Where are all the old (errr-long time) square foot gardeners???

mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)November 28, 2008

EG's post on spacing along with some of the others got me to thinking that all of us that post on this forum are new to square foot gardening.

6 months ago I had never heard of square foot gardening. I went to the local garden show and bought the Newfoundland Horticultural Society books on growing vegetables.

This was has a section on square foot gardening which peaked my interest.

But know as I see us all stumbling along with our gardens it begs the question:

Where are all the long time square foot gardeners?

Are they like Steve Solomon and tried it and abandoned it?

Gardeners are usually pretty passionate about it and I do not see the square foot garden grey beards posting here.

Why is that?

Here is a link that might be useful: Newfoundland Horticultural Society

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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

That is a good question...

Maybe they aren't here because they don't call it a square foot garden?? What I mean is maybe they use some of the methods in the book, but not all, and don't think of the way they garden as a square foot garden (I don't actually have a "real" SFG either).

The first gardening book I bought (The Big Book of Gardening Skills) taught me about wide row planting, and that's what I used to use (and in some ways still do...) I bought another book, High Yield Gardening at a garage sale several years ago. It's an older book, from 1986, and it mentions SFG, but also talks about other variations of the concept, like block planting, interplanting etc. The basic idea is how to get the most yield from the least space. Both of these employ a planting plan that is not long single plant rows.

So, my theory is, it may be the label.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 2:12PM
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medontdo(8)

or..all the ot's could have thrown them off. to many of them. we were supposed to keep it to one then start a new one.
i do miss seeing the older ones in here though. ~Medo

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 3:09PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

More likely they have simply moved on from this site to other places. Frankly most people don't stick around to answer questions. They want to move on and get their issues resolved. Some of us are gluttens for punishment, hehe or like to help folks.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 3:11PM
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cynthia_h

I've been gardening for a long time (well, with an 11-year hiatus from 1997 to 2008 for health reasons). I read Jeavons in his 2nd edition and now have the 7th edition. I just found Mel this year. We did one cinder-block bed 4' x 6', not so successful. We put in a 2.5' x 6' x 1' deep bed Labor Day and have already harvested more leafy greens from it than we got from the bigger bed all year.

This forum might attract longer-term gardeners and more responsive posts if the "intensive gardening" aspect of it were clearer.

in el cerrito

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 10:09PM
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ribbit32004

I think I would have been interested in any sort of raised bed gardening having dealt with containers in the past. Someone on the GA forum here suggested this to me and so far I like it. I agree with Sinfonian that possibly it's that once people get the hang of it they move on from here as I'm sure many of us will after a season or two.

It seems to me that people who have traditional gardens, like my neighbors, find their own comfort and satisfaction in gardening the way they were taught. Practices are tried and true and it links them to their past. Their goal isn't to always produce more in less space.

However, for those of us with minimal space, regardless of yield (shoot, I only got three broccoli heads out of 18 sqft of space this fall - my containers yielded a whole bunch more), it's a new adventure and something to experiment with, and this is where the old SFGders have amended their techniques to fit their needs and pass that information down and therefore it doesn't become necessary for the new SFGders to come to these forums to exchange ideas. Someone has already provided them with the information they need to succeed.

Don't know if I'm making sense or not.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 10:43AM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

I have to agree with greenbean, my garden is a BRBNT, Boxed-Raised-Bed-No-Till garden. It sits on top of a 35-year-old fantastic garden and I know what the previous garden would produce. Am I satisfied with my first year harvestÂyes, do I expect seceding years to be betterÂyes, do I expect it to exceed the harvest of my previous gardenÂno. My sole purpose for converting was age; I am getting to old to bounce around behind a tiller and bending over all the time pulling weeds. I only wish I had taken photographs of the harvest of my conventional double row garden. Many old timers just cannot take the hype and have moved on but Mel is trying to market a package and you cannot blame him for that.

John

Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 4:00PM
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pls8xx

I qualify for the old and long time (almost 50 years). But I am not a traditional sq ft gardener, though I do use raised beds and the close spacing of intensive gardening.

I often recommend sq ft gardening for new gardeners. It is a good way to have some initial success. Adherence to Mel's mix results in a highly permeable medium and the good oxygen diffusion that is paramount to intensive gardening.

But the components of Mel's mix do break down with time. Merely adding more does not produce the same as a completely new mix. With success comes the desire to have more and more bed space. And then the complete replacement of Mel's mix becomes very expensive.

I think most who expand their gardens will move on to a cheaper way of gardening using the things they have learned with the sq ft method. I myself use a medium of sand and clay with sometimes the addition of vermiculite to achieve the same oxygen diffusion of Mel's mix. It's a permanent medium that doesn't need periodic replacement.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 8:19AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Oh yeah, I just remembered something. Back when I first came to iVillage Gardenweb forums, every question I asked was greated with "Do a search!" My complaint was that the search feature was cumbersome at best, useless at worst. Maybe they got tired of answering the same questions time and time again and gave up.

Personally, I don't mind answering the same question a dozen times. It's new to the person asking, hehe.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 3:14PM
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anniesgranny(6b)

Oh, I do agree with you sinfonian! The search feature is absolutely useless in its present form. It's so much easier to just answer the questions anew, or at least link to the thread that does give the answer.

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 3:34PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

I agree, and don't mind answering repeat questions at all. Yeah, the search feature is ok, but could be improved alot.

I just realized something.....I'm not a newbie anymore! Yea!

EG

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:10PM
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fishymamas(z9, So. CA)

Well, I don't know if I qualify as "old", but this is my 7th year so I'll say "experianced". I took a year off from gardening for health reasons, and am just now comming back for the 09 seasons.

I've no issue answering questions, I simply don't know everything.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 1:28PM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

Well, since I maintain the FAQ here I guess I qualify as a "grey beard". Although I'm proud of it as a resource, after we got the FAQ up, the number of questions posted here dropped dramatically. I do need to update some of the entries, but am not sure when' I'll have time to do that myself.

My gardening was sidelined for several years with a marriage breakup and then keeping up with the demands of being a single dad with custody of 2 kids that are now 4 and 7, but I'm starting to pick up again since my fiance (a single mom herself) likes gardening almost as much as I do. During the same time, I got much busier at work with some staff changes leaving me maintaining alone what used to be done by a group of 5.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:07PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Ray! You're back.....I've been wondering where you went to.

Don't be a stranger, we need some guidance once in a while!

EG

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

I have still been swinging through at least once every few of weeks, but y'all have generally had the questions covered as well as I could have done, especially since I got a bit rusty having to essentially sit out gardening for a few seasons.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 11:43AM
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carolynp(z7)

It IS good to hear from you Ray.
I agree the search function is messed up here. It always says you should search the forum you're in, but I have yet to see the forum only search work.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 12:12PM
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