SFG against the garage?

jodikayJuly 9, 2011

My husband and I are considering putting a sfg along our garage. Its about 22' long, light gray plastic siding, would get sun from noon until sundown and best of all, a convient water source. I wouldn't have to drag 3 hoses for water all the way out to the front yard. Ugh! Does anyone do this? Do you have a 2', 3' or 4' wide? 4' wide seems wide to reach across but do-able. I am thinking narrow and longer might even be better. But then I am wondering about getting to dry or would plants lean too much toward the sun? I really want to put everything possible in this sfg and leave the corn out it the front garden, and probably the squash as well. Unless I can convince my husband to trellis.

Pros? Cons?

Thanks, Jodi

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howelbama(7 NJ)

Sounds good to me. I would go no wider than 3 ft, 4 will become a nuisance once the plants start growing larger. Along the garage would also make it convenient to easily build a half hoop house enclosure over it to help extend the season and protect your crops. You could plant the tall stuff by the wall and put progressively shorter crops each row out. I am going to build something similar along the front edge of one of my decks.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 5:33PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

Depending on what you grow, even 3 feet might be too wide. I build a 3 x 6 foot raised bed against the raised part of a wheelchair ramp that extends along the back of our house. I am growing tomatoes there, and I can't really reach the side that's right up against the ramp. It's an adventure if I need to trim leaves that are touching the mulch back there, and will also be interesting when I want to harvest some of the tomatoes.

But it probably depends on what you grow. As howelbama says, you could plant shorter stuff (as in, not tomatoes, LOL) in front and then maybe 3 feet wide would work.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 9:11PM
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oliveoyl3

If possible leave a 3' path behind the bed along the garage so you can access both sides. If not, build as wide as you can reach. Even with my long arms I can only reach 2' across comfortably without 'falling in'.

The best part about SFG is the ease of it so make it easy to plant, harvest, etc. Sounds like a good idea with the water close by. Make it even easier by using soaker hoses.

Our daughter's tomatoes are doing great in the ground next to their house as compared to those in containers & in her SFG beds, so something to be said about reflected heat & light from a building!

Many vegs would do okay with less than full sun, so if you start small you could experiment with what grows well this year & then build more beds next year.

If your garage has an overhang you'll have to water more. I have dry summers in WA state, so water anyway.

Our gardens are in part sun due to towering fir trees. Longer to mature, but grow--

bed 1: chard, beets, carrots w/ radishes, onions, garlic chives, lettuces in pockets, flowers: calendula, pansies
bed 2: onion chives, walking onions (top setting), flowers as above, kale from last year's flowering, bush beans

bed 3: cabbage family (broccoli, red, green, chinese, kohlrabi), more garlic chives, flowers as in other beds, lettuces, spinach spring & fall, a few onions here & there

bed 4: spring: salad greens, warm weather: tomatoes, peppers

In open ground between fruit trees we plant the squashes, more tomatoes, cucumbers, & potatoes as well as small fruits (strawberries & raspberries) because they take too much room in SFG & I don't fuss with trellis in SFG unless you count bamboo teepees, tomato cages, or iron obelisks.

I rotate the crops even though SFG says you don't have to if you're interplanting. I have less pest problems this way since I'm also growing in less than full sun!

I started small & always mulch to keep the weeding under control. Do what works for you & what you can keep up with!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 4:22PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Corrine1

That,s a nice idea to leave an aisle along the garage wall. I imagine you could grow quit a bit in a 2x22 bed, especially if you make it a bit deeper. At some point down the road it would be quit easy and affordable to turn it in to a walk in greenhouse.

Good luck jodikay, keep us updated:)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 8:11PM
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timbersmith(6A)

This year I've put a couple garden beds along the west side of my house - There's a triangular-shaped strip of grass between the house and the driveway that was better used in this respect. I used cinder blocks 1 row high to build the beds, and there's 3' between each bed and 3' between the backs of the beds and the house (each bed interior is 3' by however long fit in the space). All total I've got about 60 square feet of bed space.

It's tough to say how well this works out since this is the first year (and the weather in the beginning was lousy, to say the least), but it seems to be doing quite well - the tomatoes are loving their location, the hot and sweet peppers are mixed (depending on how early I had put them out) with the stragglers finally starting to take off, and the early spring bed is starting to grow well after sulking for the past couple months (radishes, lettuce, carrots, onions, beans, kohlrabi). The front two beds have trellises on the house-side of the bed, with beans on the first and a Mandevilla vine on the second (they were originally snap peas, but they didn't do well with the weather). Looks like I might have to put another trellis up for the tomatoes - they've already engulfed their cages.

The beds get full sun from noon until sunset like your plan, and will have their own dedicated water source as soon as I run the plumbing.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

My dad had been growing tomatoes between the sidewalk and the south side of the house for more than 60 years till I came along and put irises in there. My point is they always did very well and he always had the best tomatoes in the neighbourhood. That bed is only about 18-20 inches wide but 34 feet long. I always use a soaker hose to water my irises as it dries out quickly on that side and is sheltered somewhat by an overhang. I would suggest you make the bed 2 feet wide unless you put a walkway on the other side and lose some of the benefit of the heat and shelter. Then again, I am in a canadian zone 3.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:49PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

My dad had been growing tomatoes between the sidewalk and the south side of the house for more than 60 years till I came along and put irises in there. My point is they always did very well and he always had the best tomatoes in the neighbourhood. That bed is only about 18-20 inches wide but 34 feet long. I always use a soaker hose to water my irises as it dries out quickly on that side and is sheltered somewhat by an overhang. I would suggest you make the bed 2 feet wide unless you put a walkway on the other side and lose some of the benefit of the heat and shelter. Then again, I am in a canadian zone 3.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:52PM
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