Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Post  vmeijer on 4/1/2012, 9:26 pm

Hello,
I am actually not even a "virgin gardener" yet. I am praying that my thumb is green enough to be able to create a garden that will feed my family. I am so sick of trusting markets with their produce, etc. I want to become a self-sustainer (I'll try hard).

I have to start with the basics, as I know NOTHING about gardening, let alone growing food for myself. But I am excited and want to start now, RIGHT NOW! So any advice is absolutely welcome. I don't know where to start - I was thinking lettuces... Very Happy
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Post  camprn on 4/1/2012, 9:35 pm

Forget the lettuce for a minute, run right out and get yourself a copy of the All New Square Foot Gardening book (2006). ok, now you can think about lettuce.

Oh yeah, Virgin Gardener 396615 to the Forum!!

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Post  vmeijer on 4/1/2012, 9:38 pm

Haha! Ok! Thanks!
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 4/1/2012, 9:50 pm

@camprn wrote:Forget the lettuce for a minute, run right out and get yourself a copy of the All New Square Foot Gardening book (2006). ok, now you can think about lettuce.

Oh yeah, Virgin Gardener 396615 to the Forum!!

+1 okay
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Post  CCgirl75 on 4/1/2012, 9:58 pm

Good advise! Get that book! And being a virgin might be the best thing you could ask for! Rolling Eyes You won't have all the 'wrong' information and can start fresh with all the 'right' ways to do things.

Welcome!
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Post  RoOsTeR on 4/1/2012, 10:04 pm

welcome vmeijer. You've gotten some great advice already! The book and the method was designed for beginning gardeners just like you. We've got some great folks here to help you along the way to Virgin Gardener 3170584802

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Post  GWN on 4/1/2012, 11:00 pm

Hi there Vmeijer
SO great to see people like you deciding that growing your own vegetables is a good options for your family.
The thing you really need to know about gardening before you delve TOOO far in......is.... that it is ADDICTIVE.......
You will fall in love with it....
And you will not be able to stop with lettuce, soon it will be spinach, and eventually tomatoes and peppers,
you will look back and wonder what happened to you.. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
Welcome to gardening cheers
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Post  Chopper on 4/1/2012, 11:38 pm

welcome. In the Southern California Regional Forum I post "what to plant" every month. We can plant something every month so you do not have to hurry! I do not know how much ocean influence you have but we are coming to the end of the spring veggies, which include lettuces. That said, if it doesn't get crazy hot you may be able to get away with it.

It is as much fun as you are anticipating and you have the added advantage of not spending years doing it the hard way first!
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Post  AvaDGardner on 4/2/2012, 2:10 am

Hello from the OC!

Find your sunny spot...get your boxes...get them filled...start your seeds or put in plants (seeds are really cool to watch grow and you know the health of the plant) and enjoy! Mel will walk you through it all.

My lettuces are doing great. The Home Depot social media guy (whom I also know) was surprised to see I had lettuces, because he grows his only through November. He says where he lives is cooler than where my garden is (and only a 4 miles away), so I guess he's never tried it.

Mine are in sun now, but will be in shade when the taller things (like tomatoes & corn) come up. I'm hoping I can get away with that shade idea for my salad greens!

And a cool summer?!?
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Post  shannon1 on 4/2/2012, 2:29 am

@camprn wrote:Forget the lettuce for a minute, run right out and get yourself a copy of the All New Square Foot Gardening book (2006). ok, now you can think about lettuce.

Oh yeah, Virgin Gardener 396615 to the Forum!!
Virgin Gardener 654548 I agree the ANSFG book is the place to start and you can check your local library to see if you can check out a copy there.
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Post  vmeijer on 4/3/2012, 2:28 am

Thank you all for welcoming me and giving me your advice! I will get the book ASAP, but I got so excited about starting that I went to various "plant places" and purchased what I could with my sweet but "wanty" 3yr old in tow! I purchased small vegetable, fruit and herb plants and some seeds. I've been mulling over whether I should plant all in containers or raised beds or WHAT!?! I am also going to figure out how to navigate around this site and find out who knows what, etc. I feel really happy to have found this site and all you wonderful people! Thank you so much!!! I love you
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 4/3/2012, 10:09 am

It sounds like you do have an excited little person there, and maybe an excited big one too! Smile

In SFG - we put plants in Mel's Mix (MM) - 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 fluffed peat, and 1/3 blended compost (from at least 5 sources). Plant spacing is important in that large plants require a square foot or more while smaller plants can be grouped several to a square foot.

I think many of us have a combination of containers, raised beds, and beds placed on the ground, but most are filled with Mel's Mix.

Chopper can definitely help you with what to plant when in your area...

Do you already have containers? Look at the type plant you purchased... Look for the "thin to" or "spacing" recommendations...

If the thin to is 12" - it's 1 per square foot (broccoli, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes)
If it's 6" - it's 4 per square foot (leaf lettuce, chard, marigold)
If it's 4" - it's 9 per square foot (bush bean, spinach, beet)
If it's 3" - it's 16 per square foot (carrot, radish, onion)

This should give you a guide as to how to plant what you have.... Bigger plants like melons and squash sometimes require more than 1 square foot - and some folks do put them in their own containers so that they have more room to bush or vine out...

BTW - this is straight out of the book...there are so many useful charts and diagrams in the book...it'll make everything easier...

You mention fruit - there are some separate threads about things like strawberries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, dwarf fruit trees, etc. A lot of members put those in separate areas or pots. Use the search feature in the upper left of the page to search for specific topics.

My advice to you is to try to find your Mel's Mix next as you are going to need something to transplant those babies into (or direct seed). There is a premix available - not sure if it's in your area - it's made by a company called Garden Time and is stocked at some Lowes. That might be the quickest way to go... Otherwise you need to find the components for your mix next and then, well, mix them.

Good luck - let us know how it goes!
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Post  rod champion on 4/3/2012, 10:35 am

The main thing for you to know is that.. You Can do it.. You can grow food for your family.. You actually can.. no problema..
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Post  vmeijer on 4/4/2012, 1:13 am

Wow, UnderTheBlackWalnut! That was alot of very useful information! Once people start talking about mixes, I must admit, my mind starts to glaze over (or is that my eyes?) It's like math to me - and math is not my friend! pale Anyhoo, it's probably like driving a car for the first time, it seems like it's gonna be so confusing and difficult but before you know it, driving becomes second nature- at least I hope it's like that!

Thanks for the vote of confidence, everyone. I am determined not to fail this time around, as I have brought plants home before here and there and they all have eventually gone off to a better place, the big garden in the sky!

I went shopping yesterday - bought some little treasures and planted most of them today. My big concern now is how to plant the squashes I've purchased. I will go check out the forums to see if I can find any good advice besides the great stuff I've already heard here!
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