Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a Toplef10Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a 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 San Diego's North County zone 10a I22gcj10Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a 14dhcg10

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Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a

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Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a Empty Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a

Post  DebbieinCA 4/2/2024, 9:42 am

Hi,

I'm Debbie. I love gardening, and I love learning from other gardeners. My greatest struggle is ground squirrels, so my family built a 9x14 screen house last summer to keep the critters from taking bites out of my vegetables and berries. We added 3 self-irrigated raised beds that are 3 ft. x 6 ft. and squeezed in some Greenstalk towers. This will be first full spring/summer planting season with this setup. Any advice would be much appreciated. My hopes are high!
DebbieinCA
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Join date : 2024-04-02
Location : North San Diego County

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Post  Scorpio Rising 4/3/2024, 11:16 am

Welcome to the forum, DebbieinCA!  Sounds like you are off to a great start.  Do you have a growing medium in your raised beds yet?  I am sure the folks from your region will be more helpful, it is still too cold and wet here in the Midwest to do anything outside!
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Hi from San Diego's North County zone 10a Empty Thanks for the welcome Scorpio Rising

Post  DebbieinCA 4/4/2024, 10:51 am

Thank you for the warm welcome! I'm waiting for the wet weather to go away here, too. It seems to rain every time I have a day off. Not the weather I'm used to, but still not something I can complain about to people dealing with freezing temperatures. I will complain when my plants stop growing because of the 90 to 110 degree hot summer sun in August and September, though.  sunny 

My growing medium is a combination of raised bed soil (low in nutrients) from a local business with a great reputation, San Pasqual Valley Soils, their Valley's best compost, vermiculite, alfalfa pellets, worm castings, bagged Promix potting soil, and some Espoma granular organic fertilizer. The berry bed also has some bagged, organic, acidic soil designed for blueberries and some coffee grounds. I have not been good about measuring out exactly what any one source says to add, and I'm worried about whether the soil has a good balance of the right nutrients for all the food I want to grow this year. I've ordered a simple soil testing kit from Amazon. I hope that will be enough.
DebbieinCA
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Post  sanderson 4/4/2024, 1:09 pm

Hi Debbie, Welcome to the Forum from Fresno, California, The land of 95-110*F, dry summers.

One of the great things about Square Foot Gardening is that we use Mel's Mix for the bed fill, only 6-7" of it. For tall beds, the SFG Foundation recommends an inert bottom fill of washed sand or topsoil. That way, the whole bed doesn't shrink down over time. We only use pure composts to feed the plants. Mel's Mix is 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 fluffed peat moss and 1/3 blended pure composts. By pure I mean no fillers such as coir, sand, dirt/topsoil, wood chips/fines, gypsum. Once made, the only thing added for each growing season is more blended composts, limiting manure-based composts to 20% of the total volume of composts. Mix in enough compost to bring the level back up to where it started. The beds are topped with grids for plant spacing.

The best way to understand SFG is to read the 2nd or 3rd Edition of All New Square Foot Gardening. Library, Amazon or eBay.

For hot, dry climates, like our Zone 9B falls into, mulch and overhead shade cloth can go a long way to helping the plants through the worst so they can give another bounty in the fall. My favorite straw mulch is E-Z Straw with Tack from Tractor Supply. It is easy to remove and replace when cleaning the beds and adding more blended composts. The straw reduces surface evaporation and keeps the Mix and roots cool and dark.

I always recommend getting the local vegetable planting guide from the county Ag Extension or Master Gardeners. The weather at this time of the year has been wetter than usual this spring. My target date is April 1. One dry winter the temps were right on March 15, another year it kept raining and was too cold until near the end of April. Mother Nature always dictates planting. Nights consistently 50*F or more, soil temp 60*F or more and day temps 60*F or more.
https://www.mastergardenersd.org/downloads/VegetablePlantingGuide.pdf

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