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Planning my first SFG

Posted by fustian 5A (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 24, 10 at 12:50

I am in the process of planning my first SFG. I was hoping to get the boxes made and filled before winter and then plant in the spring.

My house sits on 10 acres of land (zone 5A), with about 4-6" of topsoil sitting on top of clay. I have a nice clear section near the house picked out for my garden. I was planning on constructing bottomless boxes and lining them with cardboard bottoms to kill off weeds. This will (hopefully) gain me a few inches of depth once the cardboard decomposes. There are four people in my family (two adults and two kids under three). I was planning on constructing 7 4'x4' boxes and one 4'x4' "highrise" box.


1) The six inch depth of the boxes worries me. Should I make 12" boxes instead? If I make 12" boxes, would it be appropriate to fill the bottom 6" with plain compost (not 5 different types thereof) instead of Mel's Mix?

2) Am I making too many boxes for a first year?

3) Is a layer of cardboard sufficient to kill off weeds? I was considering putting down weed paper, but if I do that I lose any "extra" depth I could steal from the existing soil - correct?

4) From reading on this forum, it seems that people find MM insufficient for the first year without adding further fertilizer. Should I add in fertilizer when mixing my MM, or should I be fertilizing at regular intervals throughout the first year?

5) I was planning on using the "highrise" box for carrots and maybe potatoes. However, I would also like to put in an entire box of asparagus (which I love). The SFG book doesn't seem to recommend a highrise box for asparagus, but other information I've read indicates asparagus needs a deep bed. Given that I am only going to get another 6" (max) out of the soil before the roots hit clay should I be making a tall box for my asparagus plants?

Sorry about the long post :) Thanks for any help you can provide.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planning my first SFG

Hi Sarah, welcome to sfg. You have some good questions. Alot of gardeners use the 12" boxes. I have both. I also have a highrise box that I can move as needed. There is a recent post on root barriers that could apply to weeds. I added fertilizer at intervals the first year, due to slow growth. I didn't need as much fertilizer as I used on plants not in my sfg. There's alot of info on what others have done for asparagus and potatoes if you use the search. It did take some time to setup my sfg. I started out smaller that your plan and added more later. I have great plans to add more boxes! Hope this answers some of your questions.

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