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My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

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My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  capatl on 7/2/2011, 6:38 pm

PLEASE NOTE: This thread is located in the 'Non-SFG Gardening discussion' forum and does not contain information pertaining to SFG.

This is the garden bed that was already in our yard when we bought our house (last December) with the plants I have added for the summer:


I feel like we have a decent foundation to get the garden arranged into the SFG method. The garden faces west, getting sun from noon till sunset. We are able to manage the bamboo between our and neighbor's fence pretty easily, fingers crossed! Confederate Jasmine is flourishing and attracting bees, a great plus! Marigolds also showed up (I thought they were annuals?!) I pulled up some while weeding (wasn't sure what they were) but kept a few just in case. So glad I did as I have read how much they help gardens!
I have cukes, red bells, better boy toms, and grape toms, pablanos, icebox watermelon, 2 blueberry bushes, and recently added cantaloupe, butternut squash (to grow up leaning trellis in back left) pumpkin, and pole beans. I know the recent adds are a bit late, but I think in our region they may just make it! The pumpkins will need more space around the time the toms and peppers need to go...I am hoping/guessing.

I took advantage of the bamboo to create a combined trellis/fence to keep out the dogs. The cantaloupe can vine up it (I know, not strong enough, will tackle that problem when it arises, lol) and the pole beans will use it.

Happy to hear of any tips and suggestions! Thanks for viewing!

capatl

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  Kelejan on 7/2/2011, 6:46 pm

capati. Nice foundation for now, it will be so much better next year and look forward to seeing how things develope.

Yes, marigolds are annuals, they will have seeded themselves provided they are not hybrids. (I think).

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/2/2011, 10:36 pm

The marigolds that came back are "wild" now. There were likely marigolds in those spots last year, and they seeded successfully. We used to have that happen quite often when I was a kid....and grew marigolds. In recent years, I've had impatiens do the same things.

I can't wait to see how you convert your beds over to SFGs. But, before you take on the challenge, do some pricing of materials. Mel's Mix is not cheap when building from scratch. Well, I should say the initial cost can really add up.

Start slow, plan it out, establish your goals, and go after them at a steady pace.....unless you hit the lottery. Then, HIRE IT OUT!! Your garden, your budget, I don't mean to pry, I just hate to see people get so excited and bite off more than you can chew and then find yourself unable to complete any of it the right way.

You found a great resource. Ask away. Welcome aboard!

BackyardBirdGardner

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  capatl on 7/2/2011, 11:29 pm

Thanks for the warm welcomes!

BBG, yes budgeting is an issue, luckily my hubby seems to be gaining enthusiasm as the plants are beginning to produce. Wink

What factors do you recommend I address first? I would like to make at least a few modifications for a fall garden. Should I wait till the fall stuff is done and then begin modifying the soil and adding the 'squares?' I also tend my preschool's garden which is about the same size, raised garden but gets full sun ALL day as it sits next to a chain linked fence with trees farther away. I involve the garden as much a possible with the children and would love some tips on that as well. I could post pics if interested...

I should be getting the book within a week and from what I have seen, love the accessibility to plants in the SFG structure.


capatl

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  boffer on 7/2/2011, 11:55 pm

Welcome to the forum. Please put your plans on hold until you've had a chance to read the book. One does not 'convert' an existing garden to SFG because, the foundation of the SFG method is that we don't use existing soil. We start from scratch. To do otherwise, is to just continue using the same ol' row gardening techniques that have been around forever.

____________________________

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  capatl on 7/3/2011, 12:37 am

I understand the need to use better soil and plan to do so. What I meant about modifying the current garden was to restructure the bed into squares. I was hoping to get advice in how to do so with the current raised portion, removing old and adding new soil and then squaring off areas...I apologize for posting in the wrong thread. My intent was to show a before and after...

capatl

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  shannon1 on 7/3/2011, 1:03 am

Capati Taking before and after pics is a great idea. After reading the All New Square Foot Garden book you will get an idea of what Boffer meant. It is not better soil but a soiless mix of peat, vermiculite and compost. Using the raised bed you have as the structure is a great idea and will be a money saver. Wink Can't wait to see the after pics. You will be amazed at the difference.

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/3/2011, 1:06 pm

I understand the need to use better soil and plan to do so.

Where the others are heading is where I was heading, too. Mel's Mix is the soil we use. We build it ourselves from scratch. The explanation is in the book, so, like the others, I would recommend reading it first before you just jump in. Otherwise, you will be doing a bunch of senseless work.....the opposite of SFG's concept.

If you want to partition a bit of your existing garden and put a grid on it, that would be fine....temporarily. But, you may find the lack of nutrients in the existing dirt will yield subpar results without fertilizer and tilling.....two more things that disappear in SFG.

As you cruise through the book, more questions will pop up. Ask those here. The forum is a great compliment to reading the book since the book won't respond to your questions...lol.

As stated, take it a bit slow. Plan on doing the traditional stuff this fall, and plan on being ready to go in the spring. That gives time for things like Christmas cash, gift cards, possibly tax returns to come in and pump the budget a little.

Read the book, think carefully about how much you want to start with, put together a materials list, and PRICE IT! Then, you know where to start. Again, that's what we are here for.....to help you get it going correctly from the start. No wasted energy!!

Take some more pictures of where you think things will go. Right now, I don't know what I'd recommend. Taking dirt out and replacing with Mel's Mix or just building on top of what you have in raised beds. More pictures will help us get a better idea of the more efficient path.

Happy Gardening!

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My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  sherryeo on 7/3/2011, 1:27 pm

Welcome to the forum, capatl!!! We're so glad to have you join us and we heartily support your decision to convert to sfgardening.

Please don't be "put off" by our cautions about being sure to prepare the Mel's Mix correctly. We've seen many beginning sfgardeners have trouble with getting the Mel's Mix right (including many of us). It can be a challenge if you have to depend, like most of us "newbies" do, on purchasing commercial composts for getting your sfgs set up. We'd just like to see people avoid the problems this can cause by proceeding carefully and doing it right the first time.

There is a fabulous post that I'd recommend you read, perhaps after you first read the All New Square Foot Gardening book and before you start your Mel's Mix. It details some of the problems others have had and how to overcome them so you'll have the best possible outcome from the start! Here is the link, but you can also find it by just clicking "square foot gardening forum" at the top of the page and going to "General Discussion.: It's posted as a "sticky note" toward the top of the page.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7451-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone

Again, ! And it will be a wonderful story to follow as you make your conversions. Please keep us updated as to how things are going & post pics, too! Everyone here is so willing to help with problems, questions, advice, insecurities - so post away if you need assistance!

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  Denese on 7/3/2011, 2:49 pm

It appears to me that you have what was a "traditional" raised bed design using the native soil. To utilize what you have, you'll need to remove at least 6 inches of the current soil, build a back wall 4 feet from the front to enclose your box. Then you'll put down your weed block, Mel's Mix, grids, and any trellises you'll need. That said, you can do all this at the end of this year's growing season. Gardening with what you have now will give you a great reference to see the difference in SFGing. In the meantime, you can collect the ingredients you'll need for your Mel's mix. The five different types of compost will probably be the most difficult part, but don't skimp. The book explains this in detail. If possible, start making your own between now and then and you'll have a head start on the compost you'll need to replenish your squares as you
harvest and replant.

I know you'll want to get to the "meat" of the book on how to build, grow, etc., but I really advise you to read the book from the beginning. Mel explains why and how he came up with this type of gardening. It's very enlightening! :idea:

Again, welcome, and feel free to ask questions, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  capatl on 7/3/2011, 4:18 pm

Thank you all! BBG, that's what I needed to hear, wait until after fall. Denese, thanks for the suggestion of slowly buying up the supplies needed. And yes! After Christmas will be a great time to get even more stuff and really get to work.

I am not the type to ever begin a project without first reading and researching every detail (probably to the point of overkill, lol) and instruction. Composting for example, I have read so much that I am more confused than before, lol.

No worries, I will be reading that book before I do anything. I am a painstakingly patient and methodical person, I pride myself in taking my time, doing things correctly, starting small and progressing to bigger, etc. It drives my hubby nuts! He wants it and wants it (whatever it is) now. The joy of gardening to me is being able take a small seed and nurture it through it's growth, the harvest rewards and self satisfaction are much greater to me when done this way. This is what excites me so much about SFG.

Anyway, didn't mean to sound like I was 'jumping the gun' and I totally appreciate you all's encouragement. I look forward to sharing in our gardening experiences as the days, years progress! thanks

capatl

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  middlemamma on 7/3/2011, 4:32 pm

@capatl wrote:No worries, I will be reading that book before I do anything. I am a painstakingly patient and methodical person, I pride myself in taking my time, doing things correctly, starting small and progressing to bigger, etc.

This will serve you well in the long run with SFG.

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

Post  shannon1 on 7/4/2011, 1:48 am

@capatl wrote: After Christmas will be a great time to get even more stuff and really get to work.

The joy of gardening to me is being able take a small seed and nurture it through it's growth, the harvest rewards and self satisfaction are much greater to me when done this way. This is what excites me so much about SFG.

I look forward to sharing in our gardening experiences as the days, years progress!
My current Table Top box was built by my dear brother as a birthday gift. Perhaps if your family is the gift giving type and they ask what you would like, you could have some SFG things in mind Wink . Watching life spring from a stoney little seed never loses it's magic for me. I plant both seeds and seedlings from the green house. I like the insta-garden effect of trans plants too. I look forward to sharing in our gardening experiences as well.

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Re: My current garden (BSFG) before SquareFoot...

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