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Hello from southeast Michigan!

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Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Denese on 6/3/2011, 8:25 am

Hi!

I've already posted a question over in the compost section, but figured I should introduce myself properly. I LOVE gardening! Oh, wait, that's probably not enough. Laughing Background: Grew up in south and middle Georgia and spent every summer with my grandparents on their farm. That's probably when I caught "the bug". Met a wonderful man who whisked me to the other side of the world (Japan), to Key West, back to Japan, to Maryland outside of D.C., back to Japan (anybody see a pattern here?) After that, he retired from the Navy and we settled (I thought) in middle Georgia in 1991. That's where I discovered SFG. I loved to garden but always got really frustrated with all the back breaking work that went along with it. Saw an advertisement for Mel's first book in one of my Organic Gardening magazines (already knew I wanted to go organic), and ordered it. I was so excited after reading it, and immediately set out to apply his principles. I lived in a rural community and had a large piece of land on the corner of a state highway and the "main" street in the town. I didn't have the funds to build boxes, so I just prepared my 4x4 squares right in the ground, and build my vertical supports from fence posts and metal fencing. Needless to say, I got A LOT of attention from my neighbors, and people who were driving or walking by. They thought I was nuts, I'm sure. One guy drove by on his tractor and offered to plow up my garden area so I could put in a "real" garden. I tried to explain to people, but they would just stare at me and my "checkerboard" garden. I planted several squares because I wanted to do some canning, so it really did look a little like a checkerboard. By the middle of the summer, my checkerboard garden was producing like crazy and became the local attraction. I constantly had someone knocking at my door or just plain walking onto my property just to see my garden. I had plenty to can, and gave away lots and lots of beans, tomatoes, okra, etc. to anyone who came by. After that first season, I never got laughed at again.

Unfortunately it seems, all good things must come to an end. My father-in-law, who was living alone in southeast Michigan started having some serious health issues, so we packed up and moved again, leaving my beautiful SFG behind. After about a year of living with him, and trying to garden a little along his fence line, we bought a house up the street. It was a smaller lot, but had the perfect spot for another SFG. I had discovered previously that at 5 feet 0 inches, the 4x4 setup was just to deep for me, so this time I made 2 x 12 beds, this time out of wooden boxes. I still used the SFG soil instructions and plant spacing. I had wonderful gardens for a few years, but then my FIL became more ill, so we invited him to move in with us. He went downhill quickly and for the next 2 to 3 years I was his caregiver 24x7. The garden area and boxes were neglected, all except to keep the area mowed. After he passed, I didn't garden for awhile (probably would have helped with my depression). Finally, after about a year, I decided to "get back into life" and my garden, so I started planning. Had to get rid of the old boxes which had started to rot and fall apart at that time. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, I was in a serious automobile accident and required knee surgery and months of therapy, and fell into another depression Sad.

But there is a silver lining! Now that I've told you my life's story, I conclude by saying, "I'm back!", and have discovered Mel's new book and this website! I've cleared an old flower garden area next to my koi pond which is just off my deck and in a much more convenient place for me. I have built my 2'x9'x8" boxes, laid down my weed mat, bought my ingredients for my MM, and hopefully today, with the help of my wonderful son, get my beds filled and my recently purchased, tomatoes, jalapeno plant, and marigolds in their places. I'm so thrilled with the MM idea. It's so much easier than the soil prep in the previous book. Hopefully I haven't bent your ears (eyes?) too much. I'm thrilled to be here, and hope to get to know you all better.

Bye for now!
Denese
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Denese

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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  nancy on 6/3/2011, 11:27 am

Welcome to the forums, Denese! We're glad to have you! Have a great time filling in your boxes. I understand about the arm's length, I'm also only 5' nothing. cheers
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nancy

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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/3/2011, 4:33 pm

Alright!! Another smart alek in the midwest. You'll fit right in.

Feel free to share any experiences you have in transitioning from the first book to the second. I, for one, would like to know since I never tried the "old way."


And, remember......if you build it, they will come. lol. Hope to see more of you!
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BackyardBirdGardner

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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Goosegirl on 6/4/2011, 8:40 am

@nancy wrote: Welcome to the forums, Denese! We're glad to have you! Have a great time filling in your boxes. I understand about the arm's length, I'm also only 5' nothing. cheers

flower flower 4'11" here, and I am SO glad my biggest boxes are 4x6 and have access from ALL sides! Barely reach those middles!

GG
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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  boog1 on 6/4/2011, 8:47 am

another michigander to the forum


boog
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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Kelejan on 6/4/2011, 9:26 am

Denese, another Shortie added to our ranks.

I also am only five feet high and find it a stretch to reach the middles of my 4x4 beds so the next beds I make are going to be only three feet deep and I am sure I will find it much better for me.

I had Mel'ss first book on my shelf for years and years but never did anything about it. Finally one day I decided to start, and lucky for me I discovered this website the evening before I started and the fact that one did not have to actually dig in the earth but laid the bed out on top of the existing ground saved me hours of labour, especially as my land is at the bottom of a Kame terrace and consists of rocks tumbled down the side of the mountain due to the passage of glaciers a few years ago.

Even the short time I have been here I have learned so much. My only complaint is that I am spending too much time here reading instead of doing.
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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Denese on 6/4/2011, 12:39 pm

Thank you all for the warm welcome! Nice to see I'm not alone in being "height challenged" Smile I thought about trying 3' beds, but I have back issues, and found the 2' worked best for me. I did get my 3 boxes filled yesterday. I used my compost tumbler to mix it. Just dumped 5 gallon buckets of each ingredient into it, turned the handle a few times, then dumped onto a tarp which we dragged over to a box and emptied. Then I'd wet that layer down, and do it again. Took a while, but got it done finally. It was definitely easier and faster than the old method of digging down into the ground, then adding the vermiculite, peat, compost, and sand, and then mixing it all into the dug ground! My wonderful son and hubby helped too, so it went even faster! Went out this morning and planted my Roma Tomatoes, Jalapeno Peppers, and a few Marigolds. Again, so much easier than the old way, cause the mixture was easier to dig in. Even with the amendments, the old method produced a heavier mix. I hope to get my Sweet Corn, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, and Cukes in this afternoon. Gonna try to start some beans, beets, radishes, and lettuce, too. Hopefully it's not to late. Can't hurt to try. I'll try to get some pics posted over on the Midwest Regional forum once I'm done.

Happy Gardening!
Denese flower
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Denese

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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Kelejan on 6/4/2011, 1:17 pm

Denise, the point of a three-foot bed is that you can easily reach from all sides, i.e. an 18 inch reach. I found that a four-foot bed means a 24" reach, a bit too much for my comfort.

A trellis would have to be built along the short edge; if the trellis was built along the long edge, then that would mean a 36 inch reach required. All assuming that the three-foot bed was not less than three-foot in the second dimension.
Is that clear. :scratch: sometimes have a problem in getting my ideas out. cyclops
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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Denese on 6/4/2011, 4:06 pm

Kelejan,

Thank you, I did understand. Very Happy My arms are obviously really short , cause I still have problems reaching even 18 inches with my back problems. I probably should have made table beds, but I can't really handle that extra cost this year. :idea: Sometime in the future!

Happy Gardening!
Denese flower
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Denese

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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

Post  Furbalsmom on 6/7/2011, 10:02 pm

Denese, if you find you want to make Table Tops for next year, there is a really good thread

HERE

I used Boffers instructions and built three table tops. I also have back issues and these are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Perhaps between now and next season, you will be able to accumulate the materials, so it is not a big shock to your budget. That is the way I did it. Of course, we also used some reclaimed/repurposed wood for the box and previously used 4X4 sign posts as legs. It all helps.

Good luck and wishes for a great harvest.
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Re: Hello from southeast Michigan!

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