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Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

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Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/13/2011, 1:10 pm

Hello, I'm new to SFG. looking to start up a SFG next year, I already built a 10X4x 8 inch deep frame. I have also taken off the grass and layed the frame in the ground about 1 inch. I have bought the Peat moss and some compost, just looking around for the vermiculite and have it all in storage until the spring time. I am also doing more composting as of late to add to the garden next year. Below is my plan for my vegetable SFG. I'm planning on building the one end higher for Potatoes and carrots to grow. I'm also considering adding the walkway but am not 100 percent sure if I want to give up 4 feet of space LOL.
Please take a peek below and give me any comments or helpful tips.

Thanks in advance
Triscooter


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  Kelejan on 10/13/2011, 2:17 pm

Triscooter



Looks like you are pretty well organized. Everyone has their own idea of layout, it does not have tp be a 4x4.

I am not too experienced about setting up boxes, I still have a lot to learn. Maybe the cucumbers need a bit more space, they do rather sprawl somewhat.

More experienced gardeners will be along in a bit to give any advice they have. We all want everyone to be successful.
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/13/2011, 3:01 pm

Great design. Can't wait to see pics of it all coming together!

My only suggestion at this time......move those cukes into the pepper squares on the north side. Cukes grow crazy tall when trellised, and you'll be happier keeping them tamed...unless you plan to let them sprawl out of the east side of your garden.

Welcome to the SFG community!
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/13/2011, 3:35 pm

Thank you Kelejan and BackyardBirdGardner.
I will switch the peppers with the cucumbers.
I can always use 2 of those round wire stands for the peppers
if they need any support.





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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  boffer on 10/13/2011, 3:45 pm

It's my understanding that sweet potatoes vines get quite long. Maybe someone who has grown them can look at your placement. I see a problem there.
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  stripesmom on 10/13/2011, 4:27 pm

I would move it away from the fence if possible. Two feet isn't going to be enough room to get back there. I see you have a walkway in the middle, but reaching to some places is going to be a long reach if you can't get in behind the box. Plus, you will need to get behind to pick some things that are higher up. The cucumber, beans and peas may grow over the fence, so if it's a fence you share with a neighbor, you may have to share (more than you might like, anyway).

I would put the cages over the peppers way before they need support. Mine looked big, strong and fine one day and fell over the next. They were so big, I started to snap them off to raise them up and try to cage them. I was only able to cage 2 and had to leave the rest laying on the ground the rest of the year.
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/13/2011, 6:12 pm

Boffer, I thought sweet potatoes grew the same as normal potatoes, Like I said this will be my first garden, Guess I need to look into this a bit more. thanks for the info.

Stripesmom, I just went and checked, box is closer to 3 feet from fence but I see your point. with the netting on the back side I would have to reach through the beans and peas to get to onions, I will have to maybe make some more changes. Maybe move walkway over two squares to the right would work and put lettuce and celery where the walkway is right now. thanks for the help

how does this look


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  stripesmom on 10/13/2011, 7:55 pm

If you are able to get behind the boxes to reach from that side into the boxes, it's ok. You would be so much better off to move it out at least one more foot from the fence if you can. It's there to stay once it's down at least till you decide you want to move it or stop gardening. I know 3 ft seems like a lot, but the plants will take up one foot of that if not more to grow. Depending on if you prune your plants or let them just be.

Boffer is right about those sweet potato vines, they grow crazy long. Have you thought of growing them in bags or other containers devoted to them only? Here's a nice article about doing that

http://www.yougrowgirl.com/2010/07/14/growing-sweet-potatoes-in-a-bag/

Welcome to the forum and I hope you have a great time gardening.
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  Chopper on 10/13/2011, 9:01 pm

Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are quite different. I am concerned about a couple of things:

Potatoes:
They grow along the stem of the plant and therefore as the stems grow, you need to surround them with soil. The normal way to do this in an SFG is to add a riser. In other words a mini box that you can place on your SFG as the potatoes grow.

So the shape of your planting is going to be a challenge. And the risers shade out those things to the north of them. Last time I added one riser for three squares (one 1'X3'X6" riser) I could probably have added two, but didn't.

Sweet potatoes:
They are tubers and grow underground. The vines are prolific but you can wind them around and keep them in the squares - even trim them if they get to be too much. They need a lot of sun and for that reason I would put them to the south of the potatoes since they will be growing up. Which leaves your row of radishes and lettuce shaded, but that may be ok. At least for the lettuce. Not sure what you wanted to follow the lettuce with, but the potatoes will only be getting taller as the summer progresses.

My decision on potatoes is a separate smaller box - 3X2 or even 2X2 but I haven't built it yet so we shall see.

The potatoes might be ok in from of the tomatoes and cukes, except all three are subject to the same diseases and it may just be asking for trouble.

Hey, don't thank me now. LOL. Very Happy


@triscooter wrote:Boffer, I thought sweet potatoes grew the same as normal potatoes, Like I said this will be my first garden, Guess I need to look into this a bit more. thanks for the info.

Stripesmom, I just went and checked, box is closer to 3 feet from fence but I see your point. with the netting on the back side I would have to reach through the beans and peas to get to onions, I will have to maybe make some more changes. Maybe move walkway over two squares to the right would work and put lettuce and celery where the walkway is right now. thanks for the help

how does this look


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/13/2011, 9:15 pm

stripesmom yes I will be able to get at the garden from the fence side.
I will look into the sweet potatoes in a bag. I just fixed my plans again Smile
Guess I will go with a net along the full back of the garden. I'm glad I found
this web site with so many great people offering so much help. Thanks again
Also in the pic. below the netting will be over the plants not outside the box,
it was just too hard to draw it there with excel spreadsheet.

Chopper, thanks for the input, in my plan the potatoes are in a large box, I'm planning on
putting another 4x4 box on my current 4x10 box as the drawing shows. Do you think with
the new plans below that the sweet potatoes will work?


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  Chopper on 10/13/2011, 11:07 pm

@triscooter wrote:

Chopper, thanks for the input, in my plan the potatoes are in a large box, I'm planning on putting another 4x4 box on my current 4x10 box as the drawing shows. Do you think with the new plans below that the sweet potatoes will work?


I guess so. It is the potatoes, not the sweet potatoes that need the riser. I start them in a regular box and then as they grow throw another one over it. I could probably do this with a third box too. That said, you might want the potatoes on the edge of the box.

Below is a picture of three squares of potatoes on the north end of a 3X6 box.

Your big box will still be shading the row/s to the north.




Below you can kind of see. This is a side view of the box. The end with the potatoes is on the right. That had to be added AFTER the potatoes started growing. Just starting with a deep box will not do the trick. I suppose you could dig a trench and fill it in, but that would compromise the plants next to it maybe?


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/14/2011, 12:22 am

Okay version 5 or 6 LOL

In the below plan I have moved the potatoes and carrots to the north. I will make 2 boxes 2x3 one for the carrots to start in and the other to add as the potatoes grow, so once they grow both will be 12 inch deep in the 4x3 area to the north. I'm not sure how the peppers and tomatoes will do were they are, or any of the other vegetables that I have moved, so if there is any more input from the experts, please  point it out to me.  Smile   Thanks


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  janezee on 10/14/2011, 3:57 pm

Let me put in my two bits.
My paths are 2.5 feet against my deer netting fence, and I have no problem with that. I have 2 rows, 4x24, with a 3.3' path between. The only problem I had with that is when I didn't trellis my squash and they ran into my raspberry bed and path. Since the winter squash was on the outside of the center path, that wasn't too bad. Nothing else was there in the way, so I didn't need to assess it.
The summer squash ran into the center path, and apparently frightened the deer from jumping the fence, so I was happy to put up with the inconvenience. Next year, the asparagus and squash and artichoke will all be outside the netting, and I'm hoping they're still uninterested. (fingers crossed.)
I'm not seeing how the two squares for a path would be necessary. If you can walk around your garden, I suggest that you put the things that you'll harvest more often (lettuce, spinach, greens) around the edges and less often (onions, celery) in the middle. I'm never putting broccoli on an outside block again! It will go behind my lettuce and beets.

Now, I'll bet you're really confused!
No matter, You have a few more months to do more research and tweak your layout. This is what I do for fun on those long dark winter nights with a glass of port and some dark chocolate covered black cherries. Mmmmm....chocolate Cool
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/26/2011, 10:26 pm

Still planning, I had a question about the bottom of the raised boxes.
Are they closed in or left open. I was thinking of putting down a solar blanket
from a pool under neath the raised bed and putting the soil on top.
The blanket is not the type with the air bubbles just a blue
smooth see through looking blanket. Any thoughts on this ????

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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  middlemamma on 10/27/2011, 5:07 am

Some folks put hardware cloth or plywood as bottoms on their boxes to keep out critters, followed by landscaping fabric to keep out weeds.

I just have a layer of cardboard and then 2 layers of landscape fabric, no hardware cloth or plywood. I am very happy with it after 2 seasons.

As far as the blanket you mentioned, does it have drainage holes? If not I would say that is imperative.
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  Goosegirl on 10/27/2011, 6:35 am

@triscooter wrote:Okay version 5 or 6 LOL

I just love this thread - this is what we SFG'ers in the north need for the winter!
No expert here, but I do see a potential problem with the tomatoes and peppers. If the tomatoes are determinates they will need much more space (2-4 squares each). If not, they will need to be caged or trellised unless you want to let them sprawl through the rest of the veggies. Then, having the peppers and the tomatoes right next to each other can create a tangle of bigger plants. Even one square width between them of a shorter crop that doesn't mind some shade (lettuce, onions, carrots, etc.) will give them the room they need.
Just my $0.02!
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  Luci Dawson on 10/27/2011, 7:59 am

I'm a newbie, too, but won't a 12" walkway be too narrow?
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/27/2011, 9:59 am

@middlemamma wrote:

As far as the blanket you mentioned, does it have drainage holes? If not I would say that is imperative.

I was planning on having the garden slope to one end and digging a hole out the back and putting stone in it above the stone I would put a 4 inch hole in the pool blanket so the water could drain, or do you think it would be better to put holes all through out the pool blanket ?

Below is my new plan, I have rotated my garden so the long edge is now to the north, the whole north side has a hanging net for the climbing plants. I'm also considering putting a high tunnel over this so I could start early, Also I have made the walkway 18 inch wide and not just 12 inches. I have left 2 squares in front of the tomatoes open for now.


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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  janezee on 10/27/2011, 6:42 pm

The new plan looks much better. Might I suggest that you double your peas, and fill your 2 empty squares with bush beans? I think less than 4 squares of peas is just too sad. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  Cincinnati on 10/28/2011, 1:30 am

Nice design. You do better than I by putting it on paper. I generally work mine out in my head and make changes as I plant. Not sure how many of the other members design their SQFT gardens on paper, but I hope to plan my spring boxes out ahead of time.

My questions to you involve your selection of plants. I hope this does not sound critical of your design. I just wonder if you designed this the way I am seeing it.

Do you have enough tomato plants? I don't know how many family members will eat from this box or if you have other boxes. Even if I were single, two tomato plants would never be enough for me.

You have 8 squares of onions. At 16 per square, your design is heavily onion.

Have you to considered your harvest during this design phase? I either end up with too little or way too much of a plant. I am working on this for my spring SQFT Garden.

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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/28/2011, 10:17 pm

@Cincinnati wrote:

Do you have enough tomato plants? I don't know how many family members will eat from this box or if you have other boxes. Even if I were single, two tomato plants would never be enough for me.

You have 8 squares of onions. At 16 per square, your design is heavily onion.

Have you to considered your harvest during this design phase? I either end up with too little or way too much of a plant. I am working on this for my spring SQFT Garden.

This will be my first year trying a garden of any kind, I myself don't eat a lot of tomatoes and the 2 kids never do either. So the tomatoes are for the wife. I only have one because I can't fit anything else on the hanging netting unless I use the wire things that go around the tomatoes, I love onions, But I see your point about over kill, forgot you plant 16 in one square.
This will be my only box, and I'm going out in the next few days to set it up and will start in the spring.

I'm glad I found this site and all the great (expert) gardeners here to help me with all there knowledge and great advice.

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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  fiddleman on 10/29/2011, 6:22 am

The only problem which jumps out at me with your current plan is having the potatoes south of the carrots. Potatoes are enormous plants at maturity, standing over 5 feet tall or if you don't stake them they will sprawl over onto the neighboring two squares. I would consider putting the carrots where the potatoes are (shorter plants to the south). The other reason to do this will be the ease of maintenance; carrots need thinning, watering, and harvesting sooner and more often than potatoes (which are a plant and forget type) and having the carrots on the outside makes it easier to reach in and pull an errant weed or to grab a baby carrot and munch while in the garden.

I would also move the Green and Red Peppers to the two empty squares on the east end, the Cuc's and Beans will shade them too much and will decrease your harvest. The tomatoes have nothing to fear from the Peppers, they usually will top out at 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall, and the tomatoes will have long outgrown any problems with shading. Instead double your peas and beans in those squares, and you'll harvest those before the cuc's get too tall to shade them out.

Remember Cucumber plants will grow 10 feet tall if you let them and the leaves are very large so they take a large amount of room (and water) to mature. About halfway through the season, top dressing the square with some compost will really improve yield since they are such heavy feeders.

Radishes are cold weather plants, and will mature early and be harvested early. Think about what to plant in those squares after the harvest. You can get three crops out of the square if you think about different plants in the squares. Perhaps some spinach, a variety of heat resistant lettuce, chives, flowers, or something else you'll enjoy. Then plant more radishes in the fall for the 3rd crop in the square.

Just some thoughts...

Mark
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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/29/2011, 9:15 pm

Thanks for the great input fiddleman (Mark). You sound like an experienced gardener. I will rework the plans Sunday night or Monday and post them, Just got off work and one more shift to go Sunday.
Looking forward to getting out there Monday or Tuesday and dig up the grass and frame in my design, then the long wait for spring LOL

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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  triscooter on 10/30/2011, 10:11 pm

Okay here is my new layout, I made 2 boxes for potatoes, or will just make it one big box. The peppers will have the wire rings to help support them, and I made the sweet potatoes and cucumber plants in a 1 1/2 x 1 square.




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Re: Newbe looking to SFG in the spring, Plans included.

Post  boffer on 10/30/2011, 10:46 pm

Food for thought: On page 46 of the ALL NEW SFG book, Mel strongly recommends 3 foot walkways, encourages 4 foot walkways, and advises against 2 foot walkways. Many on the forum prefer 4 foot walkways.

Just something else to consider...
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