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Florida Transplant in Iowa

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Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/15/2011, 4:53 pm

Hello everyone! Just purchased SFG book about two weeks ago and got two boxes built. Like my fellow Iowan, I too have a very small itty-bitty back yard with limited sun exposure. (My neighbors’ Silver Maples) Nice thing about SFG is that I can have one of the boxes on my deck that does get a good dose of sunlight. I plan to use cedar planks, 1x material, to line my fence with 2’x8’x8” boxes. This will keep me and my boys busy on the weekends while I learn about SFG. My gardening experience is ZERO, NADA, NIL, ZIP and ZILCH. This will be the first attempt at growing anything so I am a bit apprehensive.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  braim5 on 9/15/2011, 7:25 pm

to the forum. I'm learning tons here. Wink

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  westie42 on 9/16/2011, 12:52 am

Welcome to the Hawkeye State. I was born and raised here but lived in Florida twice, Texas three times, Alabama and Montana. Now I have come full circle and am retired living in the house that I grew up in. It mite be kinda late to expect much production this season here, possibly some radishes or onion sets if you can find them mite make it if under plastic from the next freeze on. I am building a third 4x12 box next week to start a garlic and onion bed in yet this fall. One of the other boxes was fall planted a couple weeks ago with mostly cool weather greens. It will get hoops and plastic soon hoping for a little fresh greens for as long as I can nurse them along. Don’t know how well you can store compost etc but there is a steady offering of free or cheap manure and or compost on craigslist.com, this is farm country you know. My experience with store bought compost around here is very disappointing. Making your own or seriously supplementing the other would be preferred. This was my first season at SFG but it was not a particular good start. I have possibly 20% of my plantings in SFG. Want it to increase my SFG but first it must prove itself to be productive at growing more than just above ground greens. Until then the old fashioned gardening just keeps on producing as usual. Good luck and happy gardening.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 9/16/2011, 8:24 am

Welcome aboard! Several Iowans here. You will find more in our regional subforum (N&C Midwest) and our frequent updates.

We were all a bit nervous at first, but I will admit I have had more success...with less work...in the SFG concept than any other I've attempted. You'll pick it up pretty quickly.

Look forward to having you around.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/16/2011, 9:09 am

everyone for the warm welcome!

My boys and I are anxious to get started though I understand it's late in the season to really do anything other than prepare for next spring. We are going to use one of the smaller boxes and plant some garlic.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  stripesmom on 9/16/2011, 10:20 pm

Hi, welcome to Iowa and the forum. I have found that it's never too late to start and next spring, you will have a big head start on every one else.



When you mix your mel's mix, do yourself a favor, use a bucket, either a 3 or 5 gallon one and take a scoup of peat moss, then compost, then vermiculite, mix it up in a wheel barrow and dump it in your box. It's so much simpler. Be prepared for some hard work, but it turns out that the work in the beginning is what makes the end result so sweet. No tilling, no weeding (almost) reduced watering and on and on.



You need 5 different types of composted compost for this. I don't know where your going to get yours, but I have a difficult time finding it this time of year. I've started to make my own. This might be a good time for you to start a compost pile. Save all the bags of leaves you can get your hands on and keep it for next year-plus use it this year.



The cheapest place to get vermiculite is Menard's. It's a home improvement store located in most major cities. The vermiculite is in the house insulation section. Don't worry that it's also used as insulation. It is a mined substance that is expanded by heat to make it pop. It is hard to find vermiculite that isn't the smaller kind at this time though, so just use what you can find.



I'm not sure where you are in Iowa, but if you use hoops, and I strongly suggest you do, you can make your growing season last from two weeks to a month longer on either side of seasons. They act like mini green houses when covered with heavy plastic. I just planted spinach, lettuces (a large variety), onions and radishes. You might look at Walmart for some cheap seeds to use. There are some that cost .20 a package. Ask at the garden center if there are any left. Even if you don't get a big return, you will get some thing. Next year, you will be able to start much earlier if you use hoops too.



Good luck!

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stripesmom

Post  shogun357 on 9/19/2011, 11:02 am

Hello Stripesmom -



Thanks for the info! Smile I live Just N of Des Moines in Polk City. Yes, finding the different compost is a challenge. I was at an Earl May yesterday and four different types is all I could find. I did get lucky and found a fellow in Winterset that sells Mel's Mix for local pickup.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  stripesmom on 9/19/2011, 4:18 pm

Oh, that is even better! How much is the MM from the guy in Winterset? Speaking of Winterset, they have a wonderful covered bridge festival coming up in Oct. Do you remember the Bridges of Madison County movie? That was where it was filmed. Although, the festival has nothing to do with the film. There is a craft show, car show and lots of old time fun things to do. Here's a link



http://madisoncounty.com/index.php?page=covered-bridge-festival

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/19/2011, 9:43 pm

I paid $20 per 2 CUFT bag. thesquarefootgardener.com

Here's another place that sells Mel's Mix squarefootgardening.com

I wish places like Earl May would stock this. I am going to request that they stock Mel's Mix.



BTW, I have never seen the movie Bridges of Madison County. I'll have to check it out now. Cool

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  Lindacol on 9/20/2011, 12:13 am

@shogun357 wrote:I paid $20 per 2 CUFT bag. thesquarefootgardener.com

Here's another place that sells Mel's Mix squarefootgardening.com

I wish places like Earl May would stock this. I am going to request that they stock Mel's Mix.



BTW, I have never seen the movie Bridges of Madison County. I'll have to check it out now. Cool



If you have a Lowes nearby, it is only $12.99 for the same thing http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=308781-78212-GT+11670&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3178997&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  stripesmom on 9/20/2011, 9:41 am

There are several Lowes in Des Moines. Thanks for the heads up Linda. And thanks shogun for the reply.



I didn't care for that movie, but it was popular back in 1996. I thought it was one big yawn, most people thought it was romantic.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/20/2011, 12:41 pm

Wow! Thanks for the link Lindcol -



All of the Lowe's that are nearby do not currently carry MM. I hope they stock up before spring as I will get a truck load of MM at that price. The other place I saw online was $17.99 a bag so I thought 20 wasn't too bad.



I was told that Earl May does not carry MM as they say they have something that is comparable to MM. Do you have an idea what that might be?

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  stripesmom on 9/20/2011, 4:31 pm

If it's from Earl May, then it's going to be expensive. I did a quick look on their site and their potting mix is nothing like MM in my opinion, but I could be wrong and they could be talking about some thing else. I do know when I checked for vermiculite last spring, Earl May had it, but it was close to double what I paid for it at Menard's. It's the same product, supplied by the same supplier. I was worried as the vermiculite at Menard's was in the insulation section and not labeled food grade, but after doing some research here on the forum, I discovered it's all the same thing.



Hasn't the weather been wonderful here lately Shogun? I wish it was like this all the time.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/20/2011, 5:47 pm

The weather this afternoon is awesome. Had a nice light rain with a rainbow this morning. Smile I am already looking forward to next spring. I wish we could skip the winter. I thought it was kind of neat when I first saw snow but after a few years and especially after I experienced my first ice dam, I can do without it. Having said that, I beileve Iowa is not only a great place to grow things but a great place to raise my youngins'.



I was at Menards today picking up some cedar. It's cheaper than Home Depot and good stuff too. Cool

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  Goosegirl on 9/20/2011, 8:07 pm

@shogun357 wrote:I was at Menards today picking up some cedar. It's cheaper than Home Depot and good stuff too. Cool

I got my cedar for my boxes out of the bargain bin at Menards - anything under 4' was $1.59 each, no matter what dimension. I loaded up on every nice 1x6 in the bin and now I have 7 screamin' boxes!

GG

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/21/2011, 8:33 am

@Goosegirl wrote:

I got my cedar for my boxes out of the bargain bin at Menards - anything under 4' was $1.59 each, no matter what dimension. I loaded up on every nice 1x6 in the bin and now I have 7 screamin' boxes!

GG



Wow! Getting all sorts of good info! What a Face I will have to remember that next time I hit Menards. Anything to save a few bucks here and there will help. Thanks!

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  Goosegirl on 9/21/2011, 8:54 pm

@shogun357 wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:

I got my cedar for my boxes out of the bargain bin at Menards - anything under 4' was $1.59 each, no matter what dimension. I loaded up on every nice 1x6 in the bin and now I have 7 screamin' boxes!

GG



Wow! Getting all sorts of good info! What a Face I will have to remember that next time I hit Menards. Anything to save a few bucks here and there will help. Thanks!

Too bad they only had 2 really short 2x8's at the time - 2x8 would have made one SWEET box! Unfortunately I have to take what I can find when I am there, because it is 60 miles away - that day was a good day for 1x6's. I only had to buy a few boards at full price here in town to finish up the boxes, but instead of the 4 I intended I got 7. It was a triumphant tool day!

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

Post  shogun357 on 9/22/2011, 10:07 pm

Do you prefer 1x8 over 1x6? I have a 4'x4' and 2'x4' made from 2"x6" and a 2'x4' made from 1"x8" ... Cool I plan to make some 1x6 cedar boxes this weekend. My garage is filling up with boxes. My youngest boy, 8, loves making these with me.

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Re: Florida Transplant in Iowa

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