Western New York Square Foot Gardening Plan
- Gardening Year: 2012
- Location: Niagara Falls, NY
- Planting by Color: Yellow
Hi I am Jessica, I technically am from Niagara Falls NY, but figured my info could help anyone in WNY.
So the garden…this is our 5th year (I think) gardening in our current space. We are lucky to have our home on an oversized lot, it is very large by most city standards, but this allows us a large garden.
We started out with a 25 ft x 30 ft plot, we tilled and planted directly in the ground for the first couple of years. This is our 3rd year using boxes my dad built (my parents are our neighbors and we share the garden) 5 boxes were built originally, but for the last 2 years we have only used 4 of them. This year I have planned to use all 5. This is also the first year I have made a plan, In previous years we planted whatever we had and where ever we felt like sticking it.
Using this site and Mel’s book, I have a decent plan ready.
I am kind of at the mercy of the local nurseries as far as plants (1st year at new job and didn’t get seeds planted) I have a pretty good idea of what they will have available, but I don’t really know the varieties of tomatoes, or beans. I have never planted seeds directly in the ground but I am going to try carrots, radish and beets from seed. We have a short growing season so I think I am too late for corn.
My challenges…We have a large tree that shades one of the boxes for a good part of the day. The box gets about 2 hours of morning sun and about 4 hours of late afternoon sun, I have empty spaces, but I also don’t want to spend a fortune just to fill the boxes.
So my questions are:
- Will the items I have planned for the shady box be okay? I thought I researched enough to know that what I have planned will be okay with some shade.
- Do I have enough space for things? I plan to cage my tomatoes, and stake my zucchini and yellow squash.
- What to do with empty spaces? I probably could plant some lettuce seeds and/or more carrots, beet, and radish seeds a few weeks after I plant the others.
- I have never planted onions before any tips?
The benefits of square foot gardening are: More yield from less space, less weeding. To convert over you would need to build boxes and create a soil mix. Building the boxes is inexpensive and easy–then you plant the seeds closer together (see my chart). To get the benefit of less weeds, you can’t use local soil, but create your own. This can be expensive compared to the old fashioned method. You have to decide if it’s worth it. If I had endless space, I would do some in garden boxes and some in the ground.
I am presently growing in the ground organically. Have no clue what I am doing with some success. Last year the garden flourished. This year not so good. Considering planting half as much this year and planting clover on the other half to try and cut down on weeds. Can I change a garden into a square foot garden or is this not wise?
Hello to all,
I was just catching up, I have a summer cottage at Java Lake in Wyoming County and would love to meet some fellow gardeners. I am so excited to plant my first garden and would love to get together. So much to share!!
Here it is, SPRING! Good ol’ Zone 5a in Western New York! It’s April 18th, and my Star Magnolia trees are already starting to bloom (they started to open slightly yesterday), so its time to officially break ground. My only question is this… Directly behind my house the farmer grow friggin monsanto round-up ready corn, so I am very hesitant to grow corn due to cross pollination. Does anyone have any suggestions??? Thanks!
I started vertical gardening for my Tomatoes , Cucumbers and pole beans. I use supports either made of wood or pvc pipe to grow vertically. Using twine from the top support to the ground, the plants grow upward on the twine. I use Tomato clips to clip the plants to the string for support. Last year (2012) my plants grew 8 1/2 feet tall with 5 sets of clusters of tomatoes on each plant. The tomato clips can be purchased from Johnnies Seeds through the internet. One thing that really matters is pinching off the suckers, this allows the plants to grow really tall. I also use drip irrigation for watering, as this keeps the plants moist without a lot of daily work. I have been gardening here in Minnesota for 43 years.
Hmmm, that’s a shame. Perhaps this summer we could have open garden parties to show others what we have done, and to show how terrible of a gardener I am? Haha. I have spoken with the Mrs., and she is open to having fellow gardeners come to our home over the summer. So, if my house needs to be the first square foot gardening meeting place of wny, so be it. I think it would be wonderful fun, and look forward to it. Afterall, our gardens are an expression of ourselves, and no garden should be secret.
If you find such a meeting please let me know! All I have ever seen are like intro to gardening classes. While they are informative I have learned more from the trial and error of my own garden. I have gotten some useful info from the Cornell extension site…
No we have never had a problem with powdery mildew. Although the CSA we belong too about an hour away did. I am going to start working on this years plan (even though there is still snow on the ground :/ ) soon. I have to either cut down the huge tree, which I don’t want to do or move things. The tree is too big and creates too much shade. Although my lettuce and herbs were great in the shade from the tree. My cucumbers were not however.
I am so glad that I found this! I am located in wyoming county, just a few miles from erie county, and I have done smaller gardening for years. I’m a 28 year old guy, so not exactly an experienced gardener, but this year I have decided to step it up and put several 4×4 boxes filled with mel’s mix all around my yard. I intend to follow companion gardening techniques, and have read several books on the subject, but I am wondering if there is perhaps an annual meeting of squarefoot gardeners in western new york. I am constantly trying to further my knowledge, and local resources tend to be best. Does any such meeting exist, or does everyone just post their questions/suggestions here?
It looks like it was lovely. This was last years garden, right. Did you have powdery mildew with all the curcubids together like that? I’m from orchard park and always have problems with mildew spreading all over
Looks great! Your toms on the west could be trellised on the north side, along with your “northern” toms. Otherwise they will give even more shade to the surrounding plants. If you want them to provide some shade, then that’s good. I’m not really sure where your tree is on your plan. My toms needed more room than 1/sq. ft. Next time I’m going to do 1in 2 sq. ft. My bush beans seem to need more room too, or less plants/sq ft. They hang over the spot next to them and shade some of the plants cause their leaves are so big. I think broccoli likes it a little cooler but I could be wrong.
If you can’t think of anything else then plant some flowers! I have some mighty tall, beautiful zinnias, black-eyed Susan’s, sunflowers, and four-o’clocks growing.
My SFG is on the other extreme Zone 9b. NY will have a web site put up by NY university extension institute. I combine Mel’s instructions with the info from Florida extension institute for planting where when and what.
I love it! Why don’t you use the 3 sisters method in your melon bed? That way you can maximize the space!
Make sure you put your onions and/or garlic in a spot that won’t be touched for a while. Other adjacent root crops got in the way of mine. Now they are in their own place for longer term growing.
Lettuce – plant a cut and come again variety. I am still cutting from last fall’s planting!
Make sure your tomatoes/peppers are in FULL sun and not shade. You could put your lettuce in the shadier spots or get a lettuce that likes shade.
Trellis your melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers too! I trellis anything with a vine and they love it. Even my tomatoes are trellised. Don’t forget to prune your toms!