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Old 01-31-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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Thank you for the link!
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:57 PM   #12
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Last year was my first try to garden. Other than inexperience, I think there are several reasons that my tomatoes and some other things did not turn out well. Part of the season was very dry only to have downpours later. The worse thing though, I think, was the soil. It's been used, abused, and is pretty clay-like. So I am thinking of the SFG method using Mel's mix. My shallots were fabulous though!!!
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
Last year was my first try to garden. Other than inexperience, I think there are several reasons that my tomatoes and some other things did not turn out well. Part of the season was very dry only to have downpours later. The worse thing though, I think, was the soil. It's been used, abused, and is pretty clay-like. So I am thinking of the SFG method using Mel's mix. My shallots were fabulous though!!!
Do you get the same plot you worked last year?
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:55 PM   #14
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We do get the same plot. That is why I am thinking of splurging to do the SFG method this year. If I build boxes and fill them with special soil, I want my same plot!
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:06 PM   #15
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We do get the same plot. That is why I am thinking of splurging to do the SFG method this year. If I build boxes and fill them with special soil, I want my same plot!
Yeah, I was wondering, because it wouldn't make sense to better the soil and then not get the same plot. I don't know what SFG is, but I would be tilling in peat moss and vermiculite. That's probably really old school, but it's what I spent hours doing for Dad with an Idiot Stick in hand.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:58 AM   #16
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SFG = Square Foot Gardening.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:48 PM   #17
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SFG = Square Foot Gardening.
I'm acronym deficient... Doh!
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:49 PM   #18
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You have AD?

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Old 02-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #19
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I grow okra every year, and, in fact, once wrote an article in Mother Earth News about how to do it.

Okra is both a simple and complex plant to grow. So here are a few pointers.

1. Plant numbers. Most okra pods start to turn woody once they're more than about the size of your thumb. But there are only one or two pods ready, per plant, at any particular time. So the contradiction, for those wanting just an occasional mess, is that you have to put in a lot of plants, to take advantage of the small harvest window. But if you do that you are covered up with okra, and have to start freezing or drying it. Or use it decoratively. A partial solution is to choose one of the few varieties that stays tender with size: Texas Longhorn, for instance, or, my personal fave, Fife-Creek. These can reach seven and even eight inches before turning woody.

2. Okra seed benefits from a boiling-water soak. Just a few hours in the water helps germination. Never let it soak for more than 12 hours, though, or you'll kill the seed.

3. Starting: Many people seem to have trouble prestarting okra and transplanting it. I don't know why, but recognize the fact. So long as you're in an area with a long, hot, growing season, it shouldn't matter. If you're in a short-season area, prestarting just makes sense. It helps to use a newspaper or peat pot, though, so as to minimize root shock.

4. Putting it by: Okra freezes well. I've also been experimenting with drying it, including grinding the dried okra into a powder to use as a thickening agent. Time will tell.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #20
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Kathleen: SFG is just one method of intensive gardening---which dates back to 19th century France.

Nothing against Mel; he took a long line of contributors to the concept, added a few ideas of his own, and came up with a catchy name. What I'm saying is that you may want to explore other options, which may (or may not) suit your conditions better.

One example would be to just build berm beds. Essentially, these are raised beds without sidewalls. Or just start tilling organic material into the existing soil. Or....well, you get the idea. Lot's of possibilities, not all of which require great expense.

The thing to keep in mind, no matter what you choose, is the mantra of organic growing: If you want to grow good plants, first grow good soil.

Good luck with your gardening.
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