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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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Frost's North Central Florida Garden

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Post  Frost? 3/17/2022, 8:48 pm

sanderson wrote:Those are great sizes, equivalent to 1 sq ft with 6-7" of MM.
Agreed; that's what made me spring for it.  I have more coming that are more of a compromise, but these are choice.
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Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 Empty project "real" SFG - 12"x12" bins

Post  Frost? 3/19/2022, 10:47 am

Nearly complete.  Just need to drill my drain holes and attach trellis netting.

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6629

Trellis support is as per Mel, 1/2" electrical conduit over 1/2" rebar stakes.  Problem arose with elbows at top.  Local hardware store didn't have them, and where I did find them online they were about $6.00 apiece.  So; I bought two 1/2" copper elbows (same diameter as conduit) and four 1/2" conduit couplers.  The elbows were $1.99 each and the couplers were 99 cents each (as marked on bin) - but at check out my total was $3.25.  Fair enough!

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6630

Also, should anyone care, the legs are 3" PVC drain pipe in lieu of wood.  Had the material on hand and preferred the "concept" for weight, esthetics, creativity.  Channeled the pipe to slip the framework into them.  I like it.

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Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 Empty Coarse Vermiculite

Post  Frost? 3/20/2022, 12:56 pm

BOOYAH!  Busy day ahead; 8 cu/ft of coarse vermiculite!

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Post  sanderson 3/21/2022, 4:03 am

Frost, You're just moving right along. The 1/2" copper elbows was a clever solution for the EMC trellis. The the 3" PVC for legs was also clever. And you are now the proud owner of 8 cu. ft. of coarse vermiculite.

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Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 7:29 am

sanderson wrote:  And you are now the proud owner of 8 cu. ft. of coarse vermiculite.

Thanks; and yes to coarse vermiculite; and better still.  I've been seeking out compost options, and thanks to your "list" on another thread had definitive names (ecoscraps; Nature's Care; Gardener & Bloome).  I pre-searched the internet for local stock and was able to score Nature's Care Really Good Compost at Home Depot in Ocala, and Old Castle Black Velvet Mushroom compost at Lowes about 7 miles down the road from them.  Big Box stores are winning out to local Farm & Feed Stores AND local Nurseries!  Who would think compost would be so rare!
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Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 Empty first batch of Mel's Mix

Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 3:02 pm

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6633

Got my components as here, along with Peat Moss and screened "home brew" compost.

Fortunately I have one of these (whatever it is)

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6634

....add 5 gallons of vermiculite, 5 gallons of Peat Moss, 5 gallons of mixed compost:

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6635

and roll it across the yard a couple of times.  Blended!
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Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 3:03 pm

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Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 Empty 12x12 bins

Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 3:06 pm

Filled my bins, and hired a professional to add my trellis:Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6638

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6637
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Post  Soose 3/21/2022, 3:51 pm

Frost? wrote:Very easy to protect "young-uns" with a PVC frame covered with chicken wire.  The same panel can later be zip- tied to the fence surrounding to use as a trellis.
Hi, Frost?, I came back to look at your garden thread.  I think I've only seen some of it in other threads, hadn't watched your thread from the beginning. 

Glad I looked because I like your pvc chicken wire frames for "young-uns" and will keep it in mind for my half-an-ibc-tote containers.  Lightweight.  Might do very well. 

I wonder about using tulle fabric on the frame instead.  (I have that, bought in quantity.)

I could see this as a raise-able panel as the garden grows.
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Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 4:12 pm

Soose wrote:Glad I looked because I like your pvc chicken wire frames for "young-uns" and will keep it in mind for my half-an-ibc-tote containers.  Lightweight.  Might do very well. 

I wonder about using tulle fabric on the frame instead.  (I have that, bought in quantity.)

  I see no reason why not, at times I use these frames for burlap covers (rain protection)  The tulle might have the added benefit of keeping the squirrels from even LOOKING at your stuff!  (thwart the temptation)
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Post  sanderson 3/21/2022, 7:34 pm

Don't forget to thoroughly wet the mix before adding to containers or beds. And, keep it moist from here on. Nothing worse that a dry bed and having to rehydrate it.

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Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 9:00 pm

sanderson wrote:Don't forget to thoroughly wet the mix before adding to containers or beds.  And, keep it moist from here on.  Nothing worse that a dry bed and having to rehydrate it.
 
Ooops!  Guess I missed that class!  As I drilled each one, and laid in my weed guard, I filled them with MM and dropped them in their grids - Then watered until the water covered the MM.  After I did the next one, I refilled the first one with water, etc. etc.  I haven't planted anything in them yet but anticipate inundating them again tomorrow.  

Do you normally throw all the MM into a barrel full of water before putting it in your beds?
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Post  Frost? 3/21/2022, 9:39 pm

Just delivered today; time to assess the materials available.

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 15x21_10

Ok, the compromise - I bought for the 7" depth (more like 6 5/8" inside), but 15" x 21.5"?  Figuring a SFG grid at 12" x 12" allows 144 sq/in, if I "grid" these in half (because if it isn't gridded, it ain't SFG - MB) I'll have 15" x 10 3/4" which gives me 
161 1/4 sq/in.  Will I get by a panel of judges?
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Post  Soose 3/21/2022, 10:02 pm

My ibc totes are 39 inches by 47 inches surface area. I'm treating each like a grid 3ft by four foot, with a 3 inch wide strip running 4ft down the long side -- essentially another square, just linear. 16 onions or beets, right?
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Post  Frost? 3/22/2022, 7:38 am

Soose wrote:My ibc totes are 39 inches by 47 inches surface area.  I'm treating each like a grid 3ft by four foot, with a 3 inch wide strip  running 4ft down the long side -- essentially another square, just linear. 16 onions or beets, right?

That is interesting; I think I would have just made my grids 13" wide x 11 3/4" and said close enough.  I'm not sure how much leeway the Gurus will give us; but I bet we find out!  I'm just an experimenter like you (at least when it comes to rigid protocols) cyclops
But, presuming you are given license for a 3" x 47" inch strip grid - yes to 16 onions, radishes, carrots - 9 beets.
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Post  Soose 3/22/2022, 8:37 am

TY Frost, and sq ft of soil is sq ft of soil.  If we lived in another country, the book is called "Square Meter Gardening" and we'd be using that 39inches.   (Just realized why it's likely 39 which I thought a strange increment.)  I will, like you, make my squares the size that is practical.  But as I was drawing up some squares, I'd realized about the small side strip. And it seemed appropriate for a long run of onions or something in my drawing, so I think of it that way. 

[ TY for the correction on beets being 9/square, not 16.  I temporarily forgot, having not planted them before.  I am such a newbie for vegetable  gardening, I'm going to be planting and hoping.  No time to hover.  I sure wish I had your longer term experience growing vegetables! ]

I like your bus trays.  I did not think of them for garden tubs.  We used to buy them at Sam's for a very cheap price for a set of two.
They have really gone up in price since I bought the two or three I have,  but I guess are still a bargain for what they are.  
Cambro Bus Box, 21" x 15" x 7" (2 pk.)  $14.68
I see them at Sam's. They are a lot cheaper ($7.34) than the Winco ad you sent (over $12 each)? 
They are surely the same heavy duty -- Cambro is a major brand name for restaurant heavy duty plastic containers of all sorts. 
We use them for all sorts of jobs.  Right now, I have my soil blocker and some soil in one.  My son was cutting potatoes in one.

[ Edit -- wait, I see they are out of stock at our local Sam's (noticed online). ]
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Post  Frost? 3/22/2022, 9:31 am

SOOSE said:  and sq ft of soil is sq ft of soil...But as I was drawing up some squares, I'd realized about the small side strip.  And it seemed appropriate for a long run of onions or something in my drawing, so I think of it that way.

I agree 100%, but I know from experience that what I think is not always "general consensus".  Paradigm shift:  If I have two cars that are both 8' wide and 16' long I would need 256 sq/ft of driveway to park them in.  I asked for a driveway 20' wide x 20' long for 400 sq/ft (a little wiggle room).  The contractor builds me a driveway that's 2' wide x 200' long - and tells me "sq/ft is sq/ft".  I'm not saying your wrong, I'm saying I don't know. Wink  

SOOSE said:  I like your bus trays...We used to buy them at Sam's for a very cheap price for a set of two. 

Appreciate that!  Normally "cheap" drives me; I will search relentlessly for the best deal I can find.  Just hunted out a lawnmower mandrel that had a MSRP of $39.00 and found one one EBay for $19.00, for me that's a coup!  BUT, I need to get rolling here and so I threw restraint to the wind and went with what is convenient for me, and least time consuming (plus I don't have a Sam's or BJ's or CostCo account.  I didn't "like" the price of either set of bins, but I justified it as 1) a one time purchase 2) delivered to my door, 3) Quick!  Don't expect me to continue in such blatant disregard of economy!  Cool
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Post  Soose 3/22/2022, 10:30 am

I'm the same, Frost.   I'm a very thrifty person.  But with supplies and pending upsets,  economy has to take a backseat now.  I did see the bus trays in Sam's very recently, and after reading your post this morning, I was considering getting a couple more.  Extremely useful in the garden, they would be -- but this morning they are all out of stock.  If they come back on shelves here, I might buy a 2-pk. 

Along these lines, I decided in parallel with your post that I will have to just pay what I can locally for the compost part of my mix and any supplements I feel we need.  I think I'll start a post. Because I don't know what we do need -- normally we'd ask and obtain it at need. 

Including info!  The people at the nursery yesterday were always so friendly.  I need to know more gardeners.  Because if online info goes away, including online friends...  I'm in trouble!
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Post  Frost? 3/22/2022, 10:47 am

SOOSE said: wrote:Along these lines, I decided in parallel with your post that I will have to just pay what I can locally for the compost part of my mix and any supplements I feel we need.

$140.00 worth of bins; $125.00 worth of vermiculite; $50.00 worth of Peat Moss; easily $50.00 worth of compost additions:
Did I forget anything?  My veggies this year will cost me about $15.00 a pound:  The plus side is, each ensuing season they get cheaper and cheaper.  By the time I'm 115 I'll be eating for FREE!  Yeah!
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Post  Soose 3/22/2022, 11:51 am

Frost? wrote:$140.00 worth of bins; $125.00 worth of vermiculite; $50.00 worth of Peat Moss; easily $50.00 worth of compost additions:
Did I forget anything?  My veggies this year will cost me about $15.00 a pound:  The plus side is, each ensuing season they get cheaper and cheaper.  By the time I'm 115 I'll be eating for FREE!  Yeah!

LOL. I know -- if I add mine up (haven't) for structure - You don't want to know the cost of totes for beds, though I get two beds/tote. I just paid $130 for mulch to cover the ground of the new garden area, with my own transport.  (Ground too wet.)  I haven't added up the peat, vermiculite, compost so far.

But supply lines are in trouble. We all need to be gardening!
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Post  Frost? 3/22/2022, 2:17 pm

OK, building a testimonial here.  I planted Butternut Squash seeds, Cantaloupe seeds, and two tomato clipping transplants, as well as one Butternut Squash transplant as evidenced below.  Presently looking very sickly; let's see what happens.  I already have Butternut seeds and Cantaloupe seeds in pots that are just popping (for comparison).

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Post  Soose 3/22/2022, 4:52 pm

Cool!  I have a real gardening friend - I should say avid and experienced --
who uses something to rescue wounded plants.  I'll have to ask what it is.
She's had great success with it.  She seems in tune with her plants. She
knows when they are happy. Smile  I had to ask her, what did she mean by
they're happy today.  Just what you'd think.  But it helped to hear what
she watches for, what she notices.  And to think of them as happy. Smile
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Post  Frost? 3/22/2022, 8:36 pm

I have a disease that will not let anything die unless it has been given a chance to live and has chosen to die.  
  Whenever I prune my plants, or as in the case of the squash transplant, some critter has severed a member off the plant, I MUST put them in a nursery pot with robust media.  If they shrivel up and die, so be it; but more times than not they respond and I gain another plant.  This is why I have some 30 tomato plants and a couple dozen pepper plants; and why I always have seedlings for friends.
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Post  sanderson 3/28/2022, 2:38 pm

[quote="Frost?"]
sanderson wrote:Don't forget to thoroughly wet the mix before adding to containers or beds.  And, keep it moist from here on.  Nothing worse that a dry bed and having to rehydrate it. . .
Do you normally throw all the MM into a barrel full of water before putting it in your beds?
No, not in a barrel of water. Each batch should be thoroughly wet before putting in the bed. Or, some folks dump a thin layer of Mix into the bed and wet thoroughly with the hose wand.

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Post  sanderson 3/28/2022, 2:40 pm

Frost? wrote:OK, building a testimonial here.  I planted Butternut Squash seeds, Cantaloupe seeds, and two tomato clipping transplants, as well as one Butternut Squash transplant as evidenced below.  Presently looking very sickly; let's see what happens.  I already have Butternut seeds and Cantaloupe seeds in pots that are just popping (for comparison).

Frost's North Central Florida Garden - Page 2 100_6639
It looks like the Mel's Mix is dry, except for the little wet spot around each plant. The dry mix is most likely wicking the moisture away from the plant root areas.

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