Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hooray for a new Garden! - Page 2 Toplef10Hooray for a new Garden! - Page 2 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.

Hooray for a new Garden! - Page 2 I22gcj10Hooray for a new Garden! - Page 2 14dhcg10

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Post  quiltbea 3/5/2011, 11:52 pm

I use the string system for growing my tomatoes when I'm growing them near the fence posts. Works like a charm.
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/6/2011, 12:51 pm

Thanks for all those photos and tips! Here's a few photos of our boxes...in progress! Today I'm going to track down the Mel's Mix components. The garden center 5 min away has vermiculite! Yea! Of course since we decided to just build our boxes 1 ft deep so as to not limit our future plant desires, we're going to need a ton o' Mel's Mix! Do you think it's essential for us to hose off the dirt on the inside of the box before we add the mix? I was a little worried about weed seed being in that but not sure if it's worth the hassle of making mud.

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Post  Furbalsmom 3/6/2011, 3:20 pm

DrBigfoot wrote:Do you think it's essential for us to hose off the dirt on the inside of the box before we add the mix? I was a little worried about weed seed being in that but not sure if it's worth the hassle of making mud.

Are you putting weedcloth under those beds? That will prevent weeds coming up from the ground.

The little bit of dirt on the inside of the wood may have a seed or two, (not like the ground on which the boxes are sitting, which could be jam packed with weed seeds) but if any weeds dare try to poke their little heads up, your Mel's mix will be so friable, it won't take a second to pull that little trespasser out.
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/6/2011, 8:36 pm

Yep! Our plan is to put chickenwire down to prevent any groundcritters from burrowing up (I don't think it would happen but the stuff was cheap), then weed cloth, then we'll put the boxes back on top of those, then shovel in the Mel's Mix!
Bought the vermiculite, which for some reason I thought would be heavy like rocks, and the peat moss, which I thought would be light (it's moss). Oh well! My mother-in-law came to help me get it all home since my husband was off at costco and had his phone off. Then I went on a compost hunt! Managed to find 5 different types so hopefully all will grow well. My plan is to get the mel's mix in the boxes next weekend, weather permitting (it's oregon...who knows!) since after that we've got landscapers coming in to fix up the rest of our yard - pulling dead and infected trees, removing weeds, repairing our moss infested lawn, laying a fresh layer of bark mulch. I think if our garden does well, my mother-in-law may ask my husband to build her a SFG too!
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Post  Megan 3/6/2011, 8:54 pm

Wow, love the pictures. Is that copper flashing on the sides of your boxes I see?
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Post  Furbalsmom 3/6/2011, 9:00 pm

Vermiculite, peat, and Five, count them, Five types of compost. You are so ready!

Hope next weekend is great for you. We had a marvelous day today, 60 couple degrees, sunny and a mild breeze, not the thrashing winds of a couple of weeks ago. You want to mix your Mel's Mix on a calm day, so you won't have blowing ingredients covering the neighborhood.

Is the dark stripe on your boxes the copper flashing? In addition to zapping those nasty slugs, it looks really nice.
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/6/2011, 9:10 pm

Yep! Copper flashing it is! The hope is that since it's 3.5 inches wide, that even the monster oregon slugs can't cross it! We'll see... We're going to put the flashing around the posts for the trellis too...can't have them crawling up that either.
It was a nice day here in Portland too! I'm hoping for a beautiful weekend next week for 2 reasons - mixing our Mel's mix and on sunday we're doing the 15k Portland Shamrock Run! Since we were sick recently, we haven't been able to train as we should have so it's going to be a loooong 9 miles since we're walking and running it, depending on how we're feeling through the race. I've never had a dry Shamrock run though so rain may be enough motivation to run as much as we can!
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Post  Megan 3/6/2011, 9:14 pm

Wow... I sure remember those slugs in OR and WA state, so good luck with those! And with the run, too. I only started running last year and can't even dream of 9 miles, but I'll be cheering for you!
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/8/2011, 9:38 pm

Well, the landscapers came today and after 5 or 6 hrs, got all the weeding, demossing, pulled dead and mold infected trees/shrubs, laid the bark dust, thatched and reseeded the lawn. The yard looks and smells so clean! No longer embarrassed about my back yard. I should have paid them to mix the mel's mix for us. LOL! No more slogging around in the mud to finish up that project!
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/12/2011, 7:30 pm

Yay! The weather was nice today! And we finally got our Mel's mix done and put into the boxes. Probably should have mixed it in smaller amounts but I figured, how hard could it be to just do all 49 cubic feet?!? Um...it's not hard, just takes forever to get it mixed up. I followed the instructions in the book but certainly looks like a lot of vermiculite compared to the other ingredients. Hopefully my veggies will still grow!

we worked under the deck since the lawn is too fragile...and it was drizzling initially
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lots of vermiculite!
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The hubby mixing up the compost
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Like I said, LOTS of vermiculite!
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More mixing...I swear I did help him!
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the completed mix
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Filled up and ready!
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So, does this look right?!?
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Post  Megan 3/12/2011, 7:35 pm

That looks absolutely fantastic! Well done! Very Happy It will settle over time, just so you know, but looks great to me. cheers
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Post  Furbalsmom 3/12/2011, 9:14 pm

Wonderful. And I'm sure you have such a sense of accomplishment, because now it is really starting to look like a garden.

Were you able to hydrate the layers of MM as you put them in? To me, that is easier than trying to hydrate the mix after it is all in the SFG. Of course we will be having more drizzle and rain over the next few days, so that should help before you get your cool weather seeds and transplants in.

Looking forward to seeing some wonderful crops in that great looking SFG. bounce
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/12/2011, 10:37 pm

Yep! Sprinkled water on it after each layer. Actually made it easier to make sure I spread each layer evenly since it was darker in color. I thought the rain would help with that but it stopped long before we shoveled the mix into the boxes.
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Post  staf74 3/12/2011, 10:51 pm

ooohhh....nice beds. Love the wood texture and color. Also, being that close to the house, I reckon you'll get some limited frost protection in mild freezes. I have about a four foot section surrounding my house that seems to rarely freezes unless we dip below high 20's.

Great job !
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/13/2011, 9:30 pm

oooh! That would be nice! We're building a trellis/cage over each box with the back half out of electrical conduit for the trellis and the front half out of PVC so that we can drape bird netting, or cloth, or plastic, depending on what the garden needs. I think it will also make the whole structure stable for it to be like that...at least that's our hope! Well, time for dinner then I think I'll start some of the indoor seeds.
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/19/2011, 11:13 pm

Nice day in Portland for more work on the garden!
Today we bought a composter that we can turn on a frame then put it together. The stupid instructions had us do a step at the end that really should have been done along the way so that was a bit annoying but otherwise was easy to put together. Also built the trellis cages and screwed in the eyelet screws. The rain came and had to stop for the evening so tomorrow I'll add the nylon string to create the squares and then hang the trellis netting. Transplanted the blueberries and raspberries. Fixed our broken gate latch finally (only took us 9 months!). Yep, productive day!

The new composter
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The first seeds
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And the winning sprout is...Broccoli!
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The Trellis "cages" We plan to drape bird netting over it and figured that we could also drape plastic or cloth, as needed. The left one is a little crooked but the ground is a little uneven over there. Oh well, it's pretty stable and strong! The back trellis is electrical conduit and the front is PVC to save some $$
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The raspberries
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The blueberries
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The strawberries survived!
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Post  Healing Garden 3/20/2011, 12:51 am

Everything looks fantastic Dr. Bigfoot!
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Post  Furbalsmom 3/20/2011, 5:20 am

Your garden is looking great. Yay for the champion broccoli seedling. The first of many to pop their little heads up.

Glad you had nice weather today. We alternated between short sun breaks and drizzle then rain with pretty rainbows. Too cloudy to see what was supposed to be a gorgeous moon tonight.

I attended a class on when to harvest your crops given by local Master gardeners. Pretty interesting, because so many people feel bigger is better (like those monster zucchinis) and most often, the baby veggies are the tastiest.
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Post  acara 3/20/2011, 8:18 am

I so love folks who share the "go-big-or-go-home" mentality Very Happy

Thats a very impressive undertaking & thanks for sharing the pics.
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Post  Lavender Debs 3/20/2011, 8:30 am

I tell my students all the time, read clear through the directions before you start. I think about what I say to them every time I DON'T do that. Even so your composter looks fantastic and even a little hi-tech. Way kewl!

What kind of blueberries did you end up with?

Debs who sometimes thinks that God gives rain as rest for the weary....but I'm old.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 3/20/2011, 9:05 am

@acara wrote:I so love folks who share the "go-big-or-go-home" mentality Very Happy

Thats a very impressive undertaking & thanks for sharing the pics.

+1 Very, very nice!
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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/20/2011, 11:20 am

Go big or go home! LOL! That pretty much sums it up! This project started as "Hey, honey, we had success with the container gardening last year, how about a raised bed this year?" Then, "Hey honey, we have space for 2 raised beds! Let's make 2 of them." Research online various design plans for raised beds and how to build them let me to SFG. "Hey Honey, we should do this SFG thing, looks really cool!" Bought the book. "Honey, we need to build a trellis" got to the page about bending PVC over the boxes to serve as a frame for covers. "Oh honey, we need to build a trellis cage!" Kept noticing comments about compost through the book "Honey we need a composter" And so this is where we are now! Razz

I'll probably be doing most of the actual gardening but he's my brute strength for these things. He was the most hesitant about the composter. The funny thing is that even when I was only in the early stages of this project, once I heard about SFG, I've been enthusiastically telling friends and colleagues! Now to decide if it's worth the hassle of making our own drip system or just buy the one on the SFG store.
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Post  kimbertangleknot 3/20/2011, 12:10 pm

@Dr.Bigfoot wrote:Go big or go home! LOL! That pretty much sums it up! This project started as "Hey, honey, we had success with the container gardening last year, how about a raised bed this year?" Then, "Hey honey, we have space for 2 raised beds! Let's make 2 of them." Research online various design plans for raised beds and how to build them let me to SFG. "Hey Honey, we should do this SFG thing, looks really cool!" Bought the book. "Honey, we need to build a trellis" got to the page about bending PVC over the boxes to serve as a frame for covers. "Oh honey, we need to build a trellis cage!" Kept noticing comments about compost through the book "Honey we need a composter" And so this is where we are now! Razz

I'll probably be doing most of the actual gardening but he's my brute strength for these things. He was the most hesitant about the composter. The funny thing is that even when I was only in the early stages of this project, once I heard about SFG, I've been enthusiastically telling friends and colleagues! Now to decide if it's worth the hassle of making our own drip system or just buy the one on the SFG store.

For the drip system... I decided to buy from the SFG store (from amazon, it's cheaper for the 4x4). I'm glad I did because I'm the type of person who enjoys tedious work for about a day and then I'm done. After taking the time to price out everything that I would need for my beds that I'm doing the drip system in, I can't say that I would have saved anything if I would do it all myself. I believe sanity and not being grumpy are a much better outcome than trying to save a few bucks.

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Post  Dr.Bigfoot 3/21/2011, 12:49 am

Yeah, I did some pricing today and it looks like it's just easier to do the ones from the SFG. I didn't realize you can get them on Amazon. I wonder if they have the larger sizes...time to research!

The blueberries were Chandler berries. We had them last year and they were large and tasty!

Strung the nylon string to mark out the squares then got my rhubarb transplants in as well as the sugar pod peas, 8 radishes (I'm planting them in batches to space out the harvest. 32 radishes at one time will be a bit much! And the lettuce seeds are in. I got a mix so we'll see what I get! Then came the fun adventure of putting up the bird netting. Had to cut down to size the largest netting they sold at the store and that was the first challenge then actually putting them on. My husband goes down to Eugene for Sunday night/monday morning for games and then work so it was all me. Kept tripping on the netting while putting it up and then the eyelet screws kept grabbing the netting. Used twist ties to tie the netting down to those same eyelet screws (they now serve 2 purposes!).
Bought a kitchen compost container and filled it up with pineapple scraps. Hmmm...I hope those will compost okay. Now I'm just waiting for my syrup to be ready to make my pineapple sorbet mix! Too bad I can't grow pineapples here...
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Post  Furbalsmom 3/21/2011, 5:51 pm

Check out this link to the posting for SFG drip irrigation on Amazon. The last time I looked, the 4 X 4's were less expensive on Amazon than thru the SFG Foundation because the Foundation was trying something new.

SFG Irrigation at Amazon

Other sizes are available thru

SFG Foundation Irrigation

You can change the size on this last page for custom irrigation kits.

I can appreciate the trials and tribulations with the bird netting Hooray for a new Garden! - Page 2 63597 I suffered getting hung up and caught by buttons on my clothes, snagging my shoes, and general distress. Once it was installed, it was not too bad to open when I needed to get into the box.
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