Mary Quite Contrary Attempts To Square Foot Garden

Sunday June 13, 2010
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Back in May, as I was reading around the blogosphere , I saw that many people were working on their square foot gardens.  Initially I didn’t think much about it.   After all, I do not have a green thumb.  My husband does and he does a little garden in the backyard every summer.  However, his garden doesn’t produce a lot and after reading about how plants really need at least 6 hours of sunlight, I knew the shade was the problem.    The problem with our yard is that it is surrounded by trees and while we get some sunlight throughout the day, no one place gets dedicated sun for that long.

But as I thought some more, I realized our side yard actually gets decent sun.  I never considered it for gardening because the soil is terrible there, but the beauty of square foot gardening is that create a raised bed and put good soil in it – it doesn’t matter what the underlying soil is like.

So, I got the bug and bugged my hubs to make me a box.   Instead of a 4’x4′ box, we did a 8’x2′ rectangle.    We lined the bottom with cardboard to serve as a weed barrier.

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Then I went to Home Depot and bought the necessary soil.  The experts recommend a mixture of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.  I did the best I could with limited time and budget and came home with top soil, manure and peat moss.

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Then I and my crew got to work mixing it all together and filling the box.

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Then we planted — I used all store bought plants because it was already late May and I wanted to see some the fruit of my labor more quickly (pun intended).

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Here’s a close-up.  In the front row, I planted nothing on the left (I later filled those spaces with onions).  Then a small lavender plant, cilantro, a basil plant and a cinnamon basil.  The back row has an empty space, then the rest are pepper plants – green red and yellow.  Here’s a close-up of how everything looked after planting:

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And here’s an update.  After two weeks, this is what my garden looked like:

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It’s amazing to see how quickly stuff grows!  The basil is growing like a weed – I’ve already used some for cooking.

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And one of the pepper plants had a small blossom on it when I bought it – look at this yummy pepper it produced!  It’s only a couple of inches right now, but I can’t wait til we can harvest it.

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Soo.. how does your garden grow?  And what have you planted this summer?

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