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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.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Zone 5b SFGers Toplef10Zone 5b SFGers 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.

Zone 5b SFGers I22gcj10Zone 5b SFGers 14dhcg10

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Zone 5b SFGers

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Post  mckr3441 3/6/2010, 7:35 pm

Have you started any seeds yet?

My dad always started on St. Patricks Day. No matter where he gardened his plants were always incredible! If I could get the snow away from the garden shed and off my boxes I'd surely be tempted to put out some root veggie seeds.

Let's all us 5b's keep in touch.


Last edited by mckr3441 on 3/22/2010, 8:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post  GLEN FAUBLE 3/7/2010, 5:26 pm

My Dad & grandfather were both very firm believers in following the "moon signs" when planting the garden. When I was young, I thought that this was all hokus-pokus. Now that I am older I too have learned the value of the oldways of doing things!!! It woks and I have learned that when it's not broke don't try to fix it.

Glen Fauble
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Post  Guest 3/8/2010, 4:33 pm

hopfully i'll have a chance next weekend to much snow ta start anything in the yard yet may build the sfg in the basement an haul it outside after the snow melts , mid 50's the next couple of days should help Zone 5b SFGers Icon_sunny will b looking for the mix before the weekend. tween lowe's,home depo, menards an a half doz. garden centers somebodys bound ta have some.


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Post  mckr3441 3/8/2010, 6:47 pm

Welcome, Mike, to the forum for the fivers. Today I hand "dug" snow of one of my boxes. It was peeking out; the sun was shining; I figured I'd try to give it a little help. It's all clear now but I still have to walk through iced-over snow to get to it! Won't be long now.

I'm going to start some seeds this week inside. Not sure yet which ones. Hope your garden warms up soon.
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Post  Guest 3/9/2010, 7:09 pm

it got warm enough taday ta melt most of the snow off last years row gardens. forcast is for showers off an on for the next 5 days so long snow hello MUD Zone 5b SFGers Icon_eek oh well, it'll dry sometime,


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Post  mckr3441 3/9/2010, 8:04 pm

It's so darn hard to plant in the mud! It's even harder to use good sense and wait Zone 5b SFGers Icon_twisted !

I'm going to start seeds this weekend. Maybe that will be satisfaction enough. Do you have any seeds started yet?
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Post  Guest 3/10/2010, 5:29 pm

more than likly this weekend i'll start some. if i get a chance Zone 5b SFGers Icon_sad
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Post  mckr3441 3/10/2010, 5:38 pm

Try starting them in vermiculite if you have any.
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Post  tessmick 3/10/2010, 8:03 pm

Hi all,

Hope it's OK for me to post here Zone 5b SFGers Icon_eek ~ I see no others so close to me. I'm a 6, well according to one hardiness map, or I'm a 5 on another ~ am I close enough??

Anyway, I have started seeds inside because I just couldn't wait, and those I planted say they need a long time to be ready. I have some dianthus seeds that sprouted already, impatiens stuck their cute heads out just the other day, and it looks like my basils and rosemarys will be visable by morning! I'm misting myself to death over here to the point of having sore hands, but it's probably safest at their underdeveloped stage, right? I've only done seeds direct in the past, so this is my first experience with them inside.

My best luck was with the dianthus seeds that germinated on top of my frig in my bright kitchen w/south exposure in about 5 days! Now that they are out, they are on my lovely seed-starting table in the living room under a double flourescent shop light with very sophisticated foil covered cardboards all around! My poor husband thinks I've completely lost it, and I hope he will be able to hang in there! So now the space on top of frig is taken by pansy seeds awaiting germination, sealed in a 2-gal ziploc bag (those are so great), and covered with newsprint because they want to germ in dark. Whew! Do I sound busy? Zone 5b SFGers Icon_geek
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Post  mckr3441 3/10/2010, 9:21 pm

Oh, Tess, you sound so happy! Zone 5b SFGers Icon_biggrin Zone 5b SFGers Icon_biggrin Zone 5b SFGers Icon_biggrin

You are certainly welcome here in our Northern and Central Midwest Forum and in the 5b thread! We're all kinds of zones here. Those zone identifiers have such elastic edges, don't you think, what with all the little micro-climates. You're near the Detroit area which seems to balance on the 5b (cooler) 6a (warmer) line. Lucky you. You'll be able to get those seedlings out before me!

I'm so glad to find someone who is talking flowers! Flowers are my favorite. Everyone who does SFG seems to mention flowers only in passing; as in, "Oh, I put some marigolds next to my peas."

Well, I'm going to put some peas next to my marigolds!!! I had a beautiful SFG flower garden last year. I plan to do it again this year. As a side I built another box for veggies which I will use this year (with some flowers, of course) plus a third box "incubating" in my head. My "master carpenter" has not yet agreed to build it, but he will Zone 5b SFGers Icon_twisted .

I can't put anything on top of my fridge. There's a cabinet there. So the only place I can find that is warm is on top of my DirecTV Box! I'm going to have to leave it on all the time. I'm going to start my seeds in vermiculite this year as a new experiment. Mel recommends it in his book.

Please keep coming back to the Forums often. Keep us posted on how things are going and tell your DH that he is going to be so impressed with your outcomes that he will kick himself for giving you any grief.
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Post  Guest 3/10/2010, 9:40 pm

dont have anything at the moment ta do any planting. but i did find a place on that post about differnt places to get vermiculite, garden center up by east lansing was on the list will be calling them tomorrow after work ta check on it. welcome to the sfg boards tess, i'm over by jackson, this is my first try at this sfg thing.


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Post  mckr3441 3/10/2010, 10:28 pm

Post the name and address of that location if you are successful, Mike. Thanks.
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Post  tessmick 3/11/2010, 10:25 am

Hi Claire & Mike!

Yes, I'm really getting revved up for the coming season, and I'm glad to have others to share it with! I'm working on an online source for vermiculite ~ still waiting to see if the shipping is reasonable ~ I'll post it when I hear back from them.

Mike, I really think you'll like sfg'ing Zone 5b SFGers Icon_sunny! It takes planning and some work to get your beds up & ready, but saves so much times over traditional gardening in the long run, in my opinion. What are you planning to plant?

Claire, I'm just going into my 2nd season with sfg, and last year I had no flowers in my sf bed. I have a big yard with tons of perennials as it is, and last year I also did my traditional thing of buying way too many annuals, planting way too many pots. So this year I'm trying to scale down the annuals in pots, and am excited about my new herb/flower sf bed, which will take center stage in the yard. Among the herbs I will have zinnias, purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, edible calendulas, edible chrysanthemums, edible nasturtiums; I think that's it. But many of my herbs will flower too, lavender and chives for sure. (Don't have my list in front of me). The annual flowers I'm planting from seed will hopefully save me money over those transplants, and the perennial flowers will fill in empty spaces in my other beds. What flowers will you be growing?? Zone 5b SFGers Icon_cool
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Post  Guest 3/11/2010, 1:34 pm

so far i'm planning to plant : carrots,bush beans,peas,tomatos,and some herbs first box is only going to be 2X7 old water bed frame side rails an end board, think i'll try it out this year an expand next year if things go ok. my wors...... er better half thinks this anit such a good idea, but i'm thinkin if i can prove its better than the old way she'll come around.

boog/mike
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Post  tessmick 3/11/2010, 4:07 pm

Hey Mike,

That sounds great! Your wife will come around when she sees all the great stuff you'll be yielding!

Everyone, see my post under general garden & vermiculite for my new source! Zone 5b SFGers Icon_flower
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Post  Guest 3/11/2010, 5:35 pm

ok jus got back from menards here in jackson they got peat moss in 2.2 cube foot bags an 3-4 types of manure BUT an heres the funny part i looked an no vermiculite any wheres, so's i ask one of the clerks an he says "whats vermiculite" Zone 5b SFGers Icon_scratch Zone 5b SFGers Icon_scratch Zone 5b SFGers Icon_scratch Zone 5b SFGers Icon_scratch soooooo's thats 2 outta 3 call'in a place in east lansing tomorrow to see if they still carry it. i shall continue my quest tomorrow Zone 5b SFGers Icon_cool

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Post  mckr3441 3/11/2010, 6:17 pm

Hi Tess, Some of my favorite flowers are heirloom tall night scented nicotiana, cleome, and cosmos. I love them all together. I've gardened by fits and starts for over 40 years at my house. You would think that I would have a wonderful garden. Alas, everything would always stop blooming or die. Perennials would barely come back! So last year I was determined to "amend my soil." That's when I discovered SFG and I'm HOOKED. My first sample box was mostly flowers.

Here's my first box, the one I made as a sample. I put it on wheels because I wasn't sure how this was going to work and where I would put it.

Zone 5b SFGers Img_1510


Here's the box at the end of the season. Since this was just an experiment, it isn't very organized Zone 5b SFGers Icon_lol but it sure was pretty and encouraging. Zone 5b SFGers Img_1811

It was so encouraging, in fact, that I went to a symposium that Mel was holding 100 miles or so from my house. I passed the test to become a Certified Teacher and came home and built another box:

Zone 5b SFGers Img_1812

I tried some fall veggies but the seeds were old and it was late in the year before I got them in so that wasn't too successful. I put some johnny-jump-ups in the squares just to make sure things wouldn't die! More success. I'm all organized this spring and we're building another box. This time I won't be timid. It will be a 4x4! And I'm going for veggies in that one.

I like so many annual and perennials that, if I live long enough, this yard is going to be totally covered with flowers -- all in Mel's mix and probably many in squares. Since I can grow all the veggies I need in such compact spaces, that leaves me with yards and yards and yards of space for flowers Zone 5b SFGers Icon_smile .

I hope you will post some pictures as you get things going. Have fun!
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Post  lakemom 3/12/2010, 8:04 am

Boog, call Menard's back and ask for the buiding supplies department. They have 3cf bags of coarse vermiculite with the insulation. Got that info somewhere on these forums and called mine yesterday and they DO have it. It is certainly worth a try.
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Post  tessmick 3/12/2010, 11:32 am

Hi everyone!

I found vermiculite at English Gardens (I think the closet to you Mike would be in Brighton ~ that's a drive), 4 c.f. bags for $19.99. We have no Menards around here, and I tried our big box stores to ask about the insulations dept, but no one knew what I was talking about. Yes, the vermiculite is always hard to find and you will run into a lot of people who don't know what you're talking about!

Claire, what beautiful boxes! Zone 5b SFGers Icon_flower Do you actually have purple pavement? How lovely that looks! On your 2nd box, is that pvc piping you used to make the towers? And I love the 1st one on wheels! {{How do I put a picture in here? I'd love to show you mine.}} So you are truly the person to ask about sfg since you are certified!
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Post  janetgouvas 3/12/2010, 12:50 pm

Hi all,
I'm new here but I have been a SFGer for many years. Just not in Surprise, AZ. where I now live. It's a whole new ballgame here!
I am now in the process of starting from scratch and yesterday I found vermiculite at the Home Depo in the garden dept. Never thought to look in the insullation section. It is med. grade, not coarse but I bought it anyway since I couldn't find it anywhere last year.
Gear up guys. I'm probably going to be needing a lot of advice!

Janet in Surprise
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Post  mckr3441 3/12/2010, 5:38 pm

Hi Janet in Surprise! A very big welcome to you. You will probably have lots of advice to contribute to our forums. So many people are new or nearly new. And you'll probably get a lot of advice from those in your area about the challenges. So keep coming back and post your questions.

What zone were you in before you moved? Check into that zone too so you can answer those questoins.

Again WELCOME!
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Post  mckr3441 3/12/2010, 5:52 pm

Tess, that "ground" does look purple doesn't it! What a surprise. Actually it is our asphalt driveway with the sun shining on it. Sunshine + black asphalt = purple??? I guess so! Maybe it was just a filter from my lens????

The PVC is the frame for the cover we put on when there's a frost predicted. I don't have a trellis on this box.

Tess, I'm certified because I attended one of Mel's symposiums and passed the written test. I'm a gardener who gave up so many times in the last 45 years that you would think I would never start again. But even I have been successful with this SFG and I'm wanting to let the whole world know. YOU CAN DO IT!

Boffer posted good instructions for putting up a picture. Each time I do it I have to search for that post again myself. I'll look again and try to put the post somewhere where everyone can see it.

Keep coming back.
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Post  tessmick 3/13/2010, 2:12 pm

Thank you Claire, and welcome Janet!!
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Post  Guest 3/13/2010, 3:12 pm

ok jus got off the phone with menards only thing they have at this store is fine grade in the insolation department $10.99 for a 3 cf bag, called a place called the hobbit house out near spring arbor, they aint sure what grade theirs is but it comes in 18lb bags for $16.99 sounds like a lot weight wise Zone 5b SFGers Icon_eek an last but not least a place in east lansing harvest garden supply has 1 1/2 bushel bags of mediam grade witch he says rounds out to about 2 cf $21.95

boog/mike
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Post  nancy 3/17/2010, 2:03 pm

My first sfg is assembled and filled. Woo Hoo! I will be putting lettuce, peas, spinach, and onion sets in as soon as I get a chance. It's so gorgeous today, I would love to be outside, but... at least my office has a window. =)

I was going to put the plants and seeds in Sunday evening after my 6-year-old dd & I put everything together; however, it was drizzling just a bit too much. And I think I'd like a bit more garden soil & compost in there, too. My worry right now is the deer. My neighbor thinks they will eat my lettuce as soon as my back is turned. Argh!

My garden is actually not in my yard, rather it is at the community garden on the other side of the village. There is no water source, so we have to carry our own water in. This will be an adventure!! The plots are 25' x 25', but I'm just doing a 4' x 4' this year. Last year we tried pumpkins, but had no success. Hopefully it will be drier and hotter this summer. My plot is #75, so there are quite a few other people down there who are successful. Maybe I will add more next year - we'll have to wait & see.

My backyard has been certified by MonarchWatch as a monarch waystation. I have several host & nectar plants for the butterflies (and honey bees, too!). We bring the monarch eggs in & raise them on our dining room table. Last year we only released 6 or 7 butterflies - I'm hoping for 100 this year! We also raise tadpoles and release tiny gray tree frogs back into the wild. Many of our tadpoles came from someone else's rain barrel at the community garden! We never "borrowed" any water, but we did "rescue" tadpoles! =)

I'm so excited to find this forum and see so many gardeners. What a great resourse! Thanks,

Nancy
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