Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(Not-So) Square Foot Gardening

In perhaps a final attempt to grow something despite our poor soil, I built a (not-so) square foot gardening box to house our garden area.

It's not-so square foot gardening because...

(1)  I'm not using "Mel's Mix" (three components to the gardening soil, in equal parts by volume).  Instead, I'm using a mixture of potting soil, compost from my compost pile, and Georgia red clay. (ha)

(2)  My box is not as square as it looks in my photos.  I used four boards that were left over from a small construction project, and one end of each board is oddly shaped.

But I am following the grid guidelines of marking the square foot areas as well as the spacing of the seeds when I plant.  (Here's a fun website that helps you plan out your garden with the spacing of the seeds.  You specify the way your square foot garden is laid out, and drag and drop the plants you wish to grow into a grid.  Below the grid are helpful hints for each plant.)

This is what I started with:

April 11, 2012
Almost filled!

 I fit the boards together to form as close to right corners as possible

April 11, 2012
I used cardboard as a weed barrier under the garden box.

and sometimes that left quite a gap.  I fashioned a corner from cardboard because one corner was particularly lacking.

April 11, 2012

And guess what?  I used power tools!  I used drill bits for the first time, and stumbled through the learning process until I knew what I was doing.  ;)  Unfortunately, I didn't have (or didn't find) the attachment needed to screw the screws into the boards with the drill so I did that part by hand.

That was early April...Within a few days, the zucchini began to sprout...

April 19, 2012

as well as dozens of salad seedlings.  I've since thinned each section's seedlings, of course.  (Hint:  To thin, snip the seedlings rather than pulling them so you don't disrupt the roots of the remaining seedlings.)

April 19, 2012
This is what I started out with:

April 24, 2012
The box is against the back of my house.  We have a really long, treeless backyard, and this was the most appropriate spot for a garden area without it being at the far end of our yard.  Aside from the very back of the yard, this is where there is shade for at least part of the day.  Against the house, the garden is completely in the shade until about noon.

The plants have grown...

May 2, 2012

and grown...and sometimes had to be reseeded.  We have rabbits that will come all the way up to the house, so I've sprinkled hair from family hair cuts around the periphery of the garden box to keep them away.  So far, it's worked.

May 9, 2012
I added some marigolds in the round pot
You can see in the photo above that I inserted some supports for the plants that would need it, as well as something to keep the zucchini from completely flopping over onto the tomato plant.  Do this early so you don't disturb the roots.

I planted the salad at the very back of my box because I thought it would do much better being shaded by the taller plants that are up front.  I was right--the salad that is in the shade of the huge zucchini plant is growing better than the salad that is behind the (smaller, less leafy) cucumber plant.

May 9, 2012
Lots of salad!  This was a mixture of seeds, and at least two varieties are more bitter than I care to eat so I'm no longer letting those particular ones grow.  However, I have greatly enjoyed the rest of the varieties!


I think I'll need to add another support behind the zucchini or else Josiah's watermelon (in the side section between the zucchini and the salad) may not have a fighting chance.  ;)

May 17, 2012
A morning glory vine is growing in the spot where a second zucchini plant repeatedly died (the front corner, closest to the bottom of the photo below).  I'll let it stay, because I don't want to explain to Grace that I killed any of "her" morning glories. 

May 17, 2012
We had a zucchini blossom a couple of days ago but I didn't manage to get a photo of it before it withered away.  I've read that these are edible, but I also read that picking the the blooms discourages the plant from producing as much zucchini.

May 22, 2012

Even though this isn't true square-foot gardening, it works for me!

Do you have a garden?  What do you like to grow?


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apostolicbible said...
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Tara said...

You zucchimi looks great! Mine are so small. I am not srue that they are going to thrive where I put them. I am thinking of trying asparagus there.
I tried human hair for the rabbits and it didn't work for us. I am glad that it is working for you!

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