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How does your garden grow?

March 26, 2010

Some of my fondest memories of my maternal grandparents and great-grandparents are thoughts of playing in their gardens. It seemed that they could grow just about anything. My great-grandmother (Grandma Birdie, as I called her) had a HUGE garden next to her house and everytime we would go visit she would let me help her pick things…beans, peas, tomatoes….

My grandparents were the same way. They had stuff planted all over their backyard. As I got older and got a backyard of my own I decided that I would like to give the gardening thing a try.

So, after a fairly unsuccessful gardening adventure last year (long story), I decided to scale back and try again this year. After several reccommendations, I decided to try the “Square Foot Gardening” technique created by Mel Bartholomew. In a nutshell, you build a 4′ x 4′ box, fill it with what he calls “Mel’s Mix”, mark off 1′ sections and plant a different crop in each section. This way, when one block is harvested, you can simply add some compost and plant something else.

I built my box this year out of composite lumber because after the growing season last year when we were cleaning out my other garden we found TERMITES in the wood. Needless to say,that wood went straight to the landfill. My BF cut the “wood” for me and I assembled it.

Ain’t it puuurdy? And it’s relatively square, which surprised me. A few days later (after it stopped raining) I hauled it into the backyard and staked it into place:

The next step was to fill it with “Mel’s Mix” which is 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 coarse vermiculite. So I mixed it all up and filled the box.

Then I added my dividers (bamboo stakes) …

…and the plants and a trellis. I also had to add a dog barrier. It’s just some rope for now, until the dogs get a little more curious.

(I later purchased and added 2 broccoli plants that aren’t in this picture)

All in all I planted:

1 zucchini, 2 cucumbers, 1 tomato, 4 field peas, 4 zinnias, 9 snapdragons, 18 spinach, 8 lettuce, 2 broccoli, 4 strawberries, 16 carrots, 16 onions and 16 radishes.

I plan to take pictures each week and post about what’s new in my garden.

Here it is after the first week:

As you can see, I had to add labels so I could remember what I planted in each square. All 16 of the radishes had sprouted by week one, but not really much else (except some weeds).

Today I noticed this:

It’s a field pea sprout. There’s another one next to it that hasn’t quite made it out of the dirt yet. I also found 5 lettuce sprouts and possibly 2 spinach sprouts. We’ve had a couple of good warm weather days and some rain showers so I’m sure the plants are loving it.

Hopefully this garden will grow. I plan to do a garden update every Sunday…as long as it’s not raining!

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