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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Greetings from Old York Toplef10Greetings from Old York 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.

Greetings from Old York I22gcj10Greetings from Old York 14dhcg10

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Greetings from Old York

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AtlantaMarie
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Rupert
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Greetings from Old York Empty Greetings from Old York

Post  Rupert 1/2/2021, 7:47 pm

Hi everyone, 

I'm Rupert, from York in the UK. I've been interested in SFG for some years now, and messed around a little with raised beds at my last place. We moved to a town in October 2019 and in January 2020 I got an allotment. Over 2020 I've gradually been moving it from flat patch of weeds to my wanted design. I've gone a bit overboard, and installed sixteen 8 x 4 foot raised beds. They take up half my plot and I intended to rotate on a 4 year plan, but using SFG. The other half of my plot now has a 6 x 8 shed, and a 6 x 8 glasshouse. I have two 1000l IBCs for water with more to come, and have planned that hald for a 10 x 20 polytunnel and also fixed beds of asparagus, artichoke, soft fruit and rhubarb. There will also be space for a 4 x 8 2 bay composting area. I got all my seeds ordered for next year, and potato sets, so very excited to get started. 

However, I got the latest edition of SFG for Christmas and am slightly overwhelmed and a bit worried too! You see, I had to do all the above on a budget, so my first mistake was filling my beds. I just bulk bought garden waste compost, and filled them all with that. I now see that 'Mel's Mix' is central to the principles of SFG. So, I am hoping for any advice here. My current plan regarding this is: 
1. plant this year into the current beds, as I have no choice. 
2. Empty a single bed and invest in the three-way mix as laid out in the book to fill just one of my 16 beds. 
3. Start making garden compost over the next 12 months. 
4. Begin to swap the contents of the beds over time to Mel's Mix. 
Does this sound like a good plan, or does anyone have any advice further, thank you. 

The other thing I found quite confusing was that the examples plantings with SFG have all sorts of different plant types in the same box. I originally was going to have 4 boxes for Pots, 4 boxes for Legumes, 4 boxes for Brassica and 4 boxes for Onion/Roots. Then I was going to rotate on a 4 year plan. As I have the space would doing this be alright? Or do I need to spread my varying plant families throughout the same boxes please. 

Lastly I wondered if any of you use and could recommend a garden planning program or app for phone or PC please. I am currently using one called Garden Planner from GrowVeg which seems alright, and as I've just found out has a section for SFG as well. 

Well, thanks for reading, and looking forward to learning from you all, and getting planting!

Happy New Year, 

Rupert  Greetings from Old York 3170584802
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Post  yolos 1/2/2021, 9:13 pm

I do not plant different squares with different veggie types in the same bed.  I predominately fill each bed with one type of veggie.  For instance, in a 2 x 8 bed I plant my pole Rattlesnake Beans.  In a 4 x 8 bed I plant broccoli.  In another 4 x 8 bed I plant Pink eye purple hull peas.  etc.  The different types of veggies require different watering procedures and different pests eating them, etc.  Therefore I like to group like vegetables together.
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Post  OhioGardener 1/3/2021, 7:29 am

Some of my beds are all one type of plant, and others are planted with a mixture of plants.  For example, I want enough beans to pick at one time to freeze or can them for winter, so I plant an entire 4'x8' bed with bush beans. Other beds will be a mixture of plants because I don't want or need too much of any one of them at a time. For example, one 4'x8' might contain kale, spinach, lettuce, radishes, and onions. Another bed might be predominately tomatoes, with other shade loving plants planted among the tomatoes.  One advantage of polyculture planting vs monoculture planting is that plants are less susceptible to insect pests when there is not a big group of them in one place.

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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/3/2021, 8:44 am

Hi Rupert. Welcome to the party from the SE USA!

The reasoning behind mixing the different plants is to confuse bad bugs. Some folks follow it, some don't. It's up to you. I WILL say that if you are planting different varieties of the same plant (tomatoes, for instance) and you're wanting to save seeds for the next year, you need to have them separated by a good amount so that there is no cross-pollination.

Sounds like you have a good plan in place to replace with MM. One step at a time....
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Post  AuntieBeth 1/3/2021, 3:51 pm

I am a contented user of the Garden Planner as well.  I have been using it for the past four years and have found it to be extremely useful.  I'm beginning to learn how to use the accompanying Garden Journal which are now connected in the new Flash-less version of the Garden Planner. (Yay!)  All I can say is that the longer you use the planner and the better acquainted you get with it, the more useful it will be.  For example, for next year's garden, --if you create a follow-on plan-- it will tell you exactly where you planted plants from the same family when you select this year's carrots, or broccoli, or whatever.  Without having to go back and look, (or remember) you'll see where not to put them again.  

As for companion planting, I find that I can group similar things together (cabbages) and throw in some flowers (borage, marigolds, celosia) simply to attract pollinators and predators and enjoy what seem to be about the same results as mixing everything up.  And this way I get the viewing pleasure of the flower garden in the cabbage patch!

As far as that goes, the garden planner will also tell you what plants benefit from being grown together or near each other.  As far as I've been able to learn, they actually only recommend what research has indicated to benefit the plant companions, and not the "handed down wisdom" (old wives tales?) you can find all over the internet.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/3/2021, 4:30 pm

Welcome, Rupert!  You have come to the right place for expert advice on intensive spaced gardening and SFG!  

I think your interim plan sounds good, will give you time to get everything you need together.  

I don’t use a planner but do keep detailed notes as every year is different.  I don’t have near the SF you have though!  I do know traditional crop rotation isn’t necessary with SFG, but certain crops don’t like each other.  

I try to put brassicas together so I can cover them since they don’t need pollination.  

Keep us posted!
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Post  Kelejan 1/14/2021, 2:49 am

Hello Rupert:  Welcome to the Forum. Filling all your beds with Mel's Mix to start off would cost you a fortune.  Doing it over time as you are is a great plan.

Look forward to seeing your results as mixing so much mix is a huge task.   We love pictures.
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Post  robert1938 1/20/2021, 8:22 am

Hi Rupert,
Welcome to SFG.

Read your post and depending on the depth of your raised beds. I  only have  6 I am afraid, mine are 1 mtr & 900m deep and  (6'x2' & 8'x2') I had simalar problem a lot of Mels mix I thought  Shocked Shocked, so i partially filled each one with mixure of compost - both garden & coir mix & horse maunure & garden soil 
on top of cardboard. I guess they were around half filled like this I then added approx 200mm ( 8" ) of Mels mix, that's all the time & cost I could do. Next year topped beds up with 100mm ( 4" ) Mels Mix and have done this for two years. Levels in the raised beds at the moment is about 100mm ( 4" ) / 150mm (6") from the top of the bed. For Mels mix the main items are Coir / Mushroom spent compost / vermicular plus varius fertilisers like chick & seaweed pellets.
I mix all in a barrow then shovel into the beds. For potatoes and carrots I use same mix but no vermicular and grow these in 250mm ( 10" ) black plastic buckets. Overall reasonalbe success some good years other not so good, buy thats gardening.
Regarding planting - which is all SFG I mix some beds and others single type of crop.


Regards
From Sunny Ayrshire  Cool No

Robert
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Post  Kelejan 1/20/2021, 8:37 am

When I started I used mixed beds as I had only two 4x4s.

 Later on some beds were all of one crop as I wanted to process them for storage, such as dehydrating,  freezing or canning. 

Then I changed the size of my beds to 6 x 3 as I am a small woman and in danger of falling into the 4 x 4s when weeding.
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