SFG Layout Review

jimh2(6)January 30, 2012

Last year was my first year attempting a garden and I built a SFG raised bed. I didn't do a whole lot of research - just got a little info and went at it. All things considered, it did OK (given that I didn't do a soil test until September when I found out the soil was pretty much devoid of any nutrients).

This year I've done a lot of planning and have put together a planting calendar and layout. I'm hoping to conduct successive plantings and have tried to organize the garden with compatible planting and maximum use of space in mind.

I'm hoping some one with more experience can take a look at my layout and calendar and offer feedback. I'm wondering if I'm getting a little too ambitious.

Just a few of notes. First, you'll notice that I'm utilizing one square for each of the summer squash/zucchini; I will be training them up stakes which will open up area underneath them. Second, the plants I have underneath them are supposed to be more tolerant of shade and will hopefully still produce.

The layout and calendar can be found at:


Thanks for any feedback!


Here is a link that might be useful: Layout & calendar

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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

It looks quite good to me. My only comment though is to make a few modifications to the successions of one crop to the next.

I believe that Mel classifies plants as heavy feeders (fruiting things like tomatoes and squash and leaf crops like lettuce and spinach), light feeders (root crops like onion and carrots), and soil builders (legumes like beans and peas).

Generally you want you succession to be close to heavy feeder -> light feeder -> soil builder

It's almost impossible to do it perfectly, but I saw a couple areas where you sequenced two soil builders that could easily be swapped to put a heavy feeder after your peas. (Like peppers, squash, or tomatoes).

In particular, I'd avoid growing cabbage right after broccoli--both are in the brassica family and heavy feeders. Also, cabbage is likely to have a hard time in the heat of summer, so maybe something else? Nasturtiums (edible flowers and leaves), marigolds, soybeans?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Thank you very much! That's exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for. I'll work on moving a few things around. I've never even thought of soybeans in a small garden.

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 9:43PM
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Summer squash and zucchini will not grow up a trellis. They are both more bushy. The vines in my SFG grew about 2 feet over the course of the summer. The leaves are large and cover a lot of ground. You can get them to grow over the edge of the raised bed if you have nice paths. There is a variety called Trombocino that will trellis.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:35AM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

My summer squash and zucchini, despite being "bush" varieties *do* end up meandering a little.

So I think they would have benefited from being trained up a stake.

In particular, growing them vertically a little will help to get the fruits up off the ground to keep some of the bugs off them. I plan to use vertical supports for mine this year now that I have my rollerhooks in operation.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:46AM
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A few tips that might help:
1) When you transplant your brassicas (broc, cabb, cauli) put a handful of lime in the bottom of the hole. Helps prevent clubroot.
2) Be sure your tall vines are on the northside of your box. Is the top part your north side?
3) You don't want to plant too tall plants on the south side of small ones unless they are cool weather crops that will benefit from the shade, like spinach, lettuce, radishes.
4) You can actually save squares by sowing rads in among your broc, cabb, and cauli so that as the plants grow, their leaves will shade the rads. They only take up inches of space. I also transplant leaf lettuce under those crops and cut as needed down to an inch above the soil and they will continue to regrow until it gets too hot.
5) Water with compost tea every 2 weeks during the growing season. Recipe: Put 2 cups of aged compost in a sock. Fill a bucket with water. Swish the sock around in the bucket several mins. Then pour a cupful of water around each plant. Refill the bucket and stick that sock back in the newly-filled bucket and swish around again each time you empty the bucket. Refill so its ready for next time. Be sure to stir the contents each time you go out in the garden. The oxygen gets healthy microbes working. The 'tea' will be ready for your next 2-week watering.
Good luck and enjoy your garden.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 1:49PM
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For the new gardener, I should have stipulated Limestone, not just lime. There are other types and I don't want anyone to get confused. You want garden limestone.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 3:16PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Summer squash and winter squash will certainly both grow up a trellis. I've been doing that for years because it just takes up too much room any other way. You can also grow them up on a t-post

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 5:48PM
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yolos - z 7b/8a Ga.

The side of the tomato in square 6x that faces square 14x may be difficult to reach. I would suggest putting it in a corner rather than in the middle of a row.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 10:22PM
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