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Budget SFG start for next yr- 1st timer!

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Budget SFG start for next yr- 1st timer! Empty Budget SFG start for next yr- 1st timer!

Post  Lemonie on 10/28/2010, 1:33 pm

Hi y'all! I've been excitedly reading your posts in the background for a couple weeks and learning so much! I have always wanted to do a garden but the large row garden seemed daunting and I have anything but a green thumb. My sad and uneducated attempt at a potted garden this year did give us a few peppers, peas, beans and herbs though. I was so excited to find Mel's old SFG book in our library and have never been so excited to try something! bounce (and I am asking for the new book along w/ Lowe's giftcards for Christmas!).

So, since I'm learning that it's best to get the garden put together in the fall to get a great start in spring, I'm determined to take advantage of our gorgeous weather now (KY) and try to start what I can. We're on a super-tight budget right now (new baby), so I'm trying to be creative. Just got some free lumber and think I'll do a 3'x16'x16" bed along our N 6' privacy fence (where we get TONS of sun!) and hope I'll be able to reach enough to the back to train up the trellis. My questions are, I can't afford to buy the MM makings right now and even though I've got some compost ready from my homemade tumbler ($18), what else can use to start it? Newspaper, cardboard, leaves and horse manure are pretty plentiful and free right now. Would I layer or shred? If possible, maybe I can contain my homemade compost to 1-2 squares and try some garlic now or am I just pushing my luck w/o peat moss and vermiculite? Also, I want to attempt potatoes next year but see that they need a much lower PH than most other plants...do I need to do a separate box just for them or what grows well next to them? I am hoping for both russet and sweet potatoes. Anyone have good results w/ "trash can potatoes"?

Can you request seed catalogs for free or do most people just take the time to look through a website? Any idea on how to find good seed companies that specialize in crops for my area? I might be too excited....I hope I don't try to overdo it. I'm sure this first year will be lots of learning.
thanks
Lemonie
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Post  Lemonie on 10/28/2010, 1:38 pm

Oops, I meant to post this in the general SFG discussion area. Is there any way to move it?
Lemonie
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Post  acara on 10/28/2010, 1:42 pm

Welcome !!

*** Rings Boffer bell *****

Boffer is our world famous admin & will be here to assist you shortly Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Post  dixie on 10/28/2010, 1:58 pm

Welcome to the greatest spot on the web. You can get free catalogs from most of the seed companies, most have a link on their web page. My favorite is Baker Creek Rare seeds, www.rareseeds.com, but there are many good ones out there, Southern Exposure is another favorite, www.southernexposure.com. Order catalogs now & you won't be bored during the winter months. There's a thread somewhere on here about seed catalogs.
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Post  middlemamma on 10/28/2010, 2:01 pm

I order the catalogs and most are free. If they are not free I don't order them and I will browse their site instead. Here is a thread that lists a bunch of seed companies Smile Enjoy....

http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/list-of-seed-companies-t4326.htm
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Post  sfg4uKim on 10/28/2010, 2:29 pm

In third world countries they use straight compost instead of MM. So that's a possibility. You may be happier if you can cut down your depth to 2' so that you can reach the back (if it's up against a wall or fence).

The smaller the pieces and the more you move the pile, the quicker you'll get compost. So I'd shred, shred, shred; chop, chop, chop and turn, turn, turn (every day if possible). Check with your local grocery store or a restaurant that uses fresh veggies to see if they'll give you their scraps.

You can find out more by searching "compost" in the forum.

Good luck,
Kim

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Post  ander217 on 10/28/2010, 5:23 pm

Are you making your boxes 16" deep for growing special plants, or are you making them 16" high to make them easier to reach? I made my first box 12" deep, and it is the only one I will make that deep. In the future I plan to use it mainly for growing carrots and potatoes - anything that needs a deeper growing depth.

Some people make 6" boxes and then add a second 6" deep open-bottomed framework over smaller sections to grow deeper crops. If I had it to do over that is what I would do rather than make an entire box 12" deep.

I also didn't know until I had already filled my deep box with MM that many people fill up the bottom layer of their deeper boxes with cheaper filler material and only put the expensive MM in the top six inches of the box.

I'm interested in how you made your $18 composter. Do you have details?
ander217
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Post  Lemonie on 10/28/2010, 7:57 pm

Thanks everyone! I visited some of the seed sites and have ordered my free catalogs. Can't wait!!!

@ander217 wrote:Are you making your boxes 16" deep for growing special plants, or are you making them 16" high to make them easier to reach?
Actually, it's partly to make sure I have ample room for whatever I decide to grow and partly to keep the dogs out. They are actually big dogs (GSD & pitx) but they will not climb into a raised garden and I'll just have to keep an eye on any nibbling. cyclops
@ander217 wrote:I also didn't know until I had already filled my deep box with MM that many people fill up the bottom layer of their deeper boxes with cheaper filler material and only put the expensive MM in the top six inches of the box.
That's a really good idea. Could I just lasagna lots of chopped up newspaper, cardboard, manure, straw and leaves in the bottom then and then add my MM or what can I use for the cheaper stuff?
@ander217 wrote:I'm interested in how you made your $18 composter. Do you have details?
$10 black, round, plastic trash can from Walmart w/ lid and wheels. 10, 6" galvanized nails from Lowe's ($Cool. This can was 30" tall, so I drilled 3 holes on opposite sides 9" apart starting from the bottom and on the other two side I drilled 2 holes 12" apart from the bottom and drove the nails in. I then used Gorilla Glue under the head of the nail and let it set. Drill holes in bottom, sides and top for drainage and air. Add compostable goods, secure lid (I use bungee cords) and roll around. I knew I should've gotten pics as I was putting it together. I'll try to get a couple pics of the finished product anyway.

There are a few things I would've like to do different, but it is really working very well. I would've changed: getting a can w/ a lid that screws on tightly since I do get some slight leakage when rolling; use screws instead of nails w/ nuts and bolts- the glue has come loose from the weight of the compost but the nails are still staying in place as needed; I plan on setting it on some bricks over something that can catch the drainage for "tea".

I found a great video on youtube that shows how to make a rain barrel for cheap and that's my next project. I think I can do it for $20 or less as well. ....this IS addicting!
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Post  Chopper on 10/28/2010, 10:55 pm

MM makes a wonderful, spongy growing medium for the beds and is ideal. However, where finances limit materials, the next best thing is fully mature compost. If you want to pile on some semi-finished compost and let it sit until spring that is also probably fine. The main thing is the 1' by 1' squares for planting. It is really a great system that makes gardening easy and organized amid the chaos that are plants. I am sure you will enjoy it.

On the boxes where I had to cut corners I hope to dig in some vermiculite and peat as I have the money. I have some MM and some mainly compost and I prefer the MM for its texture and ease of working/planting.
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Post  ander217 on 10/29/2010, 9:26 am

Lemonie, use the search feature for this thread which was discussed in the spring: (I don't know how to post a link to the actual thread.)

Is it ok to do beds deeper then 6"

Some of the materials discussed for partially filling a deep box included bark, gravel, and amended garden soil if you still wanted to be able to grow deep plants in it. I think another discussion also mentioned straw, so it seems anything would work. You could even use old bricks or concrete blocks. If it's a material that will compost, however, remember that it will break down over time requiring "topping off" with your MM. However, Boffer mentions in the above thread that when using the SFG method, roots don't have to grow as large as in regular gardening because everything the plant needs is provided for it in its small area. The roots do just fine in the shallow soil.

Another option you might want to look at would be table top beds. You can make shallower boxes with a plywood bottom (drill drainage holes) and set them on some type of support to whatever height you want. There are several threads going about TTs and how to make them. Those would take care of your problem with your canine buddies.
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Post  Patty from Yorktown on 10/29/2010, 12:58 pm

Look into lasagna gardening to fill your beds. You will have to do a lot of shoveling this fall, but the beds should be beautiful by spring. I am one of the folks who does not follow directions very well. My beds are all compost, with a bit of other stuff thrown in (sometimes.) I cannot tell the difference and straight compost is cheap where I live. If you are also gardening on a budget look at the food that you eat which is expensive and plant that. It is the biggest way to cut down on bills. I grow almost all of my herbs, as fresh herbs are pricey. Enjoy your new catalogs and spring planting daydreams.

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