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Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia Toplef10Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia 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.

Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia I22gcj10Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia 14dhcg10

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Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia

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Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia Empty Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia

Post  Hip2B 4/12/2022, 6:56 pm

Hi All, Deb from Tassie here. I am a brand newbie Square Foot gardener. My partner and I moved to Tassie from Western Australia about 19 months ago. We have been renovating an older, run down rental house and garden. A couple of months ago my Dude told me that it was time to do something with the back corner of the yard and suggested a vegetable garden. I leapt on the idea. Some friends in Perth have had some great success with wicking beds and I really wanted to give them a go. We ordered a 3 metre bed and a 2.4 metre bed. They are now constructed and ready to go. Currently each bed houses only has 2 donated silverbeet, but they are the happiest, healthiest silverbeet you have seen. Neither of us really eat silverbeet, but at least they have the capillary action of the wicking beds working so the reservoir beneath does not become stagnant.  The beds are filled with 50% loam and 50% compost, at considerable expense. Although the media is rich, it is not Mel's Mix per say and I will have to keep working on improving it. My thoughts are that given the fact that these are wicking beds, the vermiculite etc will be less relevant to my SFG.  During my research I kept coming across references to Square Foot Gardening and I only really started to read about it in the last week or two (after the beds were installed).  Square Foot Gardening just makes sense and I am excited to leap right in. The biggest problem I can see for us is wind. We are on a hill and have great ocean views, but also cop howling winds straight off the Bass Strait. We will have easy access to the beds along the long sides, but strictly speaking, they are too long for Square Foot gardening. I will be marking out my grids with 13mm poly-pipe and am waiting for barbed crosses to arrive in order to install them. Seeds are ordered and lettuce mix has germinated. I will be planting spinach, garlic, Novella bush peas, sage, dill and corn salad in the next days/week. Planting options are fairly limited at the moment as we head into winter so I will have to exercise patience.
I look forward to sharing your adventures in SFG and sharing mine with you. Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia 20220410
Hip2B
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Post  sanderson 4/13/2022, 12:00 am

Beautiful trellis frames. What are the square dimensions of your beds? The lengths are 3M (10') and 2.4M (7.9') but how wide are they.

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Post  Hip2B 4/13/2022, 2:38 am

Thanks Sanderson. The jumbo bed is 300x110cm (118x43 inches) and the XL bed is 240x113cm (94x44.5 inches). That gives me 54 squares plus some part squares along the long edges. I also have 5 wicking tubs 61x44cm (24x17 inches) along the old shed. I have hung trellis there and they will get the afternoon sun with reflected warmth from the tin wall. Hopefully that will be plenty for a household of 2. I plan to grow herbs in 1 of them. Hopefully the veggie-net on the canopies holds up to our winds. If not, I will have to switch to bird netting. It is mostly for possum exclusion, but insect control would be an added bonus. I'm finding the Square Foot Gardening book very readable so far but have only just started it.
Hip2B
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Post  Hip2B 5/1/2022, 3:48 am

Hi All, just checking in. I am about a third of the way through the All New SFG book now, also having a look at this website every few days. Have had a little setback in setting up my beds as the first company that I ordered the barbed tees and elbows from for the poly-pipe took 5 days to tell me that they didn't have them in stock. Have reordered and should be here any day now. I'm itching to get the grids finished. In the meantime I have planted some loose leaf lettuce mix seedlings in my SFG (using seeding square). Germination of seeds has been pretty patchy in cells (a few weeks ago) but some spinach and mache will be ready to plant very soon. Literally none of my All-Year lettuce or sage germinated. I suspect I overwatered them.
Today I have started spinach, sage, onion, lettuce, mache and dill between sheets of toilet paper inside. Will cross my fingers for a better result this time.
I have purchased 4 under-bed storage tubs, each of which fits 2    35 x 30cm (a bit over a foot times a foot) seedling trays to use as mini greenhouses outdoors as the yard doesn't really have room for a proper greenhouse.
I have had to tie my veggie net to my trellis frames using clothes line wire due to the wind here and am finding it quite a PITA to undo the knots each time I want to access the beds. I have ordered some bungee elastic and hooks so that I can simply hook the elastic through the edges of the netting and onto the frames for easy access down the track.
First meal from the SFG today, a sort of chard and garlic omelette with parmesan. It was just OK but quite a kick to base a meal around my garden.
I probably should have read the book before planting, but realise that I have planted loose leaf lettuce mix in two adjacent squares. Mel said to plant in a patchwork. Rookie mistake. This gets me wondering what other people's SFG rookie mistakes have been. I will search the forum to see if such a thread exists and if not, begin a rookie mistake thread. Hope you are all travelling well.
Hip2B
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Post  Soose 5/2/2022, 3:39 am

Morning, Hip2B. I have enjoyed reading about your garden set up.  I am another newbie, from SouthEast USA.  (6 hrs inland from the Gulf Coast.)   Also setting up self-wicking beds.  (You can see them in my home thread here, "Soose in North Al..."  I just posted photos.)   I also have some 24x17inch wicking boxes I've used for a few years on a large porch for greens.

Winds:     I have a friend who is an avid gardener and has been for years.  A few years ago she moved to parts of Arizona and they have extremely high winds at times, though I don't think she has the tornadoes we can get.  (How can I say, just they're different, very different.)   I'll ask her what she is clamping her bird netting with to her tubular frames -- though I think hers are pvc or some commercial product like hoops --  and get back to you.  She has metal "stock tanks" for her beds, and she has been through more than one type of clamp to find what works with the high winds there.  I think she mentioned that she was happy with what she uses now.  If she's able I'll get a photo but I know she's leaving on a trip tomorrow.  We'll see.

Alternating plantings:  Like you, I did not mix my plantings in adjacent squares, with the first plants I put in this weekend, then thought of it afterwards.  I put three in a row. 

I wasn't trying to "plant in rows" but I do not have all my beds ready and the plants I've been able to gather are not extremely varied.  I need to bring out the seeds but more than that I need to get all these plants out of their tiny starter cells, into the MM,  and I'm only halfway there with four 3x4ft beds ready.  Five more to go and a good many other of those smaller wicking boxes I'm going to create.  (Thinking I will put bush plants in those.)  

I can still move what I've planted if I can do it quickly enough...  but I can't avoid three tomatoes in a row on the northern trellis if I'm going to get all the tomatoes in there. 

I think probably for me, the more important of the concerns the 2nd edition book list (page 110 here) is pest control.  We have terrible pest problems here compared to other areas of our country.  Maybe three plants in a row encourages a particular type of pest to go into overdrive?   I do hope that having raised beds will lessen that problem. 

Another advantage that makes so much sense is staggered planting and harvests.  But that's already a bust for me, until I get my other beds ready, lol.  So pests, I might move things for that.
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Post  Hip2B 5/9/2022, 7:54 am

We saw the rabbit again yesterday morning and Mal again chased it. We think it disappeared into the neighbour's yard through a small gap between our fence posts. Today we closed the gap with bits of wood but we are not sure if we have just locked the rabbit in our yard, or even if that's how it was getting in and out. It's probably a lost cause as the primary school down the street has lots of rabbit damage on its oval. The neighbours behind and to the side of us also have vegetable gardens so our street block must be looking pretty alluring. It sure is a cutie. If there are many more sightings or evidence of digging or faeces we might have to look at chemical control (Pindone laced oats). We are hesitant to do that as we do not want to harm non-target species such as possums or birds. There was a magnificent sea eagle circling our yard the other day. We also have kookaburras, parrots, plovers etc in our area. 
I finished the grids in both my beds today, so I guess I can now say that I officially have a square foot garden Hi From Northwest Tasmania, Australia 3170584802 
I also planted some more loose leaf lettuce seedlings in one of my beds. The spinach really needs to be taken from the planting cells tomorrow and transferred to a bed. The day before yesterday I transferred the first of my indoor sprouted seeds from their toilet paper lined tray to planting cells. I hope that I wasn't too brutal with them. There are more that also desperately need to be moved tomorrow before they are too far gone.
I don't have any special seed raising equipment at this stage. I just used a rectangular cake carrier tray with a transparent dome/lid on top as a greenhouse and left it near a window on the kitchen island. I am pretty happy with the results.
On a separate note, check out my new garden toy! Can't wait to try it out...  https://www.forestrytools.com.au/products/nisaku-800-hori-hori
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Post  Hip2B 6/8/2022, 6:24 am

I am reading about other forum members' gardens with a tinge of envy. It is winter here and I am pretty limited with what I can grow. I have new Novella Pea seeds on the go and some Gladalan Brown Onions. Also some sweet peas, just 'cause they are pretty. I bought some strawberry runners yesterday and hope to plant them tomorrow. Our maximum temperatures this week are about 11 degrees Celsius (51 degrees F). I know I shouldn't complain as this would be considered very mild weather for many of you. Happy Gardening.
Hip2B
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Post  Soose 6/8/2022, 8:06 am

Hip2B wrote:Our maximum temperatures this week are about 11 degrees Celsius (51 degrees F). I know I shouldn't complain as this would be considered very mild weather for many of you. Happy Gardening.
Morning, Hip2B.  I am already thinking of how to extend our growing season through winter.  It's probably more than I should take on this year. But we got a late start this year since we were constructing the garden beds / area (and still are, not finished yet).  And I wonder if I can still get some plants in that are Summer plants, if there are enough days.  

I downloaded an app that just counts "days until" but I forget to check it as it doesn't leave me a notification - best find another app that's bugging me all the time.  The other problem is I do not have an innate sense or any memory to recall of how long different veggies require to come to fruition, so even knowing today is ...  144 days until First Fall Frost...  does not help me a lot daily/weekly.  I need to print out a chart and keep it by the door.

Anyway, you've got a good chance to get seedlings started for your Spring.  Do you have a good garden calendar that shows when to start seeds?  What do you use?
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Post  Hip2B 6/8/2022, 8:35 am

Hi Soose. I've had a hard time finding frost date information for my area. I have found a planting guide for Tasmania by Peter Cundall (a well renowned presenter for many years on Gardening Australia and also a Tasmanian. He died last December, aged 94). I have also compiled information from the seed packets that I have purchased and seed that I have been given by friends in relation to planting times and cultural information. I have made two tables in Microsoft Word - one with cultural information, sources of seeds, price and planting times. I am also recording historical information on this table i.e. number of seeds sown, results etc. 
The other table is broken down by month across one axis, with the seeds I can sow that month on the other axis. 
I have used the calendar app on my phone to record annual reminders for what to sow at the beginning of each month so that I don't have to remember or check books etc. I think this will be invaluable for me because otherwise I would tend to let things slde.
I am also using a planting app from the United Kingdom called vegplotter.com to visually display my beds. It allows me to plan months ahead so that I don't put something in a square now that I plan to use for another crop in a month or two's time. It also assists with crop rotation by throwing up reminders when you try to plant similar crops in the same area, although that can be overridden if desired. I have input all of the information on the varieties that I am growing as "Custom Plants" into the app. The app was free when I first got it but it's a paid app now. I made a one off donation to the site and the administrator gave me a lifetime membership, literally a day or two before it became a paid app or subscription service. It took a bit of fiddling to set up, but I am pretty happy with the app so far.
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Post  Hip2B 6/8/2022, 8:44 am

Oh Soose, forgot to add - I don't have any specialised equipment at this stage. I am starting seeds indoors on my dining table in toilet paper inside transparent plastic containers. When the seeds sprout, you can plant them toilet paper and all. I am planting most of my seeds into newspaper planting pots. The toilet paper and the newspaper break down in the garden. I direct sowed my peas last month and 5 out of 9 seeds in that square germinated. Where possible, I would like to plant seedlings rather than seeds to ensure optimal use of garden bed space.
Outdoors, I am using transparent plastic under-bed storage containers as greenhouses. I take the lid off when the weather is pleasant. Otherwise I put a small piece of wood under the lid on one end of the container to prop it open a little for ventilation (with a weight on top for the wind) or if the weather is really bad, keep the lids clipped on entirely. At night I can stack the underbed containers on top of each other in the shed.
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Post  markqz 6/8/2022, 11:40 am

Re planning tools. Since SFG is  in simple boxes, I was trying to develop a tool like below. But inputting in the field was too challenging. I have a new idea for fixing that, but haven't worked up the enthusiasm for a reboot.

Does it stay above freezing there? Some plants are effectively biennials or perennials if the temps are warm enough. Like I have an eggplant with 4 eggs on it right now that's been going since 2019. If I had known it was going to grow that way, I would have planted it one row back!

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Post  Hip2B 6/8/2022, 5:46 pm

It snows in my part of Tasmania VERY occasionally. Being on the coast keeps things  a bit milder. It snows several times a year about 20kms (12 miles) from here. Quite a few of my planting notes have annotations saying biennial or perennial,  usually grown as an annual.
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