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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 1:00 am 
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Location: Alaska
Got a good start. Planted earlier than I ever have, May 2nd (in the tires & boxes). I would have just been thinking about roto-tilling about now. I used some of my Alaska gardening experience to help warm the soil/compost up (cover with clear plastic). Soil temps holding about 65 on sunny days & is about 55 in the AM (6" temp probe).

I have high hopes. However I realize that anytime you try something for the first time it usually takes some tweaking to work well. Looking at the soil in the boxes, I see no reason the plants shouldn't jump out of the ground. Several beans came up today, everything else is looking good & healthy. Today was 55, so allot cooler than past 4 days but still sunny.

It sure will be easier to maintain, I got the water hoses untangled & laid out today, now they can stay there. No need to pull it all up to roto-till (still will have to blow all the water out in the fall with an air compressor so not split the fittings & valves) . Mulch between the boxes will help with the weed problem. I think I have more usable space also, 8 boxes 12 feet long & 32 tires & still have used only 1/2 the garden space.

Plan to grow the potatoes the old way this year but add compost to the hills instead of hoeing. May put in a few more boxes for zucs, peas. Rest of garden I will do a comparison, old vs newSFG but will be planted later.

For the larger plants, I thought about covering the soil with clear plastic & cutting an X in it for the plants. (increase soil temps & hold moisture)
(did that one year but had weeds under the plastic & harder to get water). Maybe some 10' maybe 1/2" PVC pipe under the plastic with small holes by the plants for watering. Using a gravity feed from solar heated drums, I'm not sure "soaker hose" would work.
The soil/compost is pretty light & dries out faster than the garden soil. (or I'm over reacting & it's plenty moist underneath)

The hoops & plastic are working well so far, like today(High of 50 deg & a cold South breeze off Cook Inlet), I just opened one end so not to get too hot but still be warm. (+ warmer at night fully covered) just a little of a PIA to put on & off but being able to plant earlier than I ever have offsets that. Soon that should be a mute point if we get a good summer & the frost threat is gone. (may be useful in the fall to extend fresh salads also)

SFG, so far I see lots of potential, more space, & less work. (once all the set up is done)

JohnB, I'll probably bug you & the other SFG GURUs with ?s as I learn & apply the SFG system in my Alaska garden.

Thanks again to everyone.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:08 am 
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Location: PNW
I think you'll have pretty good success. It will be interesting to see the results of your earlier plantings. Now that you're not tilling, the soil life will be better established, which will aid nutrient uptake and disease resistance in the plants. My garden soil has a lot of clay in it, but the plants do fine thanks to the worms and and other things in the soil. I've had plants grow better here than any other place we lived, thanks to the balance in the soil. Tree trunks thicken up so fast.

People around here use black plastic to warm the soil. That keeps the weeds down too. I never have simply because it attracts the moles. The worms stay near the surface and a lot move in under any kind of mulch I use, making the pickings easy for the moles. It's really frustrating at times, especially when I spend a lot of time hauling and spreading mulch to smother weeds, only to have a mole pop up in the middle of it. I won't miss them a bit when we move.

Are you going to hold off making any more boxes until you see how this year goes?

I bet your granddaughter enjoys it, all those pathways to explore.

Take time to sit back and enjoy your efforts.


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 8:56 pm 
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Location: Alaska
May have to make at least one more box with my Granddaughter helping. She loves peas & loves watching them climb taller than her. Eats raw ones as soon as she can.


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 10:00 am 
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Location: PNW
When my girls were little, we made them a planter box and they'd grow a cherry tomato, cucumber, and lettuce in it. They enjoyed sharing their harvest and enjoyed taking care of it.

Has she tried sugar snap peas? A lot of kids like those.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 2:05 am 
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Location: Alaska
Got some more wood for more boxes. 2 X 12s this time 12ft. Need to assemble them.

Thinking of wider at the bottom, about 6 - 8 inches. more room for roots (24" at top & 30" at the bottom. I have alway thought that plant pots were made up-side-down. They should be wider at the bottom for more room for the roots (2 piece, so they will coma apart for transplanting)

Planted more on 5-6
Pic of celery, use milk jugs to hold from bushing & grow taller. Any other methods out there than cutting top & bottom from milk containers?
Image

Image

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 3:00 am 
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Location: PNW
Here the bottoms are cut out of the milk jugs and that part is on the ground for protection from frost and extra heat. I haven't heard of them being used for the purpose you're doing if for. You'll have to take more pics when they get bigger to show your results.

My first raised beds were 4'x15 or 20'. Less pathways and more growing room. I think if I were to do it again, I'd make them 3' wide instead.

Your garden area is looking good. I hope you're still enjoying the process.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Location: Alaska
I'm so used to using rows that a 4 foot wide soil box seems very wide & hard to get around in. Like a sheet of plywood, you have to kneel on it to reach the middle & reach over other plants.
I thing the 1 foot wide ones are a little too narrow but so far the 18" ones seem about right & will hold about any plant. 2 foot wide one seems good for the beets & carrot beds ( & like veggies) but that's just a rookie's observation after only a few weeks of experience.
Will take more photo's of celery as it grows & post pics.
You know me, I like pictures, tells the story better than I can write about it.

SFGRookiedave but learning fast

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 7:23 pm 
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Location: PNW
There are no rule as to the width, so everybody has their own desires. It would be boring if we all did it alike! :)

I could reach to the middle of my 4' beds from each side, but 3' would be easier. I can see if you want to just work from one side, the 18" beds would work well.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:02 am 
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Location: Alaska
For me, the proof will be in the produce. Adjusting the No-till system to fit each gardener, climate & preferences is the fun part. Learning what works for each of us & sharing the ideas whether the idea is used elsewhere or not is also fun.
EATING what you grow from a seed regardless of the method, "PRICELESS".

Put garden to bed (10 PM picture)
Cover beans (front 2) & some fresh planted plants (next to top). Had a 12' piece of GH sheeting (building a friend a GH in Willow).
Beets seeds sprouting in top covered box (24" wide one)
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GH toms blooming:
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:25 am 
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Location: PNW
bogydave wrote:
For me, the proof will be in the produce. Adjusting the No-till system to fit each gardener, climate & preferences is the fun part. Learning what works for each of us & sharing the ideas whether the idea is used elsewhere or not is also fun.
EATING what you grow from a seed regardless of the method, "PRICELESS".


Yep! :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:49 pm 
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Location: Alaska
12 foot GH sheet used as a cover on 18" wide box:
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 8:45 pm 
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Location: PNW
That was a good deal to get that GH sheet. Just think of the head start you could get with that on all your boxes early in the season.

How wide are your pathways? Sorry if you mentioned it before.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:33 am 
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Location: Alaska
New box 12 feet long. 24" wide at bottom, 18" wide at top.
More room for the roots, angle to the sun better to get heat, may hold moisture in better.
Figured worth a try. What do you (youns) (you-all) think.
Still considered SFG?
The one on the left has granddaughter's peas (2 rows) right one cauliflower: (11PM pic)
Image
Closer up:
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:50 am 
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Location: PNW
Maybe you'll start a new trend with your angled boxes. Time will tell if your theories are correct, but it will be interesting to hear what your conclusion is at the end of summer.


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Location: Alaska
The compost seems to dry out quicker than normal garden soil.
Is this normal?
When I water it drains in very quick.
I thought about compacting it more but hard to do now that the plants are in.
The old garden grass & leaves compost held water better than the HM/sawdust compost.
Maybe when it naturally compacts, it will be OK. I've just been having to water it more..
Getting a "rainy day" so this may help it absorb & compact some.
Raspberries starting to sprout, may be the last picture from this angle.

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 1:30 pm 
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Location: PNW
That is odd your HM compost dries out faster than your other type. Maybe the extra fiber in the leaf and grass compost helps it absorb moisture, just a wild guess. My soil has a lot of clay in it and it holds water well. I never try to replace it all. Some of it looks like it would be impossible to grow vegies in, but they always do great. I just have to plan planting time right so I can work with the soil without ending up with a bunch of clods. I have some areas that I used a lot of compost in and they tend to dry out faster, so I don't do that very often any more.

Your raspberry patch looks so tidy. I'm about to give up on growing them, because I have to fight grass so much. It's a creeping variety and it gets into everything.


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 7:02 pm 
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Bogy, sorry for not posting sooner but I can hardly ever get on the forum without getting that error message and getting kicked off. The garden looks great but holy cow, you don't do things in a small way. 8) 8) 8)

John

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 3:10 am 
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Location: Alaska
You know us retired folks have all the time in the world :)

With the help & motivation I got from you I have enough compost to fill the soil boxes.
I see now that it would have been nice to fill the boxes before this spring to give them time to compact & for the soil to firm up. (like you've done).
I used the month of April, which in Alaska is "break up" & not much can get accomplished outside, & was able to get enough of the HM compost ready. The boxes are wood I got from 1/2 price rejects from the box stores but work if straight is not a big issue.
Using the 4-wheeler & trailer was a labor saver for hauling all the compost.
The HM compost is pretty light & moisture retention is a bit of an issue but the ones I was able to get enough thawed, last years, compost to mix in are better.
I think over time with rain & watering things should do well.
Warmth is the biggest issue since I planted early. I may develop a few boxes with some kind of clear plastic framed using 2X4 or 2 X 2. Clear window directly to the soil to help with soil temperatures at a 30 deg angle. (sort of a Mini soil GH if you're " diggin what I'm know-en" or "Know-en what I'm diggin")

I'm alway experimenting & trying to learn new stuff.

So far I'm pretty pleased with the plants reactions'. Now that summer is starting, it's up to what the plants tell me.

Thanks for your encouragement.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:51 am 
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Location: Alaska
I decided to compact the soil in the boxes. I stepped on them,(not near the plants) & sank in about 2 - 3 inches. I think this is to loose for the soil to hold moisture. So I walked around on them to compact the soil then, by hand, pressed down around each plant. I probably disturbed some roots but the soil was drying out very quick.
I added some of the garden compost from last year , about 2" on each box (it finally all thawed) pressed it down by hand.
Then I watered each box heavy.
I added some landscape cloth around the outside & in some boxes added some clear plastic to help warm the soil & hold in some moisture.
I didn't so the row of peas, they are just sprouting. probably should have.

PS I have noticed some earth worms in the boxes :).
May add a radio to the garden playing romantic music so they multiply faster :shock:

Any other ideas?
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:54 pm 
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Location: PNW
Earthworms will probably multiply pretty quick in your compost, then they'll carry it down deeper and mix it in the soil below your boxes. Every time I dig a hole I run across several worms, especially under mulched areas.

The music might help, though. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:47 pm 
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Location: Alaska
I did some soil temperature checking today. the boxes are about 60 deg at 6 inches deep. Amazing thing I found out is the boxes with clear plastic on top of the soil were 80 degrees 1 inch deep, 75 deg at 2" & 68 deg at 6 inches deep. So covering the soil is a plus here in Alaska & help hold moisture. I think I'll try to make soil box with clear plastic sides & see how warm the soil gets. I'd like to grow sweet potatoes, but soil temps are too cool but if I can get it to hold around 70 deg, I think I have a chance. Maybe a 2X 2 frame to hold the clear plastic sides.
Things still growing except the beans, I didn't cover them for 2 nights last week & and several bean plants got frost bit. :(. Soaked & added some new seeds. & am covering at night still just in case.

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