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Our Square Foot Garden(2012)…

April 25, 2012

Hey, how’s is growing?

Yes, I know just how corny that was. I’m sticking by it though. So here we go Family Garden, 2012 edition.

Here are my little plots of outdoor happiness.

It’s only April so there isn’t much planted yet. We’ve had absolutely bizarre temperatures, from 80s one day to 30s the next! Hopefully everything that sprouted early will hold steady in the coming weeks.

I use the raised-bed/square foot gardening method since we have a hill of a yard filled with rocks and dense clay dirt. I love my raised beds. The first year there was a bit of a front-end investment for the lumber and soil amendments but since then the only real cost I have is seeds. If you’re on a budget you could totally form raised beds using salvaged materials. (Be sure to comment below if you have as I’m sure others are curious of the alternatives! ) We created our soil using the formula behind Mel’s Mix, using 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat, and 1/3 compost. It makes gardening a PLEASURE and very productive. My boxes are gridded using nails and twine instead of lattice beams. Since I mostly only have greens and peas planted my boxes aren’t gridded yet, I’ll do that as I start to transplant seedlings out there.

Enough of my rambling here are the pictures you’re waiting for:

These are our boxes in their very humble glory. I have high hopes of adding a nice thick mulched border for weed control around the beds… maybe that will happen this year.

These are radishes, happily growing in two squares of one of my two 2’x5′ beds.

These are our peas happily sprouting in one of the 3’x4′ beds. They’re a bush variety so I’m not messing with trellises for them this spring.

This is one of my four 3’x4′ boxes. All that’s left is the remnants of last year’s grid, but it’s good enough for these early plants. This is my kale, Ruby Swiss chard, beets, spinach, broccoli rabe, and arugula (I think, need to go check that). Once the plants get a little more mature I’ll thin them and transplant (everything but the beets) into properly gridded boxes.

Here are rosemary and lavender. This will be the lavender’s third year growing (it’s second in the herb bed instead of the raised beds).

This is my rhubarb. It is my second year growing it after getting the roots from a dear friend from church last summer. There are two varieties here. Since taking the picture it no longer looks like this. We had some very windy days which blew my cold frame, seen in the back of the plants, on top of them breaking off almost all the stalks (and the flowers of the white one which I found out I was supposed to cut off as soon as I saw the. Oops, lesson learned for next time.)

These are our onions, they own the end of my herb bed on the side of the garage. We have sweet yellow, red and Egyptian walking onions growing.

This may just look like a leaf pile but it’s more. This is our potato patch.We recently had a number of feet cleared on the side of the house and this is where my compost pile used to reside. We’re going to experiment with growing potatoes in mulched leaves… Stay tuned to see how it goes.

This is one of two 2’x12′ beds that house our strawberry patches. This is my third year growing them and they’re looking good so far. I was a bit afraid they started budding too soon when we had the March/April heat waves, but so far so good it seems. (Well mostly, see below)

I’m pretty optimistic that we may actually grow enough strawberries for our dining pleasure this spring… if my children will leave them alone until they’re ripe. I can’t help but love the beauty of blooming strawberry plants.

A few of my strawberry plants are growing a bit, um, crazy this year. I’ve never seen anything quite like it (and I haven’t done any internet detective work just yet). There are a few plants that have these strange wide and flat “stalks” that look like many stems stuck together. there are tons of buds on them but I’m just not sure of how this will turn out. Have you ever encountered this in your patch? Let me know if this is something I should be correcting some how.

We also have asparagus growing. It is planted along the side of our parking pad. I need to plant more roots because right now there just isn’t enough to pick at the same time for even one of our meals since everyone in this house loves it. For the last two (or is it three) years I’ve just been letting it grow and go to seed so that there is more the next season. A few more roots should help a bunch though.

Just in case you’re curious this is my composting area. It’s pretty simple as far as composting goes. The far left section is the slow decay stuff, when I pull weeds and spent plants they get tossed here. I don’t turn it often, it mostly just does it’s thing on it’s own. The middle section is where we toss all of our organic kitchen scraps (aka, anything raw like veggie peels, fruit cores, cucumber ends, wilted cut flowers and also coffee grinds and egg shells). I turn this anytime I add to it because the aeration helps the breakdown happen a little faster. The section to the far right is the ready to use compost from the previous season. It’s dark, rich and ready to go. At least that’s what the bunches of worms that take residence there say, or would say if they spoke.

So there you have it, the start of garden season for 2012. Always lots to be done and always a great reward for doing it!

Do you garden? What method works best for you? What are your “must-plants” each year? What are you trying new this year?

This post is part of a link up at The Homeschool Village

6 Comments leave one →
  1. "Stringmaker" permalink
    April 26, 2012 7:33 AM

    Hi Lisa,
    I’ve not seen strawberries do that but I have seen danelions that way. No clue as to what causes it. You could try calling the Ag Extension Office in Westminster and ask for Steve Allegier (sp?). I suspect it is some sort of plant virus or maybe just a mutation on that plant. Not all plant viruses are bad…. I believe it is a virus that causes the striped appearance of some tulips and it is done on purpose. Your strawberry bed looks very nice!

    You may need to move those rhubarbs further apart. I have both of those varieties and the white one gets HUGE!

    Did you dig a trencher to put the asparagus in the first year or dig it by hand? My bed is about 15 years old and I think it needs replanted. Some of the crowns have worked their way to the surface despite my efforts to keep pulling dirt up over the row. I dug the trench myself the first year and definitely do not want to do it again.

    Lovely pictures.

    • April 26, 2012 11:51 AM

      The asparagus was buried by my able-bodied man. 😉 We haven’t had issue yet, I just want more.
      You’re right the rhubarb will need a more roomy area, I plunked them in there last summer just to get them in the ground. My landscape is ever-evolving.
      A friend of ours is a Master Gardener, I will bring my strawberries to her attention next week, for now I’m just watching them to see how they grow. They are quite a funny sight. I think next year we’ll need two more beds if these run well. The children won’t complain about more fruit. 😉
      Thanks for the words!

  2. May 1, 2012 7:53 PM

    Very cool garden!!! Love it!!!

  3. May 3, 2012 10:33 AM

    Your strawberry plant looks like it might have gotten exposed to some herbicide…? Glad to see someone told you to remove the rhubarb flowers, I was thinking that when I saw it too. 🙂 Look forward to seeing how the planting goes at the next HSV link up. 🙂

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