Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Post  Elizabeth on 3/23/2015, 5:29 pm

Hello all!  I have been away from the forum and decided to introduce myself again.  I live and grow in Lafayette, LA.  The center of Acadiana - Cajun Country.

From 1994 to 2004 I had a Landscape Contracting business. In '04 I was in a near fatal accident and had to give up my business.    Sad   After a year of recovery I went to work for Lowe's as a Nursery Specialist.  I spent a year in that position then asked  to transfer to another department.  In addition to not having enough help I was extremely frustrating with the buyers.  They insisted on contracting growers of fruit trees and ornamental who did not grow varieties suitable to our region. Twisted Evil

I spent the next 6 years as a Custom Kitchen Design Specialist.  Loved it and was very good at it.

I have since retired.

In addition to gardening I am a voracious reader.  I have also gotten into paper crafting.  I make paper beads and use them to make jewelry.  My favorite is making decorative bowls from rolled, recycled paper. I also enjoy decorating and turning junk, flea market finds into functional items.  I also REALLY enjoy cooking.  For a home cook I am pretty good.  It is easy to be a good cook when you have the wealth of resources available in south Louisiana.  In addition to all of the wonderful seafood, produce and custom meats available in locally owned markets G hunts and fishes.  Extra goodies for the freezer.

I have maintained my Louisiana Department of Agriculture Landscape Contractor's license and my Horticultural Specialist license.  I do not actively seek work but I occasionally get referrals from former clients.  I do what I call "sweat equity" plans.  I plan the landscape and provide a detailed material list along with material sources.  The client provides the "sweat" (labor).  If requested I will supervise the installation for an hourly fee.

Now to SFG.  I have practiced SFG in some form or another for over 20 years.  My most recent endeavor dates back to 2003 - before my accident.  4 4' x 4' boxes adjacent to each other and against a chain link fence on one long side.  The boxes were constrained and divided by 2 4" x 4" timbers both deep and wide.  At the time I was agile enough to work all 4 sides and used the fence for growing cucumbers.  G built 3 re-bar frames that I tied twine to and used for growing indeterminate tomatoes.  I also had a 4' x 8' box for herbs.

I also have 2 4' x 4' x 4' bins for compost made from scrap lumber and chicken wire. 

Over time it became more and more difficult for me to tend to my garden.

For the last 2 years my garden has produced little and has been neglected. 

I honestly came very close to just hanging it up.  G, good man that he is, knows that I am a much happier and a more pleasant person when I have dirt under my fingernails.  It was his idea to build new boxes with easier access.  Of course he really enjoys the fresh vegetables and herbs. 

I am starting over.

This past weekend G got enough lumber - 2" x 8" boards - to make 3 boxes.  They WILL NOT be adjacent to each other NOR will they be next to the fence.  There WILL BE 3' to 4' between each box.  LESSON LEARNED!  Do it like Mel says or go home.  All of the time Mel spent on research and experimentation pays off in a perfect system.  I was very vain to think that I knew better and could make modifications.  Wrong answer.  Back to basics.

2 boxes will be for the vegetables we use most.  The 3rd box is for herbs. 

I will be checking in more frequently.  I am looking forward to learning from all of you and perhaps even add to the forum.

I am glad you are all here for me to tap into your knowledge and experience.

Glad to be back.

WARNING:  I DO tend to ramble.  Writing is another hobby and I sometimes get carried away.  Rolling Eyes

Female Posts : 91
Join date : 2012-11-25
Age : 65
Location : Lafayette, LA zone 9b

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Re: ReIntroduction

Post  Kelejan on 3/23/2015, 6:09 pm

glad you\'re here  BACK, Elizabeth happy hi.

You certainly learned the hard way about the arrangement of beds etc.  Kudos to you for admitting that you can change.  I am sure you will find it much easier this time around, and I  am glad you have G to set up things for you.

Looking forward to your  re-birth.


PS I love people who ramble when they write.  It makes for interesting reading.

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Re: ReIntroduction

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/23/2015, 6:20 pm

Hi Elizabeth.  Welcome back!

One other suggestion for G - build them as table-tops so you don't have to bend over...  Just a thought.

That's one of the nice things about SFG - you can build it to suit you!

Please let us know how you & your garden are doing!!!

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Age : 55
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

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Re: ReIntroduction

Post  Elizabeth on 3/23/2015, 8:45 pm

Kelejan and AtlantaMarie - thank you both for your kind words. 

It is humbling to say that with all of my experience, education and knowledge I messed up!

G really is a prince of a man.  Of course his encouragement does have some self interest.  I am a major B when I do not have dirt under my fingernails.  He is smart enough to recognize my need to garden even when I am ready to quit. 

G has been having health issues so I am kind of at a stand still.  I think I may have to hire day labor to construct and fill my boxes.

Whatever - I am actually enthused about gardening.

Female Posts : 91
Join date : 2012-11-25
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Location : Lafayette, LA zone 9b

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Re: ReIntroduction

Post  Elizabeth on 3/23/2015, 8:59 pm

AtlantaMarie - I have considered table top gardening but I really like soil contact. 

I have a beautiful, articulate niece who has cerebral palsy.  A few years ago she decided that she wanted a vegetable garden.  I worked with my sister and helped her build 2 table top boxes for K.  It was a joy to see her grow and harvest her own vegetables. 

Table top gardening is probably in my future but for the time being I think I can manage ground level as long as I have enough room to work in.

Thank you.

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Location : Lafayette, LA zone 9b

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Re: ReIntroduction

Post  quiltbea on 3/24/2015, 12:40 am

glad you\'re here back to the joys of SFG.   I'm glad that your health issues improved enuf you could go back to work and now are thinking that a garden is in your future.
Having health issues myself, I know its difficult to give up gardening completely.  If there's a will, there's a way so do what you can to work with dirt under your fingernails.

 You might have to do a lot of tweaking and changing your mind about what to grow (crops that take less time, less weeding, less care, less water) and changing your garden area to one that is closer to your doorway.  In my case that means the flower garden will have lots of veggie companions this year (its right outside my kitchen door) and the raised beds at the top of the hill will have more perennial flowers with a few crops here and there that can take a bit of neglect.

So do your own tweaking and see what works best for you this year.  Good luck.

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Re: ReIntroduction

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2015, 6:13 am

Thank you for the testimony on how well Mel's design for SFG works. Having plenty of space to work makes it so much easier.


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