Monday, August 31, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

Mel Bartholomew is on to something with his square foot gardening (SFG) gig.   His book convinced me - as well as reading other bloggers who have had good experiences.

The soil in Little Rock is quite, ahem, rocky and mostly clay.  It's worthless for a garden. When doing any digging, a pick axe is a must.  Also imperative is a strong young buck.
Or, better yet, two strong young bucks.
You'll want the box to be somewhat level.  The omni-competent Pioneer Woman has an excellent tutorial for building your garden box.
Several times Hubby hit rocks and couldn't place the stake where he wanted.  I kept telling him, "The Nester says, 'It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.'"
Meanwhile, Mr. Intensity found the loot!  Oh, my.  Sheer joy.  Pure, indescribable joy.  This 1/2 cubic yard of mixed dirt (topsoil + compost) was about $25.  Worth every penny.
He played in the bed of the truck forever then decided to get in on the manual labor.  

The wagon that he's pushing was too heavy for me.  Well, almost too heavy.  I let him think I couldn't budge it.  Hubby was also impressed by the little man's muscle.
He can shovel, too!  In the picture below he's shoveling dirt on top of pine needles and oak leaves that friends gave us.  In the SFG book, Mel recommends a perfect growing mix of vermiculite, compost and peat moss.  Once in the garden center I realized this recommendation was too pricey for our budget.  In a few months I'll add more composted material and possibly, lime - after a soil test.
At one point, Mr. Intensity decided it would be faster to use his dump truck to haul the dirt from the pickup to the SFG.  He said, "Momma, I made TWO trips with my truck in the time it takes Daddy to make one with the wheel barrow."  We haven't had our math lesson on volume yet.
Because the mixed dirt was mostly clay, we added a 50lb bag of sand.  The black stuff on top of that is at least 30lbs of coffee grounds from Starbucks.
Looks like cookies-n-cream.  Well, sort of.  :)
The SFG book strongly recommends marking the square foot sections.  I quickly did mine with masking tape.  Also note the handy-dandy garden tool.  It was a Mother's Day gift and I love it.  If you dream of gardening, put it on your wish list.
As you can see, the masking tape didn't hold up too well (to the love and attention of Mr. Intensity.)  

The row closest to the watering can has chinese cabbage, then broccoli.  In the upper right corner is spinach.  Also planted are herbs: dill, parsley, and cilantro.  Three empty squares will have swiss chard planted by seed - one day this week.
The spinach and chinese cabbage did not like the transplant and looked a bit wilted. 
My days in a tobacco field taught me that these young plants should bounce back in a day or two.  Fingers crossed.

I am super excited about this lil plot of garden.  Anyone else tried SFG or doing a fall garden?  If so, what are you planting?


John and Pam said...

That is so fun to see the whole family involved. So glad you got to do that. I know how you love it.

zanesmommy said...

Have tried modified version of sfg. We are getting ready to do fall gardening (the only time to garden in the wonderful oven we live in!) with spinach and leaf lettuce (my hubby will eat it). Have you checked out Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots? I think you would love the ideas and implement some of them!


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