Posts Tagged ‘square foot gardening’

Drawback to square foot gardening – weeding

I’m not talking about the weeds in the lawn, I’m talking about that ground cover growing under my garlic stems.

If I were growing garlic in a traditional row-based garden, I would have the rows and plants far enough apart that they could be weeded with a long handled hoe.  Raised bed gardening, and especially square foot gardening, places the plants in such a tight arrangement that they usually have to be weeded by hand.

I’ll probably spend 30-45 minutes on my knees getting these weeds away from my 96 garlic plants. That’s the price I pay for having a compact garden plan.

Moving tomatoes

2 x 2 foot raised garden bed

My tomatoes have been getting blight (I believe it’s septoria leaf spot) earlier and earlier each year.  I decided that I need to move them completely out of my main garden area this year.

I built these four 2 foot by 2 foot raised “bed” boxes up by my back porch.  They’ll get great sun and they’ll be in new dirt that shouldn’t already be innoculated with whatever blights my other soil is carrying.

The tomatoes will grow up these uprights and shade our picnic table. I’ll just tie them up as they grow.  Tomatoes need at least 4 square feet when placed next to each other in a raised bed garden.  But since these will have lots of airspace all around them, I’m planning on planting each of these boxes with 1 tomato and 2 basil.

Pick a peck of popcorn

We got a decent haul from the 4 square feet of popcorn we planted. It’s probably only enough to fill a pint jar after we crack it. See what I did there? :P

First we have to let it dry enough that it comes off the cob easily when twisted.

Planting tomatoes – April 2010

As I said earlier, I did get to plant out many of my tomato plants. We were working in a sprinkling rain most of the time, but we did get 12 put into this bed and another 7 put in other places.

These 12 are paste tomatoes (Amish Paste [Indeterminate, open pollinated] and Heinz 2653 [Determinate, open pollinated]) and are a bit farther from the shadiest parts of the garden than the other bed.  Tomorrow I plant my Oxheart and Cabin tomatoes [both Indeterminate, open pollinated] that I grew from seeds I saved in 2009.

As you probably see, I have installed the weed barrier and cut holes for the tomato plants.  After finishing these 12, I also got the black fabric laid down on the next bed before it was raining too hard and getting dark.

Don’t my helpers remind you of The Gleaners in this shot?

When we remembered to, we put a handful of crushed egg shells in each planting hole to help provide the tomatoes with the calcium they need to avoid blossom end rot.

The tomatoes will grow quickly enough, so I’ll need to start getting my trellis’ (trellii?) put together in the next week or so. The ones I’m planting tomorrow are already tall enough that I’ll have to tie them to a little stake or bury them quite deep.

Herb Bed Populated

My wife planted out the herbs that I started indoors several weeks ago. This bed is literally 15 feet from our kitchen door. Thinking of fresh chives on a baked potato makes my mouth water.

First week of April Garden Overview – 2010

My average last frost date of the year is April 14th. That means there is still a 50/50 chance that I could get another frost on that date. A week later is my 10% chance date.

This year has been different. We haven’t had a frost for about two weeks now, since late March. The coldest night in next week’s forecast is Thursday morning, which is now slated to dip down to 36 degrees. Everything I have out in the garden can take a little touch of frost.

I have out broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, onions, sugar snap peas and carrots.

Every other plant will wait in the little greenhouse until after April 14th and any forecast of frost…just a little insurance.

Herb Bed in progress

This raised bed frame goes in the space just to the left of the cement where it sits at the moment. I snapped a couple pictures last night before I stopped working on it.

It is 14 feet long and 2 feet wide and will have permanent wooden divisions for 12 different plants. It’s not easy to get a nice photo of the whole thing because the fence is in the way. I played with Photoshop to merge two pictures but it turned out a bit crazy…

More work done on the two new beds

I now have both new 4×8 beds leveled and anchored down. I am making these beds lasagna style with no tilling. After getting the frame anchored down I broke free the sod and about 4 inches of dirt underneath. I simply turned the sod upside down and put it back in place to rot as the bottom layer, then added layers of chopped leaves that weren’t taken care of last year and dark brown semi-decomposed straw from one of last year’s bales. I still need to get some bagged soil to top it off and then these will get strung up as square foot gardens. Ran out of daylight, energy and money last weekend, but I’ll be back at it this weekend.

Square foot gardening 2010

I got one of the square foot gardens ready this weekend. This one is for M. It had tomatoes and carrots last year. This year it will be a true square foot garden bed with no fewer than a dozen different things growing, packed in there tightly shading out the weeds.

Cabbage varieties for 2010

I am going to have 3 types of cabbage this year.  The kind I grew last year was Copenhagen.  It made WONDERFUL sauerkraut, so I’m growing it again.  I also have a purple variety Primero and a slow growing variety that will be ready late in the fall, Danish Ballhead.

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