Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Post  shirlgirl on 2/20/2011, 8:02 pm

Howdy, all! Still reading my way through the SFG book (the old one; I wonder if the newer edition is significantly revised?), but I have as yet to see many photos showing the "cages" with various materials for critter, cold, and sun protection. If the advice is to cover new seedlings and transplants for a couple of weeks...how many cages might a body need? One for every square in a block? I'm concerned about storage, if so. Thanks in advance for a response, if anyone has one for me. Cheers!

p.s. Moved a bunch of stuff out of my existing garden today, in preparation for my "maiden voyage" into SFG! Nice working weather...though the 12' (seriously!) of new snow in the nearby mountains made it tough to resist the urge to go skiing today instead! Cool

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Join date : 2011-02-19
Location : Placerville, California

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Post  Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 8:13 pm

Ah, I am so glad to be out in the midwest now where we measure snow in inches Laughing instead of FEET affraid ! When I lived in CA I remember the Tahoe reports about storms coming to drop several FEET at a time. Sure made the skiing nice, tho'!

This is my first year with SFG so I am still figuring out how I am going to keep the critters out as well.

If at all possible get All New SFG to read. I hear there are quite a bit of updates, especially as to soil amending vs. starting with fresh mix - the new is easier!

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Location : Zone 4A - NE SD

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Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 8:19 pm

Hey shirl,

I have not seen the "old" SFG book, but my understanding is that the new one is significantly updated. It does have some photos showing cage covers. There are also some great pictures here on the forum, too....can anyone help scrounge them up? :?:

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Post  quiltbea on 2/20/2011, 8:46 pm

I was introduced to SFG from the old book and I have to say that the cages left a lot to be desired. I made mine from chicken wire in sizes to cover one square and 2 squares and 3 sqs at a time.
I tried to use them as shade cages with cheesecloth over them for lettuces, etc.
I used them with plastic to warm an area.
I didn't like them. The fabric got caught in the chicken wire and snagged and made a mess and even the plastic got snagged.
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Here's a view of some of them being used over the wire cages.

Last year I tried a different route. I found wire clothes hangers, bent them in a half circle (or near enough to a half circle) stuck the 2 ends in the ground, and with spring-type clothes pins covered them with either plastic or cheesecloth and even light-weight row covers against flea beetles and pests and heavy-weight row covers against frosty nites. It worked just fine.
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New seedling peppers under shady cheesecloth 5/16/10 to protect against the too warm sun after transplanting.
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In the rear are some spinach and lettuce being shaded and in the foreground my cabbages are covered against flea beetles. The cabbages were big and robust and free of holes at harvest time.
You can put arcs of wire hangers at two ends of a single square or around a few crops together.
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Here are new tomatoes under a shade tent.
I always put a tent over my new transplants against the sunshine for a few days.

I can only tell you my own experience. I always try to learn from my mistakes or try to find a better way.

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Post  CarolynPhillips on 2/20/2011, 10:09 pm

Shirlgirl, Welcome to SFG

I agree with quiltbea
I can't stand chicken wire.
Sadly, wire hangers are becoming extinct so if you ever come across any---snag them up and store them away. (you might be a red neck if you use wire clothes hanger for a weenie roast)

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Post  miinva on 2/20/2011, 10:24 pm

We used the wire that was in the chain link section at Lowe's and it's a bit heavier than hangers. It held up through the winter, amazingly enough! I was too lazy to go out there and remove it Smile

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Post  shirlgirl on 2/21/2011, 2:34 am

Thanks to one and all for the replies. For one thing, I think I need to get a copy of the new book...it sounds like it will be a fair bit different than the one I've been reading. But on the specific topic of cages and their variations: Wow! Quiltbea, thanks for the pictures (really helps me understand what you're detailing more than I might have with just a written description). It seems that all of you gardeners (except you, Goosegirl, as a fellow "newbie") really stay on top of things in those beds. (And I don't mean that as a bad pun on crop covers!) I guess I never really considered some of these "extra" steps in planting and maintaining my veg garden, but then again maybe that's why I've never had a very successful harvest! In the past I have just planted, watered, and hoped for the best. (Well, my garden is deer-fenced, and I have hardware cloth in the bottoms of all my raised beds to keep out the blasted moles, gophers, and their kin. But the sun and cold protections are a totally new concept to me!) In all honesty some of the the advice seems like it must be a lot of work, and surely must be fairly time-consuming. But I do realize through your trial and error, and willingness to share your wisdom, I can use the most effective and easiest of these methods. (Thanks for doing all the up-front "research"! Wink) I guess the results make the "extra" steps worthwhile...and they probably aren't "extra" after all. I may be an old dog but I'm willing to at least try to learn a new trick or two.

By the way, am I the only one who has had to stifle the urge to make a "Mommie Dearest" joke on the subject of wire hangers? Maybe I really am an old dog.

Okay, off to bed...and dreams of garden beds full of healthy happy plants! sawing logs

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Post  quiltbea on 2/21/2011, 12:06 pm

I don't find the extra work demanding. It only takes a few moments and its time I can spend in my garden, looking at the plants to see how they are doing, checking for any pests, finding that first something that I can pop right into my mouth, mmmmm good, and just enjoying my garden time.

Its a great way to start my day, early in the mornings to get the ole heart pumping and the air circulating thru my system. Stick a few hangars in the ground, pin on some covering, check under plastic warming some soil, scratch out that weed trying to take hold, twine another foot of tomato around the vertical twine, stick a pea vine thru the trellis, thrill at the site of lettuce seeds germinating in the cold frame, inhale the aroma of growing things. Yes ma'am, its the very best form of exercise in my book. It sure beats jumping up and down to the TV screen.

Try it, you might like it!

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Post  FarmerValerie on 2/21/2011, 12:15 pm

You're not the only one who screams "No wire hangers", but my reasons are a bit nicer. I'm allergic to tetanus, so no tetanus shots for me, which means being extra careful in the dirt, gloves and all-well I should be. Hubby used to pull the clothes off the wire hangers and leave them on the floor for me to step on, since I cannot get a tetanus shot stepping on wire, nails, or anything like that could be life threatening, happy happy joy joy. So I keep one or two on hand for people who refuse to make and keep a spare key to their vehicle (no names here) so they can break in and unlock them, but the hangers are put up, and I stand guard to make sure they go back to their hiding place when the user is done.

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