Square Foot Gardening–Week 1

Well, if I’ve been a little more absent from the online world recently, it’s mostly because the outdoor world is so amazingly irresistable right now! I adore spring…it is simply my favorite season, hands down. All the new things sprouting and blooming and growing green. Our property definitely looks its best at this time of year. All the trees and shrubs we planted last year survived the winter (yay!) and are bursting with new growth. The 8 little strawberry plants that looked so sad and lonely last summer made lots and lots of babies during the fall. So many, in fact, that I had to transplant a bunch of them! And now it looks like we are going to have quite a nice little spring crop of homegrown strawberries to munch! (I don’t know if the ones I transplanted to a new bed will survive. I should have done it earlier as the week I moved them was very hot and seems to have severly stunted them all.) Oh, and the rhubarb is quite happily spreading out in the middle of the berry patch as well! I really didn’t take this picture at the right time of day, but it gives you some idea, anyway!

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But on to the real reason for this post, my new square foot garden beds! After all the planning I did earlier this spring, I simply couldn’t wait for the weather to warm enough to get started digging in the earth! Last weekend, my dear hubby built me two containers measuring 4 ft x 8 ft x 8 in. Then he drove to town twice and loaded our poor little car with about a million bags of nice black topsoil and a few additional bags of compost manure. Then he unloaded it and dumped it on top on the newspaper lining I laid down to keep the grass (and weeds) from popping up their ugly heads in my new garden space! I sectioned off each square foot using some old recycled cotton yarn and duct tape. I know many SFGers prefer something more permanent, but I don’t want little dividers getting in my way when I am trying tend and harvest my veggies! So, once most of my seeds have sprouted enough, I’ll be removing the yarn and tape.

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As you can see, I already have some happy little plants coming up! This is a shot of the East Bed. We purchased broccoli starts since I didn’t feel confident starting it from seed myself. They looked a little lonesome at first, but now the onions I planted next to them have almost all sent up nice green shoots to keep the broccoli company! The rest of this bed is going to be filled mostly with tomatoes and peppers, as well as some beneficial herbs and flowers (see the petunias in the north corners?) But my seedlings are just not quite big enough to go into the garden yet.

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The West Bed is full of bursting new life, with new sprouts coming up every day! The first little lovelies to show themselves were the radishes. It took just a few days for them to pop up! They are supposed to be ready to harvest in only 21 days from planting, so they will definitely be the “firstfruits” of our harvest this year! The lettuces were next to come up, but they are still very tiny. I planted two varieties, one of which is a romaine type, and the other a butterhead that is supposed to be very heat resistant. I also planted two varieties of green beans, which are also popping up all of a sudden! Three squares will be a bush-type Blue Lake bean, and the other three squares have a variety called Tenderpick. They are both supposed to be high yield, which is good since I plan on freezing or canning them for the winter. My peas are coming up as well, but since you can’t see them in the pic, I didn’t bother labeling. Oh, almost forgot the cucumbers and squash! They are somewhat of an experiment, since I haven’t had any experience with bush-type cukes or squash. I will have to get some sort of small trellis or large tomato cages to support them later on, I know. I just hope they don’t try to take over the world like most of the cukes and squash I’ve seen! 🙂 As in the East bed, I also have several different beneficial flowers and herbs planted here, but except fot the petunias (which we bought) they haven’t sprouted yet.

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So, that’s my progress report for week 1 of square foot gardening in 2010! I’m thoroughly enjoying every moment of it now, while the weather is still nice enough to want to be outside. I know it will get hot all too soon, and I’ll have to do most of my gardening in the early and late hours of the day. But for now, I just want to sit by my garden all day and watch seeds sprout! 🙂

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