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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.

Fertilizing I22gcj10Fertilizing 14dhcg10

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Post  reynajrainwater 7/9/2015, 1:19 am

This is my 1st attempt at gardening. In the spring I decided to purchase a raised garden kit thinking it would be fun for the kids. We'll they were interested for about a week. Since I have no experience and didn't know better i started planting using the traditional row method. What a waste of space. I don't recall how I even came across square foot gardening but the only thing I can say is it has now became my hobby and I really enjoy it. Planted quite a bit of stuff in the spring - tomatoes, eggplants, corn, summer squash, peppers, carrots, radishes, etc. and they actually grew and produced. Sorry back to the topic, I've started prepping for my fall garden and was wondering about fertilizing. I'm a little lost on how to fertilize the garden. I've read that it's not good to put fertilizer too close to the plants but when SFG there's not a lot of space between some of the plants like carrots. What is the best method to fertilize my plants?
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/9/2015, 2:25 am

With compost. If it is mature compost, there is no chance of burning your plants, as there is with chemical fertilizers or fresh manure. Your soil will sink over time anyway, so adding compost helps keep your soil at the level you started at, too. Some plants don't like their stems buried, but if you are prepping for your fall garden and haven't planted anything yet, you don't have to worry about that.
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Post  sanderson 7/9/2015, 2:09 pm

Compost. Top dress during a long growing season with 5-way compost. And, replenish the squares with 5-way compost each time you plant something in that square. When replenishing, add enough to raise the level of Mel's Mix back up to the original level. It will really shrink as the compost is used up. This is normal. Compost, compost.

Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here If you haven't read it, please read All New Square Foot Gardening, 1st or 2nd Edition, by Mel Bartholomew.

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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/10/2015, 7:32 am

Hi reynajrainwater.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  We're glad you've joined us.

Gotta agree w/ both Sanderson & Marc.  Compost is the way to go!

IF you have to use some sort of other fertilizer, sprinkle it gently around the plants and then water thoroughly.  Try to keep it off the leaves.
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Post  camprn 7/10/2015, 9:03 am

AtlantaMarie wrote:Hi reynajrainwater.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  We're glad you've joined us.

Gotta agree w/ both Sanderson & Marc.  Compost is the way to go!

IF you have to use some sort of other fertilizer, sprinkle it gently around the plants and then water thoroughly.  Try to keep it off the leaves.
+1. If you buy a commercial fertilizer I would recommend something like Garden-Tone. Most importantly, read and follow the label instructions.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/11/2015, 8:44 am

Welcome, RJRW!  I recommend reading your SFG Book about the "backbone of the SFGing method", known as Mel's Mix.  It really is the basis for success in this type of highly intensive gardening.  Compost is so much more stable, slow to release, organic for the most part if you watch sources, and pretty foolproof.  

Mel's Mix is a pain in the beginning to put together, but once you are off the ground, in the long run you won't regret the initial elbow grease!

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Post  duhh 7/14/2015, 7:57 pm

I don't fertilize much, just add new compost.   I also save my egg shells, rinse them and then blend them into a powder(after they have dried). I then use them to sprinkle in the hole when I plant tomatoes, and any left over I just sprinkle all over around the base of my plants. This adds calcium. I also add worm castings, coffee grounds, and such... But I think if you have a good natural compost it's great.

 If I add anything weird it because I found a good deal on it on Craigslist or a sale at the garden center! I just like to experiment!  Good luck with your new Hobby and if you have any questions PM me! I am in Glendale so I know what you are going through!
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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/14/2015, 8:16 pm

I am with duhh, I Don't fertilize at all, just add a scoop of compost between crops.  I will need to add fill to my boxes before next year, as I filled my re-purposed flower boxes for my SFG, and filled the bottom 6 inches with leaves....which have deflated and composted partially.

It is a pretty forgiving garden!
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Post  reynajrainwater 7/15/2015, 11:50 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I will give compost a try.
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Post  Razed Bed 7/16/2015, 10:22 am

Until you have enough homemade compost, you will obviously have to purchase it.

This method recommends a blend of 5 different composts, but in recent months, very intelligent people here have discovered a problem with some manures.

The livestock providing the manures might have grazed on lands that had genetically modified sprays to kill off all but the grass.

These GMO chemicals have seeped into their manure, and it is causing some vegetable crops to fail.

So, know where your compost ingredients are coming from.

I would highly recommend worm castings as one of your 5 composts.  I don't know if you can find lobster shell compost in Arizona, but that would be my number two choice.

If you can find a local stable with horses or a farm with cattle and/or bison, and the owner can verify that none of the GMO chemicals were used, then your local manure would be fine.

Regardless, you would be well off to immediately start your own compost pile, be it on the ground or in enclosed containers.  In Arizona, your pile should heat up about as fast as it can.  Just be sure to keep it moist and turn it when it cools down.

I have linked to this video many times in the past, but you may not have seen it.  It is a way you can make compost to use in your garden in about 2 weeks.  I can vouch for its authentication, as I just side-dressed with a 15-day compost.

In this video, the gentlemen will refer to how he used Ammonia, Soda (Cola), and Beer to speed up the process.  My wife and I do not drink alcoholic beverages or poisonous garbage like cola, so we substituted with what we had.

1. For Ammonia (nitrogen), we use Alfalfa Meal and/or blood meal
2. For Beer (yeast), we use Red Star Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3. For The Cola (Sugar), we use organic Succanat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDPAbkUUT-o

This same guy makes compost tea, something that we do every fortnight.  It has become an obsession with us, because the results are great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JqYoLiLr04
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Post  camprn 7/16/2015, 12:24 pm

Razed Bed wrote:Until you have enough homemade compost, you will obviously have to purchase it.

This method recommends a blend of 5 different composts, but in recent months, very intelligent people here have discovered a problem with some manures.

The livestock providing the manures might have grazed on lands that had genetically modified sprays to kill off all but the grass...

These GMO chemicals have seeped into their manure, and it is causing some vegetable crops to fail.

...
If you can find a local stable with horses or a farm with cattle and/or bison, and the owner can verify that none of the GMO chemicals were used, then your local manure would be fine.


Please be specific about the 'GMO chemicals' products you were talking about in your thread. What products in particular?

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Post  sanderson 7/16/2015, 12:39 pm

Razed,  we have been recently discussing the herbicides that may have been sprayed on animal feed crop fields, not GMO modified sprays.  Is this what you meant?

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Post  Razed Bed 7/16/2015, 2:50 pm

To quote Texas Governor Perry: "Oops!"

I misspoke about the toxin.  It was the herbicide.  I couldn't find the source here in the forum and tried to go by memory, something that an old geezer like me should not do.
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Post  Yardslave 7/17/2015, 6:27 pm

I'll just brew up a batch of worm/compost/manure tea and feed 2-3 times a month when my veggies start producing.
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Post  sanderson 7/18/2015, 1:18 am

Yardslave, There you are! happy hi

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Post  Yardslave 7/18/2015, 3:46 pm

Yes! despite the heat, I've crawled out from under a rock to post a reply before I desiccate from this drought Sad
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Post  sanderson 7/19/2015, 12:07 am

Still good to see you!

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Post  NanSFG 7/19/2015, 2:42 pm

Yardslave wrote:I'll just brew up a batch of worm/compost/manure tea and feed 2-3 times a month when my veggies start producing.
What is your recipe for making the "tea".?

On another note.  I used compost made from the green waste that the city collects.  Several of the SFG squares did not produce any seedlings and others produced stunted plants.  For example my manoa lettuce was about one-fourth the size of store bought manoa lettuce.  Could this be due to herbicides on the grass that became compost?  If so, will the herbicides eventually leave the SFG?
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Post  Yardslave 7/20/2015, 12:25 pm

I went all out and made my own brewer set-up. Cost me a little over $20 for the whole thing. The farmers market vendors are selling the tea for $17 a gallon, so it's a no-brainer. Here's a link on how it's done BREWER I used some surplus drip lines and poked them full of holes for the aerators at the bottom of the bucket, and two airstones in the compost sack. I give it 3 days to brew, then I can water it in. You can use it in a sprayer for quick results. Spraying it on seems to repel bugs too.
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Post  camprn 7/21/2015, 9:34 am

I use a 5 gallon bucket, a shovel full of homemade Compost, and water. Mix compost and water, stir a few times during the day and then use whe n watering the next day.

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