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my head is about to explode Toplef10my head is about to explode 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.

my head is about to explode I22gcj10my head is about to explode 14dhcg10

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my head is about to explode

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Post  p14shooter 2/4/2016, 7:28 pm

And it is all your fault TD.  I picked up that book you mentioned written by niki jabbour.  I figured she lives in my area so I should be able to incorporate what she was saying.  Well holy smokes, what a lot of information in it, and I am barley getting started.  I gotta stop before my head really does explode.  A couple questions for you experienced people that have solved the problem.  If I can get this working to be an almost year round garden like it should be, what about the problem she mentions of soil replenishment?  Is just putting a bag of manure in it between/during plantings enough as well as what little compost I produce enough?  What type should it be?  Is it plant specific? 
I read an article at one point that I should not use the same soil year after year because of disease, but if I do have a continuous garden, that would seem to be impossible.

This interplanting method she talks about, such as planting lettuce in with broccoli as the lettuce will be done before the broccoli, obviously this is what SFG is all about, but that must take a toll on the soil. 

I only have 2 4x4 foot beds, should I be considering a 3rd just so I can let a bit of soil recovery happen? 

Although the book is great, it may be too much for me to comprehend at this point in my learning.  I may just go back and get mel's book of SFG.  Maybe that is where I should have started anyway.  Although in the words of Queen, I want it all, and I want it now.

Although, I guess I should be heading out to the seed store tomorrow if I am going to start my broccoli and anything else inside, I guess time is running short for that.

Who knew that planing a small garden could be so stressful Shocked
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/4/2016, 7:41 pm

Honestly, if you want opinions...and you must Very Happy I think on your maiden voyage, just get Mel's ALL NEW SFG and get a year or a couple plantings under your belt. Baby steps, ya know? Put in an early spring crop of radish, kale, cabbage, lettuces, spinach, peas, etc. Then put in your heat lovers; tomatoes, peppers, cukes, zucchini or summer squash, potatoes can go either way for us northerners. Do this. Learn. Relax and eat your yummy harvest. Read and enjoy!

NO HEADS EXPLODING ON MY WATCH! lol!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 2/4/2016, 7:46 pm

And please get a compost pile started... The bagged compost is all waste product. And it can be filled with sand, sticks, etc. Not really healthy for your garden...

If you REALLY don't want to do your own compost, check your local area to see if you have farmers or smaller garden centers that you can purchase from.
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Post  mschaef 2/4/2016, 8:06 pm

If you do make your own compost it will have all the nutrients in it for your next crop to grow in. Different crops use different nutrients and put back some too into the soil. Now your question about the disease: when you get a full year growing done your squares will have had 4 different crops in it. Its possible that the disease has been put to bed so I wouldn't worry too much. But if you are concerned than just switch your square around for the next year ( 4 growing seasons). 


Just breathe and try things out this year and keep a journal so you'll know what you liked/ worked and what you want to improve on the following year.
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Post  trolleydriver 2/4/2016, 11:15 pm

P14 ... I am so sorry for mentioning that book to you. It is loaded with information. I thought it would help because the author wrote it based on her experience in Nova Scotia where you live. It would take years to implement everything she writes about in the book. But she has some good things to say even for us beginners such as extending the season with cold frames and what to plant and when. Some of the things she mentions, such as preparing and amending soil are for traditional gardening and should not be implemented by SFG gardeners.

Please go back to Mel's All New Square Foot Gardening book. Use Mel's Mix for your soil and forget what you read in the Year-Round book. Keep it simple, especially the first year.

By the way ... my head is beginning to explode as I try to decide what to plant this year and what seeds I should start indoors. I also want to add some SFG beds.
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Post  Kelejan 2/5/2016, 12:27 am

p14shooter, you are supposed to enjoy the experience of SFGing. Please relax, take baby steps, especially for this first year.

Do not despair when you make mistakes, that is one of the best ways to learn. and in this first year you will have some successes. Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 2/5/2016, 3:38 am

Shooter, Just try to relax and enjoy the journey. Very Happy We have all been where you are, at the beginning. Yes, get Mel's All New SFG and follow his directions. Try to find 5 different sources of compost to blend. If they come commercially bagged, screen them through a 1/4" hardware cloth screen to remove wood chips, rocks and bottle caps. Read the ingredients because most have wood and peat moss, maybe perlite. If you want to let us know what you find, let us know about them and we will help you choose the best. Try to start a compost pile - dead leaves, barnyard manure, veggie scraps, sea weed/kelp, crab shells, coffee grounds.

Don't worry about letting the soil rest. That's for row gardening. You will be adding a balance diet of compost every time you plant so your plants won't starve. Rotate planting something between the 2 boxes. In my garden, I can't rotate crops around to the different boxes. Beans always go in boxes 2 and 7. Peas in 1 and 3. peppers in 6. Rotation is very good, but with Mel's mix, not as critical as regular gardening.

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Post  plantoid 2/5/2016, 8:52 am

Here is my take on it all .. it's a bit long winded but as I'm a simpleton Laughing   it's  about as good as I can do .

Mel's book & system is torn about , rehashed and in some cases almost directy copied ..he's been doing it for donkeys years and nothing but nothing has beaten his words of wisdom or system .

 I've been gardening since I was seven , that's nearly 45 years of busting my ass & back with a row  in soil system  and a much lighter easier 15 years of using Mel's system .

 I too started the Square Foot gardening kick by looking at so many different ways and ideas that it nearly became a case of information overload  as I was trying to glean info for the best way forward for me to have the best garden in the whole world.
See I'm clever that way,  I knew I could easily pick & choose what I wanted  to develop a super system Wink  .   I had a couple of dozen or so expensive photo filled glossy books by different folk . Couldn't quite get it right though as I had to read several booksat a time  and try & remember what each one was saying /doing ...my poor brains not up to that .  No

One day in 1996 ( ish )  I met up ( for the first time ) with my 71 yr old father in law .. ( a blunt , chainsaw sharp ,sassy,  acidic , six foot seven  muscled bound  mountain of a man  , hewn from a single granite block , a Canadian from Newfoundland

They lived very near Niagara Falls , we got talking ,  he'd  lived in the UK from D day when he got seriously war wounded  whilst doing the D Day  landing   till around 1948 .
He asked me about our 1& 3/4 acre smallholding  & the gardens, "Hmmm "he said , " Stop wasting your time Dave ,  read this book at least four times whist your here then bugger of back to the UK and do it " .
He gave me Mel's first book ..a hard copy .. told me he got it because of watching some of Mel's TV gardening programmes.

 His single 8 foot wide by 20 feet long 19 inch  raised bed ( made from freely laid hollow soil concrete blocks was amazing , full of all manner of food stuff and a few flowers as well set in the  soil filed hollows  .

I'd read & almost memorised it by the end of the fourth week, so was able to ask Eric some sensible questions ( well I thought the were sensible at the time  )  .  I found it infuriating , because nearly every time I asked a square foot garden related question he said  You'll need to read the book a bit more Dave .

I got the message in the end ..he was a man of few words , who wasn't going to do my home work for me.
I also noticed that he had his book in his hand as he waved us farewell as we started our journey back to the UK..  
Reading it would have made the nine hour flight back to London  just that much more bearable I can tell you
 

 So I left Canada with my new wife to return to the UK and started to  run my Gardens as per Mel's system .
It went well for the best part of 10 years  till I  moved from East Anglia to the edge of a disused coal mine here in South Wales where the land is blue sulphurous coal mine clay , shale , a bit of coal thrown in for free , all laid on top of a 40 foot thick layer of glacial laid clay that slid over a limestone bedrock .

 The only plants I had in the gardens at the time were a things called couch grass and a thick  blanket of horse tail / mares tail , both insidious perennial weeds that takes years to kill off . The first small beds I made up would grow nothing ,  as I discovered far too late that my adding animal manures only increased the already high acid content of the soil .

So I set about having all my beds built with red engineering bricks, raising the sides up to 900 mm ( 36 inches )  ...made the beds run in blocks of six per unit ,  this has worked out as being 39 inches square internally .

 For the first three beds I made an artificial soil consisting of some of the local stuff dried crushed up then mixed with GYPSUM , sharp sand , 10 yr old composted manure and some sedge peat .
  I got one bed sown with salad stuff and was going to risk getting ball rooted carrots in the second when I forgot the spacings for them .. went on line and discovered this site  , got the spacings and realised something was wrong .

People in the site were a bit strange/ frosty  to my mind , it took a few weeks to discover it was because I wasn't quite following Mel's scheme .. That's all changed now , not only have I developed & changed for the better  so has the site .  Now every one gets a hearty  welcome and friendship right from day one .

It was around this time I was encouraged to get hold of the soil less growth medium second edition of Square foot Gardening that Mel had recently had published .

Having purchased it , read it cover to cover half a dozen of more times including the preface , index and all the valuable charts ,  the superiority of not having mother earths soil quickly became apparent .  So , I dug out all the part filled beds , spread the contents over the proposed lawn areas and filled my beds up with as near to the initial MM recipe as I could get though it was a tad high on animal based composted manures so ever so slightly acidic to what a well made MM bed would be.

 I've followed Mel's system & ideas almost fanatically ever since and guess what ...... " These are the best gardens I've ever had "  .  I've never had such quality or prolific produce .. Look at some of it in the Gallery part of the site ( found in the green band index line of the the site towards the upper edge of most pages )

 One bit of advice I offer is that you look up the , " Compost 101 " thread as it contains a tremendous amount of of useful stuff that we have discovered about commercially available bagged so called composted manures . 

Have fun with ANSFG Mel's way ,,,,,,,,,,   it's all in the book  & all you ever need to know .

Dave
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/5/2016, 10:28 am

Hi p14!  Yes, in the All New Square Foot Gardening book I believe that Mel mentions extending the seasons and how to do it.   I tried it my first year by putting windows over my existing boxes since I don't fill them to the top with Mel's Mix, as I need a lip for a wind barrier.  I didn't plan it, it just kinda happened.  No stress needed if you just let the Spirit move ya.
Wink
Just found this thread with the photos about half way down the page at Jan 6, 2:03PM:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t14270-january-2013-new-england

It probably could have gone on through the winter but I'm not a good cold, wind, snow & ice slogger so I eventually quit going out there....sometime in Feb I think.

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Post  trolleydriver 2/5/2016, 10:58 am

Wow ... I feel really bad about suggesting reading that Year-Round book to P14. Going forward I will try to focus more on what I am doing and less on providing advice to others.
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Post  sanderson 2/5/2016, 3:46 pm

Plantoid, Well said. my head is about to explode 3170584802

CC, Thank you for sharing the older photos.

TD, I'm sure the book will be good reading for Shooter next winter, when one season is under his belt. I received a California garden book Christmas 2014. Having 2 summers under my belt, it was easy to follow.

Shooter, My advice, is to focus on "All New Square Foot Gardening" book for right now. Next winter, the regional book may make a lot more sense.

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Post  sanderson 2/6/2016, 4:33 pm

I shared Plantoid's reply to Mel. This is his response, "That is truly priceless, Sig." It will be going up on the SFG Foundation site and FB, and who knows where. Thank you for permission, Plantoid.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/6/2016, 5:45 pm

+1!
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Post  Kelejan 2/7/2016, 12:39 am

Lovely explanation of your progress, Plantoid. You were open to change and it payed off handsomely.
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