Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Square Foot Garden #1

     After reading Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, I really wanted to try the technique, and ended up building three 4' x 4' raised boxes near our house with the goal of raising salad greens and other vegetables.  Now that I have been using them for almost 2 full seasons, I am not entirely thrilled with the technique.  Mostly because I am learning about even better ones through permaculture.  Still I am glad to have tried it, and I credit Mel with getting me to think 2 dimentionally instead of just in rows.  I still reccomend the books as a great starting point to learn vegetable gardening, and get a handle on spacing in a grid.

     The three boxes I have, I plan to continue to use and document untill they are replaced with lasagna beds, which greatly outperformed the square foot beds in the extremely hot dry weather this year, and are much less expensive to install.

Bed #1

I wanted to try the technique as simply as possible with this one.  The box is untreated pine 2x6 connected with deck screws.  I cut out the sod, layed down landscape fabric underneath, and filled with Mel's mix, the reccomended mixture of  1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 peat.


Planted with various lettuce, Kale, arugula, cabbage, and Peas (Oregon Sugar Pod)
We did really well, harvesting numerous salads and grazing on the peas.
Made a simple trellise by bending a 10' piece of 1/2 conduit into a u and attaching coated wire fencing.



Unusually warm weather allowed me to get the raised bed successfully planted by late March.
Planted a variety of lettuce, and kale again.  With Peas (Golden Sweet) and a few Celery (Giant Pascal) transplants.
Sorry about the bad date stamp, I was not yet familiar with the camera.

Kale (Blue Curled Scotch)

Celery (Giant Pascal)

Lettuce (May Queen)

Lettuce (Ruby Red)

Spinach (Nobel)

Everything was looking good.  The squirrels would dig in the beds, but they only killed acouple of plants, and I was able to reseed them.

Peas (Golden Sweet) flowering

Peas are growing great!  Everything else was stunted due to high heat and bolted to seed or died without producing anything edible.

The only thing we got out of this bed so far was a boatload of peas.  Here is the bed after i ripped out everything, mulched with woodchips, and planted Bush Beans (Brittle Wax)

The beans that germinated are doing really well, filled in the gaps with more seed.



The beans that germinated first are producing reasonably well.

One of the Beans found the trellis and reverted to climbing.

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