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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.

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 2/24/2015, 8:01 pm

I'm getting ready to tear apart my compost bin and move it to the other side of the house.  Where it is right now is prime real estate for our lovely patio/garden area so it's going to become a new flower bed and I think this last batch of compost will end up as being used to make it.  

I'm trying to root some hydrangea branches, does anyone know if that will work?  I put them in water and they're just starting to bud out.  I'd love to be able to create my own plants if I can!
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Post  sanderson 2/25/2015, 12:44 am

Did you dip the stem in rooting powder then carefully stick in MM, pushing the soil back towards the stem?

I worked on the front flower bed, spreading plain (but know moldy) wood chips.  Trying to get the area ready for the summer, and to add lots of flowers in built-up areas of Kellogg, vermiculite and peat moss.

The Russian Kale is done for the season. It's getting mildew/mold on the leaves. The curly kale and Swiss chard as doing fine but some of the squares will have horizontal tomato plants so I need to remove most of them soon.

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 2/25/2015, 8:48 pm

I have the sticks I gathered in water as I wasn't sure what to do with them. Do you think I can use the rooting hormone on them now and plant them?
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Post  sanderson 2/26/2015, 12:35 am

It's worth a try and a pot! Some things like Mexican Sage and tomatoes root so easily in water.

With this great sunshine, I managed to prep 2 beds for planting. Had to make more MM for one since it is now 10 1/2" deep, plus top off with compost. Sprinkled a small handful of both kelp meal and crab flakes on both beds, and tarped the frames with plastic against this weedend's rain. rofl

The really big thrill was harvesting a gallon bag of screened worm castings from the free range box. There were even tiny baby worms. The worm tubes had hard, wet material with roots and a few worms. Nothing easy to harvest.

The sea weed, leaf and manure compost is on day 4 but only 110*F. Sad Oh, well. Tomorrow I'll turn and see what happens.


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Post  sanderson 2/28/2015, 4:29 pm

I'm off to Sacramento for the rest of the weekend. First born man child will be 39! The truck is loaded with the rest of his BD gift, a wood box, 3 bags of MM ingredients, extra compost and nick knacks.

I turned the pile yesterday for the first time. It hasn't gotten over 110*F. I added blood meal and today it's back to 90*F. I think it shrank so much (28") that it lost the critical mass. I'm thinking of getting some alfalfa hay and more horse manure (very fresh) and rebuild it. I definitely want this sea weed compost so any extra work is worth. At Fresno State, the huge pile ranges from September at the back to current in the front so there is no problem of getting fresh stuff.

I've come to the point that I can't have any more beds if I wanted or could have them. The size of my garden is limited by the amount of compost I can make in a year.

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Post  Kelejan 2/28/2015, 5:58 pm

That's what grown-up children are for, sanderson, to offload stuff when you have no more room.  Is your FB manchild a gardener, or are you hoping to make him one.

Have a great weekend. See you in March.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 2/28/2015, 6:45 pm

Have a wonderful trip and enjoy the fam!!!

Where did the rain we were supposed to be having go?! Sad
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Post  sanderson 3/1/2015, 1:33 am

Kelejan,  FBMC wants to garden.  A month ago DH built a frame with wheels for a cement mixing pan.  He has seedlings now!  (Well, the ones that escaped the 2 year old mixing the soil up with his little trowel while dad's back was turned.)  Photos tomorrow.

Audrey, the drive to Sac was beautiful.  Green grass for a change.  Wild flowers growing on the sides (I'm sure they were sowed).  The rain was hit and miss with the sun on the drive.  The clouds were in all shapes and colors.  You could see in the distance where rain was falling.  Here's the rainbow from a pit stop at McDonalds in Merced.  Looking back down 99.  California - What are you doing this month? - Page 29 Sig_ra10
There was lightening up 168 last night around 8 PM.  We got a few sprinkles this morning.  So, you didn't get any rain??

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/1/2015, 10:39 am

Glad you had a lovely drive!  No rain here since Friday night... bummer.  It was supposed to be raining off and on all weekend.
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Post  sanderson 3/2/2015, 8:29 pm

Got home last night a little after 11 PM.  I thought I would relax a while at the computer, letting the coffee and ice tea wear off a bit before going to bed.  But as I caught up on emails and Forum topics, I found I couldn't even think of sensible responses, so bushed.  Being around my offspring is great, but with 12 all talking, laughing, whining, showing iPhone photos, crying, needing diapers changed (the GGC and GGGC little ones!) at once, not to mention DDIL's large family, it's nice to come back home to husband and cat.  sawing logs

Birthday son and I installed wheels and "cup holders" on his new 4' x 1.5' box, mixed the MM, made grids, and planned his plantings.  DH also made a screen for him out of scrap oak (read: carpentry mistakes).  I also explained how 1/2 PVC fittings and pipe can be configured for different uses (tulle, plastic and trellises). He gave me 6 peeled lemon seeds in paper and ziplock. I had no idea you could peel the seeds and speed up the germination time to days! California - What are you doing this month? - Page 29 Rob_s_10
California - What are you doing this month? - Page 29 Rob_s_11

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Post  Kelejan 3/4/2015, 1:18 am

It's nice when one's off-spring takes after you in gardening.  You will always have something in common to talk about.

I hope you have recovered and ready to go again.
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Post  sanderson 3/4/2015, 2:55 am

Yes, it's neat that my oldest wants to garden. His BIL and past Army friend also want to garden. They were both able to see the little Gwennifer TT. So son is an ambassador also.

Felt a lot more perky today. I rebuilt my whole compost pile today, adding layers of alfalfa hay and a little more coffee and horse manure to the leaves, sea weed and horse manure so it was the full 3' height. The original was only 28" and it was like the pilot light went out. Since I have only one 3 x 3' pad for composting, I have to make at least 3 fast hot Berkeley piles each year to feed all the boxes and containers. Tomorrow, DH will set up the heavy baker's rack I bought last summer so I can set the seedlings out during the day. I need to spray the seedlings with Neem so I'll enclose it with tulle to keep cat and any stray bee out of it.

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/4/2015, 11:37 am

I'm moving my compost pile set up.  It was right next to our most lovely spot for hanging with people which is in the front of the property, so I'm moving into the back yard.  I decided to leave the pile there and spread it out about 6 inches deep to form a new flower garden bed.  I think I'll mix pretty edibles in with it such as lettuce since it's a partial shade area.  

I discovered a great section of the pasture to pull cow manure from - it's right next to the water trough and there is left over straw and material 8 inches deep that has been well "watered" as well as lots of fresh poop.  It ought to get quite hot.  

I also realized that we had a facebook page for locals that I could ask for spoiled straw etc. and in less than 7 minutes had someone who has llama poop and left over chicken bedding.  I'll probably just set these up with my wood chips and let them work.  Such a happy girl!!!!
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Post  sanderson 3/4/2015, 11:46 am

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote: I also realized that we had a facebook page for locals that I could ask for spoiled straw etc. and in less than 7 minutes had someone who has llama poop and left over chicken bedding.  I'll probably just set these up with my wood chips and let them work.  Such a happy girl!!!!
I've heard of a local Facebook, got to check it out.

Edit: I just tried and I don't know how to.

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/4/2015, 3:32 pm

sanderson wrote:
audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote: I also realized that we had a facebook page for locals that I could ask for spoiled straw etc. and in less than 7 minutes had someone who has llama poop and left over chicken bedding.  I'll probably just set these up with my wood chips and let them work.  Such a happy girl!!!!
I've heard of a local Facebook, got to check it out.

Edit:  I just tried and I don't know how to.
Ours is a private group that was started by someone.  It isn't a Facebook feature.  I wouldn't have known about it if someone hadn't "signed" me up for it.  Try putting in your zip code and searching to see if there are any groups like that.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/5/2015, 4:21 pm

Great score, though, Audrey.Jeanne!  Congrats!
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Post  sanderson 3/5/2015, 9:29 pm

sanderson wrote: I rebuilt my whole compost pile today, adding layers of alfalfa hay and a little more coffee and horse manure to the leaves, sea weed and horse manure so it was the full 3' height.  The original was only 28" and it was like the pilot light went out.
Well worth the effort to rebuild the pile and set the clock back to Day 1.  The alfalfa provides pockets of air, whereas having just leaves allowed it to compress flat during original construction.  The base temp was 62*F, 48 hours later it is 135*F.  We have lift off!

Today was over 70*F in Fresno, and I didn't get to spend one minute in the garden.  But, tomorrow . . . . Very Happy

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/5/2015, 9:47 pm

Yay!  Love when a pile is cookin'

I have some scrap 4 inch pipe and I was thinking of drilling 1 inch holes in it and putting it in the center of my pile.  Do you think that would make enough difference in how much air gets into the pile to be worth the effort?  Somebody here did something like that but also had horizontal tubes as well if I remember right.
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Post  sanderson 3/6/2015, 3:21 am

Wow, hard question for me to answer. I'm the one who recently built a pile that fizzled! Embarassed With the Berkeley pile, I think the frequent turnings take care of the oxygen problem.

I remember someone had a nifty setup with PVC glued together for a large plastic upright barrel.  Seeing their set up, I had DH make nine 1/2" pipes with 1/4" holes that I stuck in my first little round compost cage.  I capped them until the temp got hot and I swear I could light the escaping air with a match!  However, I had trouble rebuilding the pile keeping the pipes upright. Going Berkeley with a 3' x 3' x3' cage has made composting more successful.  But seriously, your cage is 4' x 4' so maybe a single 4" pipe would be worth it / would work.   It's funny, I was recently thinking about my pipes.  Now that I have a nice wood cage, I was thinking that I could lay the pipes horizontally, here and there, with the open ends against the 1/2" mesh lining the cage. Just thinking.

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/6/2015, 11:30 am

We're so funny, just have to be tinkerin' all the time!  Figuring out new and better ways!!!
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Post  yolos 3/6/2015, 12:32 pm

I tried the 1 inch pipes with holes drilled about every 2 inches around all sides.  I laid them horizontal in the pile three per layer and three layers going up the pile about every foot or so.  I had the ends sticking out a bit on one side so I could put a cap on the ends incase it got too cold.  The ants loved the pile that time.  The pipes were a perfect highway for the ants to go into the pile and get some food and them come out (hopefully).  I only did it horizontally once and I have no idea if it helped.

I put 4 pipes vertically in the pile the next time.  As Sanderson surmised, it was a pain to work around the pipes when trying to fill/turn the pile.  I don't use them now, too much of a bother and I have no idea if it is doing any good. 

I like the suggestion from the guy from one of the videos Haas posted that showed him jamming a long rebar pole in the pile when it started to cool and rocking it around to allow air/water down into the pile.
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Post  yolos 3/6/2015, 2:15 pm

I used 1 inch PVC with holes drilled in the pipe.  I put them in the compost pile horizontally.  Three pipes per layer with about one layer every 1-1/2 foot.  I left the end pipe sticking out of the pile a little so I could put caps on the ends to keep out the cold if necessary.  The ants loved this horizontal highway into my pile.  They would crawl into the pile via the pipes, get some food and crawl out to their home somewhere else.  I have no idea if this method helped.  I only did it once because I did not want the ants anywhere around.

I also tried putting four pipes vertically in the pile.  The ants also liked this vertical highway into my pile.  But as Sanderson surmised, it was a pain filling/turning the pile with the pipes sticking up out of the pile.  I only did this once because it was such a pain and I have no idea if this did any good to aerating the pile.

I like the idea in one of the videos that Haas linked (I think One yard revolution).  After the pile cooled, the guy used a tall piece of rebar to punch holes in the pile then he added used coffee grounds to put down the holes.  This allowed air into the pile and then added the nitrogen (coffee grounds).  This will be my next experiment.  But there is still no way to really know if this is helpful (except maybe if the pile were to get hot again).
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Post  sanderson 3/9/2015, 3:30 am

With the warmish weather (70s), I have taken the plunge and started planting seedlings.  Also made Mel's Mix for 4 tomato buckets and Kellogg-MM for 2 potato plastic storage totes.  5 sweet potato slips had roots so I planted those in one tote.  I broke off some good slips without roots and put those in water.  When they have roots, they will go in the second tote.  The 4 tomatoes planted in buckets are Rutgers, Atkinson, Abu Rawan and Basrawya, heat tolerant tomatoes from Iraq.  One thing I'm trying is a layer of perlite in the bottom of the totes and buckets.  Got 6 peppers and 4 herbs planted in one of the beds.  Because of the West neighbor's tree, I may lose 4 squares.  Sad

On a good note, rebuilding the compost pile paid off.  Yesterday it was 140*f and I turned it.  Tonight it is back to 140!  Tomorrow is another turn day.  California - What are you doing this month? - Page 29 4223211841   Another interesting thing (well, interesting to me) is the pile of soil and stump grindings.  With all the rest of what is going on in the backyard, we decided to go ahead and dispose of it.  But, with the recent rain, the pile was moldy inside.  So, I filled a low spot with some of it and added steer manure, Ecoscraps, and a little vermiculite.  This will be a small flower area with 6" spaced drip lines.

What are the rest of you doing with this warm spell?

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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/9/2015, 9:39 am

Woo-hoo on the heating, Sanderson!

Me?  I'm stuck inside working on a project that's got to get done this week...  Maybe next week I can get out there...
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California - What are you doing this month? - Page 29 Empty Re: California - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson 3/10/2015, 2:20 am

Turned the hot Berkeley pile tonight. It had reached 168*F in the core! Cleared the 2 x 8' table top of kale and chard, and got it amended for replanting with 6 tomatoes, a couple peppers, and flowers and herbs. Will probably plant it tomorrow. I replanted 2 of the rainbow chard in a shadier bed for the summer. I hope they survive.

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sanderson
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California - What are you doing this month? - Page 29 Empty Re: California - What are you doing this month?

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