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How many Square Feet do I need?

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How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Kavey on 1/1/2012, 10:07 am

Trying to get a rough idea of how many square feet I am gonna need so I can plan my garden. Trying this square foot thing for the first time.
If there is a link to something that shows how much each plant requires I can figure it out for myself. I just havent found a list if one exists.
Here is what I will be planting.
tomatoes burpee big boy hybrid
tomatoes brandywine
tomatoes big daddy hybrid
tomatoes big daddy hybrid
cherry tomatoes
asparagus
false alarm Jalepenos
hot jalepeno early organic
hot jalepeno gigante
Hot Habanero Red Organic
speedy green hybrid Cucumber
sweeter yet cucumber
sweeter yet cucumber
nothern extra sweet hybrid corn
sweet potatoes centennial
sweet potatoes centennial
earlianna cabbage
sweet bananarama peppers
mammoth dill
early italian garlic

Once I figure out how many square feet I need and draw up a design i will post that and ask for help on placement of each plant.

Thanks in advance. This sounds like a great way to garden.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  camprn on 1/1/2012, 10:16 am

Happy New Year Kavey! and to the SFG Forum! The basic information you seek is in chapter 6 of the All New Square Foot Gardening book (2006). There are multiple threads on the forum with additional information about spacing. Also, how many people are you planning to feed?

When I plant my indeterminate tomatoes, I plant every other square. Determinate tomatoes, I am going to try like cherry type, one plant in each adjoining square, same for peppers. Asparagus, I would suggest using the recommendations from the grower you are getting the roots from. Cabbage one per square. Cukes, last year I planted 9 per square of the Spacemaster. Garlic, I planted about 9 per square, but that was tight...

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/1/2012, 10:53 am

At first glance, I'm seeing about 18-20 squares of plants. But, it seems like a lot of those are also kind of bushy (which will take a bit of space) and you may want more than one plant to produce what you want also.

I would plan in a bit more detail specifically how many plants of each you want to have going, calculate your spacing per the book, and then configure your garden and plan your materials.

Here is a great tool to help with the visual. http://www.gardeners.com/Kitchen-Garden-Planner/kgp_home,default,pg.html Click on the "design your own" tab and start dragging and dropping after you play with the dimensions. I prefer pencil, paper, and a ruler for designs that aren't easy squares and rectangles.

Good luck and keep us posted.

One more quick thing to add is the asparagus. A lot of people I know grow asparagus in a dedicated bed away from their other squares. Asparagus is more of a permanent plant, as you likely know, so they seem to like it better in it's own place. I plan to grow some in the future, and when I do, I will likely make a 1x3 or 2x3 bed of MM just for it. FYI, potatoes get the same treatment from many people, too.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Kavey on 1/1/2012, 11:51 am

I will be feeding my family of 5 and canning a lot of it im sure.
Here is what I have came up with from a guide I found that shows how much room is needed. I still got some area to fill and not sure what to put there.. suggestions?
I decided to do 8x12 with a walkway in there which I think should look nice and be functional.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 12:08 pm

To be honest, we're so used to seeing squares, that your rectangles are throwing me off. In the column on the left (east side) is each rectangle 2x2 feet?

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Kavey on 1/1/2012, 12:11 pm

Im a terrible artist. Yes the big ones for the tomatoes are 2x2 the small blocks on the right are all 1 square foot. That may make it a little easier to visualize the ones i made bigger.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 12:18 pm

Honestly, your indeterminate tomatoes only need one square each. Or, are you planting 4 in each large square?

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Kavey on 1/1/2012, 12:31 pm

I hadnt planned to but if they only need 1 square each yes I will plant 4 per square. You can never have too many tomatoes.. I just didnt want my whole garden to be tomatoes Smile

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 12:47 pm

Personal opinion: corn gives a very poor return on your investment. Your harvest will provide for a couple meals at best. Corn in season is 30¢ an ear?

Others, who are better at planning than I, will be along soon. One thing to consider, is that where possible, your tallest plants should be on the north side of the box so they don't shade your other plants.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Kavey on 1/1/2012, 1:07 pm

I am only using 4 square ft for corn so I think I will keep it just to see how it does.
I still have 6 square ft that I dont even know what to do with.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  littlejo on 1/1/2012, 2:46 pm

For a family of 5, you will need a lot of veggies, but, depends on what they will eat.

How about beets, green beans, lettuces, okra, collards, squash(zucchini or yellow), eggplant.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Goosegirl on 1/1/2012, 2:53 pm

Carrots - if you have kids you HAVE to do carrots! There is nothing like pulling those Bugs Bunny props out of the ground for a kid!

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  plantoid on 1/1/2012, 3:02 pm

@boffer wrote:To be honest, we're so used to seeing squares, that your rectangles are throwing me off. In the column on the left (east side) is each rectangle 2x2 feet?

Boffer ,
May I also ask you to qualify a bed as four foot by four foot squares divided up into 16 one foot by one foot square blocks .

The crop list looks kind of space hungry & I'd like to see how it all pans out.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 3:27 pm

@plantoid wrote:
@boffer wrote:To be honest, we're so used to seeing squares, that your rectangles are throwing me off. In the column on the left (east side) is each rectangle 2x2 feet?

Boffer ,
May I also ask you to qualify a bed as four foot by four foot squares divided up into 16 one foot by one foot square blocks ...

Nopes. I was referring to the one foot squares of the grid. Mel uses the 4x4 as a standard, economical place to start. Most of my boxes are anything but 4x4.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  ModernDayBetty on 1/1/2012, 4:49 pm

Plan to expand it next year.... you'll always want to grow more once you find out how easy it is. So leave your self room to grow.

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SFG for canning or immediate consumption

Post  tomperrin on 1/1/2012, 5:23 pm

determines the size of the garden, I think. Last year (our first year as SFG gardeners), we ate everything as it ripened and had very little left over to can or freeze. Our results from 7 squares tasted so good that this year we will double the size of the fenced garden, and add significant amounts of space for rhubarb, asparagus, corn and potatoes outside the garden walls.

I decided to plant corn even though it is not economical on the grounds that if the taste difference between organic corn and not organic corn is similar to that of organic potatoes vs inorganic potatoes, then it's no contest: home grown wins. I would like to get to the point where we can get all of our veggies out of the larder rather than the supermarket. The investment in SFG infrastructure, while not cheap, still gives us a better return on our investment than anything I've done in the stock market for the last twelve years.

I am always looking to shave costs by buying garden stuff out of season. Today, I bought bamboo stakes at Kmart at half price, and a Sterilite ornament container at Wegman's for $8.00. This I will use as a cold frame seed starter after drilling some holes for drainage. I could not build a cold frame for less.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  madnicmom on 1/1/2012, 6:18 pm

I was going to put Dill in my SFG but was told that it is so evasive, like mint, to keep it separate. Maybe consider a container for it.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Kavey on 1/1/2012, 9:28 pm

@madnicmom wrote:I was going to put Dill in my SFG but was told that it is so evasive, like mint, to keep it separate. Maybe consider a container for it.

This is the kind of suggestions I need. Keep em coming.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 9:31 pm

I can't see your picture anymore. Your link was
Code:
[img]http://lemayautocare.com/firstrun.gif[/img]
but the picture is no longer there. Help!

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Lindacol on 1/1/2012, 9:47 pm

@boffer wrote:I can't see your picture anymore. Your link was
Code:
[img]http://lemayautocare.com/firstrun.gif[/img]
but the picture is no longer there. Help!



??? I can still see it in Kavey's post. I checked & that is the same link.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 9:50 pm

thanks Linda, it seems everyone can see it but me!

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  RoOsTeR on 1/1/2012, 10:37 pm

cuckoo



Can you see that?

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Chopper on 1/1/2012, 11:01 pm

@madnicmom wrote:I was going to put Dill in my SFG but was told that it is so evasive, like mint, to keep it separate. Maybe consider a container for it.

I had no problem with dill and have planted it again this year. And it was the treat of the garden. LOVE fresh dill. An SFG is so easy to manage there is almost nothing that is too invasive. I am not even sure mint would qualify. Too easy to pull out.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  boffer on 1/1/2012, 11:07 pm

nKedrOoStEr wrote: cuckoo



Can you see that?


yep, and it's on your photobucket acct.

still can't see the original on two different puters. I was even ready to blame the cat for walking across the keyboard!



It'll have to wait till tomorrow.

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Re: How many Square Feet do I need?

Post  Unmutual on 1/2/2012, 9:48 am

(EDIT)The way I see it, you need a 16'x3' box, or you may as well just go with a 16'x4' box(or 4 4'x4' boxes, your choice). You have a lot of tall crops, and a 2 ft wide path won't cut it. I'm not sure of the size of your backyard or how much useable space you have(read: gets 8+ hours of sun a day). With the smaller boxes, you have the options of easier placement for better sunlight. With a large box, you have to be sure you get enough sun. Mel suggests a 4'x4' box for each person(with 3 for each person if you want a significant yield). I strongly suggest you start small, then increase your garden size each season as you desire. The larger the garden, the more help you will need to weed, water and tend the garden.(/EDIT)

Tall growing crops should ALWAYS be on the north edge of the box(I guess unless you live in the southern hemisphere..maybe). Those tomatoes and cucumbers are going to shade out everything else(the ones you have on the south and east edges of your box). Indeterminate tomatoes should be planted every other square(at least how they grow in my Mel's Mix, even the squares in front are dubious for planting other crops unless I prune regularly).

Since this is your first year, I will give you a few suggestions and a single command.

The command(this is non-negotiable): make your Mel's Mix properly(1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 blended compost). DO NOT SKIMP! DO NOT CHANGE THIS FORMULA! The compost should be blended from 5 different commercial products(if you can find more, that's even better). Make sure what you are using actually IS compost and not straight up manure(if it has a strong odor, it needs to set for a while or it will burn your plants...take a good wiff of each bag as you open it.). Some commercial composts have also not broken down completely(pine bark compost comes to mind here). If you can see large wood chips, or pieces of bark, then you're going to have to let that break down more too.

Thoroughly blend the Mel's Mix!

The suggestions: go to your local agcenter's website(if you're having trouble finding it, call your local extension office, they'll be more than glad to help..this is the kind of thing they are there for) and look up the varieties of veggies that work in your area along with their recommendations for planting dates and if you can start from seed. Just because a nursery sells it, doesn't mean it will actually grow.

Mel's Mix holds a LOT of water, never let it dry out. Drip irrigation works best(at least as far as I can tell).

Have an area ready for composting. After your first harvest, you'll wish you had an area for all the spent plant material(free compost is the best compost). This is also a great place to put all that compost you bought that isn't actually compost.

Put those tomato cages up before the plant needs it. Best practice is to put the cage up when you plant(this way you don't have to fight branches and you don't disturb the roots).

Always plant cucumbers from seed. They hate to have their roots disturbed.

I hope this helps.


Last edited by Unmutual on 1/2/2012, 10:00 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Forgot to comment on the actual setup...)

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