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Possible Violation of SFG Principles Toplef10Possible Violation of SFG Principles 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.

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Possible Violation of SFG Principles

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Post  trolleydriver 7/22/2015, 5:05 pm

I had no success growing peas in my regular garden this Spring. I'm thinking of trying to grow some in one of my SFG boxes.  I will sow the pea seeds soon for a late summer or early fall crop. The problem is that I do not have any available squares on the north side of the SFG box I will be using. The squares are already occupied by herbs (thyme, basil, cilantro, oregano).   

I am thinking of planting a long "row" (I know that word is forbidden for SFG) along the inside back edge of the box.  I would have to rig up a trellis along that back edge as well.  The pea plants will have to share the back portion of the squares currently occupied by the herbs. Will I be violating the SFG principles by planting more than one type of crop in the same square?  Will this approach work? 

I could pull out the cilantro and just use that square for 8 pea plants rather than going across the back edge of all the back squares.  But I would like to have more than 8 plants.
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Post  yolos 7/22/2015, 5:48 pm

trolleydriver wrote:
I am thinking of planting a long "row" (I know that word is forbidden for SFG) along the inside back edge of the box.  I would have to rig up a trellis along that back edge as well.  The pea plants will have to share the back portion of the squares currently occupied by the herbs. Will I be violating the SFG principles by planting more than one type of crop in the same square?  Will this approach work? 

I plant in "Rows" all the time.  It may be a violation of strict SFG principles, but it is your garden.  Experiment.  Try different things to see what works best for you.  This year I planted corn, potatoes, shell peas, Pinkeye Purple Hull peas, and pole beans in rows.  Actually planting in rows should work great for trellising peas.  The one thing I would worry about when planting the peas in the back row of squares that are already occupied would be the problem of the peas competing for space and sun with the more established plants. 

The following picture shows my shell peas planted in three Rows in the spring.  I did plant peas in a row on both sides of each trellis, but the principle is the same.  It worked for me.
Possible Violation of SFG Principles Peas_210
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Post  littlejo 7/22/2015, 7:44 pm

I guess I plant peas, green beans(pole type) cukes, on both side of trellis in rows. The balance of each square is planted in something that does not climb. Herbs, lettuce, spinach, etc.
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Post  Razed Bed 7/22/2015, 8:15 pm

You can be SFG Kosher if you plant in a long row.

Whatever the footage of your row, just consider it X by 1 or X by 2, and voila, if you use Mel's Mix or try the original method Mel used when he improved the soil, you are using square foot principles.

And, even if you are "violating" SFG rules, what does it matter?  You are not being forced to use only one style of gardening.

I have SFG based plots, both the original and the razed bed.  I also have so many containers that you can see them on Google Earth (and I am a bit ashamed at how sloppy they look from space).

I also have one raised garden that pre-dates the new SFG.  It is about 2 feet in height and is all compost with Azomite and Sea-90 minerals.  Even this garden is planted the SFG way--4 lettuce per SF, 1 cayenne pepper per SF, 3 winter squash in 4 SF, etc.

I am not 100% SFG even in my SFG plots, because I do not have my squares visually separated with string, wooden trim, or anything.  The way my stuff overgrows, you couldn't see it anyway, because I always plant the maximum I can get in my squares.  Instead of 16 onions, I planted 20, using the space where the slats separating the squares would have been.  I am no artist, and thus, the aesthetic value of the garden does not concern me.  The taste and nutritive value of the food matters to me. 

Have fun and expect to eat healthy.
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Post  boffer 7/22/2015, 8:20 pm

trolleydriver wrote:...Will I be violating the SFG principles by planting more than one type of crop in the same square?  Will this approach work? ...

No, planting multiple types in a square is sometimes recommended: planting a fast plant like radishes with a slow plant like celery, or for shading lettuce or spinach under a tall plant like broccoli. It's an efficient use of space.

Yes, it will work.

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Post  Marc Iverson 7/23/2015, 1:36 am

I like to sneak dwarf marigolds into my squares. Even when they're very happy, they don't get very big or have a negative effect on my other plants so far, that I can notice anyway.
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Post  trolleydriver 7/23/2015, 9:16 am

Thanks for all the interesting responses.  I'm hoping I can find some pea seeds "to sow in a row".  It's fun experimenting in different ways with SFG.  BTW I am thankful that there are no SFG police keeping an eye on what we are doing!
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Post  boffer 7/23/2015, 11:25 am

trolleydriver wrote:...It's fun experimenting in different ways with SFG.  BTW I am thankful that there are no SFG police keeping an eye on what we are doing!

I agree!

You've touched on a couple  issues that can be confusing.

One of our  priorities on the forum is to maintain the integrity of the definition of SFG, which is specified by Mel as a box, a grid, and MM. The definition is concise and incontestable.

On the other hand, what gardeners do in their gardens is their business.  All gardeners, regardless of the type of gardening method used, are welcome here.  There are various gardening methods that work, however they all have advantages and disadvantages.  Gardeners like to experiment, and are welcome to share their experiences here, so long as the discussion doesn't cause confusion for  members and guests regarding the definition of SFG.

SFG exists because Mel challenged the status quo.  I posit that SFG has attained mainstream status, and is itself subject to being challenged.  That is how improvements are made.  Gardeners have their opinions and preferences, but we've yet to see a valid improvement that will benefit all users of the SFG method.  

Keep experimenting.  You could become the first one to discover a major improvement that will help us all.   Possible Violation of SFG Principles 3170584802
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Post  walshevak 7/23/2015, 12:16 pm

When you are planting more than one square of anything that needs a trellis, it only makes sense to line your squares up along the trellis.  How's that for getting around the "row" issue.  You are still only planting 8 peas per square.  I plant 1 tomato per square, but I can fit 4 squares along my cattle panel.   Very Happy

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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/23/2015, 10:30 pm

I underplant all my tomatoes with radishes.  And I put trellis on the North side of my boxes, plant pole beans all over...1 every 4 inches, the I interplant swiss chard in front of the trellis with about 2 per SF.  

Just experiment, it is all fun, a learning experience, even Mel learns!  Read his books in order, you will see the evolution!

cheers


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