Woo Hoo. I am finally doing my first veggie garden. I am doing the Square Foot Garden method in hopes of learning a little about gardening and not making it too much work for me to handle. My DH helped me build the box for my 1st 4x4 box. We used leftover pressure treated wood that was a 2x6 board. DH cut it down to 4 4foot sections and then we screwed it all together to make a box.
Here is the box with the weed cloth in place.
While I made the soil mix which is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 compost my DH installed 2 7 foot pieces of rebar and a 4 foot piece of rebar to connect the poles. Then he painted them green.
Next I filled the box with the mix. We then used leftover electric fence wire for the grids and also for the vine veggies. We screw these down to the wood. Here is my first box. I would like to have at least 1 more.
I was short by a little compost to fill my box so I will have to get some more. Now the fun part. I get to go to the nursery and pick out plants and seeds. I talked to anyone who would talk to me and I asked tons of questions.
I know I bought too much but I am so excited.
I bought 4 kinds of Green Bean seeds- Blue Lake Pole, Kentucky Wonder Pole, Kentucky Dreamer Bush, and Mountain Bush.
I bought 2 kinds of Cucumber seeds- Long Green Cuke, Boston Pickling, and 1 kind of Cucumber plant- Spacemaster Cucumber.
I bought 4 varieties of Tomato Plants- Burpee Big Boy, Tomato Juliet, Amish Paste, and a Patio Tomato.
I bought 3 kinds of Pepper Plants- Red Sweet, Orange Bell, and Green Pepper.
I also bought a Summer Squash, Basil, Lemon Balm, ans Stevia.
I know I went a little crazy but I wanted to try a variety to see what works and what doesn't. I will be keeping a journal so I know what to modify for next year.
Back to the garden. I picked up another bag of Mushroom compost so I mixed a 5 gallon bucket of the compost, a 5 gallon bucket of the vermiculite, and a 5 gallon bucket of the peat moss. Here I am making my mix to add to the garden.
Just a FYI that I read. If you want to do a smaller mix. For 1 4x4 garden box you can use 4 5 gallon buckets of "each" of the 3 ingredients for a total of 12 5 gallon buckets.
Then I planted my Green Bean vines, 4 climbing Cucumber plants, 4 Patio Cukes, and 2 kinds of the Bush Beans. I will plant Bush Beans every 2 weeks for a consecutive harvest(I hope, lol). I used thick craft sticks and a black magic marker to mark my plants.
My first plants are in.
I may have to add more string to the rebar to hold the vines up but I can add that anytime. Next week I hope to plant some tomatoes and peppers. I also need another box, you know for all the extra veggies I got, lol.
I just wanted to share my process for anyone interested. I am doing this mostly by the book so if you can make any suggestions please do. Have a great day.
My first update: from May 2009
Hi all. I am posting more pictures and an update on my Square Foot Garden. I have never done any gardening before so if anyone sees something I should be aware of please let me know.
I made my first garden on 5/16/09 and planted beans and cukes. On 5/24/09 I planted my peppers and tomatoes.
Garden is sprouting on 5-27-09.
I thinned out my beans to 9 per square foot as recommended by the SFG book. On 6/1/09 I had some questions about my cucumber seeds because I seemed to have too many.
I wrote in and asked about that and I was told to trim them back. Here they are trimmed back.
On 6-6-09 my DH helped me build another garden bed. We used some leftover wood from our solar panel mounts. Here is a 3x10 bed.
I am very excited about being able to plant the rest of my plants. We moved the bed into a different area. Hopefully it will stay here permanently and next year we will add one more the same size. I might fence it off so the plants have a built in climbing support.
My DH is dumping in some fertile dirt to help me build up the bed.
Next I put the weed cloth in.
Then I dump the ingredients for the special soil mix on a tarp.
Here I am mixing it all together.
And now the fun part. I planted the almost all of the rest of my veggies. I planted 3 kinds of peppers, 4 kinds of tomatoes, 2 summer squash, and 1 zucchini plant. Here is my new garden.
I am very excited and I will be happy if 1/2 of my veggies produce. If they all produce come on over and help me out.
I will post another update when things start growing. I am finding out that I don't have the patience for gardening. I want everything "now", lol. But I have to wait about 60 days just like everyone else, lol.
July 2009 Update
Hi all. I just thought I would write in and give you an update on my SFG. So far I am pleased. I planted my first 4x4 SFG 7 weeks ago and I have cucumbers and peppers. Beans are growing and there are small green tomatoes on the stems. So far I haven't had any weeds and no animals. I seem to just have nibbling on some of the leaves but that has stopped so far, lol.
I will change a few things for next year. First the SFG book says to plant 9 pole beans in one square. I think they are overcrowded and some of them seem too small. Next year I won't plant so many in one box. I also bought patio cucumbers and I had no idea what they were. I didn't realize they would sprawl so much. Anyway I planted 2 of those between some green beans and some tomatoes. They are buried in there. I have to peek underneath just to see the cucumbers, lol. Next year I will plant them in front because so far they are producing which is good.
Here is the first SFG I planted 7 weeks ago. This one has pole beans, bush beans, lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, and assorted peppers.
My second SFG I planted 4 weeks ago and it has 1 zucchini plant, 2 yellow squash, tomatoes and peppers.
Here I am picking my very first squash.
Expanding my square foot garden for 2010:):)
Mike and I start working on my gardens. Woo hoo. Last year I had one 4x4 and one 3x10 square foot garden. This year we are taking the old beds apart and making one 4x10 and one 4x14
Mike drives the tractor over to my small 4x4 garden so I can start digging out the "special soil" mix. Then he lifts up my old garden to take the wood.
We get the new 4x14 garden made and dug into the ground to make it level.
I dog out the old soil wile Niki ignores me, lol, until I call her, lol.
Next I put down the weed cloth in my new garden and then Mike dumps the soil mix into my new big garden
Mike was a good guy and took apart my old 3x10 garden and made it into a 4x10 garden. Here I am putting the weed cloth down. Now that's a garden. I can't wait to start planting.
Getting the garden beds ready:):)
It's warm and sunny. Time to hook up the trailer and go back to the FArm Supply. This time I score and get my gardening stuff and my clothesline. I am a very happy woman I also got a small bag of onion sets to plant. It's another first for me. I can plant them next week
All my garden stuff.
Next year I won't have to buy more stuff because I am not having a bigger garden. This is it.
Here I am measuring and mixing...and missing the bucket. Those bags are awkward, lol.
I spent the early part of the day doing the grids for my garden. In a square foot garden you make little 1foot by 1 foot sections. I am ready to plant.
More Planting, Apple Trees, and Blackberry Bushes
I go up and plant radishes and carrots in my garden.
My little onions are just starting to pop
While I was over getting water I heard all of this buzzing. There were hundreds, or so it seemed, bees in the blooming apple tree. I couldn't get a picture of the bees in there but here is a picture of the apple tree blooming.
The apple trees all over the property are blooming.
I brought my gloves, clippers, and one bucket, lol. Yeah, soon enough I figure out the bucket is worthless, lol.
Here is the first mess.
And after I did some cleaning.
While we wait, Mike takes me to the greenhouse at the High School. They grow plants from seeds and sell the plants every spring for .25 each. I am so excited. Last year I was too late. Woo hoo. I went a little crazy. I got 28tomato plants, 4 yellow squash, 3 zucchini, 8 peppers, some marigolds and nasturtium. I can't wait to plant them in my garden...but I have to wait until after May 10
Niki and I checking out my onions.
And she's watching Mike.
Plants are coming in:
I put the tomato cages on my plants before they get too big.
I found a strange bug in my garden. I posted this last year and someone did tell me what it was but for the life of me I can't remember I will have to look it up for you. Anyway here is the strange but cool looking bug.
I got it. It is a tomato hornworm with wasp eggs.
"Tomato hornworm larvae are also parasitized by a number of insects. One of the most common is a small braconid wasp, Cotesia congregatus. Larvae that hatch from wasp eggs laid on the hornworm feed on the inside of the hornworm until the wasp is ready to pupate. The cocoons appear as white projections protruding from the hornworms body (see photo, left). If such projections are observed, the hornworms should be left in the garden to conserve the beneficial parasitoids. The wasps will kill the hornworms when they emerge from the cocoons and will seek out other hornworms to parasitize."
Pictures from 2011.... Adding more Mel'sMix Niki and I work on my garden. I need to get all the bags out of the green building and make my special soil mix...wich means no weeds Since I fell in the MH on our way back home I am using the hand truck to help me out I get all of my bags out and ready to go.
Niki helping me with the mixing, lol.
I am done..and tired It's been awhile since we have done any physical work.
Time for some outside work
I checked the forecast I think we are finally done with any possible frost. Yay...this is my favorite time of year. Time to get my garden planted. I planted all of my plants...zucchini, squash, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, onions, cucumbers, peas..I think that's all
I know..it doesn't look like much now but just wait
My tomato cages are up. Mike hates these but I told him to stay away from my garden unless he is helping me
And he's helping me now by cutting my poles down. What a guy
After that I took out some old paint to paint my poles but it solidified. It must have froze over the winter. I'll have to add paint to our never ending list Then I mowed and I am so thankful we have such a small area to mow Sometimes the cows are a good thing, lol.
Today we went to town to go to the Home Show and then to do some shopping, as usual. Really I think Lowe's should send us "something" for contributing to their bottom line for so many years Mike really enjoyed the home show. He got to talk with lots of solar people and they couldn't believe we were able to run a regular refrigerator. Woo hoo for us. I did my usual and scoped out any freebies
Back home I opened up my new paint and got busy. I painted my garden posts.
We are going to use some of the leftover deer netting that we have to make my fence.
Mike has an idea of using tobacco poles, from our barn, to use to tack the netting to the poles.
First we are going to attach the netting and I will pull it tight while Mike screws in the screws though the painted tobacco poles to hold the netting in place. Mike pre drills the holes so we don't split the wood and to make it easier.
We started putting up my fence.
We ended up not having enough netting to finish the fence Looks like another trip to town will be in our future. This is when it is tough living this far from town.
And my garden with my new fence and my garden bed is painted and Niki
The gate that Mike helped me with
The last day of the month.
I did a little yard work and played in my garden
And some of my garden pictures. It really got battered by the hail a week ago
My garden is slowly growing.
And looking like a jungle. I think I planted too much
I went to check on some of our wild blackberries.
Soon to be blackberries
I would love to tame them a little so I did some research. After a lot of confusing information I think I got it. If I am wrong in anyway please share Blackberries grow in 2 year cycles and not every cane will have fruit on it. One year some canes will have fruit and then they die. They only get fruit one time on their life. After the summer season you can cut those canes to the ground. The ones that were green this year will bear fruit next year and they can be trimmed back. Anything dead should be cleared out.....ouch!!!
Now to apply that to my mess will be quite difficult since I can't get to the ground. I may have to chop down half the jumble of briers this year to start fresh and then chop the other half down next year. This was I will have some blackberries next year. Mike says I should forget about the bushes and start over with transplants...but it's free so I will try. 2012 Garden
I prepped my garden and cleaned it up. Now I just have to wait a bit longer to plant seeds.
Now for today's story which is a recap of my square foot garden for last year. This year I have big plans for my garden and I will also be planting fruit trees and blueberry bushes. I am very excited about producing more food:)
I originally chose to do a square foot garden for the ease of it. With our ever changing life and projects I thought this would be a good idea. It is very easy for a beginner gardener, your soil quality doesn't matter because you mix your own, and it doesn't require much weeding.
Geting ready to add more compost. I really need to start my own compost pile.
My new raised bed for the strawberry plants I ordered from the 4-H.
My new plants:). Since my house is off grid and I have so few windows I can't start my own tomatoes and peppers. Their seeds can't be planted directly into the ground so I need those plants. Each year my stepdaughter and I go to the local High School where they sell plants for a very good price. This year we were so excited to go to the High School but when we got there they changed the way they have been doing things for years. They were only selling larger plants at twice the price. Since we have more than a month before we can plant them in the garden this would not work. We were very disappointed but we did go to the local Garden store and found our plants there:)
This is the first year I planted lettuce and spinach. It is an early crop so I was happy not to have to wait.
My little spinach coming up.
I also planted some peas and used tomato cages to help them stay supported.
My strawberry plants.
The weather has been warm so I added my tomato plants and also added string for my green(pole) beans to grow on.
Some extra plants. Once again I bought to many. I just can't seem to resist, Mike says I would turn the whole back yard onto a garden if I could. So...what's wrong with that, lol.
The peas are blooming.
I think I have every available square filled:)
And then some. It seems I ran out of room so I went into our building to look for some scrap lumber. I found some boards, grabbed the drill and screws and added on to my garden, lol. Mike says I'm nuts.
Look at that beautiful lettuce:)
My pole beans are doing well. I am training them to climb up the string. I am never happy with my pole bean trellises. Some day I have to come up with the perfect solution. Any ideas????
The yellow squash, zucchini and peas are doing well.
This is the first time I tried to train my cucumbers to grow vertically. They are pretty heavy so you have to make sure they are tied to the string until they are long enough to wrap around themselves. This worked well.
Uh oh....I hate when the cows are behind my garden.
Oh and you can see the Japanese Beetle bag in the above picture. Here is where you can find them, Link. They really do help on the amount of Japanese Beetles that used to eat my pole bean leaves. I will have another one this year although they are pretty gross to empty.
My cucumbers are doing great:):)
The squash is really coming along.
At some point right after these pictures the cows reached over the back fence and pulled out all of my pole beans. I was not happy with the cows that day to say the least.
Even so I had a lot of food from my garden. I made a lot of zucchini bread and even canned yellow squash relish and zucchini relish for the first time. My friends loved the zucchini relish. I really liked the yellow squash relish especially on hot dogs:) This year I plan to have more food and get more food canned up.
Yesterday was actually the first day for 2013 that I got to play in my garden. I turned it all up and got it ready for new plants and seeds. I will be planting some lettuce and spinach this week.
Mike and I have also started working around the property during the good weather breaks. Soon we will be working full force and we can't wait:):)