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Garden Progress

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Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 8/16/2011, 9:45 am

My two boxes were planted later than they should have been. Got them in in early to mid June. As I mentioned in earlier posts, this is my first time at any type of gardening, so other than planting and watering and the occassional weeding, I don't know what I'm doing. Just following Mel's book.




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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 8/16/2011, 9:50 am

Some plants, the Georgia Collards in particular, got eaten. I assume that I'm wasting my time with these, and should just cut them out. Yes? My broccoli also got eaten or so it appears. By neighborhood critters at first I think, and then insects



here's the collards









Here's the broccoli




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Re: Garden Progress

Post  camprn on 8/16/2011, 11:06 am

Looks pretty darn good for a first time out! Congratulations! Very Happy
So in the photo of the broccol, I can see at least 5 cabbage worms that are the hungry culprits. You may pick them off or squish them in place. I suspect them to be on the collards too; remove the caterpillars, cut off the eaten leaves and the plant should put out new ones that you could eat. What a Face

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/16/2011, 1:43 pm

VelvetElvis

I agree with Camprn, thoses cabbage worms are a big problem around here too. If you can get rid of the cabbage worms, your plants might develope new leaves and come back

Once I find cabbage worms, I use BT (bacillus thuringensis, this might be spelled wrong because my eyes don't see the fine print as well as they used to) This is an organic product that works great on cabbage worms, hornworms and caterpillers (sp?) It can be repeated every 14 days and used up until the day before harvest.

To prevent the worms, I cover any plants that don't need to be pollinated, like broccoli, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, cauliflower, etc with tulle (bridal veil fabric) which keeps the cabbage butterflies, white with one or two black spots on each wing, from laying eggs on the leaves.

Good luck with your harvest.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 8/16/2011, 2:41 pm

Thanks for the tips. Obviously, I have some learning to do about pest control. Such a shame to waste all that good growing.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 8/16/2011, 2:52 pm

Couple more pics. We all like to look at pics



Both boxes. I've learned a few things about where to plant what in the boxes.





Some beans in first box







This is the second box didn't get planted until mid June. Squash and Swiss Chard doing well. Had to replant some other things. Lots of deer, turkeys, rabbits, coyotes, fox etc around here. Took a while to get my fence up.





Some carrots in a makeshift box using up some extra Mel's Mix


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Re: Garden Progress

Post  walshevak on 8/16/2011, 4:22 pm

@Velvet Elvis wrote:Some plants, the Georgia Collards in particular, got eaten. I assume that I'm wasting my time with these, and should just cut them out. Yes? My broccoli also got eaten or so it appears. By neighborhood critters at first I think, and then insects



here's the collards









Here's the broccoli








Collards are a cut and come again green if you use just the outer leaves and leave the center planted and growing. I've had collards that were just as worm eaten, but after eliminating the worms and waiting a bit, I had a good crop. This was back in my sevin days, but BT would be my choice now.



Kay



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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 8/18/2011, 4:44 pm

For some reason, my squash plants are dying. It looks good in the pic above, but you can see there are some yellowing leaves. Now most of it is yellowed, limp and apparently dying. I water every day with rain water. The plants got the Mel's Mix, they get good sun... other than planting date, there isn't much more that I can control. Stumped as to what I'm doing wrong. Pretty disappointed so far. Maybe they're not getting enough sun.... too many trees in my yard?



Yesterday, I "harvested" about 10 pea pods... out of two squares worth.. So far my garden is a complete bust. Unfortunately, I've already got too much money spent into it, so I feel obligated to keep toying with it. Next year, I'm probably going to do some regular gardening in addition to the SFG.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/18/2011, 5:04 pm

@Velvet Elvis wrote:For some reason, my squash plants are dying. It looks good in the pic above, but you can see there are some yellowing leaves. Now most of it is yellowed, limp and apparently dying. I water every day with rain water. The plants got the Mel's Mix, they get good sun... other than planting date, there isn't much more that I can control. Stumped as to what I'm doing wrong. Pretty disappointed so far. Maybe they're not getting enough sun.... too many trees in my yard?



Yesterday, I "harvested" about 10 pea pods... out of two squares worth.. So far my garden is a complete bust. Unfortunately, I've already got too much money spent into it, so I feel obligated to keep toying with it. Next year, I'm probably going to do some regular gardening in addition to the SFG.



First off, I would tell you to relax a bit. We ALL have had troubles this year. It's been a weird weather year for 99% of us on the forum.

Second, I will tell you that ANYthing you get out of your first year of gardening, of any type, is a bonus. You have a lot to experience.......mostly patience. Most people think you just stick it in the ground and get grocery quality, and quantity, harvests. It's simply not so.

Third, keep to the book. You have found the simplest form of gardening there is. Many of us will tell you the same thing. Certainly add row gardening to the mix, but don't be surprised if you are 8X more frustrated with how your year goes as you spend all your time adding amendments, watering, and weeeeeeeeding.

Good luck either way.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 8/18/2011, 10:12 pm

I appreciate the encouragement. But I was given the impression from Mel's book that it really was gardening for dummies. He says even a child can do it for example. The book seems a little misleading to me, although I will admit, it can't account for what the weather does.



It's been a really hot summer, but we have still had pretty good and regular rainfall in MN. I've captured the rain in a few 5 gal. buckets. By doing so, I've had enough to water the plants every day, only needing the hose about 5 times.



Part of my frustration comes from needing to justify the start up costs to my wife. I'm out of work and thought I would be doing something to counteract the rising cost of food. Maybe next year..... I am definitely learning along the way.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/19/2011, 12:21 am

Velvet Elvis

Did you plant your peas in mid june? I am sure for your area, it is just too warm for such a cool crop. That would account for such a poor yield. Peas are cool weather only crops, spring and fall. (Unless you live in the PNW like me where the highs are 72 degrees in the summer.) You can't control the weather, it is true. But, knowing your climate can help you determine when to plant what.

Read the section "Planting Charts" on pages 253 to 259 to help you determine when to start seeds and when to transplant seedlings. It really makes all the difference when you have a chart to follow.

I know how frustrating poor crops can be, we have a lot of trouble growing warm weather crops because our summer temps are so low. Trying tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes and eggplant in the Pacific NorthWest is always chancey, but I continue to try because I love them.

One big thing to remember, yes your start up cost were not small this year, but you have started! No more start up costs! Now, your costs to continue your SFG include your seeds and more blended compost to recharge the nutrients in each square. Period! Aso, now that your SFG is set up, you can work on better timing of starting plants and pest prevention.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Chopper on 8/19/2011, 9:07 pm

Broccoli is also a cool weather crop and does not do well in heat. Ask me how I know...

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 9/5/2011, 5:44 pm

This year was kind of an experiment, I have to keep reminding myself of that. Lots to learn about timing of the planting and pest control. Just not as easy as I thought. I'm guessimating that the earliest we can plant in my neck of the woods is around May 20th. (I was late by about 3 weeks getting my first box planted.) This is purely based on what my farmer uncle told me. I don't have the room to grow and transplant, so I'm limited to my area's frost dates.



Out of 32 squares, I still don't see how I can produce as much food as the book claims. Granted, I'm a novice, but it seems like I will only get a few token meals out of it. Oh well, I will try and improve the yield next year.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Lemonie on 9/5/2011, 9:51 pm

I echo all of your frustrations as this was my first year w/ SFG (pretty much any gardening ) and I definitely lost a LOT! We also put a lot into it with money being tight and I had big dreams of a freezer full of "leftovers" for the winter and closet full of yummy home-canned goods. But.....I got a huge lesson in identifying harmful and beneficial bugs, downy mildew, blight (both) Mad , organic and necessary pesticides Twisted Evil .....and got to taste a few but absolutely delicious veggies and see my neighbors faces as they commented on the watermelon, pumpkin and sunflowers taking up only a few SF of space Shocked . Overall, my SFG was SEVERELY neglected! If it wasn't for all of my beds being wicking beds- most everything would've been lost very early on....I just didn't have the time to weed/water/fertilize....so I didn't. And it really didn't need much more attention- except for early pest prevention.

Overall, this was very much a learning year! I have already torn down all of my spring/summer "failures" and look hopefully at my fall/winter seedlings. With all of the hard and even painful/expensive lessons I learned this season- I KNOW I will do much better next season.....and I won't have to spend another penny if I can't, but I might splurge on a few more seed pkts that I'm all too eager to try. bounce

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 9/6/2011, 2:20 pm

What do you mean by a "wicking" bed?



I will admit, as a newbie, I didn't realize the limitations of SFG versus traditional gardening as I too began gardening with the idea of growing enough to can. From what I can tell, growing enough to can isn't the objective with this gardening method unless you plant many, many boxes. And if you're going to plant that many boxes, I think one might as well use the traditional row method.



My motivation for learning this skill is to provide a buffer for what I believe are hard times and HIGH prices for food in the very near future. I'm slowly trying to move myself into being prepared for more of an off grid existence. As such, I am hoping to learn ways to combat pests without needing to use pesticides. Buying pesticide may not always be an option. As the boy scouts say.... always be prepared!

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Chopper on 9/7/2011, 3:46 am

@Velvet Elvis wrote:
I will admit, as a newbie, I didn't realize the limitations of SFG versus traditional gardening as I too began gardening with the idea of growing enough to can. From what I can tell, growing enough to can isn't the objective with this gardening method unless you plant many, many boxes. And if you're going to plant that many boxes, I think one might as well use the traditional row method.

I have to disagree. If you want to can a lot in a row garden you have to plant alot too. Once your boxes are built the rest is east. not true of row gardens exp at the end of the year. A freaking mess. SFG is worth it no matter how much you grow in my opinion. And I had three squares of cukes planted and am still eating pickles. Just opened my last bag of green beans - froze from last yearn. I actually got sick of them I had so many. I had a lot of boxes, but very little work and super simple end of season clean up - one square at a time.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  happycamper on 9/7/2011, 5:19 am

I row gardened for many years and discovered last year that the new SFG method was more productive and much, much easier to care for than a traditional garden. I have been able to extend my growing season from very early spring into winter due to the ease of being able to cover the boxes.

I agree that if you want to can that you need several boxes, that is why I built more boxes throughout the fall and winter (when I could). I have almost no weeds to pull and it is less expensive to water since I water the beds and not the aisles in between them. I literally am growing and preserving healthy, organic food and saving money in the process.

I have not found any limitations with this gardening method as of yet and have actually grown several items that I had never tried before. I have been able to provide fresh vegetables to my family on a daily basis for months as well as can several cases of vegies for use this winter.

I will never till again is a plus, when it floods again my garden won't wash away is a plus, I get far more production with less space, much less maintenance for the yield, an early start to the growing season since the beds warm faster than the ground, less money spent on water and simply cover the boxes not being used during winter and uncover and use for spring planting are all benefits that I have discovered.

My entire garden was started from seed and I hope that all new gardeners will have great success with their fall gardens as well as next years. I think mel's mix is better the second year (all that blended compost that has been added!)

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Wicking bed

Post  Lemonie on 9/7/2011, 12:57 pm

Wicking beds have a water "cistern" underneath with the planted box sitting on top and containers/material/baskets that wick the water up into the bed. Boffer had a nice post w/ pictures you can search for. It took some work putting them together, but I only had to fill my bottom cistern boxes w/ water 2-3x/wk during the hotest months instead of having to water 2x/day. It was very important to us to save on the water bill while incorporating the garden for saving on the food bill too. Plus....I'm not disciplined enough to water very often. The rain barrel helped quite a bit too!



So....with barely any weeding (though homemade compost had some grass seeds that weren't completely "cooked"), little watering and a few sprays of pesticide- it was a pretty neglected garden that gave some great meals. And I've already planted for the fall/winter and am working on staying on top of more organic/natural pest prevention for this and next season.



We only have 2.5 ppl in our house, so even w/ 36 SF of garden- we can get a LOT of veggies for canning and freezing....just have to get them before the bugs do.tongue

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  boffer on 9/7/2011, 1:48 pm

@Velvet Elvis wrote:.... I didn't realize the limitations of SFG versus traditional gardening as I too began gardening with the idea of growing enough to can....

Those of us who grow enough veggies to can, freeze, dehydrate, or store using the SFG method are curious about the limitations that are getting in your way. How so?

Few people are going to get the type of production that Mel mentions. I can't, because I don't always get enough summer heat. I'll guess that you won't because you have a short growing season. It's going to take a few years to learn what you can count on to grow every year. That's the food that you'll want to put up, not the food that you would like to put up.

If you're serious about prepping, you should plan on gardening becoming an integral part of your lifestyle for the rest of your life. Growing a few veggies is easy; sustaining yourself from your garden is not.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 9/8/2011, 3:15 pm

Oh... I just noticed I have some replies that I need to respond to. I will when I get some free time.... an 18 month old and a 5 month old that keep me busy. I'm eager to learn how to do this properly, and am astounded by the results that some of you say you have achieved.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Jay Bird on 9/8/2011, 3:25 pm

Velvet Elvis, we have over 500 sqaures and put up close to 100 cases of canned goods a year,, I will never ever plant in a conventional garden again (except for purple hull peas) I get more from one plot of sfg than I used to get from four plots of wide raised row beds

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  middlemamma on 9/8/2011, 4:26 pm

This was my second year SFG. My summer was way busier than I had imagined and I spent less time in the garden that I wanted to or should have. My first year was great fun and yielded WAY more lessons than food!! Smile My second year has been even better and I expect to be drowning in produce next year. I have learned so much about what I enjoy growing and what I don't. What is worth it to me to coddle and grow and what isn't. My produce has grown exponentially with what I have learned each of the 2 years. I can't wait to be doing this 5 years...it's going to be amazing!

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Chopper on 9/8/2011, 8:58 pm

@Chopper wrote:

I have to disagree. If you want to can a lot in a row garden you have to plant alot too. Once your boxes are built the rest is east. not true of row gardens exp at the end of the year. A freaking mess. SFG is worth it no matter how much you grow in my opinion. And I had three squares of cukes planted and am still eating pickles. Just opened my last bag of green beans - froze from last yearn. I actually got sick of them I had so many. I had a lot of boxes, but very little work and super simple end of season clean up - one square at a time.

Apparently I was drunk when I wrote this. I am usually at the top of my game at midnight but not so then! LOL.

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Re: Garden Progress

Post  Velvet Elvis on 9/9/2011, 3:27 pm

LOL... when I have time to get on the pc, it's usually later at night too. How many square do you plant?

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Re: Garden Progress

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