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Lessons learned from 1st Spring in SFG

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Lessons learned from 1st Spring in SFG Empty Lessons learned from 1st Spring in SFG

Post  Judge Kemp on 6/20/2010, 9:38 pm

(1) Well, SGFing it doesn't seem to have stopped the critters much. I've had plenty of insect damage this year--more than I ever anticipated.

(2) The big one: Working with store-bought compost, and never actually getting a full 5 different types of compost into the beds, I was short on nutrients. Let me reiterate: I was VERY short on nutrients.

  • My carrots should be mature, but are still pretty small--not edible small.
  • My Kohlrabi never matured.
  • My lettuces did OKAY--not great, but manageable enough.
  • Swiss Chard never did anything.
  • Beets never grew an actual beet. Just greens.
  • Peas are doing okay, but won't know for another week or so if they give good harvest.
  • Radishes struggled to mature much--especially the larger ones (whites)
  • Mesclun never took off--got next to nothing there
  • Spinach never did anything
(3) Summer crops: SLOOOOW so far. I need to go out and supplement with an organic fertilizer I think. The tomatoes, peppers, brussels, etc just aren't getting going much. Cukes are not going strong in SFG and melon is not growing either.

So, I love SFG but wish for this first year I would have supplemented with organic fertilizer. The boxes needed it, though hopefully they won't next year when I get my own compost in there.

Excellent growing conditions here in Des Moines area--lots of precip, no frost dates to be really concerned about (only one--and I could cover for it), and lots of nice sunlight and warm weather sprinkled in with the precip.
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Post  jsavolt on 6/20/2010, 10:31 pm

I would love to hear what you used for your mix. Did you use peat and vermiculite? Even if you don't have 5 items for compost, I can 't imagine that would affect your outcome that much. Are you in full sun?
I've been doing SFGing for over six years and I can't help but think maybe there are other factors here. Beets not getting a beet? Could this be due to not enough sun? Spinach and swiss chard is usually easy to grow. White radish... mine went to seed before I got a white radish. I think this was due to too much water and not enough sun. We had rain for weeks in WI. I planted more and hope for better luck. You can add more compost to your squares now and not wait until next year. I use lama poo in my garden and it works great. Any lama farms around you?
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Post  Judge Kemp on 6/20/2010, 11:53 pm

@jsavolt wrote:I would love to hear what you used for your mix. Did you use peat and vermiculite? Even if you don't have 5 items for compost, I can 't imagine that would affect your outcome that much. Are you in full sun?
I've been doing SFGing for over six years and I can't help but think maybe there are other factors here. Beets not getting a beet? Could this be due to not enough sun? Spinach and swiss chard is usually easy to grow. White radish... mine went to seed before I got a white radish. I think this was due to too much water and not enough sun. We had rain for weeks in WI. I planted more and hope for better luck. You can add more compost to your squares now and not wait until next year. I use lama poo in my garden and it works great. Any lama farms around you?

jsa--Oh I won't be stopping or giving up. As soon as I clean out a few squares I'll be replanting a few things, but first I will be amending with a compost and fertilizer mix. I used peat and vermiculite and the conditions were good for growth.

I've got a few landscape boxes that I've built up with strong soil over a few years and those are going great. I'm thinking I'm just short on some nutrients with my compost--not a big deal, but it looks to be an issue with nutrients based on how my other non-SFG plants are going.

And on the bright side, I've already had half a dozen or more salads out of it, and I'm just as excited about SFG now as I was a few months ago--just wish I would have amended a bit more for those Spring crops.
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Post  plb on 6/21/2010, 4:34 am

The quality of the compost is really critical. It took me a while to find some "pure" compost, instead of what shops call compost but is really a mix of soil, soil additives and a small quantity of compost. I used horse manure, chicken manure, worm castings, green compost and wool compost. Everything has been growing wonderfully - lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peas, tomatoes, peppers, chillis, aubergines, green beans, bok choy, mizuna, coriander, basil, carrots, zucchini, they're all doing great! If anything, too well, for instance my broccoli which is supposed to take one square is covering 6 squares...
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Post  jsavolt on 6/21/2010, 9:27 am

You are so right, soil is so important! I guess the good thing is that with SF gardening it will be easier to amend your soil than with a large row garden. Good luck!
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Post  Judge Kemp on 6/21/2010, 12:14 pm

@jsavolt wrote:You are so right, soil is so important! I guess the good thing is that with SF gardening it will be easier to amend your soil than with a large row garden. Good luck!

I've got my own compost going as well this year, so that will help give me some good compost that I know is very balanced in nutrients.
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