Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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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» What Have You Picked From Your Garden Today
by sanderson Yesterday at 11:07 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by OhioGardener Yesterday at 4:44 pm

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» From the Admin - 4th EDITION of All New Square Foot Gardening is in Progress
by sanderson 4/21/2024, 5:02 pm

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Post  hartge01 2/6/2021, 4:57 pm

Greetings everyone,

I have been away for quite a while. Life in general, but also a bad situation with my garden. I believe I contracted a fungus/disease from some poor quality compost. I have solarized the garden for two summers and I am looking at replanting this month or spring. Actually it has been covered with plastic for two going on three years.

 The soil looks good after tilling it, (dark, friable, and consistent), but I am curious if I should add peat-moss or coconut coir and possibly even some additional vermiculite before planting.

Any thoughts?


Also, sunlight is a challenge for me. I am looking at only about 5 to 6 hours per day in the spring/summer. Has anybody in this group ever considered or have used outdoor grow lights?

Thanks and it is good to he back, hopefully,

Gary
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Post  markqz 2/8/2021, 6:45 pm

hartge01 wrote:I posted this in my region, but don’t seem to be getting any feedback. Maybe I posted incorrectly? I also had another question 😁

Greetings everyone,

Hello!

I'm surprised no one's replied yet. You don't mention how long your garden has been setting idle. I seem to recall that an SFG has something like a 10 year life expectancy, so if you're still in that ball park then it seems like you mostly need compost. Vermiculite doesn't really break down, so I wouldn't think you would need more of that.

I've been using a generic bright LED lamp to lengthen my plants' growing days. My feeling is that the plants in the SFG with the lamp are 20% to 50% bigger than the one's without it, but it's not a very scientific experiment, since the plant selection isn't quite identical. One thing to consider is whether your neighbors will be asking about the light. My light is below 4 feet and hundred feet away from the nearest neighbor, but I've still had people be curious. With only 6 to 7 hours of sun, I'm guessing you're doing this in some narrow area between houses??

There! There's advice from a non-expert  Wink  Maybe now someone with better info will chip in.
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Post  hartge01 2/10/2021, 10:11 am

Thanks for the response Markqz!

My garden has been sitting idle for three years so I should still be good although I never heard that dirt goes bad only that it gets better with age. Kin of like me  Laughing

As far as grow lights I would only use them to supplement sunlight. That means either a couple of hours in the AM or a couple of hours in the PM. I am condensing back to one 4X4 plot to get my feet back under me and use only Florida heirloom seeds.

I am thinking of placing two posts at opposite/diagonal corners with an outdoor rated  grow light mounted to each post. I would use a timer so I wouldn't have bright lights bathing my neighbors in a midnight glow. I have a huge "common" area behind my house and my garden is pretty far from my neighbors. At least their bedrooms.

Thanks again!
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Post  sanderson 2/11/2021, 3:26 am

Welcome back, Gary. happy hi

The main thing you need to add is more compost. Start watching for different sources of compost now. Last year with Covid, supplies flew off the shelves.

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Post  hartge01 2/11/2021, 6:13 am

Thank you Sanderson!

It is good to be back and hopefully the garden will support that euphoria!  Laughing

As far as compost, well...there isn't much t choose from outside of what is in the box stores shelves. I have some Black Kow and a bit I can get from leaf compost around the house. My sleuthing isn't quite over yet though, but I would like to have seeds/seedlings in the ground by next weekend at the latest.

Thank you!

Gary
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Post  sanderson 2/11/2021, 5:19 pm

Florida folks, what composts have you found?  and where?  Thanks.

Gary, I merged your 2 threads into one. Wink

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Post  TCgardening 2/14/2021, 8:41 am

I get my compost from Mike's Organic compost. He is in St Lucie county so that is about 3 hours from you. I would think you should be able to find some horse manure compost in your area. Have you checked the local Facebook or Craigslist sales?
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Post  hartge01 2/14/2021, 10:38 am

Thanks everyone, this is a great conversation. So I discovered that we have a company in town that the County has contracted with to “process” all of the yard trash collected from all houses across the county. What this means is they shred the material, screen it for large pieces, and then compost it. This end product is available for purchase. at about $20 a cubic yard. Looking around my neighborhood that would include grass clippings, bush/hedge clippings, oak trees, pine trees, and basically anything else organic taken from the yard. My guess is a good portion of this would be oak tree leaves. Which I understand are slightly acidic. So, my take is this would still be considered one type of compost. I also understand that the chances of buying a bag of compost at my local big box store most likely came from this company. If that is the case, then I am back to two forms of compost, this and manure. I am using Florida produced heirloom seeds so I am also thinking this may not be a bad thing?
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Post  OhioGardener 2/14/2021, 12:29 pm

Two thoughts, Hartge01: 1) Oak leaves, once composted, are not acidic, but very near neutral; and 2) It is highly unlikely that the compost created at that facility will be sold as packaged compost at big box stores.

Alternative forms of compost to be found at local nurseries and big box stores are composted chicken manure, composted cow manure, mushroom compost, vermicompost (worm castings), cotton burr compost, etc..  If you can't find 5 types of compost, including the one from your municipal contractor, use 4 types of the best you can find. Gardening is not an exact science, even though we always tend to over think it.

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Post  hartge01 2/14/2021, 12:55 pm

Thanks OhioGardener! Good to know about oak leaves, but Florida Live, Water, Red, and Laurel oaks may be different than Ohio. I know the leaves are different shapes. As far as the compost and big box stores, I read tthis from their website, “In fact, if you’ve recently purchased a bag of topsoil or mulch from a big box store, hardware store, or nursery and garden center, there’s a good chance that part of it came from Gaston Mulch and Soil!” (https://gastonmulch.com/blog/how-we-make-topsoil/)

Anyway, more to the point, you are correct. I am way over thinking this. Besides, I stumbled Across a YouTube video done by a certified square-foot garden instructor, who surprised me when she said the mix only last about 10 years. My garden is going on 11 so I need to restart the whole thing anyway. 😂
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Post  OhioGardener 2/14/2021, 1:04 pm

hartge01 wrote: “In fact, if you’ve recently purchased a bag of topsoil or mulch from a big box store, hardware store, or nursery and garden center, there’s a good chance that part of it came from Gaston Mulch and Soil!”

My garden is going on 11 so I need to restart the whole thing anyway.

You will be buying Compost, not topsoil or mulch.  Instead of "restart" think "refresh".  Refresh with good quality compost.

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