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help for new member

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help for new member

Post  vfair6 on 10/4/2011, 9:33 pm

HI, My name is Van and I am 73, I live in upstate SC.



I have just completed a 40 sq ft box 20 X 2 feet by 15” deep on my deck. I gets sun full time from 10Am until 5PM in upstate South Carolina. The box has a system to get rid of water that drains to the bottom of the box in 4 locations along the length. The bottom is hard plastic that is slanted to drains in four locations.



I plan to use next season, soil that is made from miracle grow potting soil, processed cow manure, coarse vermiculite and sand. No SC dirt will be used.



I plan to water the box with a 50 foot long soaker hose that allows one gallon of water per foot to escape into the dirt per hour of use. The hose will be placed 3 to 8 inches from one side going in one direction and 3 to 8 inches from the other side coming back in a snake like fashion. I plan on growing a full range of vegetables from tomatoes to lettuce including beans, peppers, radishes, squash etc. No melons or corn. One edge of my box has a polyester net 7 feet high for climbing plants.



My question is?? How often should I turn on the water and for how long at a time. What is the best time of day. ?



Is using a soaker hose a bad Idea??



Thanks for any comments. I have only one seasons experience as a small plot gardener. Thanks for any advice. VAN



EDIT: Topic moved to the Non-SFG Gardening forum.

vfair6

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Re: help for new member

Post  stripesmom on 10/4/2011, 11:29 pm

Hi Van and welcome to the forum. I know one thing, it takes awhile to get your soil wet. You want it wet from top to bottom to start with. If there is extra water, it will drain, if your boxes drain ok. I'm not sure how long to water, but that depends on the weather, the humidity, the wind, the temperature, etc. You will find out with experimentation. I would recommend two 1/2 hour periods a day to begin with. If that doesn't do the job, you will have to increase it. If it is running out, then decrease it. I do not know how hot/cool it is where you are. It's possible watering once a day will do it. You also have to figure in that I water with a cup and your doing it with drip. When it was 100 degrees, I watered twice a day and my plants were fine. Now that it's getting cooler, I water once a day and they are still fine. For me, any time of the day has been ok. I water by hand and do it when I get around to it. It's all trial and error. Generally, I water first thing in the morning and then go from there.

My boxes are 6 inches deep and as the season went on, the Mel's mix went down to around 4-5 inches. Which I added compost to, to help raise it up. I have found this depth is more than enough for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers plus plants with shallower root systems. Just letting you know, it works, as Mel wrote in his book, in case you have any doubts. Have fun!

Here's one of my boxes after a long, hot and miserable summer in Iowa. My boxes are on my patio and they all have bottoms to them.

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Re: help for new member

Post  Chopper on 10/5/2011, 12:37 am

@vfair6 wrote:HI, My name is Van and I am 73, I live in upstate SC.


I plan to use next season, soil that is made from miracle grow potting soil, processed cow manure, coarse vermiculite and sand. No SC dirt will be used.


My question is?? How often should I turn on the water and for how long at a time. What is the best time of day. ?

Is using a soaker hose a bad Idea??


EDIT: Topic moved to the Non-SFG Gardening forum.

For SFG, depending on your goals, I guess, miracle grow potting soil and sand are definitely going to be counterproductive. It is your garden, but I would highly recommend the peat/vermiculite and compost (5 types) as per the book. And in a tabletop, sand will definitely be counterproductive.

As for watering, I like to do it before noon. If the day has been particularly hot, I might do again, but not usually. As for how long, that math is beyond me. Depends on the soaker hose output etc. Essentially, you cannot overwater Mel's Mix, but you can underwater. So a check and see plan until you get it right it probably the way to go. Plus, water needs will vary according to heat.

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Re: help for new member

Post  southern gardener on 10/5/2011, 10:29 am

This is just my opinion, but use the Mel's Mix. Don't use sand. I used sand because I went by the old Square Foot Gardening Book, where sand was in the recipe. His new book calls for only three ingredients, peat moss, vermiculite and compost (a blend of 5 DIFFERENT types). Save yourself time and money, and just do it right the first time. Good luck and have fun!
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