In the kids’ square foot gardens, they are going to have quite a few vining crops. In just the bed for H., there will be Watermelon, Zucchini, Jackolantern and Gourds. Of course I realize that these vines won’t stay in their 4-square-foot space for the next 3 or 4 months, but I will try to keep them in the bed for as long as possible by turning the growing end.
Without looking it up, I couldn’t say for sure why these things are planted in hills. I expect it is because the hill of dirt will warm up quickly in the morning sun and also drain especially well. These are warm loving crops, which is why I will probably have to replant them all.
These pictures were taken last Sunday when we put the seeds in the ground. Today and tomorrow the overnight low temperatures are right around freezing. That will probably kill the just-emerged seedlings from last weekend’s direct-seeded planting. Oh well, I have more time and more seeds. I can’t be upset about a tiny setback like that.
I am adding two new 4 ft x 8 ft garden beds this year, so I decided to let my kids each plant one. I’ll also let our wonderful friend and neighbor, M., plant one of my existing 4×8’s. These children are 8, 6 and 6 years old, so I made them up a planning guide that you see above (and in color below).
I helped them cut out the plant rectangles that are sized to cover 1, 2 or 4 square feet in the bed, and then let them arrange them any way they pleased. So far, two of the three are finished:
Kids' 4 x 8 foot garden plans
Feel free to take this idea and run with it, but make your own. Absolutely all of the pictures in mine were “lifted” gently from Google searches, so I have no permission to use them.
I haven’t shown you my community garden plot because I never remember to bring the camera. So here are some blurry cell phone pictures.
Community Garden Plot 10 x 30 feet
At the front right corner is an improvised trellis trying to support 9 tomato plants and already sagging in the middle.
The rest of the space contains alternating hills of either corn and pole beans together, or a vining plant such as a squash, cucumber or watermelon. This is my three sisters garden. It’s a very fun experiment and I think it’s going to work out.
8 ft x 6 ft beds. The lettuce at the top will be planted on/in 20 inch high bales of straw, thanks to a few awesome bloggers who taught me this trick in their posts.
I’m going to do a broccoli experiment this spring. I’ll plant two whole beds of broccoli, one with a closer spacing than the other, all other things equal, and we’ll see how it affects yield:
I’m guessing the bed with 35 plants will outperform the bed with 24, but it’s worth checking. Maybe I’ll be surprised.
We have picked two or three Sugar Baby watermelons so far this month. They are a nice size to fit into an already crowded fridge.
S. with Sugar Baby Watermelon
- Washed clean
Cut in half
Sliced and ready to eat.
Dad! It's getting HEAVY and my feet are BURNING on the sidewalk!
And then, way down here (where only the most dedicated readers will read) I’ll make an offer. If you would like to try this variety of melon next year, just let me know and I’ll send you some of the seeds. First 3 who ask will get seeds in the mail, as long as you ask before August, 2008 is over. You’ll need AT LEAST a 4×4 foot space to grow these, and to make it fit in that space you’ll have to keep turning the vines back in again every couple days. Mine are growing in a 6×8 foot raised bed, and there ended up being about 6 vines. It is also possible, although a LOT of WORK to grow this watermelon on a trellis. When trellising this melon, you have to sling the fruits so their own weight doesn’t break them off the vine in the wind.