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Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Toplef10Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 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.

Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 I22gcj10Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 14dhcg10

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» Kiwi's SFG Adventure
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» Senseless Banter...
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» What do I do with tomato plants?
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» Compost not hot
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» Maybe a silly question but...
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» What Have You Picked From Your Garden Today
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» problems with SFG forum site
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» Strawberries per square foot.
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» What are you eating from your garden today?
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» April is Kids Gardening Month!
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» N & C Midwest: March and April 2024
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» Butter Beans????
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» First timer in Central Virginia (7b) - newly built beds 2024
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» California's Drought
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Kiwi's SFG Adventure

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Post  OhioGardener 2/16/2024, 7:33 am

sanderson wrote:Seaweed or more nitrogen is not needed if compost is used.  Plants can only uptake a certain amount of nutrients.

Legumes don't need nitrogen at any time - they pull nitrogen out of the air and store it on their roots with the aid of rhizobia bacteria. Daily Trivia:  The air we breath is 78% nitrogen gas and 21% oxygen.



The above is why it is important to leave bean roots in the soil after the plants are removed, so that as they decompose they will store the nitrogen in the soil for other plants to use.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/16/2024, 9:55 pm

sanderson wrote:Seaweed or more nitrogen is not needed if compost is used.  Plants can only uptake a certain amount of nutrients.
Oh Embarassed   The pages where I saw this idea all spoke of a good feed of nitrogen in the days afterwards, to kick the plants back into leaf growth -- but I didn't consider all the nutrients still in my MM...  (I just used the seaweed to help them with the initial shock)  Still, I guess oversupply can't hurt them??
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Post  sanderson 2/20/2024, 4:09 am

Kiwi, Did you read this in the 3rd Edition of ANSFG? Shocked

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/20/2024, 4:05 pm

sanderson wrote:Kiwi, Did you read this in the 3rd Edition of ANSFG? Shocked
Uh, no -- various places online Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 2/20/2024, 9:45 pm

Wink

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Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Empty Blushing, finally!

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/23/2024, 4:49 pm

After a couple of weeks where I've just about given up hope that my tomatoes are ever going to ripen this summer, big pleasure this morning:
Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2055Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2056

These are significantly bigger than the ones I was harvesting last summer, another welcome reward for my work composting last autumn Very Happy   This morning's harvest was 360g (12.5 ounces).

And I have basils almost ready to start picking, for my fried toms on toast Very Happy 
Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2057
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Post  sanderson 2/23/2024, 5:39 pm

Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 3170584802

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Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Empty The garden today

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/28/2024, 9:03 pm

I noticed it's been a while since I last took photos of the garden as a whole, here it is this afternoon:
Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2060Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2059

In the front we have 4 x strawberries, which stopped usefully producing about 10 days ago.  At the time I wondered if it was just their age (first planted in late 2022) but then google image search showed me the reason.  There's some sort of bug making similar damage to the Tarnished Plant Bug (which is supposed to not be in this country), so I sprayed with Neem Oil recently and whilst it's early days yet, it may have solved the problem.  I'm going to redo this evening just in case.

Behind the strawberries we have two cages of beetroot plants on the outside edges, with 30% shadecloth pegged on the sunny side and roll-up 'shades' on the east and west.  My first beetroots, earlier this season, came out a little bitter and also were wilting on hot sunny afternoons.  So this is an experiment to see if they like just a little bit of shade.

Between the beetroot squares we have two squares of basils.  I'm very pleased that this year my timing for the basil sowing was spot-on -- they're ready to use with the tomatoes, which are ripening every day now Smile   Last year I had no idea how long tomatoes take to mature, and the basils all went to seed before I the tomatoes were anywhere near ready! Embarassed 

Behind the tomatoes we have two separate sowings of beans; on the east side the ones from which I've had a really good harvest, and which I cut back about 3 weeks ago now; and on the west side the second sowing which hasn't really got going even with the eastern ones cut back.  I was expecting them to get into high gear at that point but it seems the tomatoes are now shading them too much.  I get a little from them but it's no great shakes.  I put the beans behind the tomatoes having read somewhere that although they need lots of sun they also will benefit from a small amount of shade.  While harvesting the eastern squares I was very glad they were on the edge of the bed, so next year the plan will be to plant in the western square first.  It seems the eastern squares get significantly more sun from the side than the western ones do.
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Post  sanderson 2/29/2024, 1:40 pm

Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 3170584802

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/6/2024, 3:01 am

When I put hinged doors on the compost storage bin it was clear that I'd need to do something about the carpet in the front of it.  In the original setup, with a single piece of chicken wire as a "door", a single tall piece of carpet did fine.  But with three doors it was pretty unwieldy!

So, I've been wanting to add carpet panels to the inside of the doors, and today I finally had the time to do it.  Naturally, it wasn't a case of "just" ziptie-ing carpet to them, but eventually I prevailed, and I'm pretty happy with the result:
Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2061
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Post  sanderson 3/6/2024, 1:29 pm

You are so creative. Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 3170584802

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/7/2024, 3:52 pm

Well, it was more a case of needing to fix a major annoyance Rolling Eyes but
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Post  sanderson 3/7/2024, 10:30 pm

Necessity is the Mother of invention. thinking thinking

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Post  Scorpio Rising 3/8/2024, 9:37 am

Looks very nice!
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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/9/2024, 4:17 pm

Goodness, thank you! Very Happy  Embarassed
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Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Empty "Short" tomatoes...

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/10/2024, 7:01 pm

So this morning I finally decided I had to raise the level of the insect netting around the bed.  My "dwarf" tomatoes which according to the seed packet would be so short they didn't even need staking are now taller than the lovely tall cages I bought for them this summer!
Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2062

Getting the stakes into the brackets I installed in the bed when new wasn't exactly an easy job, owing to the weedmat liner and the fact that the bottom brackets are now full of MM -- thinking in the spring I'll suck it up and install PVC pipe everywhere. I don't expect that'll be fun or easy, but I really need not to have to do this again!
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Post  sanderson 3/13/2024, 1:36 am

I use 1" PVC "cup holders" so I can take the frames in and out without disturbing the MM.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/13/2024, 3:20 am

I remember seeing your PVC pipes and wanting the same, but being put off, I think by the extra cost (it's pretty expensive here), and just going with brackets.  Bad call Sad

Very interested to see now that you actually screw the brackets through the weedmat liner -- I guess the last time I saw one of your photos about this, I didn't have the experience to notice that.  Did you find it was a good idea?  I'd be worried about the risk of ripping the liner as the MM gradually tries to push it downwards over time, with it being held up by the screws.
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Post  sanderson 3/16/2024, 1:33 pm

To be truthful, I used to screw the PVC in place before I added the liner.  This last one I did a forehead slap  silly me and used them to neatly hold the weed fabric in place.  The screws are on the side of the bed frame so no MM is lost.  The screws are little, 3/4" or 1".  The roll of plumbers tape is a lifetime supply.  Razz

PS:  I have to use weed fabric to prevent the MM from washing out the drain holes in the plywood bottom.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/17/2024, 4:58 pm

sanderson wrote:To be truthful, I used to screw the PVC in place before I added the liner.  This last one I did a forehead slap  silly me and used them to neatly hold the weed fabric in place.  The screws are on the side of the bed frame so no MM is lost.  The screws are little, 3/4" or 1".  The roll of plumbers tape is a lifetime supply.  Razz

PS:  I have to use weed fabric to prevent the MM from washing out the drain holes in the plywood bottom.

Yes, I have a similar issue, with the box sitting on a semi-rigid acrylic panel on the ground.  I find the MM pulls the weedmat liner downwards gradually through the growing season (I gently pull it back up as part of my box preparations in spring) and would be worried about tension on it from the downwards pressure of the MM versus the screws holding it up at the corners.  Have you noticed any tearing of the liner in this final box?
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Post  sanderson 3/19/2024, 6:33 pm

No tearing. When I line the bed, I make sure it is right up into the joints. Work it this way and work it that way. There really isn't much MM around the pipes to add weight.

I'm curious where the fabric is going that you have to pull it up. thinking I would just leave it down, unless you find you are losing MM between the liner and the bed frame. I cut the liner even to the top of the bed so it shows, at least until I mulch with straw. Razz Beauty and perfection is always just out of my grasp.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 3/22/2024, 5:07 pm

sanderson wrote:No tearing.  When I line the bed, I make sure it is right up into the joints.  Work it this way and work it that way. There really isn't much MM around the pipes to add weight. 
Hmm, interesting.  Maybe I'll try it next spring.  I'm not sure which will be easier with an existing bed, shoving just the MM aside or shoving it and the liner aside!  Also, I probably wasn't tidy enough with the liner when I installed the bed -- I did my best, but not quite to that extent.

I'm curious where the fabric is going that you have to pull it up. thinking I would just leave it down, unless you find you are losing MM between the liner and the bed frame.
Well, once the MM was in I cut the liner to the level of the bed frame top, but when I was adding compost last spring I noticed the liner was down from there by perhaps about an inch?  I found that with gentle but firm pulling I could get it back up to around the top of the frame.  I think it just gradually gets pushed down through the growing season by the MM as it settles.  I sure was amazed at how compacted the MM was in spring when I went to prep the bed for the season!

I do find small amounts of MM between the frame and the liner whenever I need to do anything there, but it's not huge.  I wouldn't feel very good though, having the liner permanently that far below the top of the MM.  Surely over time it would go even lower, and end up 'folding' inwards into the MM? and then the loss would increase.
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Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Empty 'Pregnant' praying mantis

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 4/16/2024, 6:01 pm

Noticed in the garden yesterday (hanging upside down off the silverbeet leaf, centre frame):
Kiwi's SFG Adventure - Page 8 Pxl_2063

Obviously 'pregnant', so I guess in time there'll be a whole lot of babies looking for food!  OTOH, since the garden is full-time under insect netting I kinda have to hope most of them will starve Sad   Actually it's a little disturbing that there's enough in there to keep an adult happy!

If only they ate slugs; my poor silverbeets are being predated at a disturbing rate, despite large amounts of Quash (our Sluggo) in that square and nearby, and even in desperation, bits of my garlic chives (in the foreground above).  Sigh.
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Post  OhioGardener 4/16/2024, 8:42 pm

I'm happy when I see Praying Mantis visiting my gardens, knowing that they will eat lots of pests. They will happily eat caterpillars, earwigs, chinch bugs, sow bugs, beetles, grasshoppers and other large insects they find wandering among the plants. Rarely I have seen Praying Mantis eating slugs, but they don't seem to prefer them. Toads, though, do feast on slugs, and it is worth the effort to place shelters for the toads to habitate.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 4/16/2024, 9:26 pm

OhioGardener wrote:I'm happy when I see Praying Mantis visiting my gardens, knowing that they will eat lots of pests. They will happily eat caterpillars, earwigs, chinch bugs, sow bugs, beetles, grasshoppers and other large insects they find wandering among the plants. Rarely I have seen Praying Mantis eating slugs, but they don't seem to prefer them. Toads, though, do feast on slugs, and it is worth the effort to place shelters for the toads to habitate.
Oh, COOL!  I had no idea they predated on such large insects bounce bounce bounce
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