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Teaberry

Does anyone here do square foot gardening?

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We are not sure if square foot gardening will yield enough produce to feed our family if our country enters a depression, but we're hoping that it will. It saves space and since we don't have a lot, we've got to make it work somehow.

 

The trick is in the planning. You want to be able to rotate your food families, so that a single box doesn't become a haven for insect pests or other messies. You don't want to mix lots of vegetable families inside one box or it makes rotating hard.

 

Also, and this is important - be careful with summer vegetables to plant veggies of similar height together. Otherwise, you'll have shading problems come up as the taller plants grow. Be careful to plant shorter types of flowers. We have super rich soil in our boxes and my flowers shot up like Paul Bunyans! :)

 

One more thing: If you live in the South, don't do everything the way Mel Bartholomew says to in his book. He says you can plant tomatoes a foot apart. Maybe if you live up north you can, but down here our plants grow tall fast and our growing season is longer. Our tomatoes got wilt.

 

I'm in the process of trying to plan my boxes so that I can rotate vegetable families. I think it will take a lot of boxes if we're going to have enough for canning. That's a ton of wood that we can't afford, so we may just outline a 4 foot by 8 foot patch of ground and lay string across to make grids.

 

The best thing about square foot gardening is that weeding is no big deal. :) I like the organized look of everything. It fools me into thinking I'm organized. :lol:

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be sure to post pictures

soon as it gets dry enough, my husband is going to cut some planks to make raised beds in my garden. We made a garden out of our money sucking swimming pool. My problem this first year with it was, well, rain. Although i made sure i made holes in the pool floor, it still held water. It turned the pool into a giant quicksand trap. This summer we've added more dirt and you can now walk on most of it when its wet. Over the comming winter i plan to keep adding dirt and planting everything in organized raised beds. It didnt rain early spring, so i had lovingly planted everything i wanted to try. After that, it rained, and rained. Killed most everything i planted and kept me from planting more....

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we do our version of square foot gardening at home--i built the boxes--16 of them--and did the soil the way he says inthe book--i love it!!! i put chicken wire under mine because of the gopher problem that we have had for several years and it worked great!! it also helped us keep the veggies from being in our water logged soil--because of the long growing season down here in the south i planted the boxes over a month and a half--that way it was not all ready at once--it made it really nice to stagger the harvest out over a period of time--

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That's a ton of wood that we can't afford, so we may just outline a 4 foot by 8 foot patch of ground and lay string across to make grids.

 

Teaberry, for so many reasons, using the soil mix is one of the most important ingredients of a good SFG. Even if you add ammendments to the soil (you can over ammend soil and have it back fire on you), you will not be able to create the same environment. If you are not going to use raised beds and the mix, you may want to reconsider row planting for those items that are not in raised beds. Doing SFG without raised beds and the soil mix has provided less than desireable results for so many people - me being one of them. Even after reading many times not to do it, I thought I could beat the system and be the one to prove it wrong. I did part of my garden that way, and got the same bad result that others before me had.

 

Another thought.....watch craigslist or post a wanted ad on there for the wood. There are many people that have a couple extra after a project and are willing to sell them dirt cheap or just give them to you. Another option would be to use something else until the time was right to get the rest of the wood. Bricks, pavers, broken concrete pieces - they all can make good edging.

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Cowgirl, what a rough experience. :( I'm sorry you went through that. I can imagine! I'm finding that no matter hard many books I read on gardening, it is through hard-won experience that I learn the most. We gardeners are all in this together! :)

 

Deerslayer, your succession gardening plan is great! I hope you don't mind if I pepper you with questions. Are you rotating plant families amongst your 16 boxes? What size are your boxes? If you're rotating and have a plan, I'd love to see how you're organizing it.

 

Would sixteen boxes provide enough food to provide enough for canning, I wonder?

 

Farmgirl, I know from experience that you are so right. Our first garden attempt was row gardening. We amended our soil and it was really hard to get much to work out okay. When we put in the square foot boxes, we actually purchased a 50/50 mix of topsoil and compost from a landscape place a few miles out in the country. The plants took off like jackrabbits! My flowers got as tall as 3.5 feet!

 

Your idea to use blocks is a good one because that material won't degrade over time the same way that wood will.

 

How high are all of you making the sides of your boxes? I know someone who made hers at least 16" high and she doesn't have to stoop over as much when she gardens. I wish I could do that. No mon, no fun. :P

 

 

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I am doing square foot gardening this year too! My first time and I've followed Mel's book pretty much exactly EXCEPT for location. One thing I have now learned (already) is that my in-ground boxes aren't getting nearly enough sunlight. I built 2 2x2 boxes that have my herbs, and built a 2x4 bench to set them on. I have a 4x4, and 2 3x3's in the ground. My beans are doing ok, and the sugar snaps seem alright, but nothing else looks good. Radishes didn't produce radishes either. I'm planning on building 2 more 2x4 bench-style beds and will shovel that good dirt into those, and replant. At least they will be move-able, and I can place them wherever needed. The herb boxes are in sun all day and seem to be doing much better. Gotta love his soil mix, I just love running my hands thru it.

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as with most - we do 'some' square foot gardening in our raised beds.

it is a good way of getting lots of 'food' out of a small area.

 

Love to see some photo's of wht you have. ;)

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http://mrssurvival.com/forums/index.php?sh...mp;#entry300865

 

Here is what we use for our garden. And last summer I got 46 pints of green beans, 60 quarts of tomato sauce, a bushel of onions, a bushel of potatoes, 40 pints of dill and bread and butter pickles, 6 quarts of frozen swiss chard, a whole summer's worth of lettuce, radishes for ever meal, a half bushel of green peppers and jalopeno pepers, and a pint of strawberries. Oh and a huge amount of zucchini! This year I am using the topsy turvy planters for the tomatoes so I can grow wheat and corn in the beds in the back. We grew enough food to feed my family and my brother and Dad's family. Yes you can grow enough, BUT I strongly suggest if you don't have a good fertilizer source that you invest in a pet rabbit. I got one last summer just for the "poop" and he has paid for the cost of his up keep. I am now gathering foods from my yard to dry to feed him this winter which will save us even more money on his upkeep. Also remember when planting in containers and beds you need to water more. Also plant up, not accross. Plant pole beans, plant tomatoes in cages or topsy turvy's, lettuce will grow in anything so grab any old container and plant them there. We added a new garden this summer for the kids, made out of their old kiddy pool that was cracked by ice last winter. It was a bigger one so we're planting mini pumpkins, a cherry tomato, carrots, green beans, and peas in it. All will be caged or string lined so they go up and the pumpkins will be used as mulch to keep the other plants cool and moist. But all the tenticles will be led to safe places to hold on so they don't strangle the other plants. OH and don't let anyone tell you it can't be planted in a container. I haven't found anything you can't grow in them including sweet corn. You just have try and see how it goes. Just have fun.

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Well, here it is mid-June, and so far, my sfg is not doing well at all. I had 2 2x2 herb boxes and found that one was being taken over by ants. I used the mix precisely as the book says and most of my herbs never grew, and dried up. The owner of the nursery I took several "samples" to says they weren't getting enough water. I watered every other day, then every day when it got warmer...........I ripped out the herbs and emptied the boxes (saving the soil, gosh I spent alot on it). I was able to save about 3 herbs to see if they will do in plastic containers. I also began fertilziing (even tho the book says you don't have to - seems like everything liked the liquid fert i gave them). I have several topsy turvies and lots of containers. Once I moved the cucumber, squash and zuchinni out into full sun, they seem like they are maybe now starting to grow. I have only one tomato on a vine so far. I am noticing ants are crawling around everywhere, and the nursery guy said I do not have an aphid problem. I also have quite a bit of those little gray mushrooms growing in the topsy turvy's and some of my containers. Anybody know a good organic way to help with ants and mushrooms? I'm in the NE Texas area, so it's been humid and hot here.........so frustrating as I was hoping to get at least some food this year.

 

I am planning on building a new 4x4 box, above ground and deeper than 6". Maybe use 2x10's and use the soil deeper, with a deep mulch. I'll start over and try again for fall crops. I just need to get the ants solved - i've got some "cutter brand" spray and will use that on the deck and patio lightly, but I have tons of birds that visit the yard, and several toads that I don't want to harm. I don't want to give up on the SFG method either so try, try again!

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Some people swear by white grits to get rid of ants. I've also tried cinnamon and finely ground pepper, which sometimes work.

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Ahh, I didn't even think of grits. Will that hurt birds at all? I have tons of birds (plenty of birdfeeders!)

 

I am trying to upload some pics too........got one to go, but getting internal server errors on the others. Will keep trying tho!!

post-5042-1276308196_thumb.jpg

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Well, here it is mid-June, and so far, my sfg is not doing well at all. I had 2 2x2 herb boxes and found that one was being taken over by ants. I used the mix precisely as the book says and most of my herbs never grew, and dried up. The owner of the nursery I took several "samples" to says they weren't getting enough water. I watered every other day, then every day when it got warmer...........I ripped out the herbs and emptied the boxes (saving the soil, gosh I spent alot on it). I was able to save about 3 herbs to see if they will do in plastic containers. I also began fertilziing (even tho the book says you don't have to - seems like everything liked the liquid fert i gave them). I have several topsy turvies and lots of containers. Once I moved the cucumber, squash and zuchinni out into full sun, they seem like they are maybe now starting to grow. I have only one tomato on a vine so far. I am noticing ants are crawling around everywhere, and the nursery guy said I do not have an aphid problem. I also have quite a bit of those little gray mushrooms growing in the topsy turvy's and some of my containers. Anybody know a good organic way to help with ants and mushrooms? I'm in the NE Texas area, so it's been humid and hot here.........so frustrating as I was hoping to get at least some food this year.

 

I am planning on building a new 4x4 box, above ground and deeper than 6". Maybe use 2x10's and use the soil deeper, with a deep mulch. I'll start over and try again for fall crops. I just need to get the ants solved - i've got some "cutter brand" spray and will use that on the deck and patio lightly, but I have tons of birds that visit the yard, and several toads that I don't want to harm. I don't want to give up on the SFG method either so try, try again!

 

 

www.dirtdoctor.com

 

great info on organic growing in texas. for fire ants, i use compost tea full strength. usually one application sends them on their way. however, full strength is too strong for plants, as i understand it. we got the small ants in our compost pile last year. one of the dirt doctor's books said ants in the compost meant it was too dry, mold meant it was too wet. perhaps your plants weren't getting enough water. that's just a guess, as i am less than a beginner!! lol ...

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My oldest daughter recently bought this book and was telling me about it. I think we are both going to try it, if I can get the right amount of soil and such. I have 2 5x5' raised beds already and am thinking of other things to use as well. Hubby wants some grass in the back yard, which really isn't that big, but I want to stuff as much vegetables back there as I can! We can have grass in the walk-ways right? wink%20(2).gif I had a horrible time with the green worms last fall, I got so tired dealing with them that I kind of gave up. I really don't want to do that this time, but I don't like pesticides. I have heard of something like BTH that can still be considered organic so I will look into that.

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What kind of green worms were you dealing with? Sometimes there are natural ways of dealing with them. In my case, we get a lot of BIG, GIANT, slugs. They are so nasty and about 3 inches long...some are even longer. For them, I have found that leaving dishes of beer out in the garden keep them under control. The drink the beer, become drunk and drown in the beer because they can't find their way out.

 

There may be a natural solution to your problem, too.

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TMC, my favorite slug control is to lay down a board. Pick it up a day later, and let the chickens eat the slugs clinging to the bottom side.

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be sure to post pictures

soon as it gets dry enough, my husband is going to cut some planks to make raised beds in my garden. We made a garden out of our money sucking swimming pool. My problem this first year with it was, well, rain. Although i made sure i made holes in the pool floor, it still held water. It turned the pool into a giant quicksand trap. This summer we've added more dirt and you can now walk on most of it when its wet. Over the comming winter i plan to keep adding dirt and planting everything in organized raised beds. It didnt rain early spring, so i had lovingly planted everything i wanted to try. After that, it rained, and rained. Killed most everything i planted and kept me from planting more....

Why nt use it to farm catfish or tilapia?

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We put in four 4x4 squares, in late March. Hubby put small pvc-type pipes cross-ways over the tops and when it was to get cold or frosty, we draped clear plastic over the beds. Every thing came up and was growing life crazy. THEN...suddenly the red onions started going south. Then the tomatoes started wilting. Then we started watering ALOT more and the tomatoes perked back up. The bush beans didn't produce like I expected. The "lady fingure" squash hasn't produced as I expected. The bell peppers haven't produced as I expected. The heirloom corn was the pits, and the hybrid corn caught up with it! The carrots did great, the radishes did great, the yellow neck squash went crazy and I've had to use my special "veggie soap" to keep the squash bugs off it and the other winter squash that's coming on. Not sure if we've worked any less...??? Next year we're making some changes to where we position the produce. We tried to keep low growers on one side of the beds and tall growers (like corn etc.) at the backs. We love not having to weed etc. Next spring, we're planning to put in 4 more 4x4's but maybe deeper and putting corn etc. in them so they can draw from more Mel's Mix. Anyway...for the most part, we figure it's a combination of our inexperience with sfg, draught, and thinking heirlooms would produce more than hybrids. I don't want to dry & preserve my own seeds. I'd rather just vacume seal tons of them and store them in my freezer. Anyway, just couldn't resist posting about our square foot gardening experience. Oh, still not sure how our buckets of potatoes are going to turn out. Chalking lots up to experience!:wave:

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We are not sure if square foot gardening will yield enough produce to feed our family if our country enters a depression, but we're hoping that it will. It saves space and since we don't have a lot, we've got to make it work somehow.

 

The trick is in the planning. You want to be able to rotate your food families, so that a single box doesn't become a haven for insect pests or other messies. You don't want to mix lots of vegetable families inside one box or it makes rotating hard.

 

Also, and this is important - be careful with summer vegetables to plant veggies of similar height together. Otherwise, you'll have shading problems come up as the taller plants grow. Be careful to plant shorter types of flowers. We have super rich soil in our boxes and my flowers shot up like Paul Bunyans! smile.gif

 

One more thing: If you live in the South, don't do everything the way Mel Bartholomew says to in his book. He says you can plant tomatoes a foot apart. Maybe if you live up north you can, but down here our plants grow tall fast and our growing season is longer. Our tomatoes got wilt.

 

I'm in the process of trying to plan my boxes so that I can rotate vegetable families. I think it will take a lot of boxes if we're going to have enough for canning. That's a ton of wood that we can't afford, so we may just outline a 4 foot by 8 foot patch of ground and lay string across to make grids.

 

The best thing about square foot gardening is that weeding is no big deal. smile.gif I like the organized look of everything. It fools me into thinking I'm organized. laugh.gif

 

Just got home from our SQFG...and here it is, almost the last day of August, and here 's a pic of another batch of summer squash, some early green tomatoes (I want to make a green tomato, corn & lady finger eggplant (didn't pick it yet...want it a bit longer) salsa that I put over pasta) and some bell peppers. Again, I like them early before they develop alot of seeds etc. Yum, yum! We've still got green tomatoes & yellow squash coming out our ears...in yes, our SQFG. As mentioned in another post, we'll probably put in another 4 boxes of 1x1's.

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Been harvesting from SQFT garden for about 2 weeks or so, but tonight we picked our first ears of corn & our first zucchini along with more of our pole beans. The corn & beans are in my stock pot cooking now, and we'll have them along with the left over swiss chard salad & some pulled pork that's been hiding in my frig in a vacume sealed bag! Thought I'd share a pic...

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Nice Philbe. Things are really slow in my garden this year....I think its because the nights are cooling down too much.

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Well, here it is mid-June, and so far, my sfg is not doing well at all. I had 2 2x2 herb boxes and found that one was being taken over by ants. I used the mix precisely as the book says and most of my herbs never grew, and dried up. The owner of the nursery I took several "samples" to says they weren't getting enough water. I watered every other day, then every day when it got warmer...........I ripped out the herbs and emptied the boxes (saving the soil, gosh I spent alot on it). I was able to save about 3 herbs to see if they will do in plastic containers. I also began fertilziing (even tho the book says you don't have to - seems like everything liked the liquid fert i gave them). I have several topsy turvies and lots of containers. Once I moved the cucumber, squash and zuchinni out into full sun, they seem like they are maybe now starting to grow. I have only one tomato on a vine so far. I am noticing ants are crawling around everywhere, and the nursery guy said I do not have an aphid problem. I also have quite a bit of those little gray mushrooms growing in the topsy turvy's and some of my containers. Anybody know a good organic way to help with ants and mushrooms? I'm in the NE Texas area, so it's been humid and hot here.........so frustrating as I was hoping to get at least some food this year.

 

I am planning on building a new 4x4 box, above ground and deeper than 6". Maybe use 2x10's and use the soil deeper, with a deep mulch. I'll start over and try again for fall crops. I just need to get the ants solved - i've got some "cutter brand" spray and will use that on the deck and patio lightly, but I have tons of birds that visit the yard, and several toads that I don't want to harm. I don't want to give up on the SFG method either so try, try again!

 

Neem Oil, Dietrimet??? Earth (DE) are a must...

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We are not sure if square foot gardening will yield enough produce to feed our family if our country enters a depression, but we're hoping that it will. It saves space and since we don't have a lot, we've got to make it work somehow.

 

The trick is in the planning. You want to be able to rotate your food families, so that a single box doesn't become a haven for insect pests or other messies. You don't want to mix lots of vegetable families inside one box or it makes rotating hard.

 

Also, and this is important - be careful with summer vegetables to plant veggies of similar height together. Otherwise, you'll have shading problems come up as the taller plants grow. Be careful to plant shorter types of flowers. We have super rich soil in our boxes and my flowers shot up like Paul Bunyans! smile.gif

 

One more thing: If you live in the South, don't do everything the way Mel Bartholomew says to in his book. He says you can plant tomatoes a foot apart. Maybe if you live up north you can, but down here our plants grow tall fast and our growing season is longer. Our tomatoes got wilt.

 

I'm in the process of trying to plan my boxes so that I can rotate vegetable families. I think it will take a lot of boxes if we're going to have enough for canning. That's a ton of wood that we can't afford, so we may just outline a 4 foot by 8 foot patch of ground and lay string across to make grids.

 

The best thing about square foot gardening is that weeding is no big deal. smile.gif I like the organized look of everything. It fools me into thinking I'm organized. laugh.gif

 

Other than my two 3x8 squares for my corn, we strictly adhere to the 4x4 squares, and this year we went ahead and dug them down 4 more inches below the land line, and laid down new weed matting. We water from the base of the plants nearly 90% of the time. Our potatoes (12 buckets) are in round buckets, with 4 seed potatoes per bucket, and then we hang them on my "potato rack" until they get too heavy. Then we set them on the ground. For my corn, when it starts getting about 3 foot, we "weave" cotton twine throughout them to give them some additional support in case of winds etc. My berry bushes are on my back fence line and NOT in Mels Mix. Next year we plan to put in the mulch (from Back To Eden Gardening) around the berry bushes, in between the gardening squares (no mowing) and then I want to put in some bigger patches to grow melons etc. One of the things that's worked great for us, is we located our squares length facing south. We plant the "high growers" on the back 1x1's (tomatoes, squash, pole beans, zucchini etc.) then the the middle squares get radishes, bush beans, okra, cabbage, egg plant etc. and the front (outside south) row gets lettuce, swiss chard, spinach etc. I have one 4x4 strictly for herbs, and it's on the west end of all so they benefit from a little shade. My potato rack faces lengthwise north to south so the buckets get the sun pretty much from all directions.

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Ahh, I didn't even think of grits. Will that hurt birds at all? I have tons of birds (plenty of birdfeeders!)

 

I am trying to upload some pics too........got one to go, but getting internal server errors on the others. Will keep trying tho!!

 

Just curious...from the looks of your wood, you're using two 2x4's (?) This would indicate that you're sides are 8" deep? And your Mels Mix doesn't come to the absolute top...it must. Then, only upon observance of the pic, you have one side (lengthwise) totally blocked from son by a panel?

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Hey Philbe , not sure if you noticed but this post started back a few years ago. Tx_woman hasn't been on the site since 2010... unless she's coming on anonymously. You might not get an answer.....

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