Sunday, November 29, 2009

square foot garden

we spent saturday putting in our square foot garden- a single 4' by 4' raised bed on the east side of the house. while we prbly won't be getting much broccoli out of it w/ its mere 5 hours of full sun a day right now, i hope to extend our cool season crops a bit with its placement there and no direct afternoon sun.

we put a block of peat moss from home depot, 4 bags of compost and 1 bag (3 cubic ft) of coarse vermiculite (available at lindleys nursery- will special order for you if not in stock) onto a large tarp. an 8'x10' tarp is what we used and i would not have wanted to use a smaller one! we folded each side in, one at a time, to mix the contents, then shoveled it into our box made of 4-4' sections of 2"x6" (not pressure treated- toxic for food!). we used feed bags under the box as we were unable to find decent weed cloth. then we used wire from our electric fencing attempts as the grid. so we now have 16 clearly distinct squares for planting. in these squares i have cabbage, lettuce, carrots, broccoli raab, broccoli, turnips, brussels sprouts, onions, swiss chard, and radishes- all direct seeded. some plants, such as cabbage and broccoli, have only one plant per square, some (chard) have 4, some (lettuce, onions, turnips) have 9, some (carrots) have 16 and finally radishes have 36 plants per square.

As of now, this garden is unfenced. its a fair distance from the nearest woods so rabbits aren't likely to venture into it much. its in full view for our gopher tortoises that live in the pasture so they may be a problem, but we can fence it easily if we need to. And since its in the back yard, it can be as ugly a fence as we want without the neighborhood grump getting upset.

i have a few pots filled w/ leftover mix where i will plant more carrots and broccoli. broccoli likes long daylight hours and cool temps... nothing we have at the same time. heard alaska is the best place for broccoli. this is going to be my last attempt- if it doesn't go well, i'm bagging broccoli for good... or at least for a few years. last year i got a few horrible tasting tiny heads. this year i've had a single plant actually flourish post transplanting, and that has been attacked by aphids recently. though i've transplanted broccoli every other week, the ones that survive just stunt out. i have many more favorite veggies that if its going to take this much work for broccoli, its not worth it. hooray for bok choy, my all time favorite from my china days, doing well and going strong!

For more square foot gardening info, see Mel Bartholomew's website that is linked in the sidebar.

Pictured: 1) Our box. We extended the "weed cloth" or for us, feed bags, up to the house and around each side to kill the grass for easier mowing. We'll mulch with rocks or bricks around the house to prevent termites. 2) The hard workers shoveling the mixed planting medium from the tarp to the box. Water while shoveling so that there's consistent moisture throughout. In case you're wondering, behind homesteading hubby is a chicken pen of young meat birds though the birds themselves are camera shy. 3) The semi-end result. Grid laid, seeds planted, all watered.

1 comment:

  1. Looks awesome! I'm going to have to try me a raised garden box one of these days. Out in Portland, Ore. where my cousin lives just about every other house on his street, including his, has one or more of these in the FRONT yards! It's a different world out there though! Good luck with the broccoli!