Let's start a new thread for this topic, since there seems to be quite a bit of interest. I have Mel Bartholomew's book "Square foot gardening". There seems to have been a number of editions. However, I just found this site: squarefootgardening.com/
Maybe it will have some of the answers we are looking for. :)
Jacqueline, I just bought the book too. I'm thinking about trying some different kind of garden plan that will be less work and more efficient than the old random rows and "patches" I end up with. There's just me and my 24 y/o son, who's out a lot, I don't really need lots and lots of any one kind of veggie, (but I do need plenty of tomatoes to can and eat!), the square foot plan appeals to me. But I'm not going to buy white plastic grids, that's for sure. I'm more into eyeballing my rows and plots, but they tend to deteriorate into masses of weeds as the summer heat takes over. I'm thinking of just marking off 4 ft beds and planting a grid pattern in them. Well, we'll see...
Hi, Jacqueline. Need http://www.squarefootgardening.com to get it open. Think this thread should maybe be in another forum. Mel was a great guy, (I never missed his TV program) but don't think his techniques would qualify as organic. Yuska
Yuska: I've only read his book, but he was very into using all natural, what I would call "organic" materials. No chemicals, etc. But I am new here so, if this thread should be moved, go ahead and move it to where it belongs. I'll follow...
Rose: I just moved into my house and promptly carved out three vege beds from the lawn. They are each 6x6'. And this was before I read Mel's book. I was so surprised to see him talking about 4x4' squares! Each of my "gardens" has a 2' walkway in between so I can rotate around them, weeding, watering, planting etc. Now, I need to refine my plants to be more in squares along with the rotation of plants... The rotation planning part is where I have trouble. I'll see if I can find some pictures...
No problem for me - just recall that in some of his TV programs ( quite a while ago!)he was using synthetic fertilizers, but if he changed when writing the book, that's great. The square foot concept is quite adaptable. For folks with disabilities who have trouble reaching very far, sometimes a 3ft. square is more practical. And it isn't necessary to buy the plastic sides and grids. On a plot I gardened several years ago, I used 3' x 6' beds because theyfit the lot's layout better and found used slumpstone to build the side of the beds and used jute twine to mark the squares. Of course, the plastic setup would be easier to move if rearrangement was needed! Yuska
well I keep a rainbarrel in the middle of the garden. I can quickly water that way. I also keep a Bug Jar to collect specimines for study. I have an old house that we have done some renovation with. We use the slats from the walls to space the 4 x 4 squares into grids for plantings. So if I need 9 sections I lay them two across and 2 down for a nice even sections. I know the author used string but I found it annoying. For those who don't have slats
(which are 1 x 1/4 oak strips) then I think old molding strips or carpet strips would work too.
I however give some crops more space because in my experience it is better. Like tomatoes need their own 4 x 4 - if determinate I sometimes can get two on. Building trellis are a must. Used 2 x 10's for the walkways and they are quickly cleaned with the back of a garden rake. I am collecting left over patio tile (12 x 12) to surround the entire garden. I have had some problems with the lawn trying to invade (it thinks it was here first - oops it was!) so I put down black plastic and am slowly putting the tile over it. The crop spacing is too critical...my biggest mistake is planting too close! I keep a basket by the door that has the following in it...
old knee high stockings
biggest pest was root borers and a neighbor's maple tree that wants to spawn little maples everywhere and send roots over to taste the organic matter. Constant battle. At least won't have cicadas this year. That was yucky.
And I bet he is charging you a whopping fee! Did you have to feed him too? LOL, so cute TMORTON...
glad I found this thread. I checked out his video series from the library, and took good notes. i noticed he always said, "And for organic growers, use half a coffee can of your fertilizer." That should tell people something, that when growing nature's way, you need half as much fertilizer :)
For my 3x3 beds, I found some very tiny 36 " dowels at the hardware store for 19 cents each, so I got eight, now I can mark two beds at a time. I figure I don't need to leave them there after I plant. I had some old 2x10s behind the barn for the main square, and two across. Then to further divide I used some 1x6. I added my soil. Oh, to raise it I have some bricks under the wood. I hope the good soil won't get washed out.
My tomatoes are going at the south end of the south beds, with carrots in their squares, and dill in the center of the bed. along with some zinnias, and beets.
MY PROBLEM: I wanted to start a drip irrigation system, perhaps with compost tea drips. I haven't figured out where or how to place it in the squares, any ideas or experience?
I am going to use some scrap 2x2s, and build a trellis. I haven't decided whetther to use string (twine) or some kind of wire fencing. If money were no object, I would get the netting: http://www.heirloomseeds.com/supplies.htm
I trained my beans up a string last fall and had great success! The twine was so cheap at the hardware store, and i think it was a 2000 ft roll, so I have plenty left!
DRIP IRRIGATION ANYONE? How do you put in in the squares?
Edited to add this GREAT link, from the UK, someone who experimented with this method organically, includes info on small/large varities, and companion planting. I only read the first page, and it is fabulous info!!! http://www.squarefootgardening.org.uk/ryton1.htm
Great link! Wow, that really helped make sense of how to plant each square. I guess what I needed were colored pictures of each vegetable in the squares. Now, if only it would stop raining, so I could plant.
Well determinates like juliet I put two in a 4 x 4 and it was fine
but the indeterminate like Rutgers got Huge. So I am thinking of building special
tomato cages (see discussion about building them in Tomatoes Forum) - with 2 cages to a bed
I could control those too. I always get a pretty good yield but the indeterminate have broken about every trellis/cage or stake I have thought up so far. And the garden looks pathetic late in summer with the tomatoes crushing their structures.
I know this is off the subject, but do you ever plant by the moon? I remember reading that certain signs give longer vines and others shorter vines. Maybe you could do an experiment to keep those indeterminates from getting out of hand. Personally, I can imagine loving them getting long (this will be my first year to grow tomatoes), but then I could see it becoming a problem as well.
I haven't done it, Tamara, but a couple of days ago I pulled out another of Louise Riotte's books to reread on the subject. Up to now, I've just planted when I could grab a few minutes or hours, but maybe I can be more productive by planning better. If I keep notes, maybe by this time next year I'll have something to report.
Tomatoes here get quite long! Many people pull up their plants at the end of July and set out new seedling plants for a fall crop (the nurseries encourage this practice!) In August and early Sept. the temps really steam here, and tomatoes will bloom but not set fruit with sustained temps over 86 degrees Fahrenheit. I look on August as "siesta time" and leave the plants alone other than being sure they get enough water. They go up and over their five foot towers and then trail another three feet or so along the ground. They look ungainly, but the fruits are delicious! Yuska
Anyone have any opinions about raised beds versus in the ground? I've dug into my lawn and so far have had good crops. My soil is soft at least 12-18 inches down. Is there a driving reason I should go to raised instead?
jburesh...sounds like you are blessed with good soil tilth , so as many say: "IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT". However, since you asked, I have better results with raised beds. I'm certainly no expert or Master Gardener but, for me, raised beds allow the soil to drain better, they warm up quicker in early springtime, they're less wasteful of water & fertilizer (since you don't water & fertilize the pathways) and the soil is always soft & fluffy-- less compacted-- since there's no traffic ON the raised bed. Just a few observations... good luck! You might want to try one and then decide for yourself for the following year.
Atir: That tomato tower sure looks nice. The kit is tempting, but I'd probably have a heart attack at the cost to ship to Florida. I'm seriously considering the grids but getting my husband to build the rest. I'm just not sure if he could build something as sturdy as the galvanized frame for the tower. He likes working with pvc pipe, I'm wondering if that would be sufficient. Has anyone used anything else successfully? I think the netting by itself is a little cheaper on the heirloom seeds web site.
Jacqueline: Thanks for starting this thread. It's perfect timing for me since I'm just getting a new plot started and want to try this method. In an earlier post someone was asking about irrigation. Living in Florida, this is a big deal for me as well since we can get near drought condition in the Spring. Has anyone had any experience with drip or should I just stick sprinklers out there? Margaret
Rather than buying netting, i use a frame similar to the one Mel states with a light gauge stainless steel wire at the bottom and then run fishing line up and down vertically every 10 inches or so.. I think i put a couple horizontaly too, but you really need something strong (the wire) at the bottom, to keep the tension.. This is my first year experimenting with SFG as last year things got a little too out of control in rows... there were suppose to be three rows here!! I liked the idea of more in less space Square foot gardening promotes...
I have had little success with tomatoe towers that are less than 8' tall. This advertised rack is only 5.5'
what do you do when the tomato gets 7 - 10' tall and the whole thing comes down? Last year DH came home with
some towers for me. They were six feet but made of such light weight metal the prongs bent under the weight of these
monsters. I tried tyying them together so - great - they all came down together
this year I am getting serious with these guys. 8' - 18" on center - metal concrete reinforcement wire.
That should take care of it. If not - well then I will start building scaffolding!
Regarding irrigation: I am going to order Mel's Book Grow for Profit. I figure SURELY he would address watering on a large scale. Personally, I don't use sprinklers, as overhead watering can encourage disease. I like soaker hoses though.
Glad to see a SFG thread here. This is our first year of 'real' gardening -- our own place with lots of land, so we can do as we like -- and we decided on SFG in a raised bed for veg. Well, I decided it would be a raised bed, and HE took the idea and ran with it! :-)
I followed Mel's advice for non-soil mix since I had to start somewhere. We'll be putting corn in the ground, though, and some pots here and there. This works okay for us, as we're on a limited budget and this is really raw land -- IOW, full of weeds -- which will take a long time to get a handle on.
Already ran into a problem with an early tomato -- I planted it just before the bad rains we had in CA and it has some sort of fungus.
Looks great Kaperc!
He really did go all out, that looks gorgeous. Making me hungry...
I have ordered my book and it is on the way. Meanwhile, this PVC grid makes me wonder about a grid type watering system. Only I don't know enough about plumbing, you probably couldn't get much water pressure. Maybe if lines going E to W were slightly buried, and N to S above ground.
Is anybody understanding me enough to take this idea and make something workable out of it?
Corny...(term of endearment...don't hit me!), how big is your bed?
I have a sprinkler system in my g-house that utilizes pvc...that could be easily changed over for use in your beds.
On another note...I love soaker hoses also and have had great result with them for many years. An easy irrigation method would be to simply loop so many feet (bought in bulk from your local wally world) thru-out your bed.
On another/other note...drip tape with emitters or hose emitters would easily work and are also (now) available at Walmart. I'd be glad to help you deal with this if I can.
From a personal opinion...go with soakers or drips as opposed to sprinklers and/or overhead watering...much more efficient and much more heathful for your plants.
Hey Charlie, that was great. I got totally lost in all their information. Thanks, I might have never found their site! Like the new guestbook on your blog too, did ya see I signed it?
On another note, yesterday I got the 2x6s and 2x10s cut for 4 ft and 3 ft square beds. Maybe I can get them assembled today. I bought some long wood screws that should do the trick. You know, this wasn't so tough after all!
OI guess Horseshoe is lost, maybe outside planting? I still need help with the drip tape!
I did not get them assembled today. Tomorrow they could be buried in the snow. Good moisture for the beds I say. My nine 3 ft beds, that are barely off the ground, and surrounded by wooden walking planks and brick, got soaked with the hose this evening. I almost forgot to turn the water off LOL
So, snow aside, I should be getting some plants put out this week. I have some extra lumber that I think I may make 2 irregular beds out of. 12 inches wide by 28 inches long. I was saving them for heat boxes, but made one and don't think I need any more than that.
To complement my bed, I am also using compahnion planting. So I won't do one square of one thing, but I will duplicate the combination in several squares. More on that when my thinker is awake. LOL
Will post before and after pictures AFTER I am done...
Jimmyz - Great job. We hope to get out this weekend to get the materials to build one. I like your soaker hoses. That's the way we've decided to go. I'd also like to know what you're growning. Margaret
Here is my SFG... not much going on it right now.. just some onion sets, strawberry's,garlic and lettuce... I covered them all with pine straw over the winter to keep em' cozy and left mister gnome to watch over it.. as you can see he's a little upset with the neighbors, whose yard of weeds like to blow into my boxes and reproduce :( ... Our last frost date is 3/11 but i sure wouldnt put anything out in weather like this... just a few more weeks :) i can't wait
Yes I built it myself just 2x8 deck screws and white spray paint :) The soakers where a pain, I put them in place by wedging them under nail in the side but I’m sure they will stay that way now. It was also too long so I cut the excess off and clamped the end of the hose. The side pots have cayenne peppers and sweet bell peppers in them. When i bought them they came 6 to a pack and I couldn't see tossing the excess. Also have another beafmaster in a pot it has started flowering. This is the rest of my list:
4th of july
cucumber sweeter yet
cucumber burpee hybrid ii
sweet bell pepper
onion evergreen bunching
watermelon Crimson Sweet
sweet bell pepper strawberries
Jumping in here... I think potting/hanging the catnip is a GREAT idea. My cat might leave it alone for weeks; then invariably one day I find his fat stoned yellow self sprawled over my crushed plants. Besides the squashed-plant issue, I'm not fond of lots of cat hair in my other herbs (ever try picking/rinsing it out of rosemary sprigs? Fun!), so we'll be potting the nip too. One of these days I'll plant a cat-garden: catnip, and rodent- and bunny-attracting unprotected plants, a sandy catbox section...
I have several clumps of catnip all around my place and my 6 cats enjoy it whenever they are in the mood. It grows very thickly and I dry enough to take them thru the winter. On sunny days in winter I put some out on my deck and they roll around in it and throughly enjoy themselves. It generally ends with a few skimishes, a prolonged grooming session and then a long nap.
I tried growing it two years ago and it didn't come up - so I gave up on it. Last year I was weeding and I kept finding various cats laying face down in this particular plant - could not understand their interest - then it occured to me the catnip had finally
started growing. Now it is becoming a weed. I tried drying it and giving it to them in the winter - but they appeared to ignore it
- of course I am not home during the day so they might be having a party for all I know..
--I've had 4 patches growing for the past 3years. 3 in the fenced back yard, a plant for each of my cats. And one on the side of the house for the neighborhood cats. The neat thing is, is that they keep it neatly pruned to about a foot off the groung.. and the dirt around it is packed and smooth from them rolling around its base. When drying, make sure ya do it in the morning just after the dew is dry, to keep it, its most potent.. The sun will burn off a lot if you harvest too late in the day..
--Does anyone grow herbs in a SFG... I was wondering on spacing, and layouts, or anything else youve used. Mel, only briefly touches herbs, in the SFG book i have.
I will be setting out herbs as well. This is how I am figuring it: 12+ inches apart =XL (one per sq. ft.); 6-10 inches apart=L (4 per sq. ft.); 3-5 inches apart=M (9 per sq. ft.); and 1 -3 inches apart=S (16 per sq. ft.). So just find out how far apart you would put them in a row...
So exciting... I set out transplant in my first sq ft beds this evening. onions, lettuce, & spinach. It was so unreal -maybe surreal is the term. The soil blend was like no other! I didn't feel like I was planting vegetables, I felt like i was potting up flowers or something. Instead of a trowel or dibble, I had a scoop handy. It is a plastic kitchen scoop, maybe 1 cup. I used it to scoop out the dirt, then to scoop dirt back in and around, to make the saucer around the plant, and then "two scoops" of water per plant.
If horseshoe is out there (or anyone else), I still need help setting up t-tape or whatever that irrigation system is called. Since I will have about 15 or so beds, I really can't see doing soaker hoses. I need those under the mulch in the non-raised beds...
Cats and more cats.
Once upon a time in a garden far away; lol
I had about 20 stray cats come and visit when I fed the dogs.
Those cats loved dry dog food.
The cats started digging all over in tha wrong places. I don't remember where I got the idea but pushing plastic forks in handle down and tha tines up solved the cat digging.
If ya don't believe cats can give ya a look, try it lol...
Here is my sfg. the stakes I used are bamboo that I broke into 12 inch pieces. I measured with a tape measure where they should go, then wound twine around them to form the borders. I made plant labels out of small bird house ornaments from the craft store. They had mini watering cans, and clay pots. My mother-in-law and I painted the label and decoration on them last year. When I run out of those, I use a permenant marker on a nice flat rock.
Ooops, forgot to click 'watch thread' and didn't get back for a while!
Jacqueline, the dividers in my bed, as you've probably guessed, are pvc. We wanted something I could pick up easily for maintenace -- and it was so easy, which appeals to my DH. Basically, he likes 2 x 4s, deck screws, and pvc! Your plant markers are great; I'll have to look around for something I can use to add character to my bed, too.
Lost my first tomato -- think it was all that wet weather we had here. Just planted a paste tomato started from seed, and I'm starting some fresh seeds I got from SSE. I'm using the handwatering method because I have a tendency to over-water and it does remind me to look closely at each plant.
Lots of great ideas here -- glad to see everyone's efforts.
A lot of great looking pictures and idea's going on here. I use drip systems and soaker hoses for all my beds. Their are drip system kits at Home Depot, Lowes and some garden center's. They are easy to set up and use. Before I put my sprinkler system in, I installed a water timer on the facut, than I ran a garden hose to the soaker hose system I had in place for the garden. When I started square foot gardening, I use drip systems. These drip system kits you can get are really simple, once you understand the basic system, you can expand them. I have mixed up the 1/3 compost, peatmoss and vermiculite and I have found that the watering needs are a lot less needed. If I can be of help, please YELL. Thank Care.
How is eveyrone's square foot gardens going? I built some more beds, and set out ten more tomato plants. Some of what the rabbits ate (before I fenced it) is growing back! It almost look good enough to take a picture LOL
My square foot gardening plan has fallen by the wayside. My entire garden is choked with chickweed so I'm hacking it out bit by bit and putting stuff in three ft wide beds.
A friend of mine juices her chickweed with carrots but I'm just not motivated to eat the stuff.
I'm in the process of getting my sfg set up. We've got 3 of the planned 4'x8' beds planted and we're also doing some 1'x8' for some vining crops that we'll be placing along arbors. I've got a lot of other stuff going on right now and haven't had a chance to get any pics. I hope to get to that by the end of the weekend and I'll send it in with a list of what's planted. I'm trying to also learn about companion planting and do as much of that as possible within the beds. It's been fun! Margaret
Hi everyone. I am not very pleased with my SFG so far. Garlic, shallots, and strawberries are the only things that are really GROWING. Everything else is poking along. :-( Bunching onions, leeks, garlic chives, lettuce...so sad. I'm asking for tomato advice on that forum. Woe is me...
I understand, I have had some woes myself in propagating this year.
Have you thought about mulching? The things you mentioned that are pokey, are also heavy feeders that need lots of water. Do you do the saucers around the plant to hold the water in place? Did you put fertilizer in the soil mix, and are you fertilizing once (or twice) a month?
You put a lot of work into your SFG, and it sure does look nice. I bet once you figure out the problem, everything will be taking off nicely!
Oh, I started some leeks too, then read that they are best for the fall... SMILE, you have a beautiful garden, and there is always time in your zone to plant again!
Tamara, you mentioned some things to think about. It doesn't show much in the pic, but I mulched with cocoa chips -- pricey, but it's what I had to hand after doing some plant pots.
I thought it wasn't nec to put fertilizer in the mix to start with, since I used compost to plant in. I've started using fish emulsion, but will do some more reading about that. In the past I think I've damaged plants by too much 'tinkering' (overwatering especially) so I was trying to start my veggie gardening as naturally as I can. The soil mix does stay moist and crumbly.
I feel encouraged -- thanks! I was feeling bad because my DH did such a nice job and mentioned the other day he thought things would be growing more by now -- leeks are a favorite of his. Ouch...
Kathleen~So glad you feel better. :-) I can get discouraged too.
Just a suggestion on the fertilizer, I used Plant Tone by Espoma. One of those 23 oz. applesauce jars, half full was the right amount for a 4x4 bed, so you could use a jarfull. It is a granule, you can side dress the plants with it, use warm water, that makes the nutrients dissolve better and be more available. I would think if you further dilute the fish emulsion by 1/3, you could use it as a foliar spray to give them a jump start, while the espoma will be longer lasting. I use a planting by the moon calendar for choosing my fertilizing days, unless I am in a pinch, in which case I just remember: waxing moon=better uptake of potassium, waning moon=better uptake of phosphorus. You are right that you won't need much nitrogen because of the compost, particularly if you used composted manure.
For your zone, my calnedar says the best time to water and fertilize (for maximum uptake) is Monday morning May 2nd through Tuesday night May 3rd. That is a waning moon. So I would also fertilize sometime bewtween now and the full moon, which would be anytime this week. Then that would have you on a two week schedule, easier to remember. Use the granules one time a month, the liquid another.
This soil mix is so great, it helps me to not overwater as well. I hope your hubby realizes leeks are long season. Here is a link to a recipe using leeks:
Planting Depth: 1/4"
Soil Temp. for Germ.: 55-80°F
Days to Germ.: 4-7
Plant Spacing: 4"-6"
Days to Maturity: 85-90
Partial Shade to Full Sun
I read that they like a trench of water, so maybe it's possible you can't overwater them. I put my two leeks by my two celery so i could trench and blanch them both. THis is my first year to grow either. We will both just have to hang in there, and encourage one another. Post another picture soon...
If you don't find something, try Melinger's, they carry it (or used to), and shipping is not too high. A 25 lb bag from my nursery is $14.95, and I think that would last you a few years LOL. There is a 5 or 10 lb. bag, and I would think shipping on that wouldn't be much. Just remember not to go more than 5-5-5. Any more than that is just hype, and unnecessary.
Gald I could help. I am always turning to DG when i need it ;-)
Strawberries are looking nice out here - think soon I will have to net them.
Since SFG is so concise it is a small area. Has anyone built the cages he
meantions in the book? or is there something else that would be recommended
to keep the birds off. I want my strawberries and I cannot trust the gardent cats to
police the area. worthless sacks of fur
My DH built my bed like a four-poster (see pic above) and stretched bird netting over the 'canopy.' Works great. The ends are closed, and I access through the sides by lifting the netting which overlaps in the middle. A small screw into each post to tie back the netting, and I can reach everything easily.
A SFG Forum would be great. I haven't been very active on this thread (or any others for that matter) due various reasons: too busy out in the garden getting my SF beds set up, hubby working lots of OT and major computer problems, but I hope things will get better soon. I'm also wondering if part of the inactivity is due to this thread being in the Organic Forum. I know of quite a few gardeners who use SFG methods, but aren't organic gardeners. Margaret
Something like 'alternative' gardening might fly. There are other methods -- Mittleider (sp?) is one I've seen. You're right, Margaret, I'm sure lots of people use a form of SFG but are not organic. Any other ideas before we pitch it to Dave?
I also use milk jugs and the 1 liter jugs from soda for "mini greenhouses". They work great. Except one of them I traped a slug inside and it ate the poor seedling down to the ground. :( The idea was trap them outside.
Nice going jburesh (j/k), sounds like things I do a lot! Like forgetting to remove them on really hot days (we almost reached 90 last week, and I cooked some tomato plants!).
As soon as I can, I will be at the thread for new forum ideas. This is exciting, but it is not the first attempt either. I am sure there is enough interest, just getting the topice narrowed down is important, though not easy ;-)
And my oldest decided he needed to make a Square Foot Bed for all the turtles and frogs that would come to eat the bugs that eat the plants. After measuring it out, he moved it to the far side by the fence...
Hi TamaraFaye, those beds are really coming along. I'm so glad to see another gardener who isn't living in a perfect manicured suburban world. They can be lovely but very far from what I will ever have. :-)
about removing the plastic milk jugs when it gets hot.
I work full time and by the time I could come home for lunch to remove the covers
they could cook completely. How do others handle this while they are at work?
Never had much luck with cold frames for the same reason - one hot day I wasn't off the tend it - or I forgot to open it for the day and it was over.
One option for the cold frames that turn into hot frames, if a person really wanted to spend the money on it, might be a temp-activated window opener. Lee Valley has one, and I think there are others too:
roxroe, you might want to consider a row cover. They make some that offer some degree of frost protection. There is the initial expense, but you might not need too much, and once you buy it, you will have it for many years. I have some that I have I have used successfully for six years and it's still going strong. It kept spinach alive, (not growing), all through the winter and prolonged my harvest of greens well past the first hard freeze in the fall.The fabric breathes, so there is no overheating when the sun comes out, rain penetrates it and the plants still have good ventilation.
Great idea roseone... I was glad that i didn't have to cover ALL the plants today, because five of my SF beds have row covers stapled over them. They are lightweight, but protect from frost and bugs. I got mine FREE from http://www.gardensalive.com ($25 gift certifcate). It was 24.95, I think I paid almost $10 for shipping, but got some other stuff too. It is 61" wide by 110 feet long. Easy to cut. If you don't have raised beds, just use pegs (cheapest I found are 3.99 for pack of 10 at Ace hardware).
If i could afford it I would have a cold frame with the auto ventilator!!! YEAH :-D
Meanwhile, I have forgotten a time or two and cooked a few Arkansas Traveler Tomato plants, and one Oregon Star (boohoo!) But I notice that the ones that survived had the jug buried deeper under the hay, so there was less surface area of the jug exposed to the sun. You can also mound dirt up around it, keeeps the jug from blowing away, insulates against cold, keeps monster sunrays at a minimum...
Neither garden nor lawn are manicured, but the soil is getting better. Before I plowed just over a year ago, it was perfectly manicured Bermuda Grass, which isn't even native here, but sure can take over! My Mom was EXTREMELY hesitant about losing her nice grassy area along the driveway, esp since the neighbor (who owns the lot covered in mesquite) actually owns half of that right of way LOL. So I always make sure and give him some tomato plants for his garden, AND anything else he wants!!!
Bermuda Grass isn't great for the soil, but letting weeds grow up have improved it immensely, breaking up the hard pan, and pulling minerals to the surface. I love it when I double dig for a new SF Bed, and find earthworms, and redworms. Ooops, maybe I should one day start a thread for seemingly looney folks who actually like weeds here and there. Call it companion planting with weeds!!!
Didn't mean to get off the subject. Also, when covering on REALLY cold days (high of 44 today, will feeze tonight), I put lids on the jugs to hold more heat in. I sure hope it works, it was so overcast, I don't know how much it can heat up in there. If you were to leave early in the AM, you could take the lids off till it warms up. Hopefully after a freeze it wouldn't get TOO hot?
I would have just put row covers on, but stapling is sort of a permanent thing, I am not finished planting in them yet.
I bought this cold frame from farm tek for $90 and bought a wax automatic opener from them for about $20... the whole set up works really well. I am one of the Square foot/Organic/Mittleider method guys. I use some of each. Just put in another 360 sq feet of beds to augment my 250 feet of existing beds. We shall see what comes up!
I have 5 of these beds and have had for 2 years... I tore out some of my front yard (we have a very wierd triangle shaped lot and sit on .5 acres...) for these other beds. I just spent all day yesterday with my brother and wife Corinn leveling and filling the boxes... the beds are 10 inches deep above ground and another 6 cultivated below ground. They are filled with EKO brand compost, like 40% and they have a lot of peat, concrete sand, Vermiculite, Pearlite and I am trying some stuff called AZOMITE which is a clay additive used by organic farmers like Rock Dust. I am trying a few beds with Mittleider preplant fertilizer solution and the lower beds are going to be all organic. What was interesting is that before Mel ran off to Africa (I think) to teach gardening there a few years both he and Dr. Mittleider taught and had demonstration gardens at Thanksgiving Point Gardens which is a non-profit endeavour here in our County in Lehi Utah. The folks who did it were the guys who sold Word Perfect to Novell for like 113 Million in the early 90's. They have a ton of land out there and started these expansive gardens from scratch. They also have a stunning golf course out there and a profitable but just getting going business park as well as some other commercial development and a couple of residential communities.
I hear that Mel did a lot better than Dr. Mittleider as he was more commercialized but Dr. Mittleider outproduced him 5 to 1 as far as space went.
Yup, they are way overgrown and a bit leggy but I have been working for a long time on those beds and it has been a lot longer than I expected... Projects always are... Besides I have a lot of other stuff (A deck, a second 2 car garage, A wall to retain the playground bark or shredded tires or whatever I decide to put in there).
Wow, you all have really been busy this spring! Have you considered starting a separate thread so you can explain the Mittledier Method? 5 to 1 is BIG! And then also please explain the pvc and stake, some kind of watering system?
That is the inexpensive PVC watering system (mounted too high) that you are taught to build with the Mittleider method. You use a TINY drill bit to drill 3 holes facing down as sprayers. Works well but I am moving to T-tape as the sprayers were too high and wet teh leaves of some of my stuff and I got powdery milder on my corn and squash among other things...
Lettuce has been inside of Walls-O-Waters till recently... It liked it there...
I guess I've missed something. What's the Mittleider method? We've just started putting in some raised beds using the square foot method, but are kind of stuck on what to do for irrigation. It's getting a bit much to water by hand as the hot weather is here, but not the afternoon showers. Margaret
I am hoping Drew will start a thread specifically about that method. The more individual threads we have going, the more interest, plus keeps poeple getting confused about which is which.
Drew~thanks for the info on the pvc sprayers.
Here are my raised beds just before lunch, after 1/3 of the snow had melted. I don't know whether to uncover them or not, as it will be in the high 30s tonight, and another chance of snow/rain tomorrow.
Here are the 4 4x4 beds, 10 inches high. The tomatoes aren't above the sides of the bed yet. I uncovered a Stupice, and it looked fine, but what about all that moisture on the leaves? Should I just leave them be or uncover them to dry out this afternoon (high around 50)
Very unusual. The last time I recall, was in Amarillo in 1983. The news said in 1917 we got 9.5 inches on May 7. A friend recalls in 78 or 1980 when it snowed in Fritch in June, and she had the best garden ever...
Everything has almost melted, so I can relax. Snow/rain mix expected tomorrow. I honestly have never seen 6 inches melt so fast...
I'm very interested in the PVC watering method for Mittleider. Does anyone have information on how to build one? I'm wondering about spacing, materials, tools needed. I haven't worked with PVC before so this is new to me.
When I asked Drew about the PVC, he basically said he was swithcing to t tape because of problems with the pvc. ; So I will stay with soaker hoses until I can switch to t tape. Hope that helps jburesh
Plants are still very wet. But the peas are loving it. My batteries in my camera need replacing, or I would have taken another picture. One of the pea plants looks like a butterfly spreading its wings, so glorious!!!
Look for Drew to start a thread of the Mittledier Method when he gets a chance. Is that correct Drew? Sure hope so...
Lets keep this thread going as well. How is everyone's SFG?
Yes, please to the new thread -- I'm on dial-up and it takes forEVER to load.
My garden's in terrible shape. Finally found a couple of caterpillars and realized what was eating all the tops of my onions, garlic, chives, etc.!! Durn things! Also, I'm afraid it will take some practice for me and seeds to come to an understanding -- very few have germinated for me.
So, today I went and bought some tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and several herbs and I will start over again. :-)
there are different kinds, it should say on the label or the salesman should know. According to http://www.gardensalive.com, they don't have a sepcific number, but theirs is called Green Step Caterpillar Control.. Apply to top an dbottom of foliage when worms first appear, then repeat every 5-7 days while they are active. REapply after heavy rains. Use up to time of harvest on food crops. Mix 1 tbsp per gallon for fruits and vegetables. Hope this helps. Also controls fall web sorms in trees when applied 4 tsp per gallon.
I've seen several types of caterpillars around and I'm trying to identify them so I know what to use. Hate to just kill everything willy-nilly, as my husband already calls me 'killer' -- bugs belong outside, not in the house! I like the PV site and their prices do look good.
Thanks, heycharlie, we like the scenery too. Not nearly as big as your place, but it'll do. We're getting the floor of the breeze room done soon, then we'll screen it in and have a nice 'sittin' place to enjoy the view. I'll just bet you get hot in Texas. We have a few bad days here in summer, but there's a reason we call our place 'Breezedale'!