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Hello from Petawawa, Ontario

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Hello from Petawawa, Ontario

Post  bullfrogbabe on 3/3/2010, 11:48 pm

I learned about SFG from an Essential Tips and Techniques for Successful Gardening booklet that came with my Canadian Gardening magazine last winter.

There was 1 page with a colourful drawing of a square foot garden with cartoon vegetables in each square that caught my eye. It was titled "Petite Plot" with tips about square foot gardening. I was intrigued by the concept as I have been wanting to start a garden to grow some of our own veggies but the soil here is 100% sand, acidic, and dry.

The idea of creating the perfect growing medium in boxes to grow our own vegetatables with minimal weeding sounded great. I used to follow my grandfather around his traditional high maintenance garden as a child watching him till, weed, water, weed, weed, and weed, so I dreaded the thought of all that hard work.

After reading more about SFG on the old website and ordering the book I built 2- 4x4 boxes with pipe vertical supports to try out last spring. I also installed 3 rain barrels and purchased a bright red metal watering can.

It was a cool spring with repeat frosts and a cool season but we enjoyed the few veggies that it did produce. Once past the frosts most of the faster growing crops grew well and looked great in early July. The romaine lettuce was almost large enough to harvest when the deer discovered my garden. They ate all the lettuce, nipped the tops off the peppers, the leaders off my tomato vines, and the ate the snap peas back to the ground. I added some deer fencing but due to the cool season it was a battle to recover from this and many of the late maturing crops never ripened or just didn't get big enough to produce. The carrots were great but took the whole season, I did get 3 crops of snap peas, some radishes, and some very late cherry tomatoes. The butternut squash and cucumber vines only grew about 6" and flowered to late to produce before the early frosts. It was a very cool season and everyone I know had similar challenges in their gardens so I don't think it was a problem with technique; the deer just enjoyed the best/main crop of the season before we did. I am hoping for better weather this year and I am already planning to add a couple more boxes so we will have more produce.

There are a few things that puzzled me a bit, several plots of radishes and beets never developed good roots; the tops leafed out and looked good but the roots stayed skinny? Was this just the cool season or is this a sign of a nutrient problem/imbalance in the planting medium?

I really enjoyed this garden despite the challenges. It was easy to care for and I didn't have any weeds. I will be starting up some seeds indoors this year with hopes of giving some veggies a head start on the short 4 month growing season we get here.

I like the look of the new forum and can't wait for it to fill up with great gardening threads and tips!

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Location : Petawawa, Ontario, Canada Zone 4a

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Re: Hello from Petawawa, Ontario

Post  boffer on 3/4/2010, 1:01 am

Hi bullfrogbabe,
If I got one wish, it would be that every first year gardener would get good weather so they'd be hooked on gardening forever! I'm glad to see you know that some things are out of our control, and you're willing to try again.

Those darn deer can wreck havoc in a garden in no time. I'm lucky to have space to spread out my gardens, but that makes it tough to fence the deer out. When the deer show up I set up temporary fencing- it doesn't look good but I get to eat my own veggies.

I've had the same problems with radishes, but only when it's hot. I spread out my multiple plantings amongst different boxes-I can't figure out what they have in common to cause the problem other than the weather. I know you said you had a cool summer though-so I dunno.

Beet germination and plant development tends to be very erratic-that's normal for me. I did have a few squares of beets last year that got tops and no bottoms. It was because I neglected to add some compost after I harvested and replanted several times. I would suggest adding a few handfuls of different compost to each square when you plant again.

Thanks for the post.

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Re: Hello from Petawawa, Ontario

Post  Theresa on 3/4/2010, 5:57 am

Hi bullfrogbabe!

Welcome to the SFG forum!


FOUNDER SFG forum 2009

certified SFG instructor

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Re: Hello from Petawawa, Ontario

Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 7:17 am

hi! welcome to the forums!

weirdly enough, i don't like red beets but i LOVE their tops, so i'd want your 'problem' of no bottoms but greens. if i had to guess, maybe the compost wasn't aged enough and sucked some nutrients out of soil that beets needed to grow?

i'm willing to wager this year your beets will be better! Smile

i'm optimistic this will be a better garden productivity year for you! Smile

we had wimpy lettuce here, but it was ok - we kept harvesting it daily - a leaf or two on each plant and we had enough for salads 3-4 times a week - esp when one added in the red beet greens and carrot tops. . .

welcome again to the boards! looking forward to getting to know you!


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Re: Hello from Petawawa, Ontario

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