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Delaware Total Garden newbie Toplef10Delaware Total Garden newbie 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.

Delaware Total Garden newbie I22gcj10Delaware Total Garden newbie 14dhcg10

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Delaware Total Garden newbie

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trukrebew
vfclead
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Delaware Total Garden newbie Empty Delaware Total Garden newbie

Post  vfclead 3/26/2010, 10:40 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm not only new to SFG, I'm totally new to gardening in general. I watched my parents work their huge garden every summer, but as a teen, I had no interest in helping or learning a thing (typical teen, right?).

My BF will be building our first box & grid tomorrow morning while I run to the local Borders to pick up the SFG Bible (I've read every page of the website and can't wait to read more).

My initial questions are more basic than the SFG methodolgy ones. Being new to gardening and new to Delaware - I have no idea when to start planting our first seeds. I'm thinking we need to wait until mid-to-late April to be certain that we're done with frost. Any thoughts?

Thanks - Jenn
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vfclead

Female Posts : 39
Join date : 2010-03-26
Age : 51
Location : Wilmington, DE

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Post  trukrebew 3/26/2010, 11:29 pm

Hi Jenn,

I'm glad that you are so enthusiastic about your first dance with a SFG! I, too, used to blow off invitations to help my mother out in her tomato garden, but now do I wish I had learned anything from her! I jumped into SFG halfway through last summer. My plants were showing terrible growth in terrible soil and I was using way too much water in my 'well planned' typical garden. A relative passed down the original SFG book and it gave me the plan I needed. I ripped up my entire operation and started anew....in July! Needless to say my harvest was very small, but I got some experience under my belt.
I then spent many winter nights reading and planning for this year. I am in Central Jersey, about 2 1/2 hours north of DE. Our last frost can come as late as April 31st. I really hope that doesn't happen very often. I looked up "Last Frost Date in NJ" and took the Farmer's Almanac date of 4/4 and the Victory Seed company date of 4/15 and split the difference. Why not? As good as the Farmer's Almanac is at making predictions, you never really know.
I figure that I can sow the hardier seeds, like spinach, in the garden on that following weekend. I'm going to wait another week or two before planting my seedlings, though. They are in small containers now so I can just bring them if there is a cold snap, like the 27 degrees tonight!
Should you sow your seeds in the ground and then hear about frost coming (pay attention to the weather reports around this time), you might try to cover the garden with a blanket or layers of opened up newspaper. If you have sprouts, the blanket may damage them, but the newspaper isn't as heavy. Or do as the book suggests and use a plastic covered cage over to trap the heat inside.
If any other SFGers out there are scrunching their brows reading this and thinking, "WTF is he talking about?" PLEASE CORRECT ME! I do not want to be a source of misinformation, only misguided altruism!
~Kurt
trukrebew
trukrebew

Male Posts : 129
Join date : 2010-03-24
Location : The Garden State — Watchung, NJ — Zone 6b

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Post  vfclead 3/27/2010, 9:54 am

Thanks for the reply - that's earlier than I was expecting, but I'll take it! I planted a few tomatos in pots last year, but must have over watered the full size as every tomato cracked/split the skin. The cherry tomatos fared slightly better, but the crop was very small. I'm hoping for better success this year.

We're planning on planting tomatos, melon, pole beans for sure, haven't decided what else at this point as we're not big veggie eaters and I read the posts about not planting berries with veggies. I'm also doing a strawberry pot separate from the SFG.

We're off to go buy the book and scout out some vermiculite. Southern States sells it, but in small 8Q bags ($5/bag). I'm going to skim the book on our way to figure out how much I'll need for a single bed and decide in route if we're buying the small bags or asking them to order a bigger one for us.

Jenn
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vfclead

Female Posts : 39
Join date : 2010-03-26
Age : 51
Location : Wilmington, DE

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Post  jerzyjen 3/28/2010, 11:06 pm

You can always google search your last frost date. Here in south jersey (about an hour north of Wilmington DE), I'm going with the last weekend in April as my date (per internet searching) - im in zone 6b. There are some plants that you can put in before the frost date but yep you gotta keep checking the weather and protect them if needed. I planted my broccoli & onion seedlings today and put some peas and spinach seeds in the ground.

I had a bad tomato harvest last year also, I think it was from having such a cool summer. I would have never in my life thought I would be disappointed by having a summer that wasnt sweltering.
jerzyjen
jerzyjen

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Join date : 2010-03-03
Age : 46
Location : Burlington County, NJ - Zone 6b

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Post  Sapp 4/11/2010, 12:43 pm

I've lived in DE my whole life but this is the first year we are planting a garden and we are attempting SFG. I read the book years ago but never tried it. I've read the website but can't get the book from the library so I might just have to suck it up and buy the book! (I'm attempting major frugality thus the SFG attempt and not wanting to purchase the book!!). the exciting part about this endeavor is that my hubby AND all 5 of my kids (age 4-12) are SUPER excited to help...I just hope it lasts!!

Gotta go get dirty and I'm eager to check back in to get more info and share my experiences too.

Michelle
Sapp
Sapp

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Join date : 2010-03-21
Location : Wilmington, DE

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Post  trukrebew 4/16/2010, 10:40 pm

So much for my 'averaging' dates. We had a near-frost experience the other night, on 4/15. And there's a little bit of a chill for the week ahead. Thankfully, my procrastination (a.k.a. "other" commitments) kept me from getting any plants in the ground yet. I did have clear plastic take-out containers over 95% of my seedlings that night and they survived.
Funny thing is that I had spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to make those neat plastic covered wire cages that Mel wrote about in his first book, in the pre-plastic early 80's. Again, my procrastination paid off b/c I never made them and instead stumbled onto a gold mine in my recycling bin. The plastic containers that we buy our winter greens in is a nice 7" tall and covers 1/3 of my seedling tray. It's another way to put a bad item to good use. Kind of ironic actually.

My garden boxes have been built and I've mixed up the 1st of 5 batches of Mel's Mix to fill them but probably won't get to that for another week or two. Which will put me closer to the end of the month after all.
How is the rest of NJ/DE doing so far? Has anyone else gotten anything into the ground yet?
trukrebew
trukrebew

Male Posts : 129
Join date : 2010-03-24
Location : The Garden State — Watchung, NJ — Zone 6b

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Post  willf650 4/17/2010, 8:54 am

I'm in Wilmington - we put our seeds & seedlings in the ground last weekend and the broccoli plants the week before that and the chill doesn't appear to have hurt them. The strawberries are sprouting their first leaves, the broccoli is growing well and I saw our first seedlings for the lettuce yesterday. The only thing that hasn't sprouted yet is the corn, but I've heard that takes longer. I'm waiting anxiously for my tomato plants to arrive from Burpee so I can put them in the last week of the month.

Good luck planting!
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Post  vfclead 4/17/2010, 5:41 pm

Oops - didn't realize my BF was logged in on my computer. Message before was from vfclead, not willf650 - though the information included applies to both since we're in the same house. LOL

willf650 wrote:I'm in Wilmington - we put our seeds & seedlings in the ground last weekend and the broccoli plants the week before that and the chill doesn't appear to have hurt them. The strawberries are sprouting their first leaves, the broccoli is growing well and I saw our first seedlings for the lettuce yesterday. The only thing that hasn't sprouted yet is the corn, but I've heard that takes longer. I'm waiting anxiously for my tomato plants to arrive from Burpee so I can put them in the last week of the month.

Good luck planting!
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vfclead

Female Posts : 39
Join date : 2010-03-26
Age : 51
Location : Wilmington, DE

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Post  Sapp 4/18/2010, 8:01 am

I'm in Wilmington too! I was in bed last night watching the news at 11, got nervous about the low temp, got up and went to cover the plants! They have been in the ground for a week -- I swear I feel like the mother of a newborn again!

I'm debating about whether to post pics or not! My garden is a very untraditional SFG! Some posters here might be offended and what I've done Razz

I'm most happy about the enthusiasm of my kids -- I have 6 sections and each section is a 4x4 (I guess!). Each of my kids tends a section and I get one too! We planted 4 cucs in one section (one is not going to make it -- dog got it!), 3 basil and one cilantro in another section, 5 lettuce in another, 2 toms & 2 peppers in another, and 3 zucchini & 1 cilantro in another. One section is still empty (mine) as I'm waiting on seedlings from a friend - that will likely be 2 toms and 2 peppers. We are thinking of planting a pumpkin where the cuc died since it's on an end and next to the fence. This will definitely be a learning year -- I already had to move plants around after my friend informed me of how they grow (yes, I'm a complete newbie to ALL of this!).

I'm going to remove the buckets and sheets to make sure I didn't kill anything!!
Sapp
Sapp

Female Posts : 6
Join date : 2010-03-21
Location : Wilmington, DE

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Post  Mikesgardn 4/26/2010, 1:03 pm

To help you with the planting dates, the Delaware Cooperative Extension has a publication with recommended planting dates (outdoors) for each vegetable. Go the following website and there is a link at the bottom of the page for "Planning a vegetable Garden".
http://ag.udel.edu/extension/horticulture/index.htm
Mikesgardn
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Age : 60
Location : Elkridge, MD (zone 7a)

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