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Hello from the midwest...

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Hello from the midwest...

Post  JaRoHe on 8/30/2011, 2:10 am

Hello all,

I am from Cedar Rapids, Iowa... and yeah, we do have fun in our corn fields!!! Hoping to meet some gardening maniac's on this site.

Cheers!!!

JaRoHe

JaRoHe

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Location : Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  Goosegirl on 8/30/2011, 6:45 am

flower flower

Welcome from SD! I am only one state over (we mix in a few cows between the corn). This is my first year with SFG and it has been a HUGE success! My garden has stayed so neat and organized - never in my history of gardening has my yard stayed this well-kept. That is the main reason I tried SFG but the ease of growing and the harvest has been incredible as well. We look forward to hearing (and seeing, pics please!) what happens with your garden!



GG

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COMPOSTING:  The only time 'Garbage In' does not equal 'Garbage Out'!

Goosegirl

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  JaRoHe on 8/30/2011, 8:31 am

This is our first year at SFG as well... my wife and I have a very small backyard with very little direct sun light. I cut down the lilac bushes and trimmed as much of the Ash tree as I could reach standing on a ladder with a 15' pole pruner. The best I can get is 3-1/2 hours of direct sunlight.

We initiated a gardening program at our church to supplement our senior food pantry... having read the book and watched the video forwards and backwards many times, I introduced SFG as the model we would follow. We started with 12 - 4' x 8' x 6" (384 sq/ft) raised beds... this weekend we are hosting an event to expand our gardens by and additional 1,056 sq/ft.

So I'll be visiting this site regularly, lurking in the background reviewing & gathering ideas that we might implement into our 'Seeds For Seniors' gardening program.

I can't post links for 7 days... but you can visit our site at seeds4seniors dot com (or Google 'seeds for seniors' and we should be right at the top of the list: domain >> seeds4seniors.com)


JaRoHe

JaRoHe

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  Lurach on 8/30/2011, 9:20 am

from SE Georgia and another first-year SFGer!! You'll find lots of tips, advice and super helpful folks here on the forum. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more from you!

~Lu

Lurach

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/30/2011, 9:56 am

Big garden to manage! Welcome to our corner of the interwebs...lol. I'm sure we would also love to see pics when you can.

As for your own garden, I imagine lettuces and spinaches will do well even when the weather gets too hot for some of us being that they have some shade. Hopefully, you get your full sun plants from the church.

Post questions, and I'm sure we will answer. In fact, there are several members on here that manage large SFGs themselves. Poke around, learn as you go, and you will come across them. They may become a great resource as you gain experience.

Good luck, and hope to see you around often!

BackyardBirdGardner

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/30/2011, 11:45 am

JaRoHe

Sorry your sunlight is so limited in your own yard. That may limit your types of crops, but there are still some that will do well with less direct sunlight.

Good luck and wishes for a great harvest in your Seeds for Seniors program. Our community garden has a couple of beds to supplement the lunches provided twice a week for local seniors. The seniors enjoy a good lunch and great fellowship. They love getting little goodie bags of fresh produce to take home.

We also have two beds for the children of our tiny city (winter pop. about 700) The kids, ages 6 to 14, help plant seeds, weed, water and harvest with a lot of adult supervision.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Furbalsmom

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  JaRoHe on 8/30/2011, 11:42 pm

Thanks to all for the warm welcome...

We got off to a late start this year... the gardening project was hastily thrown together in last week of May & the planting didn't begin until June 5th. Local gardeners were already well on their way... we were just getting started.

'Seeds For Seniors' was kicked off with a project we were calling the 'Adopt-a-Box' program. Anyone wanting to participate could adopt one of the twelve 4' x 8' raised garden beds on a first-come-first-serve basis. Over the weeks that followed several of the initial participants lost interest... the abandoned boxes were quickly picked up by those of us that remained.

Overall we've done pretty well for getting off to a late start... weight wise, we've harvested over 320 lbs. of produce, all of which has been distributed through our Senior Food Pantry.

The program was so well received by our seniors that its prompted us to expand our gardens for the 2012 season. I have been appointed the task of overseeing the garden expansion project as we move forward.

I'm currently in the process of creating a website & gardening forum to help promote our 'Seeds For Seniors' project to our local community. My goal is to hopefully attract & recruit interested individuals/gardeners to participate in the planning stages of the overall project and garden activities.

I'm curious as to whether anyone has participated (or would be interested) in such a project over the internet? Not necessarily with the physical gardening... but with the strategic planning side of things.

Again, thanks for the warm welcome and for taking the time to follow along.


JaRoHe

JaRoHe

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  genes on 8/31/2011, 12:27 am

Hallo, wonderful thing to b e doing thank you. How did you manage to make so much Mel's Mix? Others could benefit.

genes

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  JaRoHe on 8/31/2011, 1:18 am

@genes wrote:Hallo, wonderful thing to b e doing thank you. How did you manage to make so much Mel's Mix? Others could benefit.

We are not using MM at the church due to the cost being prohibitive... what we are using is a blended mixture of 50% topsoil / 50% compost.


JaRoHe

JaRoHe

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/31/2011, 8:56 am

@JaRoHe wrote:
@genes wrote:Hallo, wonderful thing to b e doing thank you. How did you manage to make so much Mel's Mix? Others could benefit.

We are not using MM at the church due to the cost being prohibitive... what we are using is a blended mixture of 50% topsoil / 50% compost.


JaRoHe

Any plans on putting peat moss or vermiculite in over time to convert things to an actual SFG instead of just using the techniques? And, what amendments do you need to apply from time to time to keep things as fertile? And, how much weeding time is required?

I am curious because I used to have a similar set up. However, not even close to the scale to which you have.

BackyardBirdGardner

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  JaRoHe on 9/1/2011, 10:08 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:

Any plans on putting peat moss or vermiculite in over time to convert things to an actual SFG instead of just using the techniques? And, what amendments do you need to apply from time to time to keep things as fertile? And, how much weeding time is required?

I am curious because I used to have a similar set up. However, not even close to the scale to which you have.

I don't know whether we'll be adding any peat moss or vermiculite to our blend or not... it's too early to tell. As I understand it, Mel's Mix is not a prerequisite to being considered an actual SFG. Following & practicing Mel's SFG techniques is what differentiates whether you have a SFG garden or just another raised bed garden.

NOTE: 100% compost was used in the original 12 raised beds, and surprisingly we've done really well crop wise so far. I did observe that some of the veggies did better than others...

  • Tomatoes, lettuce, swiss chard, beans, squash, melons, basil, etc. produced really well.
  • Root crops such as carrots, beets, and radishes didn't produce quite as well as I would have expected (very slow growth & spindly).
  • Pepper plants didn't seem to do too well either, plants remained smallish, acorn sized peppers for the most part (according to area gardeners, we were not the only gardens with a poor pepper crop this year [may have been weather related... cool and wet]).
When it comes to amending the soil from time to time, my thoughts immediately turn to COMPOST... my recommendation will be that we build (2) three compartment turning compost bins (each compartment size: 3' x 3' x 3' [for a total of 6 compartments]).

As far as weeding has gone... I don't think I've spent a total of 5 minutes this whole season pulling weeds... all kidding aside, there almost weren't any. Maybe its had something to do with my being so attentive... any thing that wasn't growing where it was suppose to be was assumed to be a weed and removed (I might not have been able to tell you what it was... but I could tell you what it wasn't).

I'd be interested in knowing a little more about your setup... do you have a post I could visit?


JaRoHe

JaRoHe

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  boffer on 9/1/2011, 11:33 pm

@JaRoHe wrote:...As I understand it, Mel's Mix is not a prerequisite to being considered an actual SFG.

Hi, and welcome to the forum. I'm not sure how you arrived at your conclusion, but it couldn't be farther from the truth. Lucky for you that you've found the one place on the internet that can tell you precisely and definitively what constitutes SFG; that's what we're here for.

Mel's Mix is the most important, essential part of SFG...Mel says so! Please re-read the first page of Chapter 5 in the ALL NEW SFG book. Then read a comprehensive thread on the same subject here. Then read about the purpose of this forum here.

Be sure to speak up if there are other features of SFG that you're not sure about.

Happy Gardening


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Re: Hello from the midwest...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 9/2/2011, 12:13 am

@JaRoHe wrote:I'd be interested in knowing a little more about your setup... do you have a post I could visit?

Boffer answered the first part perfectly so I won't pile on. But, he's right.

As for my setup, I have posted lots of pictures throughout the year on the forum. A simple search will bring a lot up for you I'm sure.

Basically, I have a 2x8 up against my house that has my vertical stuff in it. And, I have a 4x12 that has everything else. The 4x12 has hoops and bird netting over it to protect it from critters and frost. I just throw a sheet of clear plastic over it on frost/freeze nights. Both are made with 8" wood because it was actually cheaper than 6" wood at the store this spring. (This is my first year in this house so I had to build from scratch.)

The old house used landscaping timbers and was a conjoined 4x4, 4x8, and 4x4 that looked like a 4x16. I used the 4x8 as my SFG and the 4x4's held blueberries and strawberries in little more than straight peat moss....so they weren't true SFGs.

I'm sure we'll talk more. Like Boffer said, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. And, stick around because as fall approaches, you will see a lot of hoophouses and coldframes pop up for season extension, if you are interested in that concept, too.

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Re: Hello from the midwest...

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