Sunday, June 2, 2013

Square-Foot Gardening

For the past 4 years, I have been attempting to start a garden. It started with a container garden in our previous house. I did not feel like digging up the backyard, especially since we were planning to move, so I worked with containers.

My first container garden
The laundry basket is petite cucumbers and the red buckets are 2 varieties of tomatoes. I started them from seeds indoors and transplanted when they were big enough. I also had railing planters on the porch that container lots of herbs: cilantro, basil, thyme, etc. The containers were a good choice since we moved that summer and it was easy to take them along.

Then next step was to create some raised garden beds. Last summer I bought some cheap wood through a yard sale page on Facebook and built the frames for the raised beds. I was determined to build them myself, so other than my husband giving advice and being an extra set of hands, I did ALL of the handy work. I mowed the grass as short as possible in the locations for the beds and laid anti-weed fabric on the grass. The beds were placed on top and I had a local guy deliver top soil. Of course, the delivery truck got stuck... but that's a separate story.

Then the beds sat for a year.

What can I say? Life gets busy.

This spring I got my act together and plotted out my garden. After measuring the width and height, I made a plot on graph paper. Then I did a little research into companion planting and square-foot gardening to came up with a plan.
The paper plan
Then I measured, marked, and used twine to set my square foot boxes within each bed. As you can tell, I had a "helper." My real super-duper helper (my 7-year-old) is not pictured.
Raised beds divided into square foot boxes
I intend to garden from seeds, however I did not have a greenhouse ready to go this winter. Guess what I received as a Mother's Day gift? Guess what is still in the box?

My helpers and I visited a local farm to get plants. My neighbor recommended the place and although it was a 40-minute drive, it was well worth it. I got all of the plants pictured plus two butterfly bushes and 4 rose plants for $60!!
The (almost) finished garden
The items missing are kale, spinach, pumpkins, and potatoes, however I added marigolds and more lettuce than in the original plan.

Fingers-crossed that all the plants survive and grow to fruition!

UPDATE 6/25/2013:

 My garden is doing tremendously well! Of the original plants 2 cucumber, 1 lettuce, 1 cauliflower and 2 marigolds did not survive. I have since added cilantro, pumpkin, and spinach, as well as replacing the 2 cucumber plants.

Picture of the garden with the same angle as the first picture.

A picture from the opposite angle, since the tomato plants block the view.

First tomatoes

First zucchini

First green pepper
UPDATE 7/5/2013:

Picture of the garden, same angle as first picture

Picture from the opposite angle, due to huge tomato plants!

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