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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) Toplef10Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) I22gcj10Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 14dhcg10

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Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :)

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kittykat
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 6:26 am

First, can I just say how excited I am to find a forum devoted to my new addiction? Very Happy

Secondly, I'm stuck. lol

DH and I went to pick up the lumber for my new raised beds and that's where it all fell apart. As we talked about the seeds I picked up the other day (Seeds of Change at Walmart of all places! woohoo!), we realized that just about everything I bought could be trellised: watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, squash, zucchini, bush beans, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. The only seeds I bought that weren't "trellis-able" were pumpkin, lettuce & carrots, and it's not quite time to plant those yet since I missed the Spring growing of the lettuce and carrots.

So, we were tossing around the idea of doing one or two 2x8 or 2x10 beds with a full trellis on the longest side of the bed, facing north of course, instead of square beds. Would it better to do this or should I separate the crops a little bit more?

Also, we were planning to use 10" tall boards for my beds. Is this overkill? Would 8" boards be just as good?

I hope to pick up the new SFG book today, but any advice you could give to my unique situation would be greatly appreciated. I'm in zone 7a and I'm already feeling the crunch to get this stuff in the ground. Please tell me I'm not too late!! Laughing

Thank you SO much for your time.
tarheel*girl
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 4/16/2012, 7:56 am

Well, you don't really need beds deeper than 6 inches for most things. If you want to use 8 or 10 inch boards, go for it. You could always fill in the bottom two inches or so with regular topsoil and then Mel's Mix on top.

I think beds look better with taller boards.
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Post  mschaef 4/16/2012, 8:31 am

When I grew bush beans and tomatoes I didn't trellis them. I did need a cage or support for the tomatoes but I just used an old cage that a friend gave me. I think that if you have the space then go for the 2x10 with a long trellis on the north side. Good luck and I'm excited to see your progress!!
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 9:26 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Well, you don't really need beds deeper than 6 inches for most things. If you want to use 8 or 10 inch boards, go for it. You could always fill in the bottom two inches or so with regular topsoil and then Mel's Mix on top.

I think beds look better with taller boards.

I think they look better, too! I had DH convinced to do 12" boards, but the cost of filling them had me cringing. I didn't realize I didn't have to fill the entire thing with the Mix. Smile

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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 9:38 am

@mschaef wrote:When I grew bush beans and tomatoes I didn't trellis them. I did need a cage or support for the tomatoes but I just used an old cage that a friend gave me. I think that if you have the space then go for the 2x10 with a long trellis on the north side. Good luck and I'm excited to see your progress!!

After reading your post, I had the thought to do the long bed idea for the watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, zucchini, and squash. Then I could do 2 separate, square beds; one for the tomatoes (beefsteak and cherry) and one for the beans. Or, one for the beefsteaks and then one for the cherry tomatoes and beans combined. I don't like beans as much as I like tomatoes. lol

Thank you all so much for your help. I can read and read and read, but talking to real people is what helps the most. Smile

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Post  kittykat 4/16/2012, 10:54 am

Welcome tarheel*girl! Looking forward to seeing some pics of your set-up!

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/16/2012, 11:23 am

Delighted to have you with us! Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 396615

How much room do you have for your beds? That's always a big consideration. Here in Western Oregon, I've used both kinds, square and long/narrow. Our garden space is surrounded by horse fencing supported by industrial-strength posts (to keep out deer and elk). Said fencing is great for supporting vining crops, so we have long narrow beds along the fence. Last year, I even got Australian Butter winter squashs to grow up the fence with slings to keep the big squashes from detaching too early. Tomatoes did very well on the fence as well, even though deer trimmed away any leaves that grew through). In the center of the garden, we're rearranging things to have four 4'x4' boxes, with 3' aisles for produce that needs more attention: radishes, broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, etc. Whatever you build, remember the aisles are just as important so you can easily reach everything. My big mistake was to put one 4x4 box next to the 2'x16' bed. Very hard to take care of without resorting to interesting yoga positions to reach the back of the box.

Again, glad to have you with us. Nonna
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Post  Hoggar 4/16/2012, 12:23 pm

Hi tarheel*girl Welcome to SFG!

Not to throw a wrench in to your trellising but you can also trellis Punkins
squash and watermelon. Very Happy I trellised Punkins last year and will most likely
do it again this year.
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 1:35 pm

Thank you all so much! I'm thrilled to be here. Smile

I actually have probably close to a quarter acre to play with, and there's hardly any shade on any of it. ever. it's hot. lol

I was hoping to trellis the pumpkins, too, but wasn't sure how they'd hold up, or rather, how the trellis would hold up against all that weight. I guess I'd better make sure that's one heavy duty piece of equipment to hold all the heavy things I plan to grow up it.

From all the reading I've done, the most popular consensus seems to be that I can plant one watermelon per SF and the same seems to be true for cantaloupe. I'm wondering, though, how wild these suckers will be on the trellis. I'm quite sure they won't stay within that nice little 12" space. Wink With that said, how far apart do you think I should plant them?

It's looking more and more like I'll need at least 2 long, skinny beds, isn't it?
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 1:46 pm

Hoggar - how did you end up supporting the melons and punkins? Do you mind me asking what you made your trellis out of?

I hope you guys don't mind the questions. I'm not a complete idiot, I promise. lol

Here's my little helper doing her best to help this afternoon:
Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) Little11
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Post  givvmistamps 4/16/2012, 2:17 pm

@tarheel*girl wrote:Hoggar - how did you end up supporting the melons and punkins? Do you mind me asking what you made your trellis out of?

I hope you guys don't mind the questions. I'm not a complete idiot, I promise. lol

Here's my little helper doing her best to help this afternoon:
Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) Little11

Hi tarheel*girl! Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 396615 You're not as late as you think. I just got started two weeks ago and I'm in zone 8b. At least you won't have as much trouble with lettuce in the summer as I will, but I plan to shade my lettuce in the summer so I can try to keep my crop going.

That's one cute little helper you have there! making holes for the seeds, a perfect way for the little ones to help.

I don't know if you've gotten your wood purchased yet, but after reading comments around here, I'm convinced that having a little extra space between the top of the soil and the top of my wood frame is a good idea. So, when we bought wood to add some more trellising space so I could grow more, we bought the 2"x8" boards intending only to fill it with 6" of soil. Also, the metal electrical conduit pipes are pretty heavy-duty, so can handle a heavy crop like pumpkins or watermelon. Just be certain to use some rebar pounded into the soil and attach the pipes to your box so they won't blow over in a storm. Here's a photo of my garden to give you a visual:

Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 2012_012

That narrow box between the two squares is where all our pumpkins are going. My other squash varieties are going on the right trellis, and the left trellis is going to have Malabar Spinach, cucumbers and beans...I think I'll be moving the peppers since I don't think it'll need the trellis, and I can put something else there.

Don't worry about asking too many questions. Everyone here is at different stages in this growing thing, and those who are more experienced are happy to help those of us just getting started. The book will help, when you get that.
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Post  givvmistamps 4/16/2012, 2:20 pm

OOPS!! I forgot to mention, that's nylon trellis netting on the frames. You can get it in the gardening section of your home-improvement store.
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Post  quiltbea 4/16/2012, 2:29 pm

Welcome to the forum Tarheel, and that's sure one fine helper you've got there. Cute as a button and it looks like she's really helping.

Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 07-21-17

If you plan on putting in pumpkin or watermelons, be prepared for lots, and I mean lots, of vines. The photo above is a pic of 2 N.E. Pie Pumpkin plants (small variety) that has already spread more than 12 ft and its only mid-July. (Remember, I'm in Maine and we plant these from seeds around June 6-10). Those crops have long vines with huge leaves, even bigger than my watermelon leaves. Mine happen to be in my community garden plot which is not SFG. I've never grown them on trellises in my SFG because I just didn't want to deal with the size. I would suggest you be sure there's plenty of space beyond your bed for those vines to stretch even if you trellis them.

Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) 08-11-10

This is 2010 at watermelon harvest time and these were a variety of Sugar Baby Watermelons only about 12-15 lbs in size. As you can see, they need lots of space but the leaves aren't as big. But, boy, we never tasted anything as good and sweet.

You can, of course, always pinch off the growing tips if they get too long. That way the plant will put all its energy into the fruits already on the vine.

I really am not trying to discourage you, just prepare you. They are absolutely the best tasting fruits. Again, make room for their growth and good luck.
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 2:36 pm

Thank you both so much for the pictures. They really help. Smile

My little helper is my heart and soul. I just don't even remember life before her and have no desire to. She's definitely a Mommy's girl. cheers

My OCD tendencies would love a nice little square bed for each type of plant planted, but I do have enough rationale left to know that's not quite feasible. lol
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Post  kittykat 4/16/2012, 2:39 pm

@tarheel*girl - if you do a Google search for Square Foot Gardening trellis and then click on Google Images, you'll get tons of pics to browse through.

The rebar/metal conduit trellises described above are straight from Mel's book and he says they hold up anything he's thrown at them.

New addiction is right - I'm suffering from the same one... (((giggle)))

Have fun!
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Post  Hoggar 4/16/2012, 2:41 pm

@tarheel*girl wrote:Hoggar - how did you end up supporting the melons and punkins? Do you mind me asking what you made your trellis out of?

I hope you guys don't mind the questions. I'm not a complete idiot, I promise. lol

There are no dumb questions and if we minded them we wouldn't be participating here.

Here is a picture of the trellis I had the punkins on last year. I thought I
snapped some pictures of them hanging before we cut them down but
I cant find them.

When they got about as big as a Honeydew I made a hammock out of
old t-shirt bits and tied it to the webbing.
Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) SFG-08-13-11-3

Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) SFG-06-07-11
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 2:42 pm

@kittykat wrote:@tarheel*girl - if you do a Google search for Square Foot Gardening trellis and then click on Google Images, you'll get tons of pics to browse through.

The rebar/metal conduit trellises described above are straight from Mel's book and he says they hold up anything he's thrown at them.

New addiction is right - I'm suffering from the same one... (((giggle)))

Have fun!

Googling pictures is why I'm as confused as I am! Laughing I guess we could be addicted to worse things. hehe
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Post  tarheel*girl 4/16/2012, 2:45 pm

@Hoggar wrote:
@tarheel*girl wrote:Hoggar - how did you end up supporting the melons and punkins? Do you mind me asking what you made your trellis out of?

I hope you guys don't mind the questions. I'm not a complete idiot, I promise. lol

There are no dumb questions and if we minded them we wouldn't be participating here.

Here is a picture of the trellis I had the punkins on last year. I thought I
snapped some pictures of them hanging before we cut them down but
I cant find them.

When they got about as big as a Honeydew I made a hammock out of
old t-shirt bits and tied it to the webbing.
Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) SFG-08-13-11-3

Questions from a Newbie that's running out of time :) SFG-06-07-11

Those look great! Thank you!
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/16/2012, 3:11 pm

As i mentioned, we traiined winter squash vines up the fence. I settled developing squash fruits in wire mesh baskets purchased cheap from thrift stores, and wired the baskets to the fence. The support kept them from detaching too early from their stems. The really huge squash, Galeux d'Eysines, which grew to 22 pounds, were encouraged to stay on the ground. This year, for the new beds in the garden's center, I'm putting up cattle panel arches to test for cukes, more Potimarron squashes, peas, beans, and any other vining thing I can think of--gotta get my money's worth from the 4 panels, which cost enough to make me gasp.
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