Monday, June 22, 2009

The Passing of Spring & Square Foot Gardening

This cold and rainy weather pattern we are stuck in is starting to get on my nerves. The ripening time on my tomatoes has been ridiculously slow, and the peppers and eggplants are barely inching along......onions are drowning, enough already! I totally appreciate the rain but a few more warm sunny days tossed in would do wonders. I chuckle to myself when I read other gardeners complaining about the heat waves. Maybe my rain isn't so bad after all. But the wind....not sure how high the winds are but things have been moved to safer places on the deck and there are lots of branches littering the ground. The dogs don't even want to be out in it.

I figured I should use the time stuck in this gardening holding pattern to take a look back over the recent passing of Spring, and how the square foot gardening experience has gone so far. I have harvested lots of greens, peas, and a few tomatoes so far.

The positives:

  1. I am very happy with the raised beds.
  2. The SFG method has allowed me to try growing a little bit of everything which I really like. I figure this growing season will show who the true performers are, what we liked the best, and how much or little of each crop needs to be grown.
  3. Weeding and watering has been very manageable to date.

The Negatives:

  1. I found the recommended soil formula to be very costly and I couldn't find vermiculite locally. We did our own mix based on Mel's concept and tweaked it slightly for each bed. For example, the extra deep root bed is mostly loam and fine sand; the tomato bed is heavy on amendments and compost. I wish I could have started with Mel' s mix and tweaked that instead, but buying 3 different kinds of bagged compost and vermiculite on-line to fill all my square footage was not an option. Instead we bought a truck load of compost from a horse farm, got free delivery of loam from a friend, and purchased amendments and alternate sources of bagged compost as needed.
  2. Another cost, the cedar for the beds did not come cheap.
I should do a photo for each bed so I remember what was where come next Spring. Maybe i will brave the winds.....


Erin said...

What is it with the wind anyways??? It has been gusting all day for the last 3 days to about 35-45 mph here. At first I attributed it to the fact that we replaced a solid board fence with wire fencing in the back yard, but I don't think that's it. I have a canopy over the kids' pool that ripped to shreds over the last week and I can't even raise the umbrellas to escape the sun for fear they will blow over and rip! On the raised beds, I had a truckload of compost from a nursery delivered a couple of years ago and filled my beds with that alone, and my stuff did great. I only add to replace lost fill every year, and dig in some of my own compost which is just starting to be ready this year. (We are lazy composters!) We have 4 bins but I never turn them so the compost will cook more quickly, but I found that in a year, it gets finished anyways! I love your beds, they all look so orderly! I don't even have any tomatoes ripe yet, but at least they have set so I know all is working!

NordeastB said...

I could not find cedar in 2x8 dimensions so got treated lumber instead. The guys at the lumberyard said it's too expensive so there isn't a market for it. The small bags of vermiculite were expensive in MN as well so I substituted Perlite from Miracle Gro for 1/2 the price. Am very excited about finally doing a SFG.

Kelly said...

Hi NordeastB, we used 1x8's. Not as sturdy but it will do. Best of luck with your garden, sounds like you are well on your way!

Erin said...

NordeastB - hi, I too couldn't find any cedar or redwood stocked in our area. We used treated lumber too, even though the stuff these days is not supposed to be as toxic as the old treatment, it still smelled when we bought it! I hate that it's so hard to find the good stuff.