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Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

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Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  LtTawnyMadison on 6/25/2011, 12:31 am

I have never gardened before so I really could use some input on this plan I've put together!
It's a weird layout because when we bought this house, there was a 7'x7' wooden sandbox in the backyard against the house. We took the sand out (to the great displeasure of the neighbors' cats) and figured we could use it for a garden instead. Then I discovered SFG... and the result is this garden plan. We're hoping to plant ASAP since we're now in the middle of summer! (And according to the book, that's OK...I hope??)

I'm not going to do the plants listed in the 'grow separately' notes until I've gained some experience. That's just for my future reference. This is all I'm doing right now... the equivalent of 2 standard SFG boxes.

I don't know the yield per square foot of these plants, so I'm completely guessing as to how many boxes of each plant I should be doing. If we need more of some of the main things like carrots and potatoes, I'm willing to leave out some herbs. Our next-door neighbors are co-oping with us on this, so it's for 2 families. I'm fairly sure this is small but I didn't want to go overboard with a bunch of SFG's at once.

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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  Kelejan on 6/25/2011, 1:28 am

May I suggest that the four squares next to the Lavendar on the left be left as a pathway so that you can more easily tend the complete bed?

So in effect you will have two 3x7 beds joined by a 1 x 2 bed, so according to me you have 12 more squares to fill.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  shannon1 on 6/25/2011, 2:00 am

Kelejan wrote:May I suggest that the four squares next to the Lavendar on the left be left as a pathway so that you can more easily tend the complete bed?

So in effect you will have two 3x7 beds joined by a 1 x 2 bed, so according to me you have 12 more squares to fill.
and It is important to reach every square without walking on and compacting the MM. As to how much of each crop to plant it just depends. How many people are you feeding, do you want to be able to put some up for later or just eat fresh vegies? I like to do both. I am
about edamame. Like bush beans they produce a lot of beans in a short time then stop. The spacing is 9per square so I planted 2 squares, waited two weeks, planted 2 more and I will plant the final 2 squares in a day or so. I'd like to freeze some too. I am hopeing that will be enough, only time will tell.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  LtTawnyMadison on 6/25/2011, 11:05 am

Thanks - I should have clarified that all the white squares in the graph are the pathway since Mel says to leave a 3sf wide row for that. Are you saying I only need a 1sf wide row for a pathway in the middle?

Also, the 2 empty squares on the bottom right were left empty so we have a way to get into the box, since there is a hot tub on the right of the box. But the West and South sides of the box are accessible from the outside.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/25/2011, 11:22 am

Path width is sort of your call. Mel says to leave it wide enough to get wheelbarrows and/or other "tools" into. But, several of us have narrower paths to better use the space. It's kind of a personal choice.

Remember, you can comfortably reach in about 2 squares. If that isn't comfortable, make your beds 3 feet by whatever. If up against a wall/fence, 2 by whatever. Just don't step in it or compact it. (Now, I have compacted my soil several times by placing my hands in there when working adjacent squares. Just fluff it up again when you are done.)

I guess just take note that there is wiggle room here. It's not a hard and fast rule.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  quiltbea on 6/25/2011, 11:46 am

I think its a shame all that good growing room is going to herbs.
They require less than wonderful soil and less water than vegetables.

I would put the herbs in pots instead which you can keep outside all summer until late fall and reserve the good raised bed soil for crops you like to eat.

Peppers won't give you a big harvest, depending on the variety and 2 families will not get sufficient amounts in only two plants. Plant more peppers if you really like them.

If you get long hot summers, try a few squares of eggplant, but only if its a crop everyone enjoys.

You want to grow things you really like to eat. A square doesn't give very much of a harvest of anything.

As for the white spaces being allowed for pathway, it looks good though you could get away with only 2-ft wide paths. You can plant squares three-deep in your case since you can reach them from both sides of the bed. The pathway width would depend on your personal needs and if you require a mower to get into that space.

Don't forget to post pictures as you get going.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  LtTawnyMadison on 6/25/2011, 12:17 pm

Thanks Quiltbee - I had considered doing the herbs in pots or railing boxes since we have a back porch -- it would look nice and give more growing space for veggies. I think I'll do that! flower

In NH we don't get long hot summers... which I'm glad of -- I'm a FL native and I definitely like milder summers.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  kiwirose on 6/25/2011, 1:07 pm

LtTawnyMadison wrote:
Also, the 2 empty squares on the bottom right were left empty so we have a way to get into the box, since there is a hot tub on the right of the box. But the West and South sides of the box are accessible from the outside.

Ohhhh - hot tub - does anyone else see a season extention tool right there - attach a hoop house system and capatilize on the heat? Or would it be too well insulated? Sorry skipping ahead!

Welcome to SFG - I too like the plan, but agree with the sugestion of making the path only 2 ft wide to maximize planting space

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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  LtTawnyMadison on 6/25/2011, 4:37 pm

I was wondering about the vine plants -- can I plant more than 1 square foot away from the vine? In other words can I double up the vine plants by also putting what's in the top row (tomatoes, squash, cukes) in the row below it too and still have them reach the vine support?

Also, can a vine support ONLY be on the North side? I would love to have another vine support for more squash and some melons.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  Kelejan on 6/25/2011, 5:21 pm

LtTawnyMadison wrote:Thanks - I should have clarified that all the white squares in the graph are the pathway since Mel says to leave a 3sf wide row for that. Are you saying I only need a 1sf wide row for a pathway in the middle?

Also, the 2 empty squares on the bottom right were left empty so we have a way to get into the box, since there is a hot tub on the right of the box. But the West and South sides of the box are accessible from the outside.

thanks for the clarification, Tawny. I guess I jumped to conclusions. Very Happy
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  Icemaiden on 6/25/2011, 5:28 pm

Hi and welcome!
How lovely to have all those squares to plan AND a hot tub!

Aside from the advice about putting herbs in pots, cilantro is not something that you have one plant of. Unless it behaves differently on your side of the pond, then it is something that you sow several seeds, wait for them to germinate, then sow some more. The plants have leaves quickly and then flower/run to seed. After that you won't get much use of them as a herb so you need to have the next lot of plants ready to use. If you want to grow them for coriander seed then you still need more than one plant I think.

And potatoes are fairly tall and can be straggly so you might not want them next to your walk-way? I think I would move them over to the bottom left corner.

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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  etherati on 6/25/2011, 6:32 pm

I would personally move the dill waaaaay over to the other side, as far from the tomatoes as possible. Dill attracts tomato hornworms, and you don't want them anywhere near your tomatoes.

I've also heard that basil and sage don't play well together, but you've got oregano in between so that might be far enough.

What a lucky box to just have lying around!

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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  Furbalsmom on 6/26/2011, 9:33 pm

LtTawny

What a marvelous box to use for your SFG. I like the deep area for carrots, potatoes and onions. The onions may not need the extra deep box

Because some of your plants are sprawly (may not really be a word, but I hope you know what I mean) I think it would be a good idea to maintain the 3 ft walkway/work area.

As far as having two rows of vining plants and one trellis, unless you place your trellis between the two Northern rows the plants will really have a battle trying to get to the trellis. As it is, even if you have a vining variety of zucchini (most are bush), the leaves are huge and don't play very nice.

Enjoy your SFG and please keep us updated on your progress.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  LtTawnyMadison on 6/27/2011, 1:08 pm

Here's the redone plan based on the excellent advice I got. I hope to get some great advice on this plan too! Smile "With many advisers, plans succeed!" (a Proverb)

I have a couple of questions about spacing. How many grape tomato plants per square foot? And how many corn per sf should I do? I've seen 2 and 4 and wasn't sure which would be better. And depending on yield, maybe I need more or less of certain plants than I have on the grid.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  boffer on 6/27/2011, 2:01 pm

For germination purposes, there is an advantage to planting corn in a block rather than a row. I would switch as shown.



Long season corn is generally planted 1 or 2 per square. Some folks have planted short season corn at 4 per square. Long season corn yields 1 or 2 ears per square. I don't have a good number for short season.

I'm not familiar with grape tomatoes, but generally, tomatoes can be grown one per square.
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  westie42 on 6/27/2011, 2:04 pm

If your MM is completely up to snuff 4 corn mite be ok it is a heavy nitrogen feeder. If not 4 I mite consider 3 in a triangle but would advise feeding it monthly however you grow corn. I only allow one tom of any type in a square they send roots out everywhere.

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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  SwampCatNana on 6/28/2011, 10:01 pm

Don't mean to rain on your parade but, if the cats have been using the box for "you know what", couldn't that seep up into the planting soil? Laying down some thick plastic before putting in the good soil may be a garden saver.
JAT
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  LtTawnyMadison on 6/29/2011, 8:36 am

Thanks all!

@Swamp - We took out the sand almost a year ago and as far as I know, there was nothing in the box itself, so I don't think residue would be an issue. ?
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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

Post  JustMe on 7/11/2011, 3:04 am

Last year, I converted a sandbox that only a roaming cat used into a SFG. Filled it with Mel's Mix and everything grew (then the deer found it). Honestly, our kids are enjoying it more as a garden box than they did as a sandbox.

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Re: Newbie - NEED INPUT on this plan!

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