have some contributions Smile

Alarion

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Join date : 2011-05-21
Location : Hampton Roads, Virginia

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  walshevak on 5/21/2011, 8:41 am

welcome welcome

Where in Hampton Rhodes are you. I am in NC, but the closest sfgers (that are on the forum) to me are in VA. I'm about 40 miles down US17 in Elizabeth City.

I see your are already sold on SFG and have the book. Good for your. I've found the method is so easy once you get the basics of building the beds and mixing the MM out of the way. BTW, did you check the forum's vermiculate database for sources. I know there is a place in VA Beach because that's where I had to go to get mine. Keep in mind for future beds because I KNOW you will be adding beds.

Work really hard on finding 5 different sources of compost. That is what feeds the plants and what makes the intensive gardening possible without starving the plants. If cost is a factor, start collecting a bit here and there now, and by fall you could have enough for more beds and a fall garden. We are in an area that allows us to garden almost to Thanksgiving.

Again welcome

Kay


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A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  Alarion on 5/21/2011, 8:59 am

Thanks for stopping in Kay! I am in Gloucester now, but grew up in Newport News. The house we are in now was a tear-down-and-rebuild from an old un-plumbed (seriously) bungalow. There was still an outhouse on the property when the seller bought the property. He decided to leave all the bricks and cinderblocks piled up behind the house when he sold it to us, so I am planning to make some beds out of that as my box. I also have some Maine seed potatoes to plant, and think that will be my next project, using the cinderblocks as the box structure material.

We have a compost bin, it's a black plastic thingy with a lid we got from Lowes or HD last year. It's not great, but it works - though I never added enough green material to turn it "hot" last year. The problem is, the pile is currently maybe 8 inches deep right now. I am trying to pile up grass clippings to dry so I can toss them in and always adding kitchen scraps (plant material and some random eggshells). I hope to have my own compost next year. We do have some nurseries and such out here in GloCo so I might peek in there to find some compost variety.

I didn't know there was a vermiculite DB, thanks for the tip and will most certainly check in to it.

Here is my current SFG! I couldn't find wood strips I liked - all I could find was 1/2"x1" boards, wanted something thinner - maybe 1/8 or 1/4". So I am using kite string for now Embarassed

Alarion

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Location : Hampton Roads, Virginia

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/21/2011, 11:17 am

ALARION, so glad you joined us. Just so you know, lots of us use string to designate our squares, just for the reason you indicated, that the wood strips take up a lot of room. One thing you may find is that the kite string probably will not last the full season before it rots and falls down. Isn't most kite string cotton? If it is nylon it may last the season.

To use the data base, click on the US DB to see merchants that members have already found. If you find a new merchant, enter that information using the US FORM button.
Make sure you call the merchant before running over there, sometimes the price has changed or they no longer carry the vermiculite.
VERMICULITE DATA BASE

As far as the compost, it really is important to find 5 different types to make sure your plants get the best nutrition. Check big box stores, HD, Lowes, WalMart,Nurseries, Aquaponics Shops, Feed Stores, Farm Supplies, and call first. It saves your sanity to call first rather than drive around and getting dissapointed,

Again Welcome and please keep us posted on your progress.

Furbalsmom

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  luvdlilies on 5/22/2011, 7:15 am

Hi, Alarion!! I am in the Tidewater area of Virginia. You can find several kinds of compost at Anderson's Nursery in NN. Last time I was there they had mushroom compost, worm castings and a few others. You might call before you make that journey--looked like it was selling pretty good. And hello to all--I'm new to this forum. Been reading for awhile and tend to be a lurker, but sure have enjoyed all the information shared here! BTW---can anyone in this area tell me where I can get sweet potato slips locally? Called Clarks, but they were sold out.

luvdlilies

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Location : Hampton Roads Va Z7b

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Welcome

Post  WardinWake on 5/22/2011, 8:13 am

Alarion:

Green Planters on U.S. 17 has vermiculite. They are near Gloucester Point. Also Southern States in the Gloucester Courthouse area either has it in stock or will order it for you.

For compost visit the VPPSA composting facility just off U.S. 17 in Yorktown. Cost is $10.00 per scoop and 2 scoops will fill a small pickup truck. The VPPSA compost is good stuff and can be used as one of your 5 types. There are a number of horse farms in the area and most are willing to give away all the horse droppings you want to cart away.

There are a number of folks in the Gloucester area who garden the SFG way. Patty in Yorktown is a seasoned Square Foot Gardener and at least 3 people at the Gloucester Lowe's are SFGers. Cloyd and I work in the tool department and Jennie (with broken foot) is a cashier. Also my wife and I are certified by the SFG Foundation to teach SFG classes.

There are several other folks in the Gloucester area who garden the SFG way who are not on the Forum. Someone from Gloucester sent me an e-mail with pictures but due to a computer virus I lost his e-mail before I could reply.

So a most hearty WELCOME to the SFG Forum and family. We are here to help if you need us.

God Bless,
Ward and Mary Barnes
Wake, VA.

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  Alarion on 5/22/2011, 8:20 am

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. Smile

I will check some of the recommended shops for manure and vermiculite. I did find small 8qt bags of what looks like the finer vermiculite at Lowes yesterday. Grabbed 4 bags of it to use for me not-SFG potato box, once I get that done.

Wake eh? My dad lives in Wake - Blue Barn Rd, if that is near you. Such a small world!

The kite string I am using - it looks like it could have some artificial material in it, but I don't know for sure. I will be planning on replacing it by season's end since it sounds like it won't last. Any type of string you can recommend that holds up until I can find me some wood strips I like?

Unfortunately, I have to work some today so I won't be able to run around much - but I will check the local spots here next weekend hopefully. Thanks again everyone, it's nice to find somewhere that is so helpful and full of nice people Smile

Alarion

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Location : Hampton Roads, Virginia

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Vermiculite in VA .

Post  Front Royal Foodie on 5/22/2011, 8:35 am

I live in Northern Virginia and I found vermiculite at Horton's Nursery in Winchester, Va. Southern States had it too but only the fine stuff so I returned it and purchased the coarse at Horton's for a few more dollars - I believe it was $23 for the 4 cubic bag.

Front Royal Foodie

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  walshevak on 5/22/2011, 9:29 am

-
@luvdlilies wrote:Hi, Alarion!! I am in the Tidewater area of Virginia. You can find several kinds of compost at Anderson's Nursery in NN. Last time I was there they had mushroom compost, worm castings and a few others. You might call before you make that journey--looked like it was selling pretty good. And hello to all--I'm new to this forum. Been reading for awhile and tend to be a lurker, but sure have enjoyed all the information shared here! BTW---can anyone in this area tell me where I can get sweet potato slips locally? Called Clarks, but they were sold out.

Va. Beach Feed and Seed had them last year. Corner of Witchduck and Cleveland. 497-2151

Kay

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  sfg4uKim on 5/22/2011, 11:04 am

Welcome Sean. I'm in MD.


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Welcome luvdlilies

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/22/2011, 1:37 pm

@luvdlilies wrote:Hi, Alarion!! I am in the Tidewater area of Virginia. You can find several kinds of compost at Anderson's Nursery in NN. Last time I was there they had mushroom compost, worm castings and a few others. You might call before you make that journey--looked like it was selling pretty good. And hello to all--I'm new to this forum. Been reading for awhile and tend to be a lurker, but sure have enjoyed all the information shared here! BTW---can anyone in this area tell me where I can get sweet potato slips locally? Called Clarks, but they were sold out.

luvdlilies, glad to have you join us!

Lurk no longer, join in the fun. As you have seen, this is a great group of people and we enjoy seeing how everyone else is doing.

I'm sorry I can't help you locate sweet potato slips, but you might enjoy reading the following thread, showing how some of us started our own slips using grocery store sweet potatoes.
Just something to consider for next year.SW POTATO QUESTION

Please keep us updated on your SFG progress and share pictures if you will.

Again, Welcome

Furbalsmom

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  buttaflie143 on 5/22/2011, 3:12 pm

Welcome. Glad to have you and always here to help!!!!!

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

Post  Alarion on 5/22/2011, 5:12 pm

Added two more beds built from some wood I had cut and partially stained last year:




Alarion

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Re: Newbie from Virginia

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