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Hello,

Except for childhood memories from way back in the early 60's, I am a new comer to gardening. I planted on 2/26 after completion of significant amounts of research, planning and construction. I decided to use Mel Bartholomew's square foot technique in heavy duty raised beds on blocks. I have 16 beds totaling 204 square feet. The beds are on a repurposed a concrete drive, in a 25 x 20 ft area surrounded by an 8 ft chain link fence on 3 sides and a wood structure on the other. The garden has a chicken wire top cover to repel birds and other critters. I installed flood lights to allow working in cooler portions of the mornings and evenings. For consistency sake and to allow some latitude of freedom from daily chores, I added a drip irrigation system to every bed with a timer valve, filter and regulator to control watering. Through the up-front research, I acquired some understanding of the benefits of composting and have addressed that with two 10 cuft tumblers.

I am in agricultural zone 9b, just a little south of Houston.

I haven't found a partiality as to 'what I like to grow' yet. However, I have planted vegetables and herbs that I hope we, and those around me, will like to eat. My plans include consuming, storing and eventually canning as much as we need, and gifting excess to others.

I hope veggie gardener has other expirenced square foot gardeners to assist with the questions I don't even know I need to ask yet.

My plans and pics can be found here ...
 

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wow, I am impressed, and the location you are in you should be able to grow veggies year round with out any issues or very few. Have you thought about in dirt pests and bugs? And about the ability to control them with out sprays? inviting good bugs to your garden such as bees,nematodes,lace wings all help in pest control but they must have flowers ornamental and edible for places to hide and get pollen to be of any help to you. Even in square foot gardening you will eventually get weeds as birds,the wind and such transport them. but they will be few and fairly easy to pull up and put in the compost bins. please keep us up to date on pics and stuff from your garden :)
 

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Thanks for the reply.

I have been too focused on getting the garden designed, assembled and planted to even think about pests yet (other than birds, squirrels, etc.). But I am aware they exist. Are these some of the pests you mention? ... http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1341/

My grow medium is Mels Mix, (To leave room for 2" of mulching, we mixed a 170cuft yield consisting of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 pete moss, 1/3 compost from at least 5 sources and used cow, chicken, turkey, mushroom and leaf mold. My understanding is this type of medium is initially free from pests. I will try to keep a close watch to identify pests and not let them do damage to crops.

Most of the garden area is over cement with beds sitting on blocks above it. Will that in itself be beneficial in some pest control too? I supose I'm thinking more of crawly things vs flying. Wow. Way steep learning curve.

Initally I had planned on even more beds for ornamentals with some containing companion plants, but my budget limited me to 204sqft of veggies and herbs (Although I may still plant some shorter marigold as companions between the tomatoes and some more between the peppers.) Come to think of it though, I already have the irrigation backbone and fittings, the grow medium materials, and even the space and lack only the beds themselves. Maybe wifey and I should consider container planting of ornamentals and companions. Punctured 5 gallon buckets are fine with me but dunno about she.

Thanks again,
Gene
 

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yes those are some of the bad bugs, yes initially raised beds like your are pest free. till the ones that can fly/crawl show up, have you added worms to your beds since they are raised off the ground it will be hard for worms to get in. Slugs and snails can climb but a way to prevent them from ever getting in the beds is by putting a copper strip around each bed. the copper reacts to the slime the produce and it sends them crawling away. I add good bugs to my raised beds yearly and don't have any problems. I also have one bed that is self seeding flowers they are nasturtiums they also are edible the leaves,flowers and seeds (they are peppery tasting)and the bees, humming birds,good bugs like them. they are also a companion plant. a web page to find organic solutions to pests: http://www.arbico-organics.com/
 

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You're new to gardening???? Your set up is awesome. I can't wait to see what is looks like in full bloom!
 
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