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Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Square Foot Gardens

By Von Christensen- Guest Writer and Avid Gardner

I created two new Square Foot Gardens this year, 2011.  My first two sections of the gardens are with treated wood and/or seasoned wood.  The completed garden box is approximately 35 inches tall and 4’ x 4’.  I placed weed cloth over the grass, and then added large rocks for about 26” and a layer of sand, another layer of weed cloth and about 9 inches of my special soil (a third part compost, third part of vermiculite and third part of peat moss).  I divided my garden into squares and planted.

My front garden is planted with eight squares of bush beans (half yellow and half green).  I can plant nine seeds per square; thus 72 plants.  I planted one square with carrots, 16 plants.  I planted one square of swiss chard, 4 plants; one square of cucumbers; and 5 squares of potatoes or 20 plants.  So my front garden contains 113 plants.  I will water with a drip system (when it quits raining).
Planting potatoes in my garden is interesting.  I dig a hole in my square and take almost all the soil out.  I then place four cut potatoes with their eyes pointing to the sky and cover with just enough dirt.  When their leaves start to show through the soil, I cover them again with my soil.  This process is continued over the next few days until the square is completely filled again.  I do this because the potatoes will grow up along the stem and I can then “pick” the potatoes instead of  “dig” them as is done in regular dirt gardening.  I also plant baskets and tubs with potatoes and use this same process.
In my back SFG I created a mini greenhouse.  My soil doesn’t come to the top of the garden so my plants are about 15” from the top.  Next I planted my tomatoes and put cages over them and secured the cages with rebar on the outside of my gardens.  Because of the rain and colder weather we are having I put heavy clear plastic over the cages, thus creating a greenhouse to keep my plants warmer at night and let what sunshine there is to come in during the day.  When it gets hotter and stops raining, then I will remove the plastic and off they will grow.
I planted six tomato plants (I always purchase tomato plants from Costco as they are healthy and large); one bush cucumber, two pepper plants.  I still have 7 more squares to plant.
I  also planted potatoes in two large 5 gallon pots placed in the flower garden out back and a half wooden barrel.  I can gather the potatoes with my hands rather than dig them out in the fall.
I plan to use this greenhouse method in the fall to create a longer growing season.  With the plastic on during the day (temps not higher than 70 degrees) I will be able to create my greenhouse effect.

By Von Christensen- Guest Writer


brooke said...

Ok - no joke. That is brilliant. The tomato green house is so smart. I have not seen a square foot garden done exactly like this. Thinking outside the box (pun intended) to make it even better. It's like a cold frame/garden. I have been looking for a better cold frame. I think I might take your idea and run with it. THANKS!!!

Debi said...

Ingenious ~ great idea. I bet your kids love playing in the dirt too. Debi

David said...

Von, those have to be the highest raised beds I've ever seen. It sure makes for not have to bend over to work in the garden. Sounds like you have a great plan for this year. Good luck with all your garden beds this year.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, this being a square foot garden, I see a 4 foot height, have you filled it up the whole thing?

Nice job.