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Post  Mamachibi on 6/17/2011, 3:05 pm

Howdy! I'm Mamachibi, a work-at-home, homeschooling mom of 6 kids (okay, mostly teens at this point) here in Nashville, or Nashvegas as some call it. I've been container gardening due to physical limitations and land ownership issues for the last several years and have just received permission to put four 4' squares in the backyard next spring! YAY! I'm prepping them this year by sheet composting and gathering ideas for "everything else" so when spring comes I'll be as ready in practicality as I have been in heart for so many years!
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Post  middlemamma on 6/17/2011, 3:11 pm

Howdy from Nash Vegas! 396615 Howdy from Nash Vegas! 396615 Howdy from Nash Vegas! 396615
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Post  Denese on 6/17/2011, 9:44 pm

Howdy from Nash Vegas! 396615 Congratulations on the okay for your beds! And now I've got to ask. I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance here, but what exactly is sheet composting?
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/17/2011, 10:02 pm

Welcome! You are in a wonderful part of the country for gardening...not only that, it's pretty, too. What crops are you envisioning? The usual salad scene; rare and tasty pea-beans; tomatoes; chili peppers? Share with us, inquiring minds wanna know. Glad to have you as a participant. I'll never forget riding through Tennessee (on a motorcycle) trying to eat a peach we'd purchased at a farmers' market. It was soooo juicy, my chest was totally soaked. Even worse than modern day talking on a cell phone. One hand on the handlebars, one stuffing a peach into my mouth....through the front of the helmet. Side bar: we were traveling (me still learning to ride a motorcycle, on my first bike) from Austin, TX, to Austin, Maine that summer, with a side stop in New York City for the arrival of the tall ships and the 1976 200th United States anniversary celebration. Wonderful memories of traveling "blue" highways through Tennessee and Kentucky. Thanks, Mamachibi, I shall dream beautiful memories tonight.
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/18/2011, 9:23 am

Denese, sheet composting is a method of breaking sod which takes place over a piece of land that will be garden next year. I started last fall by determining the spot, measuring it out, mowing it very close and then layering shredded newspaper over the area. I added the autumn leaves as they fell, kitchen scraps (no meat or bone) and all the used hay from the bottom of our cavy cages after their weekly clean. I will keep piling this on all winter, spring and summer and winter again and it breaks down very slowly. It's not a hot compost pile, so the breakdown is more gradual and is done more by the local good insect population than by the heat of the pile. Next spring the sod will be broken, the ground under it friable and full of great nutrients and worms. I'll set my SFG boxes on top of that ground without bottoms or landscape fabric.


Nonna.PapaVino, you have a wonderful memory there. Yes, I've planned some salad eatins, but am more hoping for some serious help in the grocery department. We are a large-ish family and food prices keep rising. I want to grow enough tomatoes eventually to home can so I'm not buying them year-round, but that would be 200+ pounds a year. I'd love to grow more of my cavies' daily diet (leafy greens) than I buy. I may never be able to feed us exclusively from the garden or have enough left over to do serious food storage, but every bit helps!

My first seedlings of ideas for what I'd like to grow:
3 seasons of lettuce
"other" salad greens: arugula, purslane, spreen, sorrel
"other" cooking greens: mustard, kale, chard, tatsoi
kohlrabi
tomatoes
potatoes
cucumber
melons
tomatillos
winter squash
summer squash
broccoli
just a tiny bit of beets, cabbage and cauliflower
English peas
green beans
dry "soup" beans
shallots
strawberries
brussels sprouts
carrots
celeriac
medicinal herbs: bergamot, borage, calendula, chamomile, echinacea, feverfew, dotted mint, stinging nettle, pennyroyal
kitchen herbs: oregano, mint, sage, summer savory, basil, cilantro, parsley

I'm starting with only 4 boxes, so of course I won't be able to do all these in any quantity right off the bat. But I plan to expand yearly until I've reached the limit of what this old body will do. Eventually, once I get all that going well I'd like to branch out and do sweet, field and popcorn and some chia, quinoa and amaranth. I already have the spots picked out for berries and grapes and am eyeing miniature fruit trees.
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Post  jhayford on 6/18/2011, 11:07 am

mamchibi

I have a recipie somewhere for pizza sauce you can freeze. Its a huge batch but maybe I can help you with your tomatoes. Like a trade or something. I will have about 20 boxes when I get done so devoting a couple to tomatoes would be no problem I plan to focus on roma type tomatoes to make sauces with. And maybe one plant of traditional type tomatoes. My mom likes to make fried green tomatoes. Oh and I could definately share OKRA that stuff grows like crazy here. Last time I grew it the horses got into the garden one day and ate everything lol.
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/18/2011, 2:47 pm

Cool! Let's go PM and talk about what I can do in exchange! Very Happy
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Post  jhayford on 6/18/2011, 4:40 pm

Sorry I missed you often times I leave my computer on where ever I was and wander off. I would be happy to talk about it. Today I will finish the 2 boxes that I have out there. Filling them with dirt. And hopefully Tommorow My bf will bring over more blocks to make more blocks. I will be putting in sweet potatoes and herbs in the first two boxes I would like to pick your brain about medicinal herbs because I would like to get off some of themeds I have to take daily for various things. Oh I got stevia too was thinking I could make sun tea and put it in there for good ol sweet tea i think that is my favorite thing about the south lol I'm teasing of course.

Jennifer
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/18/2011, 4:46 pm

I'm growing my first stevia this year in a pot. It's doing well, but I hear it can be very temperamental.
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/19/2011, 4:33 pm

Hey, can y'all point me in the direction of the "how to build a box" discussion? I have no saw, might be able to scare up a hammer if absolutely necessary, and don't know a miter from a mite.
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Post  jhayford on 6/19/2011, 7:52 pm

They have some ready made boxes at lowes with a trellis for $59 on sale. I am gonna get a couple next month.
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Post  nancy on 6/20/2011, 9:10 am

Do you have Mel's book? In it he gives step-by-step instructions. I found the guys at Home Depot to be most helpful in cutting my wood into 4' lengths. It took some patience - they are busy guys, but it was super easy and I didn't have to cut it myself!

I did go out and buy myself a drill. Got a fairly inexpensive one at WalMart. Enlist the help of those teenagers and your boxes will be up and ready to go in no time! =)
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/20/2011, 11:15 am

I have the first one but not the new one. Thanks, I'll see if the new one is available at the library.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 6/20/2011, 2:18 pm

Howdy from Nash Vegas! 654548 Mamachibi

Please check your local library for ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, it will provide both building instructions for your boxes and the recipe for Mel's Mix, which is a really prductive growing medium that can be almost weedless. Sometimes the book may not be available but can be reserved for you when it does become available.

If you have physical limitations, check out this thread TABLE TOPS. Perhaps you can get someone to help you build them, as they are the best thing since sliced bread as far as I am concerned. Built off the ground, they can be raised to allow you to garden without bending or stooping. It also brings the veggies up to where you can easily check them for pests or determine if they need any care such as water or trimming.

Again Welcome
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/20/2011, 7:44 pm

Oh how I would LOVE raised boxes!
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Post  dixie on 6/20/2011, 9:50 pm

Welcome from another Tennessean, down South near Chattanooga. This is a great forum, lots of very knowledgeable SFG'ers.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/20/2011, 9:58 pm

Mamachibi, your list of edibles you want to raise is wonderful. Just think how much you'll save when you turn all your lawn into SFG, and sell off your lawnmower to buy Mel's mix for the boxes! Congratulations on your dreams. Planting, harvesting and canning are labor-intensive but soooo satisfying......and tasty. Nonna
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Post  Mamachibi on 6/20/2011, 9:59 pm

I have no illusions that I'll be able to feed this big family out of my yard, but every little bit helps! I'm planning it all out right now: August 2011 through December 2012 in an Excel Spreadsheet. I can't believe how many empty squares I still have! Hehehe Twisted Evil
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