Square Foot Gardening?

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  • Thu, Aug 27, 2009 - 03:22pm

    #31
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Square Foot Gardening?

My kids are trying new veggies too that they pick for themselves, that they wouldn’t eat otherwise.

More thoughts…

Carrots, radishes:  I’ve found easiest for me is plant 16 seeds per square foot (4 x 4), being careful to do just one seed per spot so I don’t have to thin later.  Pelletized carrot seeds may be worth the slight extra cost for the ease of effort compared to handling tiny carrot seeds.  Napoli carrots from Johnnysseeds.com do great for me in cooler New England weather.

Beets: One seed is actually a cluster that becomes several seedlings.  I periodically thin the greens for salads, ending up with one plant per sot for root crop.

Onions:  I thinned these earlier in the summer and on a whim stuck the thinnings in an open raised bed; it worked, these all grew into onions too!

Mulch/weed prevention:  past gardens have been total weed disasters.  I used to use hay for mulch but it seems to just contribute more weed seeds.  I’ve had good luck using very well composted soil on top with minimal weed production, and the weeds that do sprout are easy to pull out.  I put down a few layers of newspapers on some raised beds and that worked well too.  Also, the SFG method of organization helps you tell your veggie plants from the weeds.  A little bit a daily maintenance is more fun than catching up on weeding once per month.

Chard, spinach, lettuce, parsely etc.:  I just clip the largest leaves nightly as desired for salads and fresh new leaved grow back quickly.  Let the garden bed be your storage spot, not the refridgerator and not the supermarket.

Time constraints?  Since my available time window is often after dark, a high power LED headlamp is very useful to get gardening chores done.  Nicer way to spend your evening anyway than in front of a computer or TV.

Tom

  • Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - 05:51pm

    #32
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    dogs/cat sfg

Latest from Dogs and Cat square foot garden…

If anyone knows what was eating my sweet potatoes, I would love to know. Thank you.

Cat

More of our square foot garden at this link, just go to the SFG set on the right.  Yes, that is actually Dogs working! …http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ 

 

  • Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - 05:57pm

    #33
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    Re: Square Foot Gardening?

Don’t know about what ‘was’ eating the sweet potatoes, but I ‘will’ be eating them.

  • Thu, Oct 08, 2009 - 07:52pm

    #34
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    Re: Square Foot Gardening?

 Cat ,    How deep of a raised bed did you put the sweetpotato in ?   I am exhausted trying to dig mine out of the regular garden . The ground is packed so tight .   And they spread every which way . 

  • Thu, Oct 08, 2009 - 08:23pm

    #35
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    sweet potatoes

Full Moon,

Those came from a 10′ x 2′ x 1′ box. With approximately 11″ of dirt. They popped right out and so did some dirt, which ended up on me… I was covered, but they did come right out with little effort. Amazing how those vines do grow every which way, into and through everything… You can see mine trying to creep out of the box.

BTW, cowgap figured out what was munching on my potatoes, June Bugs.

Pictures of the sweet potatoes.

Cat

 

  • Thu, Oct 08, 2009 - 08:43pm

    #36
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    Going Vertical

I posted this in another thread, but it really fits better here: 

 

Minigardens for Going Vertical in a Square Foot Gardening  (October 8, 2009 post)

 

 

  • Sat, Oct 10, 2009 - 02:07am

    #37
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    Last Call . . .

[quote=Cloudfire]

I posted this in another thread, but it really fits better here: 

 

Minigardens for Going Vertical in a Square Foot Gardening  (October 8, 2009 post)

 [/quote]

 

October 9th, 2009, Update:  Went over to S&H today . . . It’s their final weekend . . . I picked up five units, of three tiers each, of the Minigardens, in the hunter green.  They’ll work perfectly in my greenhouse.  The great news is that now they’re down to seventeen bucks and change . . . a 70% discount.  The sale runs through the weekend, then it’s lights out, forever . . . They also had some 4×4 raised bed garden kits, many arbors and trellises, and a wide variety of teak and wrought iron furniture, all for 60% off.  There were a variety of loose cedar shelves, formerly used for displays, that would make very fine greenhouse shelves.  Also, some cedar “crates” with heavy sieve bottoms, that would be perfect for drying herbs and veggies, for $15 each . . . I was tempted, but they’ll have to come down a bit to get the carpenter’s wife to bite . . . . I picked up two chest- and knee-high, very high-quality step-ladders, which they used to stock shelves, for $40, and $10, respectively.  There were solid teak window boxes, and a wide variety of copper and terra cotta pots and planters.  Plenty of hand tools, too . . . And, of course, all of the usual artsy-fartsy stuff . . . . .

 

 

  • Mon, Feb 08, 2010 - 03:17pm

    #38
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    Productive food yield from Square Foot Gardening?

I recently bought Mel Bartholomew’s new SFG book, and I plan on trying this in the spring.  I am thinking of building a 4’x16′ raised bed SFG (with internal dividing boards ever 4′), and I am trying to gage what % of my total food diet this could provide, assuming that there are 3 growing seasons  (spring, summer, fall).  

I wonder if I could take a survey of those of you who have been doing the SFG method for a while now—can you tell me what your total yield of food was for your garden and the square-foot size of your SFG?  

 Many thanks

  • Mon, Feb 08, 2010 - 04:11pm

    #39
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    Re: Productive food yield from Square Foot Gardening?

There are so many factors to yield per square foot:  the type of vegetable, length of season, how much you rotate crops, how much you let areas rest etc. For this year, I’d build as much as you can handle and experiment with the veggies you like.  You can meet much of your leafy green/orange/vitamin nutrition needs with your 32 SF, especially with continuous harvesting of things like spinach leaves, and with much higher quality than typical supermarket produce, but it will likely be only be a small fraction of your total diet in calories.

Couple examples I can remember from my experiments in 2009:

Potatoes in a 4’x10′ raised bed produced about 10-15 pounds of potatoes; I plant1 row seeded every 1′ or 1.5′, can’t remember .  Better off probably just doing potatoes in a field.  I got another 120 pounds or so from 3 x 40′ rows. 

Onions:  two 3’x3′ (18 SF total) beds produced enough onions to get me through the winter thus far with a box or too still left in the basement.

Cucumbers:  8 or 10 plants at 1/SF in rich soil gave us all the cucumbers we could eat during the growing season.

Carrots:  a 4′ x 6′ bed gave us all the carrots we could eat, planted 16 seeds per SF, during the growing season and depending if I could remember to keep sucessively planting.  I needed to plant much more though to store enough for the winter the way my kids eat them.

I have about 420 SF of raised beds right now, plus fields tilled for things like corn, potatoes, squash.  I didn’t use any of the vermiculite Mel recommends except in a couple beds; way too expensive at my scale, but veggies still did very well as long as there was good compost.

Good luck!
Tom

 

  • Mon, Feb 08, 2010 - 04:51pm

    #40
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    Re: Square Foot Gardening?

crash –

We are in our first year of serious SFG and we took the approach that it was going to be a proof of concept.

We have 6 4′ x 4′ beds (lemon cukes, zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, Anaheim peppers, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, hot and sweet banana peppers, wonderberries, purple beauty beans and green beans), 2 2′ x 10′ beds (sweet potatoes, green bell peppers, swiss chard, jalapenos, black and white currants) and a handful of 2′ x 2′ herb beds (if it is an herb Cat planted it).  We lost most of our zucchini to squash bugs – but know what to look for this year.  We also successfully battled septoria and early blight on our tomatoes.  The cukes had some kind of rust/blight and we didn’t have a great yield.

Cabbage loopers also caused trouble but hitting those bat rastards with bacillus thuracide (BT) every now and then kept them in check.

In short, we didn’t buy lettuce, tomatoes or peppers all summer and if it weren’t for the Nor’easter we would have been picking green peppers into November.

We rolled the beds into a fall winter garden and have been harvesting mustard greens, bok choy and carrots since November.  We could have a salad of mustard greens and bok choy every couple of days – I like the very strong taste of the mustard.  Even after our hard freeze (getting to freezing in SE Virginia is considered a hard freeze) we only lost a couple of broccoli plants.

Like Tom said, a lot depends on what you are going to grow and where you live.  We have a 24-26 week summer growing season here in SE Va and with the right plantings can grow the hardier, green leafies all winter.  If your goal is to make your first year’s effort a learning experience then you can’t go wrong.

Someone told us that our first year was going to be an experiment and we had to accept the fact that sometimes your experiment gets eaten by something other than you.

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