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Planting For The First Time

As a reminder, or for anyone reading these out-of-order sometime in the future, this entry references the 2013 garden.

The beds were ready. The weather was ready. I was almost ready. I still was not exactly sure in what way I was going to actually plant. While I was looking for ideas or inspiration, I happened upon an image such as this one.SFG Diagram And the light bulb went off. This is how I would plant! It was genius, and it made perfect sense. At least to me. I had stumbled upon a method of gardening called Square Foot Gardening that was “invented” by a man named Mel Bartholomew back in the 70’s. He has a book that talks about it in some detail. I bought it, and I read it. If you are at all interested in learning about this method, I would recommend it. There is a lot of great information, and it really does make sense why it works so well. I will add a caveat, however. It is most certainly not necessary to do everything the way he describes. For instance, he has a specific soil “recipe” that he recommends, it is 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost, and while I am sure it works wonderfully, for the amount I would need to fill my beds, the cost would have been too much. Luckily, I already had the soil situation well in hand. Also, because of the lack of space, I decided to grow as much as I could vertically. Pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash. Anything that could go up a trellis, was going too. At least if I had my way.

Progress was being made! Next step: figure out what to plant, and get the seeds and starts. So we made a list. We wanted:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Acorn Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Yellow Crooked Neck Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Beets
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Okra
  • Edamame
  • Cabbage

Phew! I purchased several packets of seeds from local stores, and my wife purchased several starts from a local greenhouse. Now, I feel it is important that I state, or reiterate, that I was very green last year. I had no idea what I was doing. I was going off intuition for most of this. I have no idea what variety of any of those plants I was growing. I just wanted seeds and plants in the ground before the season slipped by again. A little foreshadowing, this year I know exactly what varieties I am planting.

Awesome! Now I could get planting! I had decided that I was going to place the corn and tomatoes in the southern most beds. All of the trellis-able items were going to go in the middle bed, and everything else would go in the northern bed. I was gifted 10 additional tomato starts (YAY!), which brought my total number of tomato plants to 16. I placed the overflow into the other beds. I would also place a few marigold plants in each bed to attract beneficial insects, and discourage problematic ones.

After one month, specifically, June 23rd, the beds looked like this:

The northern bed:Garden Bed 1 06-23-2013 The middle bed (eventually almost every row would have a trellis):Garden Bed 2 06-23-2013 The southern bed:

Garden Bed 3 06-23-2013

There you have it! This was the fruition of a dream/goal of mine. The garden was in, and growing!

I will write-up how I did my trellis’ in the next entry, and I will definitely do an entry all about Square Foot Gardening. I am a huge advocate of it, as you will see. Also, a lesson since learned: putting all the vertical items in the same bed, and arranging the trellis’ the way I did, turned out to be a mistake. I will touch on that at a later time, however.

Until then, Happy Gardening!