Monday, March 21, 2011

Square Foot Garden

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again (and again and again...).

I am a determined woman.  So despite several (many?) failed attempts at gardening in my past, I am determined to eventually get it right!  I am determined to eat something that we have grown.   And most importantly (LOL) I'm determined to prove my husband wrong!

I recently came across Square Foot Gardening and it looks so doable!

Jacob, the girls, and I decided to start our gardens this weekend.  Jacob and I built the boxes.  They're 4' x 4' x 8".  They say you can use 6" deep boards, but I liked the weight of the heavier looking ones in our big yard.  

(Look at our two beautiful flowers blooming!)

Once the boxes were made, we placed them just outside our sunroom.  We spread newspaper down to help with weed control and then we filled it with the special mix that the author of SFG recommends--one third compost, one third peat moss, and one third vermiculite.  You mix it all on a tarp, moistening it as you go, and then fill your box.

 I misjudged the amount needed for slats and only had enough for Jacob's, I'll finish mine this week.   The reason for the slats is that it helps you to visualize the garden in terms of square feet instead of long, space-wasting rows.  You are maximizing space and it allows you to do crop rotation easily.  When one crop is done, you just pull up the plant from that square, no tilling, add a bit of compost, and plant the next crop.   Here you can plant a different item in each square.  The size of the plant determines how many of each you can plant in it.  For example, one square can be one bell pepper plant or 4 heads of romaine lettuce, or 16 carrots.  Jacob chose peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and marigolds.  The marigolds are for color and to aid in pest control.  They give other ideas of plants that help keep garden pests at bay.  You can also think in terms of growing using trellises, etc. I'll be planting beans and tomatoes so I'll be needing some upward real estate.

You'll notice that these are RIGHT outside our sunroom.  This is quite intentional.  Think about a traditional row garden.  You plant it out on the back 40 because it's so big and not overly attractive.  Watering it is a pain, you need to put weeding on your schedule to make sure you REMEMBER to do it.  With these cute little garden boxes being close, you can't help but remember because they are right there near your house.  Weeding is easy because you're not using your soil which is already full of weeds.  Here weeds can be quickly plucked at the first sign.  Watering is done quickly and easily with out dragging out the hose.  You use a bucket and a cup and water directly at the base of the plant that NEEDS it.  No mass watering from above with a hose.  This will help prevent leaf rot and get the water where it really needs to go--the roots, not the leaves.

I can't wait to see how this works.  We should start seeing something in a week or two and be able to start harvesting the first crops within about 5-6 weeks!  Can't wait to keep you updated on our growth.

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