Thursday, May 21, 2009

Itty Bitty Garden, Great Big Harvest

I think I may have mentioned before that I love to garden. And I think I may have shown pictures of some of the things my garden has produced. It's a very satisfying feeling to have fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers that you pretty much made yourself. Ok, God was involved too. But only with that tiny part called growing. The rest is ALL ME.

Anywho, my favorite gardening method is called Square Foot Gardening. It was introduced to me by my sister (as most good things have been) about 4 or 5 years ago. It's the easiest, smartest way to garden that I've ever heard of. Ok, it's the only one I've ever heard of aside from traditional row gardening, but seriously, it's wonderful.

You start with a square, 4'x 4'. It's made of wood (usually 1x6 wood planks), and it sits above ground. You make your own soil mix using Mel's perfect recipe so it's the perfect amount of nutrition but there are no weed seeds. And because it eliminates rows (which are really only needed if you plan on pulling a horse and plow through your garden. I don't know about you, but I find keeping a horse and plow on hand for a back yard garden a little costly), you can grow 80% more food in 20% of the space of a traditional garden.

You divide your garden into sixteen 1 foot square spaces, and then you just read your seed package that tells how many plants can grow in a 1 foot space. Plant them, water them, they grow. Easy! And NO weeding. They can even be grown on patios or decks since you don't need soil underneath them.

AND, and this is my favorite part, Mel teaches you how to stagger your harvest so that instead of having 800 cucumbers go ripe in a 3 day period, you plant your cucumber seeds a week apart from each other. That way you have some coming due every week for the entire harvest period.

Plus, it just looks nice. You can even use white vinyl instead of wood, if you are the type where aesthetics are important, and your garden will look amazing. Here are pictures of some square foot gardens (not mine):




This is Mel, the inventor of the Square Foot method.


If this sounds intriguing to you, I highly recommend you buy the book. This is my fourth year doing this type of garden and it is just so easy. I'd love to convert the whole world to doing this type of gardening!

As for now, I'm going to try to do a weekly or however often I get to it update on what I'm doing with my square foot garden.

I built my boxes and divided them and mixed the soil and planted the pre-frost seeds all 4-5 weeks ago. I planted lettuce, spinach, peas, watermelon, cucumbers and strawberries. Then yesterday I planted dill, cilantro, basil, Romano beans, green peppers, tomatoes, and radishes. I'll keep you posted!

Here's how my garden looks right now...


14 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I had no idea that SO MANY people gardened! Yours looks great.

jennie w. said...

Just don't cover the bottom with black plastic-heh, heh.

Melissa said...

You go girl! My garden is unfortunately the produce department at Macey's...

Tiffany said...

I'm definitely going to do this...next year! Love it!

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

Your garden looks beautiful! Sadly, I haven't had as much luck in the gardening department this year...or ever, actually.

Chelsea said...

I am a huge fan of square foot gardening too. Yours looks beautiful! I don't have one this year (we have so much yard work to do that I haven't had time to build new boxes, etc.) but next year I plan on having a ton! It's a great feeling never having to buy produce because you grew your own!

L. said...

They look so NICE, Arianne. I tasted the red lettuce last week, and it was delicious -- not a bit bitter.

I think your chives are taking over the box, though. You better thin them WAY, WAY back. The little start I planted behind my Provo house 13 years ago now OWNS the entire eastern back yard, and is having a territorial war with the sprig of peppermint I planted in the western back yard. Both of those were loosing ground to the (originally one cane of) blackberries against the house. Grass may not grow there, but chives, blackberries and peppermint will!

I finally had to pay $300 (!) to get an exterminator to gouge out the blackberries. They had grown across the entire south side, and 8 feet out into the yard. (Slow down, Mother Nature!!!!)(I'd better buy stock in Round-Up this summer.)

And Jennie, why no black plastic?

Koreena said...

Very nice! I love the idea of no weeding. I'd love to try this someday.

tiburon said...

I couldn't garden my way out of a wet paper bag.
I tried.

It sucked.

Omgirl said...

Tib, experts don't generally recommend gardening inside a bag. Just FYI.

Sara said...

We had an enrichment on this early in the spring, I'm totally excited to try it, only I don't have a yard yet. Maybe next year.

MiaKatia said...

My next door neighbor is doing this method and so far so good. I think I may follow her footsteps next spring. I have never gardened before, but it is worth a try right!

Shawn said...

Are these the same as grow boxes?

Yours look amazing, by the by.

André said...

I'm too lazy to do any gardening. It's hard enough for me to pull weeds with what we've got. I've already got someone doing the lawn so maybe when I make more money I can hire someone to do a garden for me.