Saturday, March 17, 2007

Garden Time

I'm venturing into new territory this spring: VEGETABLE GARDENING!

I come from a long line of flower gardeners and am always experimenting with different flowers and rearranging the beds around my house. The only edible fare I've tried to grow has been strawberries. My dad has always grown at least tomatoes...I can remember a much larger vegetable plot when I was a little squirt.

Add in the fact that I'm fairly lazy and you might think I'm in for trouble...BUT...I think I've found the perfect solution: Square Foot Gardening! My friend, Diem, in Knoxville tried it the last year we lived there and just raved about the ease and tremendous crop for little work & space. Since I'm addicted to information, I've read and researched all sorts of square foot gardeners and think I'm ready to roll.

The basic concept is that you build raised beds, fill them with a "perfect" planting mix, divide them into 1' squares and plant one crop/square. Depending on the crop, you can plant from 1 to 16 plants in each square. Large, sprawling crops such as zucchini, squash and pumpkins are grown vertically up strong trellises. SO...if you're not bored yet, feel free to read on as I'm starting my garden journal here on my blog...mainly for my own records! If you are a gardener, I'd love to hear comments, ideas or suggestions as I go through the season.

Saturday, March 17: Tonight Kai helped me move the first half of paver bricks from our stack in the garage to two neatly laid out 4x4 square plots in the back yard. I've placed them on the west side of the yard just north of where our deck extends from the house. The super lazy person in me is just plunking the bricks on top of the grass. I'll be smothering the grass in the beds with a layer of mulched dried leaves and cardboard before adding the planting mixture.

Next up is stacking a second layer of pavers on top of the first to make the beds 8" deep. I'm hoping I can just set them on top and won't need to use an adhesive. I still need to purchase the soil ingredients: variety of compost, course vermiculite, peat moss; and also the connectors and netting for the trellis (I have the metal pipes already...a great find in my own attic!)

Bed #1 will be strictly strawberries. We'll be experimenting with a selection of varieties...some June-bearing, some everbearing and some day-neutrals. I'm converting our old strawberry patch out by the swing set into the children's flower garden...we're starting everything from seeds and I'm really excited to watch the kids enjoy and care for it!

Bed #2 will hopefully be a salad garden with a variety of lettuce (I have a feeling this will require I build some kind of rabbit guard...BAD BUNNIES!), carrots, zucchini, sweet peppers, tomatoes and mini pumpkins for fun.

Oh boy, I have so much to learn...but I guess this is the best way to do it because reading more isn't going to make anything grow! I'll add pictures as I go.

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