Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?  In containers? In raised beds? In nice evenly spaced rows?

I think I finally have the majority of my garden going for the year, which is no small feat, I assure you.  We moved into our new house at the beginning of the year, and the problem isn't lack of available space as much as it is lack of intense sunshine in the right spot.  I started by deciding to clear some ivy in front of the house to make way for herbs and the like, a project which is still in progress and will have to wait to be featured in another blog post.  I finally decided on raised beds, because my experience with the ivy patch showed me that clay is not fun to garden with, and because I was impressed with my brother's square foot garden.  I considered attempting to make the frames for the raised beds (how hard could it be?) but decided against it (good decision) when my step-mummy-dearest-in-law told me that my local garden center had kits for sale (hurrah!). Audrey helped me put them together, and I was on my way.

I was happy to find the right mix of soil prepackaged for me, so at least there was no guesswork there.

Here are the two beds: 
Many times since buying my veggie plants I've wished that I'd read the book about Square Foot Gardening instead of being so rushed and impatient that I simply scanned the website and talked to my brother a couple of times.  The premise is fairly simple, but I found myself at a loss when trying to figure out exactly how many plants I could reasonably plant in each square.  I actually might still buy it (I thought about requesting it on PaperBackSwap, but the wait list is almost 800 people long!) so that I know what I should actually be doing next year (oh, now look.  I've gone and made myself feel guilty and ordered the book already.  It wasn't so hard after all).  I ended up deciding to put plants requiring a ton of space on the corners, hoping that they won't mind spilling over all the edges.

This the bed on the right.  I've put corn in the back row (something I know nothing about growing but kids HAD to have it).  In the 2nd row there is watermelon on the sides, and dwarf peas in the center which were grown from seed.  The 3rd row has a cherry tomato, lettuces, and a cantaloupe.  The front row is zucchini, more lettuces, and cucumber (don't you just love saying "lettuces"?)  The peas are supposed to grow in more of a bush formation than a vine, although they may need staking at some point.

Close up of the peas.  Aren't they cute?  I just might like growing things from seed after all (tried to start some herbs indoors which failed miserably, sapping all my enthusiasm for the I thought).

This is the bed on the left.  In the back row I have tomatoes on the edges, and green beans in the two center squares.  The 2nd row has tomatoes on the edges, and the two center squares are more peas (not showing yet).  Row #3 is all about peppers: green, yellow, orange and red. The front row has honeydew melon, basil, and a butternut squash.

Okay, now I realize I have an awful lot of vining/wandering plants, and I'll just have to see how that goes.  I also realize that among all of those vining/wandering plants I don't have any pumpkin--they will just have to wait for next year!  I decided to try staking my tomatoes this year instead of caging them.  I'm not too sure how that will go.  I am also keeping an eye on the basil, since that didn't do entirely well for me when I tried to grow it in a container last year.

Acknowledgements:  I'd like to say thanks to my dad for having gardens when I was growing up and first introducing me to the magic of peas fresh off the vine, also to my mom for making me snap and eat those peas.  Matthew, thanks for the square garden idea!  I'm excited!  Eric, your creativity in gardening, composting, and healthy, responsible eating is always inspiring.  Also "Gramps" for his enthusiasm for gardening in the So.Cal. area--glad I'm not the only oddball in the family that just loves to play in the dirt!


  1. looks very good....enjoy the fruit of your labor.

  2. Hooray for Square Foot Gardening!!! I'm glad you were able to try it out!!! Everything is looking so yummy!