Thursday, June 5

This year's "SFG"

How is it already June and I still haven't posted anything about our Second Annual Attempt To Grow Something, a.k.a. gardening. We had so much fun with our little 4'x4' Square Foot Garden (SFG) last year:
On the left is when we'd just built our first square, not sure we'd even planted anything yet. And on the left is how it looked halfway through the summer. At that point, we still had beans, green onions, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and cukes. And we'd already enjoyed lots of lettuce and spinach as well as radishes. (For more images--132 of 'em!--and captions, click here.)

This year, we decided to expand, doubling our area with a new 8'x2' bed. Instead of using groundcloth between the grass and our growing soil like last year (grass still grew through), we're trying something new and using cardboard. Then we filled it up with "Mel's Mix" (1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermicullite). We'll need to add some sort of trellis too, since we plan to put all the tall stuff in this bed this year.

To get last year's square ready, all we had to do was add some new compost to the "Mel's Mix" already in there and smooth it out. Well, that was my plan. But then I started finding the "seeds" (a.k.a. stones) that Heidi had planted this spring. So I ended up going in with both hands and mixing it all up, plucking out stones when I found them. Ah, I do love the feel of light, crumbly soil slipping between my fingers!

While I worked, the older girls were out with me, asking questions, digging around, being silly. I asked Heidi to go find the "carrot tower" in the shed, describing to her four pieces of wood nailed to form a square. She lugged it out and was messing around with it. Next thing I know, I hear, "Mommy, I'm stuck!" Am I a bad mom for just laughing when she continued with "No, don't take a picture! Come here and help me please!"? (She wasn't very stuck; I told her to lift herself out and she had little trouble doing that. It even became a game for the next while: get stuck, lift out, get stuck, lift out, etc.)
On the right, you can see the carrot tower in place in the square bed (as well as the now-soil-filled long bed and, in the foreground, some of the seedlings that are going in the long bed). Since the beds are only 6 inches (15 cm) deep, we give the carrots extra room to grow by putting this "tower" on their square and planting the seeds at the top surface of the tower. Even with that extra space, some of my carrots last year still made it all the way down to the groundcloth, then starting to grow a little bubble at the end of their taper since they couldn't grow deeper. A funny little surprise when I pulled them up...

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