Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Does your Garden Grow?

This year my garden is awesome. We decided to go with the raised beds and square foot gardening method. I am blown away with how simple it is and the maintenance is as close to zero as you can get. The only downside is that it can be a little steep money wise to get it going but it will easily be worth it after its first year.

So why did it all start? Last winter, we lost the use of a rototiller and would need to rent on this spring and possibly fall. It would have cost $25 each time and it irritated me to have to do that. So I rented the Square Foot Gardening book from the library and the process totally made sense to me. My parent's had old trusses that they let us cut up and use. We then slowly put the soils together. The special Mel's Mix (named after the guy that started the entire thing decades ago) called for 1/3 part peat moss, 1/3 part vermiculite and 1/3 part compost from at least 5 different sources (chicken, mushroom, cow, etc). I knew that the vermiculite would be the spendiest part. Lots of places were selling it for $50 a bag! Crazy! After my crazy research habit, I ended up finding it for $20 a bag at a farm store down the road from my house. I was so happy. After a lot of work, measuring the squares and planting, we have a super happy garden. I am amazed at how much more I can fit into our garden space. Row gardening wastes so much space. I know several people that used top soil in their mix, and I was about to go that direction because it is cheaper, but I really wanted a perfect soil from the start that didn't need to be continually amended from year to year. The only thing that I will need to do is add a little bit of my extra Mel's mix that we have in a garbage can to replace the stuff that comes up with the plants. Anyone can do this. You only need 6" of soil to plant a garden so this can be done on cement. So cool!

So far we have harvested well over 10 cups of raspberries that don't last long around here and hope to harvest other things soon. I've picked about 5 weeds in the beds total and because the aisles don't see water, the weeds don't really grow.

Probably my favorite bed. It has a lot of pepper plants (green, yellow and chocolate brown), eggplants, celery, basil, oregano and beets. I love that I have squares for pretty flowers too.

I am determined to can lots of tomatoes this year since I didn't get to it last year from having a baby. These are my larger tomato plants.

My cherry tomatoes. With 4 plants I am going to have plenty for probably the entire street. I also attempted to plant radishes in two of the squares. Not one plant grew. So weird. My mom's is doing great and she has the same soil and everything.

These are my yellow squash and zucchini plants. I was reading a blog where the gardener put upside down tomato cages on her squash plants and continued to train her plants up through the cage to save on space. I am excited to try it. I love squash but the squash bug is NASTY! I go out every day and drown at least 4 every single day in soapy water. It is nasty, they are nasty. Eeewww!

I have cucumbers and mini pumpkins growing up this trellis. Thankfully neither have been targets of the squash bug.

All of the plants are so much bigger than these pictures. I took these about 2 or so weeks ago. If you want to garden, but may not have the space or don't want a huge one, you really should consider giving this a try. you can even start with a 4'x4' box and get a lot from it.

3 clever remarks:

Megan and Greg said...

I am way impressed. Beautiful garden. I checked out that book too, but it took me no where. I waited too long to even THINK about doing it, and then the time just got away from me. Oh well, next year.

HeidiT said...

Looks great! Gunnar is always talking about working out there and what plants there are.

Mindy said...

Really cool! When I get my forever home I want to do this.