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Square Foot Gardening for Hard Times and Survival

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posted on May, 17 2009 @ 03:02 PM
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Originally posted by frayed1
Looking good!

After the first year with the wood and stone supported raised beds the slugs hit us with a vengence......they hid in the nooks and crannies, coming out at night in droves, in spite of our efforts at control. We hand picked them off, and drowned them in stale beer by the plateful......still they came.

We did not want to spread poisonous snail bait due to our small children and pets. Finally we pulled out the stone and wood and allowed the raised beds to 'melt' back into the ground.


That was the only problem I had as well. The slugs drove me nuts, but only in the lettuce bed. I tried beer for months and the only thing that happened was that I got drunk. Then I gave some to the slugs and they got drunk too. So I never did find a solution to that problem. The issue with lettuce is that the lower leaves are so efficient at keeping the soil surface damp... the perfect habitat for the little critters. So I'd advise that you keep a bed for lettuce only, and deal with them best you can. It appears that getting them a little inebriated doesn't help. Getting yourself a little inebriated while having a grand time in your garden... I highly recommend that.




posted on May, 17 2009 @ 03:25 PM
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reply to post by Albertarocks
 


Yes this method is based on Mel Bartholemew's Square Foot Gardening method which he has several books on and had the PBS show about. I believe there's only been a few slight and minor changes to his method, but overall it's by far the best use of space for small home grown gardens. By dividing the box into square foot, you're able to plant more intensively and helps to differentiate weeds from the good plants to the newbie gardener's eye.



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 03:28 PM
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Originally posted by worldwatcher
reply to post by Albertarocks
 


Yes this method is based on Mel Bartholemew's Square Foot Gardening method which he has several books on and had the PBS show about. I believe there's only been a few slight and minor changes to his method, but overall it's by far the best use of space for small home grown gardens. By dividing the box into square foot, you're able to plant more intensively and helps to differentiate weeds from the good plants to the newbie gardener's eye.


Yup! That's it! Thanks for the reminder. It was Mel Bartholomew's book that I purchased way back then. And if I'm not mistaken, it was he who hosted the TV show. Gosh, that does bring back memories. Tanks!



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 09:40 AM
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That’s great stuff worldwatcher


I started thinking about growing my own last year and i now have 3 raised beds and 3 smaller side beds.

Bed 1

Garlic
Scallions
Courgette

Bed 2

Cabbage (we love cabbage)

Bed 3

Carrots
Parsnips
Potatoes

Side beds have tomatoes, Runner Beans and french beans. I also have a herb section with Basil, Thyme, parsley, 2 Rosemary bushes and Lavender. Oh... i also have a couple of mini poly green house thingys for the 3 types of Chilli I’m growing (me and the wife LOVE chilli) We are based in England so we don’t really get chilli growing weather.

All of the seeds i use are 100% natural and i use NO hybrids so i can collect my own seeds for future use. I also make my own compost and have managed to keep it completely chemical free... all 100% natural


I get my seed from...

realseeds.co.uk...

Well worth checking out if you dont want hybrids (not sure if they post outside of the UK though)

Some pics of my veg patch...
















posted on May, 20 2009 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by Muckster
 


ooh your garden is lovely!! I haven't tried cabbage yet, not the right time to grow it here in south florida, and I have to ask what is "courgette" I have never heard of it before..

as for composting, I want to do it, but being that I live in a community with a home owner's association, I don't want anyone complaining about the smell and I have heard that no matter the method, you will get a smell if you're composting.. any tips?



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 07:29 PM
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reply to post by worldwatcher
 


Thanks worldwatcher


Sorry... i think you may know Courgette as Zucchini summer squash. In England we call them by the French name... not sure why.

Regarding composting...

Your right... all compost heaps smell... but you can limit it by having a closed bin type composter instead of an open heap. Balancing you green and brown materials help reduce smell too.

Green = Grass, vegetable waste, plant matter etc.
Browns = woody material, cardboard, egg shells etc.

If you have to many greens (as i did) you can end up with your compost smelling like strong cat pee... not very nice hehe


Now that i have a better balance the smell has almost gone. Oh... if you want to add grass cuttings make sure you dry out the grass before adding, otherwise it turns to mush and smells. Also... if you are adding woody material that’s thicker than a pencil you should shred first otherwise it can take a long time to break down.

I'm no compost expert but that’s just what I’ve learnt through my own mistakes


I'm turning into a bit of a garden geek and i think it would be great if we could keep this thread alive with updates... i'll happily post pics and reports on how my garden is coming along. I think that horticulture will be the key to survival after Sit X.

Good Luck



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 08:02 PM
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I just finished reading the whole thread. You guys are awesome. I love talking about container gardening and square foot gardening. My husband built 2, 4 foot by 8 foot raised beds last year. I loved going out everyday to care for and admire the plants we grew. I had a great time discovering the do and don'ts. This year we added 2, 4 foot by 4 foot raised beds. By next year, we may not have any "lawn" left!

Great post. Star and Flag!



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 09:10 PM
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This is the first time I've read this thread and I have to say I am impressed by your garden. I've grown up with my dad and he bought some land out in BFE a while back and started a garden. I remember when I was very young he also kept a garden but he only grows things like tomatos and peppers. I happen to have some extra 2x12 here and I noticed some potting soil for sale in the store today. I think it just might have been a sign


I'll see what I can plant tomorrow and take some pictures if possible. Thanks for the inspiration



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 02:58 AM
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reply to post by Albertarocks
 


Snail and Slugs... they truly are a gardener’s worse enemy... especially in the UK where the weather is ideal for the little buggers. Last year, before i had raised beds, i lost nearly all my potted tomatoes shortly after germination.

I have used 2 methods to keep the buggers away... the first is i have placed copper edging around all of my raised beds. Slugs and Snails hate the stuff... apparently when their slimmey little body’s try to travel over it they get a small static shock. I used copper tape which i purchased from a garden store but you can use old copper pipe if you have some laying around... just hammer it flat, drill holes in it and screw it to the top edge of your raised beds


This, however, does not stop the slug eggs that are already in the soil from attacking your plants... i did not want use chemicals... so i turned to biological warfare HAHA

Slug Nematodes are tiny little creatures that are the slugs natural enemy. They attack the slugs and do something to them which prevents them from feeding... they then starve to death. I applied a pack of these to my raised beds to kill off the slugs already inside my copper barrier. For outside my raised beds i use the old method of torch at night search and destroy. You will never win the battle against slugs... its more damage limitation, which is fine by me, i don’t want to wipe out the entire population. I have excepted that they are nature’s way of keeping me on my toe's


You can also use crushed egg shells around the base of plants.

Oh yeah... one last thing... i have placed a couple of rotten logs around my boarder... these encourage ground beetles and centipedes into the garden... both are natural enemys of the slug.


Happy Hunting



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 05:49 PM
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I went out and made myself a small garden outside the window here today. I planted a few things that are supposed to grow even though I planted them so late. So far I have Squash, Cucumber, Radishes... I planted some Broccoli even though I shouldn't have


I plan on planting more broccoli when the time is right along with some spinach and carrots. I'll post some pics later along with some of the stuff my dad is growing. He isn't using the raised garden... he's always grown stuff either around his storage building in a small garden or in pots/planters. He likes tomatoes and peppers. I got some pictures of his stuff too. His is much more impressive than my dirt pile right now



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 03:24 PM
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g'day,

just going through my page stats and found this link.

anyhow if i can add a little? newspaper and cardboard usually cost nothing so for those on a frugal budget, that can be alternative to matting, which is long term, not sure what effect mat could have on worms etc.,. moving from the sub soil to the garden?.

in subsequent follow up pic's and this could be photo quality not sure some of the plants for me could look a little more green by that i am wondering at the levels of nutrients? we use no fertilisers or manure relying on scraps from the kitchen and green type hay mulches to supply nutrients. pretty much all our composting is done in the agrden even the vermicomposting, seems more natural.

but apart from that square foot is the way for those with very limited space.

my names len i have the presentation of straw bale gardening, for those with a little more room.

enjoy

www.lensgarden.com.au... (not sure how to show a hyper link?)

len

[edit on 24-5-2009 by gardenlen]



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by gardenlen
 


The link worked fine.....That is some serious broccoli!!

And I totally want one of those water tanks!!

We lost our little manure producer this winter, but he left us with two of the large round bales of hay....one has quite a bit of water damage and hopefully the seeds have rotted.....it will have a future in the garden as mulch and compost....



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 04:00 PM
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reply to post by Albertarocks
 

g'day again,

just saw this one regarding the snails/slugs.

beer traps do work just you need a deep enough container that they climb into and the beer despatches them not sure how. also if you create hiding places say roof tiles layng on the ground and each morning lift the tile and collect and despatch the snails, also poly pipe like downpipe blocked at one end maybe but painted black inside makes a hiddy place for them even a sheet of wet cardboard with a brick on it laying on the surface will work.

the early morning safari is a good one pick 'em off and squish them on the path. another method that works for us is make up a super strong coffee mix we use el-cheepo instant and spray that around the base of the plants as well as on the base of the plants will work with the immature ones, needs multiple applications but over time you will see the difference.

happy gardening

len



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 04:19 PM
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reply to post by frayed1
 


g'day frayed1,

yep we get good results so we try to pass this onto others we feel we have what amounts to bludge gardening method once in play, or a good beer drinkers garden not much actual gardening and lots of time in the shade enjoyng a drink while looking at the hand work.

yes the tank is necessay when rain falls are low reckon bite the bullit and go big enough, it will pay off in the end.

we use green type hay mulches ie.,. spoilt lucerne and pasture grasses, and mostly sugar cane mulch as it is easiest and cheapest but not as good as the others still works, we don't get too concerned about seeds in mulch anything that pops up does not perpetuate and can be pulled and added to the garden as extra nutrient.

len



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 09:05 AM
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I love this thread with everyone's input and garden savvy.

Here is a pic of one of our "garden beds".
Lettuce, Tomatoes, Basil, Peppers, and Cilantro.





posted on May, 28 2009 @ 08:20 PM
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thanks for the contributions gardenlen and others


Hazelnut when you said garden "bed" you weren't kidding were you


I love it!!!!!

With all this rain in Florida I haven't watered my garden in over two weeks. Everything seems to holding up well with the heavy rains, yard long beans are doing well, I've harvested enough for two meals already. I have two small sugar baby watermelons on the vine, two of my tomato plants have pretty much given up, but two others are still doing well. Eggplant, corn, okra all growing but not producing yet. Herbs are still hanging in there. Peppers are non stop producers, picking a different variety every couple days.

this is from a few weeks ago, it has since filled in quite a bit.. We call this plant/legume Bora, but it's known as yard long or asparagus beans. Great for stir fry.



posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:23 AM
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I had to try this out myself. Rather than go buy wood, I used supplies I had on hand. This consisted of one 10 foot 2X4; four 42 inch hurricane shutters and wingnut bolts (left over from DIY shutter installation) and wheels off of a speaker box which is inoperable. I also used some scrap half inch plywood to serve as the bottom of the box and fibergalss window screen to keep the soil in the box. Ridges in the hurricane shutters will hold the bottom in place. Gives me about a 8-10" deth for planting.



Total cost was zero, just about 3 hours of labor to construct and paint. Today I will be buying the mix and filling the box in preparation of planting in 2 weeks. I will use Mel's mix which is 1/3 peat moss, varied compost, and vermilucite. I expect it will cost about $30 to fill, plus another $20 for seeds. Plan on growing spinach, romaine lettuce, radishes, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers. brocolli, cauliflower, carrots in stages as the south florida weather permits.

Since the shutters are 42 inches, this gives me a 3 inch border on each side which I will plant the onions, garlic and marigolds to keep the bugs away. I may also add some herbs in these areas. I will be left with 9 square foot areas.

I do have a few questions. 1. Will the fact that I am using a metal box rather than wood be detrimental to my crops? 2. Since the shutters have bulges on the sides this will allow high air flow to the soil. Is too much air a bad thing? I will probably put the herbs on the corners as they like drier soil. 3. In south florida which plants can be started now? 4. What would be the ideal way to arrange the planting? Should I not have certain things next to others? thanks for the assistance.

Edited to embed picture



[edit on 26-7-2009 by sligtlyskeptical]

[edit on 26-7-2009 by sligtlyskeptical]



posted on Aug, 6 2009 @ 03:39 AM
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Worldwatcher,

My wife and I just moved to a home that already has 2 above ground gardens. i have already ordered some heirloom seeds (2 kinds of peppers, onions, tomatoes, okra, and cucumbers). We live in SE Texas, so we do not have any shortage of sunlight during the day, and I believe we will do just fine with the planting. We are new, and my question is this:

We are getting started late in the year, and have heard you can do a fall garden here in Texas since our first frost is still a ways off. I know that most of the seeds I have will come to fruition in 60-80 days, so I should just make it before the frost and winter arrive. Do you have any suggestions for late planting? Also, how many seeds are you using for tomato plants and cucumbers? I have heard 4 seeds per plant.

Another newbie question: With heirloom seeds you are supposed to save the seeds after the harvest for use next spring (hence heirloom), but I am unclear how these seeds present themselves (for lack of a better term). Am I getting the replacement seeds for next time from the vegetables themselves? Will they be scattered on the ground? Sounds stupid, but I really have no idea. I know I want to continue to have the seeds over and over again. Any comments would be appreciated.



posted on Aug, 6 2009 @ 04:06 AM
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reply to post by worldwatcher
 


I am sorry if this has been mentioned (I have not read the whole thread) but...
Is that a weed or a weed plant in the top lefthand corner of the 1st photo in this thread?



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:09 AM
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reply to post by afaik
 


Does not look like it. Would not matter anyway....I would hope to have some after the fallout, would be good for medicinal purposes.



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