Monday, May 24, 2010

Square Foot Gardening - Part Two

Square Foot Gardening - Continued!
After you get all of the soil in, its time to start sectioning off your garden.

Measure measure and mark at every foot. In the book, they tell you to use small wooden slats to divide the sections, but we decided that we would just use colored (heavy-duty) string.

I picked hot pink! We just knotted the ends, pulled it tight, wrapped it around the nails and tied it off on the end. Then we hammered the nails down (bent over) so the string couldn't slide off.

Darren picked bright yellow. And the third box, we mixed with yellow and pink.

Then we started laying out where we wanted everything, and marking it. It's important to take in account how things grow when you do this! For example, cucumbers start to take over, so you want them towards the outsideand melons grow on vines so you need two squares nex to each other for them, etc.

All marked!

Everything is layed out and marked (except for the last box - we ran out of markers and had to go get more the next day).
The basis of square foot gardening is being able to plant a lot, in a small amount of space because you plant based on how the plant grows and how much space it needs. You can plant 16 carrot seeds in one square foot. In that same size square, you can plant 4 corn, 2 lettuce or 1 broccoli. Melons take more than one square - you can plant one per every two sqaures.
Darren and I drew out boxes and listed everything we wanted to plant. We took that list to the store, so that we could check everything off that we needed. When we got back we wrote in where we wanted everything and then kept that list with us as we planted, to make sure we planted as directed.

NOW everything is planted and marked. We sprinkled some vegetable fertilizer over the top, and watered everything in really, really well. Now, we just wait!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Square Foot Gardening - Part One

When Darren and I decided to move back to "the country", one of the first things that he mentioned was how badly he wanted to start a garden. I had a bit of hesitation - I could just imagining ME weeding and ME plowing and ME taking care of it. But Darren assured me that this was going to be a partnership and this was going to be OUR garden and it didn't have to be huge. The next week, he made a trip to Barnes and Noble and picked up this really great book on square foot gardening. The basis is to be able to plant a lot of stuff in a small, easily accessible space with little to no weeding.

This is how our garden started! We haven't organized the garage yet, so Darren's tools and tables are not set up yet. He made do by finding an extension cord and pulling everything out into the driveway.

My very handy husband, building our boxes. Each box is a 4' x 4' square (6 inches deep)
The book suggests that a regular family of 3-4 have 3 boxes. 1 for vegetables, 1 for salads and 1 for canning, preserving or giving away.
All 3 boxes set out. It tells you to keep about 3' of space between boxes so you can move around the boxes easily.
After the boxes are in place, you take a weed barrier and roll it out underneath the boxes so that the interior of the box is completely covered.
Darren picked up these handy little plastic stakes to tack the netting down.
After you get the barrier down, the book suggests you pour out all bags of soil (which consists of peat moss, vermiculite and compost) on a tarp to mix well, before you put it into your boxes.
The "manual labor" part of this project really hits home when you have to shovel all of that soil mixture into each of the boxes. Darren and I took turns so it didn't take us that long. You want to fill the boxes all the way to the top.
Here is all three of them filled with the soil mixture!

It's looking good, isn't it??

I'll post the rest of the instructions later!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cookie Monster!

Coco has learned that when the timer dings on the oven - food is about to come out of it. She gets so excited knowing that she might get something! Yesterday evening, I was baking cookies for Darren and while they were in the oven - I was in the living room, reading a book while she laid beside me on the couch. Every 12 minutes, that timer would ding and Coco would jump up and go running into the kitchen and stood in front of the oven...waiting!

Here she is, watching me take the cookies out of the oven!

She just kept eyeing me when I put them on the counter, to move them to the cooling rack. She guilted me into a piece of that last cookie! Sshh...don't tell Darren!
On a completely unrelated note - do you see how my Pampered Chef baking stone is almost black? It looks horrible - but it bakes everything up with PERFECTION!!!

When I moved around the counter, to put the cooled cookies in a tupperware, she ran around the island to stare me down on the other side! Needless to say, this spoiled cookie monster wound up talking me into sitting down and picking out all the raisins from the rest of that cookie so she could have a snack with her dad!