graham
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Cynthia H-
Mel re-issued his book in 2005. On page 192, he gives the "Spacing per square foot" for each vegetable. Here are the relevant numbers:

Tomato: as a bush, 1 plant per 9 SF; as a vine, 1 plant per 1 SF
Squash (summer): as a bush, 1 plant per 9 SF; as a vine, 1 plant per 2 SF (however, my SFG experience in 2008 was 1 plant per 4 SF)
Okra: 1 plant per 1 SF
Cucumber: 2 plants per SF (I *wonder* about this one...)
Peppers: 1 plant per SF
Carrots: 16 plants per SF
Herbs: Basil (small, 4 per SF; large, 1 per SF); Chives (16 per SF); Cilantro (1 per SF); Mint (1 per SF**); Oregano (1 per SF)
Pole Beans: 8 plants per SF

**I would not plant mint in a SFG or anywhere other than a pot. It spreads invasively, like wildfire, and will take over the entire frame.

So you will are somewhat over-planted, even by Mel's own numbers. See whether you can lay your hands on a 2005 edition of his book to read the current recommendations for yourself.

I don't have feedback on most of these plants, because it's too cold at my house (due to the redwood in the back yard blocking several hours of sun every day) to grow most of the warmth-loving veggies. But I CAN tell you that Mel's recommendation of 6 inches of soil is wrong wrong wrong. You need a minimum of 12 inches, particularly for plants like...uh...carrots! and tomatoes! Other veggies have extensive root systems as well.

If you're gardening in such an intensive way--and believe me, Square Foot Gardening is one of the intensive schools of gardening--watch each plant every day for signs of harmful insects, beneficial insects, powdery mildew, and other potential discolorations. Look on top of and underneath the leaves. His book is woefully short on care of plants, emphasizing the planting and harvesting but not the in-between stuff like bugs, other pests, and diseases.

Best wishes with SFG!

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone

So the only ones I am out of line on are squash and okra. He changed his tune on squash, and he didn;t mention anything on okra--I just searched to see how far apart people plant seeds, and I saw 4-6"....so....I guess I'll have to watch these, and maybe they'll have to come out. We'll see.

On the comment about watching everyday for pests and diseases--is this because they are more likely to pop up in intensive gardens?

Thanks everybody!

mansgirl
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Wow! You can really do a lot with a small space. I had no idea. I feel like we're wasting a lot of space that we have now.
"The earth laughs in flowers."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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hendi_alex
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Insects less likely because of the interplanting. Insects less visible because of the crowded growing conditions. Disease more likely because of the crowded growing conditions and decreased air flow and sunshine on individual plants. IMO neither problem in most growing conditions would offset the benefits of intensive gardening practices. I love block planting at closer than traditional spacing and love interplanting in the same planting blocks.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

cynthia_h
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graham wrote: So the only ones I am out of line on are squash and okra. He changed his tune on squash, and he didn;t mention anything on okra--I just searched to see how far apart people plant seeds, and I saw 4-6"....so....I guess I'll have to watch these, and maybe they'll have to come out. We'll see.

On the comment about watching everyday for pests and diseases--is this because they are more likely to pop up in intensive gardens?

Thanks everybody!
As far as I can tell, bugs, pests, and diseases are likely to pop up any/everywhere. But as the poster immediately above said, it can be more difficult to spot them in a SFG so, if you make it a practice to check every day, it's likely that you'll see things within two or three days after they begin their depredations on your plants. This will allow you to take control measures before too much destruction has occurred.

Just imagine the destruction that could take place if you checked only twice a week. Bug/disease X comes down on your plants, but you miss it on only *one* go-through. Now it will have anywhere from four to six days to settle in on your plants. :x not fun....

Cynthia

graham
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Thanks.

One more question/thought...

I understand that to grow on a single vine, you have to pinch off the suckers, or new vines...if the foilage is still too dense after doing this and risking disease by decreasing air/light exposure, would it be wise to prune more leaves? And if so, how much is too much?

Thanks again for all your input everyone. :)

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hendi_alex
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If you prune to a single stem or leader I don't think that you will have a problem. Those that I've pruned to a single stem have a pretty modest foot print. But from what I've read, tomato plants have far more leaves than they need to produce good sized and quality fruit, so if the plant seems too bushy, taking off a few extra leaves should not cause a problem.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Mon May 23, 2011 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

cynthia_h
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I'd recommend looking through our Tomato Forums for the answer to questions about tomato plants specifically. I have some of the trellis netting strung on a frame, and I let peas, fava beans, and the occasional tomato plant use it for support, but nothing terrifically heavy; the netting just won't take it.

Which is to say that I don't prune, cut back, single-stem, or in other ways treat my tomato plants like roses or other severely shaped plants, so I have no help for you there.

In general, remove no more than one-third of a plant's foliage at one time. But since (if I understand your plan correctly) you may have plants *starting* with one-third of their natural foliage, I'm not sure what fraction/percent of the foliage it might be safe to remove after that.

Cynthia

graham
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cynthia_h wrote: But since (if I understand your plan correctly) you may have plants *starting* with one-third of their natural foliage, I'm not sure what fraction/percent of the foliage it might be safe to remove after that.

Cynthia
Do you mean that since all the suckers are pruned off, you are already taking one third of the foilage? Even if the suckers you're taking are an inch long on a 4ft plant?

cynthia_h
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I'm not up on the specifics of "single-stem" training a tomato plant. It sounds like such a gardener is removing a lot more than suckers; that's what I'm referring to in my message.

Expecting normal production from a plant whose productive capacity has been severely reduced may end in major disappointment. Again, I say that I am not experienced, nor have I even read up on this system of training tomato plants, so I could be far afield of reality. That's why I encourage people to ask specialty questions like this one in the Tomato Forum. It may even be that the Sticky about how to support/tie up tomatoes will deal with it. (And on that question: I tie my tomato plants and others with "dead" panty hose strips.)

Cynthia

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hendi_alex
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A tomato that has been pruned to single stem will not give normal production. A single tomato when not pruned will occupy approximately six square feet. With single stem pruning, the gardener can plant six tomato plants in that six square foot area. The idea is that six single stem tomato plants will out produce a single plant that occupies the same foot print. Also, in theory, the single stem tomato will produce fruit quicker than a similar unpruned plant. This year that has been the case for mine, as my first tomatoes have come from a plant that I pruned to a single stem.

To me, adjustments in gardening are not like some life or death decision, usually not even for the plant involved. Seems I read in the past that a cluster of tomatoes typically needs something like two leafed branches to supply the maturing fruit. Regardless, if you have a plant that appears overgrown with foliage and one or two of the excess branches get removed, it is not going to cause a dramatic change in the overall plant. So IMO you just try it, and if the move gives a favorable result, the gardener has feedback as to whether certain pruning is excess or not. In any event the fruit will still ripen and the plant will continue to grow and produce.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

graham
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hendi_alex wrote: So IMO you just try it, and if the move gives a favorable result, the gardener has feedback as to whether certain pruning is excess or not. .
Barring disasters, I shall find out. ;)

Speaking of disatsers--we are forecasted for severe tstorms with large hail tomorrow. Sure am glad my wife will be there to put a tarp up when the storms roll in. :)

graham
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Update with pics--

Everything sppears to be going very well up until now. A few aphids and cuke beetles, but they are under control I believe.

[img]https://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk234/brandellag/imagejpeg_6.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk234/brandellag/imagejpeg3.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk234/brandellag/img4.jpg[/img]

graham
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Also--I pulled the squash out and planted it back behin the garden. It was stressed by the transplant a bit, but it is doing ok now--has a bunch f squash on it already. You can see it on the 2nd pic next to the Better Boy tomato clipping I put in a cage to grow naturally to compare it to my Sq Ft yields.

garden5
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Your garden is looking good. I like the support structure you're using.
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