What has surprised you about sfg?

lowraineJuly 13, 2009

As a first time sfg I was surprised to discover that my little space would crawl with chiggers. I was also surprised to find out that my 12" walkways would have to be changed come spring because the plants over ran their space. I was also surprised at just how tall a tomato plant could get. All in all, I am enjoying my garden and look forward to many years of growing my own vegetables.

Lorraine from NC

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I was shocked at how well things grew and how much was produced, although I used a bit larger spacings on some things. I decided I didn't like my one inch thick beds as they don't provide enough tush space for sitting. I much prefer my 2 inch thick boards. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: The Corner Yard

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 11:36AM
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This is my first year also. I'm continually surprised at really how low-maintenance the garden is once it's planted. I spend maybe 15 minutes a week weeding/pruning/training vines up trellises. And an additional couple minutes a day watering as needed. Of course, being out of work and bored, I probably spend an hour or more in the garden every day watching, fiddling, poking, etc. But it's nice to know that I can maintain the garden once I get back to work again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Luke's SF Victory Garden

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 12:41PM
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momma_s(9b, SZ14)

This is my first year gardening too! I agree with everything all of you have said. I don't use my boards for tush resting teehee, but I do step on the front board of my main bed to access the back and behind the bed where I have lantana and zinnia's growing.

I love the way the raised beds have given our backyard a nice, finished look without spending a lot of money to do so, and that if/when we move from this home which we're renting, we can remove the frames without a problem. I appreciate the raised beds because I was able to grow veggies in spots that would have needed a LOT of work & money to make the soil usable.

I have been a little disappointed at how some of my plants have (haven't) grown, but I've read that that's a reoccurring issue with Mel's mix the first year of use. I also think I need to find plant varieties that will work well for high heat, sunny, dry spots.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening With Care

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 3:22PM
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This is my first year of gardening, SFG or otherwise. It's definitely been a learning experience. Things that surprised me, in no particular order:

1) With a soil containing 33% blended compost, we still needed fertilizer.

2) How fast some things grow. Looking through my photos, I took a photo of a beautiful Ichiban eggplant flower on June 24th. On July 1st I took another photo of the tiny eggplant poking out of the calyx. And today, July 13th, I harvested the 8" fruit. Amazing.

3) How some things just didn't work out at all (fertilizer issues, I'd imagine), while others thrived. The bonsai carrots and toothpick radishes come to mind.

4) I have a new appreciation for how little store-bought fresh produce costs, even with ever-increasing prices. My whole zucchini harvest to date saved me all of about $2.50 over buying them in the supermarket. And that doesn't factor in the cost of the plants to begin with, so I'm still in the red.

5) I'm surprised just how much I'm enjoying the process. It's not the chore that I thought it would be. Every day brings something new and interesting.

6) Return-on-investment aside, I'm surprised how satisfying growing your own food can be. Eating a sandwich made with lettuce and tomatoes that were just in the ground five minutes earlier - it just feels so right.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 3:54PM
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This is my first year gardening, or spending any time outside, besides mowing which around July I just abandoned and decided to hire someone to do it.

I am shocked at how much I LOVE gardening. I am obsessed. I am disappointed that I dont have more to do!

Steve said: "4) I have a new appreciation for how little store-bought fresh produce costs, even with ever-increasing prices. My whole zucchini harvest to date saved me all of about $2.50 over buying them in the supermarket. And that doesn't factor in the cost of the plants to begin with, so I'm still in the red. "

ME TOO! I mean I planted 4 square feet of peas and I didnt even get ONE SERVING! A can of peas are like 50 cents! How do they do that? Even with a farm that is a lot of space for something that is so cheep! Tomatoes I will change my mind on. Those sell for what...$2 for 4? Where I will get OODLES of tomatoes for the price of a pack of seeds (of course not factoring in the cost of the soil and wood and stuff).

What also has surprised me is how a tiny little seeds (like tomato seed) can become this 5 foot tall bush! Only God could think of something so amazing. I mean, I have seen plants grow from the little ones in the stores but to see it grow from the tiniest of seed...it is just a miracle!

Here is a link that might be useful: Jen's Victory Garden Blog

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 4:42PM
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I was surprised how well the spacing worked on most things. Next year I'm definitely giving my corn and eggplant a bit more space though.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 5:36PM
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This is *not* my first year gardening. I gardened in the ground (made it too ambitious with not enough time and knowledge to make it really work, though I got plenty of produce anyway). Then went to container vegetable gardening - almost no weeding, constant watering, close proximity made pest and disease watching easy, limited varieties, excellent production of the things that i did grow.

Now to the SFG:

1. It is lovely. It's neat and orderly. Total win in this area.
2. maintenance has been a dream - a few minutes weeding per week, the birds perch on my plumber's pipe trellises and eat all the bugs. Also a win, with the containers I had to chase the bugs much more.
3. the crowded condition have (I believe) contributed to some stunting of crops that are fighting for sunlight (ie cukes and melons in the back to climb, are being shaded by green beans reaching high. Next year I might wait a couple of weeks to plant the beans to give the cukes and melons a better jumping off point.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 7:43PM
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stitchintime, that's exactly what I did. I let the cucumbers reach the first rung of the trellis before I planted the beans infront of them. It worked out very well.

Sqftsteve, how right you are, I know I don't WANT food to cost more, but it most likely should. No wonder farmers have a hard time breaking even. Food distribution is very impressive to me to begin with.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:10PM
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This is my first year with square foot gardening. I am a compulsive perennial gardener and gave up veggies many years ago (soil is clay, too wet to work in spring, too many weeds, and had to can the extra tomatoes). This year I decided to get back into veggies. I was thinking of doing raised beds when I saw SFG mentioned somewhere. I got real excited and so far have convinced my mom, my brother and a friend at work to give it a try. My friend was able to convince a couple of her neighbors, too. I planted 4 sqs of peas and pea pods -you don't get enough for two people. The sugar snaps did better,but my hubby doesn't like them. I have also had the problem with plants not growing and have added some additional fertilizer to help. Yeah -I had the toothpick radishes too - what's with that? My best crops so far have been the lettuces, rapini, kale, beets and potatoes. I got about 3 lb. of Yukon golds from one SF. The price of lettuce around here is not cheap and I have been eating mine since about May 15. That has saved me a bit and it is so good and tender. With all the rain we've had (an extra 3" than normal in June) I have weeds galore in the perennial beds and little time between rain showers to get at it. I am glad the SFG doesn't take any work. Haven't had any weed problem with it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:13PM
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This is my first year with SFG, I had a traditional garden last year and planted only tomatoes the year before. This year has been SO much LESS work...though I still can't keep the bugs away, they are better.
I am living and learning in my garden. I LOVE the lack of weeds and the EASE of pulling the ones I do get! I enjoy my garden more this year and spend more time in it.
There is some fine tuning to be done, figuring out how much to plant and location of certain plants, but it is still going well! I love how neat and clean everything looks. Makes the yard look nicer!

My Garden Blog

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:16PM
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7) I'm surprised at how colorful my meals have become. I had gotten into a rut of eating mainly processed foods, not even really noticing that just about every plate of food was some shade of beige. If I ate any vegetables, they usually came out of a can and were some lifeless, muted olive drab color. Now that I'm eating fresh from the garden, it's like switching from B&W to color TV!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:37PM
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I am not new to gardening,but am a long ways from a master gardener,some thing I'll never be. this is my first year of sfg and i love it. Big surprise? seeds, I was one that Mel talks about 4000 lettuce seeds in 20 ft row then try to find a way to thin LoL, who are they kidding? anyway now I plant 1 or two and they come up, even the little lrttuce seeds,Wow do I love that!!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 6:33PM
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Thanks to all for sharing your experiences with sfg. I look forward to each day that I spend in mine. Husband and I are going out tomorrow together to put slings under his cannonball watermelons and my one cantalope. I enjoy my garden inspite of the redbugs and look forward to changes that we feel we must make in the fall. Forgive me Mel but I think I would like to have 4' x 8' boxes and wider rows, maybe that will help with the redbugs. I just purchased 1/4 lb of two types of peas, lets see what the fall crop will look like.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:18PM
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After over 40 years of traditional gardening, I started square foot beds this year and I'm hooked! I love the ease of keeping weed competition down and how much I can grow in my small space. (I went from 3000 square feet of traditional rows to 200 square feet of raised beds.) My little garden gives me back the sense of wonder and accomplishment I had when I was younger and could manage a large kitchen garden. The large garden had become more chore than pleasure. Now it's at my front door and makes every trip outside a pleasure.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 10:08AM
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i have to agree, i love how fresh my food is, and i love that my kids help with dinner, my son loves to get in there and make the salads & the dressings, i also love that i don't have to pull but a couple of weeds once in a great while as long as i don't let the lawn get high!! (as long as the lawn mower works *grin** ) i also love that i KNOW where the food came from!! and Who has handled it!! Where its been and all. :') what's not to love!! **big smile** ~Medo

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:07PM
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