My first year of SFG
I started a year ago with two 4x4 beds and got to plant lettuce, spinach, and radishes for the fall. These all did great right into December with occasional covering. By spring I had expanded to 6 4x4's and a 2x24 along a fence. I still planted about 1/3 of my regular garden for comparison and set about experimenting with the SFG. Some observations and questions:
Pole beans grew extremely slowly and never set a single pod, while I am usually overrun with them. Cukes right next to them grew well until they started flowering then wilted in place. If it was bacterial wilt, why wasn't the squash on the other side affected? Squash grew WAY better and WAY longer than any I've ever grown, and seemed to have way fewer squash bugs. Maybe they'll find the new garden next year?
Corn has been a giant disappointment. Early variety tassels out at only 18-24" high. Later variety got nice and tall but neither variety has produced very big ears. I've grown the corn 4 per square, 8 squares at a time for pollination, but it didn't seem to help. Perhaps I should plant a whole 4x4 at a time? Anyone have a variety that produces nice big ears?
Training the tomatoes on the trellis didn't work out very well either, they kinda went everywhere. Do most folks grow determinate or indeterminate on trellises? Also noticed the fruits on my bell peppers are way smaller than the ones in the main garden, but the *$%^& gophers couldn't get the ones in the raised beds!
Cauliflower was a disappointment as well -- got big beautiful plants but scrawny little heads that took forever to set -- does that mean the soil mix is too rich?
Some of my problems this year may be connected to unusually hot temperatures, but wow have I watered a lot. Twice a day when I have seeds in, like right now. I also got one bag of fine vermiculite by mistake and the part of the bed that has that is where the cukes, pole beans, and peppers were, so reworking the soil over the winter may help that.
I also noticed that potato yields were way less in the SFG than the regular garden on a per plant basis, despite building a height extension and piling on additional soil. I did have beautiful plants without beetles, though.
The best part about SFG is that it's easier to plant in succession. Looking at my planting charts, almost every square has had 3 crops this year and some of those that didn't simply weren't ready early enough in the year to plant.
I take it we can't post photos to this forum. All comments welcome.