Showing posts with label Square Foot Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Square Foot Gardening. Show all posts

Friday, 3 June 2016

Finished my degree- now on with life

Well...not quite. I still have the matter of a ten week intern-ship to complete (trying not to stress too much), but the academic part of the degree is finished. It has been a long four years of study, most of it enjoyable, some of it torturous (maths units spring to mind) but all of it educational.

By the end of 2016 I will be a fully qualified, card carrying Primary School Teacher.

The last four years have been spent largely either working or studying, with little snippets of craft or building squeezed in around them. Now I plan to spend some time....

Building the garden;
Building a new cover over the trailer bed and replanting.

Refurnishing the Hugelkultur beds and planting.

Crafting with fibre;
Making fulled bags

Spinning cotton and wool


And more knitting

Dyeing homespun yarn

A lot of homespun yarn

Building my business;

Trying to attract more customers

Adding new products...both hand made and....

Naturally harvested.

Learning new skills

Increasing my stock

Building a house;

Well...maybe I'm dreaming.

Spending time with my animals (and family and friends);

Also...enjoying the finer things in life;

Like unravelling old jumpers by the fire...with wine

And watching sunsets...with wine.

It has been a long, life changing journey so far, I wonder what will happen next?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Square foot gardening update number two

The trailer bed I planted using the square foot gardening method is growing really well. I am pleased with the results, mostly. Some of the squares are not growing as well as I would like for a variety of reasons, but the bed looks great and I will be starting to pick greens for salads very soon.

The climbing and bush beans are thriving (as you can see), they are heading up the trellis and some are even growing out the top of the net.

The baby salad greens are ready to harvest too; don't they look yummy.

The little cucumbers are finally up and starting to grow. The beans are providing competition for light though; I will have to remember to plant the climbers further apart next time.

The Ceylon spinach is thriving and is ready to use but the mizuna, onions and carrots have not taken off as I would have liked. The germination rate for the carrots and onion was low too.

The eggplant is up and growing well and the Tokyo bekana is ready to eat but the silver beet is struggling and I am down to two in the square.

The capsicum is a seedling as none of the seeds I planted germinated, but it is growing really well.

So far I am impressed with the method, even though I will have to fine tune the planting a bit next time.
My advice to myself so far is;

Plant climbers with at least one square between them to minimize crowding.

Plant advanced seedlings of most vegetables (not carrots or beans).

Plant extra carrot seed, at least three per hole, to allow for poor germination.

Plant fast growers like beans two weeks after other seeds to reduce over shading of seedlings.

Elsewhere in the garden........

My marigolds are looking beautiful at the moment.

I have a big pot of Lemon Balm (Melissa) coming up right beside the door.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Square foot garden update

The seedlings are up in the trailer bed in which I am trialing square foot gardening. The beans are towering above everything else but most of the seeds have sprouted.

I have taken the advice of Mel Bartholomew and thinned the seedlings to the appropriate number and spacing per square foot, it caused me great pain to pull out good seedlings and volunteer plants from the last crop so I hope it pays off.

The bush beans are growing so fast they will be taller than the strawberries by tomorrow.

You can just see the carrots coming up.

The lettuce is looking healthy inside it's square.

The Tokyo Bekana is up, and it needed thinning.

 I am watering the entire bed at a rate of 10 litres per day, I scoop out the water from our showers and use it to water the whole garden. When the seedlings have all grown a set of true leaves I will mulch between them with a fine mulch like dried grass clippings or chaff to help retain moisture in the soil.

I am now wondering if I could combine square foot gardening with my Hugelkultur beds to make use of the best qualities of both methods, or would it be better to  use the Hugelkultur beds for large vegetables like zucchini, brassicas, corn and tomatoes and use the square foot gardening bed for small vegetables that can be grown intensively. What do you think?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Square foot gardening

The trailer bed has been planted with broad beans, snow peas, lettuce, beetroot, strawberries and calendula as my late winter/early spring crops. Now all those crops are finished so it's time to replant. 

The broad beans produced very well.

The calendula provided flower petals for oinitment, seeds for planting and looked pretty too.

The lettuce and strawberries grew really well together but now the lettuce has gone to seed.

Square Foot Gardening
I have been reading about square foot gardening lately and I thought I would give it a go in the trailer bed because the size of the trailer can be divided into 24 neat square foot beds.

I used wool to mark the beds out; not a long term solution, but it will do for the first planting.
I later removed the calendula, but decided to leave the strawberries.
The idea is to plant a given number of plants in a square foot of garden space. The beds need to be easily accessible and it's an advantage to have some trellis space. It's amazing how many varieties of plants can be squeezed into that little trailer bed using this method.
This method of gardening was pioneered by Mel Bartholomew, who must have a good mathematical mind.

This chart gives a planting guide for lots of common vegetables.

I planned the planting of my trailer bed using an online planning tool which made the planting much easier. Then I got to work planting the bed.

My November planting plan for the trailer bed (for some reason it shows the planting date as the date I downloaded the plan; the real planting date is 17th November 2013).

I dug up each square, added compost and a sprinkle of blood and bone and planted the required number of seeds in the square in the advised pattern.

The whole bed looks neat and tidy again. I put the shad sheet back on until all those seeds sprout then I will mulch the bed and take off the shade.

Carrot and Potato towers; growing potatoes in small spaces.

 You guessed I am largely immobile due to my knee injury I decided to go through my photos for the last few weeks and update all the posts I planned but didn't get to.

Carrot towers
The carrot towers have been disappointing so far; the carrots haven't grown at all and many have died. I'm not willing to give up on the idea yet though. Some of the possible causes of the failure are;

  • Transplanting the carrots (they don't really like to be moved) or transplanting them too young.
  • Over watering (I admit I went overboard on the watering because they were right beside the door)
  • No morning sun.
So next time I will either plant advanced seedlings, or seed into the tubes and I will move the whole thing to a spot that gets morning sun.

The carrots have not grown at all.

The marigolds around the bottom look great though.

Potato towers
I have had some success with potato towers though. The basic theory is the same as the carrot towers except all the growth comes out of the top of the tower and the height allows the plant to form many more potatoes than it could in the ground.

The potatoes surrounded by compost which is kept inside the wire tube by a newspaper lining.

The potatoes are planted into cardboard boxes full of compost to reduce grass invasion.
Each tower is planted with two potatoes, I have Desiree and Kipfler  potatoes in this year.