Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Post  syrah2422 on 2/25/2012, 9:54 am

Hi there, I'm new here to the forum.

We just moved to Massachusetts and sadly leaving behind our gardens in Connecticut. Our new place has no gardens so I get to start everything from scratch! We do not have a fenced yard and have quite a bit of wildlife (foxes, turkeys, hawks, birds galore, etc.). We never had to deal with any animals at our last house even though we lived in the middle of the woods due to a fenced in yard. I am thinking that possibly a raised garden with legs may help us with some of the ground animals. These will house lettuce, spinach, basil, parsley, etc. Containers which will reside on the deck will contain carrots, potatoes, tomatoes. I think I will need to have at least one garden on the ground for cucumbers, peas, beans, squash. This one I'm most concerned about protecting I also want to start with berries (I know this will be a all you can eat buffet for our neighboring animals) but I really want to grow blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I have never grown berries but would like to start them this year so we may have some possibly next year. This also means I need to find a new nursery since I'm not sure about buying these type of plants through a catalog.

I am curious if anyone was to start a garden over what you would do differently this time? Maybe type of garden (raised, container, etc), different soil mixes, placement of garden, types of animal deterrents? I would love to hear any and all advice in planning my new gardens. Thanks!
syrah2422
syrah2422

Posts : 16
Join date : 2012-02-04
Location : Bolton, MA

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Post  quiltbea on 2/25/2012, 11:33 am

Welcome from a Maine neighbor. The main difference for me would be to make raised beds only 3' wide and no more than 6' long to get around them easier and to reach into the middle with ease. The older one gets, the less stretch in the body. They would be laid out so the 6' length would be along the north side. Trellises would be on all the long North sides for things like tomatoes, peas and pole beans. I'd have all my beds a minimum 12" deep, not only for the long crops, like carrots and parsnips, but so I won't have to bend down so far. I'd also have a cold frame for early starts and to extend the season in the fall and a hoop house or two.

Of course, fencing it all in against deer and critters and having a place to sit and drink lemonade in the shade of an umbrella table and a chaise lounge for reading on a hot summer's day and a solar-operated fountain with a goldfish pond around it would make it perfect.

I know many opt for tabletops and that's a good solution against deluges of rain and critters digging in from below and deep weeds coming up and so one doesn't have to bend to plant and weed. I suggest checking out tabletops for ideas in the search feature upper left.

And of course, the Mel's Mix blend as discussed in Mel Bartholemew's book, 'All New Square Foot Gardening' which is so informative.

When you have questions, just ask. Many knowledgable gardeners here that can help you and will readily do so. We are here to help each other. Good luck.
quiltbea
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Post  walshevak on 2/25/2012, 11:59 am

New Garden 654548 The ALL NEW SQUAREFOOT GARDENING book, Mel's Mix for soil and critter control. Tabletops and wedding veil tulle have solved a lot of problems for me.

Oh, New Garden 3194053932 rocks.



Kay

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Post  syrah2422 on 2/25/2012, 10:48 pm

Thank you for the Welcome!

I had started my last garden before I had heard about SFG and I loved the idea. I have never made the MM so this will be our first try at it. I'm very excited to see the difference in our veggies this year. I did start to divide my garden into squares. This worked great with my children so they have their own squares to tend to and not bother with mine or each others.

Oh, I forgot about the deers and I have a feeling there are probably bears. This should be an interesting summer.

I am concerned about being able to compost so I started a kitchen composter using the Bokashi composting method. I'm hoping it will be successful so we can continue to benefit from compost.

I like the table top idea, thanks! That will also give me the opportunity to move things around as I get more familiar with our yard and animal neighbors.

I was thinking about 3 foot gardens instead of 4. I like looking around Gardeners Supply website for ideas and most of the raised garden kits seem to be in 3 foot increments.

An umbrella and lounge sounds wonderful, I definitely like that idea!
syrah2422
syrah2422

Posts : 16
Join date : 2012-02-04
Location : Bolton, MA

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Post  dvelten on 2/26/2012, 10:55 pm

Welcome to Bolton! I think you will enjoy living and gardening in our beautiful town. I don't think you have to fear the wildlife (no bears reported, but we never let our miniature poodle out by himself for fear he would be a meal for the coyotes).

Some local organizations you may want to know about:

Bolton Local
Bolton Garden Club
Bolton Community Garden (where I have my SFG)

For plants I shop at:

Applefield Farms on rte 117 Stow
Bolton Orchards
Lancaster Gardens (rte 110, Five Corners, Lancaster)
Fiske Garden Center in Sterling (recommended to me, plan to visit it this year)

I never had trouble with strawberries and raspberries. If you plan to grow blueberries, you should build a structure around them to support bird netting or you will not get even one ripe berry off them. There are plenty of pick-your-own places around so I don't bother trying to grow my own berries any more.

--Dave

dvelten
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http://davessfggarden.blogspot.com

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Post  syrah2422 on 3/8/2012, 5:44 am

Dave, Thank you for all the information, it was exactly what I was looking for to get started!

I think it might be a bit late but hoping to get indoor seeds started this week.
syrah2422
syrah2422

Posts : 16
Join date : 2012-02-04
Location : Bolton, MA

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Post  dvelten on 3/8/2012, 6:37 am

It is not at all late to start seeds. I recently posted my planting schedule on my blog here. I start next week with kale and collards, then lettuces and broccoli and eggplant, and finally tomatoes and peppers.
dvelten
dvelten

Certified SFG Instructor

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Location : Bolton, MA Zone 6a

http://davessfggarden.blogspot.com

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Post  quiltbea on 3/8/2012, 10:23 am

Never worry if you are starting indoors 2-3 weeks late. The plants won't mind being put out in a garden with nice warm soil. You don't HAVE to have transplants in the ground on exactly the frost-free date or a week beyond. Any plants put in a bit late will easily catch up with the early ones that have to contend with the cooler soil anyway. Its the earlier ones that suffer most, not the little bit later ones.

I have some cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower started and a few greens, but will probably start today a new purple cauliflower I got from the exchange. Sounds interesting.

So start some seeds!
quiltbea
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Post  syrah2422 on 3/30/2012, 8:15 pm

Seeds have been planted. Hoping to get a salad table built in the next few weeks. The broccoli started growing really fast!!

I'm having trouble finding vermiculite and compost. I have cow compost so far and that is all I can find so far.

syrah2422
syrah2422

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Location : Bolton, MA

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Post  dvelten on 3/30/2012, 9:28 pm

Agway in Lancaster has vermiculite in 4 cu. ft. bags, but it is horticultural grade (finer than Mel recommends, but it is what I used). You have to ask at the check out counter, it isn't on display. They also have some interesting kinds of compost from Maine made from things like blueberries, mussel and lobster shells.
dvelten
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Post  BackRiver_SFG on 3/31/2012, 8:27 am

New Garden 396615 to Mass. I'm over in Weymouth. Im a 3rd year SFGer. My dad always had huge gardens in the ground growing up, but the soil quality is very different here. The soil in my yard is so hard and riddled with big rocks, Square Foot Gardening was the simple answer!
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Post  syrah2422 on 4/21/2012, 11:03 am

Thanks for the welcome!

Wow, it's very difficult to find compost around here.
syrah2422
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Post  camprn on 4/21/2012, 11:15 am

@syrah2422 wrote:Thanks for the welcome!

Wow, it's very difficult to find compost around here.
Hit up the local dairy and horse farms. I bet there are folks around that raise goats and llamas too. The Quoddy bland lobster compost is fabulous!! Stay away from the municipal compost for your vegetable beds... Wink

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