Friday, May 22, 2009

Fighting Foreclosure, How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have written many times here that one of my favorite things to do is to garden. This year I decided to try something new and do a Square Foot Garden. That's it in the photo there.

The idea of a square foot garden is that you grow a large amount of produce in a very small space. It is a four foot square filled with a special mix of soil that helps the plants grow and develop. Currently what you are seeing here is 4 cabbage plants (the bluish green plants on the sides) and 4 cucumber vines (the long dangle-y looking plants in the back), which I raised from seeds my friend Catie gave me. What you are not seeing is the radishes, carrots and beets that are planted but haven't sprouted yet, and the various lettuce and herb seedlings that are in the house (also grown from seeds from Catie) that aren't quite large enough to move outside yet.

I built my gardening frame out of 1" x 6" x 4' boards and painted it blue to match the trim on my house. Under it is a 4'x4' patch of weed protector. The tall stakes you see have fencing stapled around them to keep out the squirrels. I hate squirrels.

Here in Michigan the last frost date in May 15th, and even after that there were warnings of patchy frost. The best I can tell, it is now past (since we are hitting the near 80s during the day) so I felt it was time to plant! I also planted four Brussels sprout plants. They could have gone in the garden box as well, but since they take a lot of space, I decided to put them in other sections of the garden. I also have garlic, shallots, chives, oregano and mint growing nicely already, with more to come...

This is something of an experiment. I have never tried to grow this much in produce before. I've always had an herb and flower garden, but this is more veggies than I have done in the past. I am excited to see how it goes. I won't lie, the soil was a little pricey, though I already had a huge block of moss, one of the key ingredients. What I would like to do is track how well the process goes, how much produce I am able to grow and frankly, how much it costs to do it. I have a farmer's market not far from my house, so does it make sense to do my own gardening or should I just buy from them? Will the satisfaction of growing my own make it all worth while? I'll keep you regularly updated on how it all goes!

If you are interested in learning about Square Foot Gardening, I highly recommend Mel Bartholomew's book. There is a lot of great information on his website, but I find myself referencing the book over and over again at home. Even though the writing is a bit simplistic, he lays out the information well and it is easy to go back to. I am glad I bought it.

What about you? Are you doing any gardening this year?

Photo by: Me!


Kari said...

I'm doing something similar. Although it is more like two very large planters boxes.

My boyfriend and his brother built me a couple of boxes and I'm thinking each one has room for 3 spaces each.

Of course I have no land these will go on my porch outside my sliding door to my apartment.

Now to decide what to plant!

Kari said...

My boyfriend and his brothers made me a modified version of this. I have a small space (just my porch off my apartment) so they made me two very large planters boxes.

I plan to start mine next weekend!

I'm also going in on some stuff for my cousins larger garden at her house. We live down the road from each other so we can share in cost and responsibility. When she is on vacation I will do all of it and vice versa. Now she takes more vacations than I am able to but she'll have more resonsibility on the day to day front anyway. We are also working on it this week (tilling) and planting next weekend!

Dawn said...

Kari - that sounds great!! I was so pleased to come back from the holiday weekend and see my radishes popping up! I also love the idea of working with your cousin and sharing on the responsibility. That is a fabulous way to spread the cost, work and all the veggies!