Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Garden Grows

Our first attempt at Square Foot Garden is going well.  As the season continues, I'm mentally filing away changes for an even better year next year.

Our growing season here as been weird this year.  We've had almost no sun until very recently.  Fortunately, spinach grows well in cooler weather.  This was our spinach crop (just two squares with eight plants each) after I harvest a little bit here and then to add to various meals.   I used some to add to garden salads, added some to peas, and tossed a bit into a pasta salad.  This batch went into my Tupperware Fridgesmart container to keep it fresh until we could use it all.  It filled the large container, which has a 19 cup capacity.  I have just a few leaves left, which will go into our next salad.

I also harvested our dill plant because it was going to seed.  We used some of it in tuna and some of it in salmon the other night.  I have enough to flavor 2-3 more meals still.  Scott has been trying to use up the one cilantro plant I grew for him (he's the only one who can stand it).  He put a huge handful in a taco salad recently (gag).  He's got 5-6 more handfuls out there still...unless I can figure out how to dry it for him.

This is an overview of our three box set.  You can see the first two rows in this photo.  The three boxes with the tall grass-like plants are onions.  I had to transplant them because I had 63 onions growing in just two squares!  I ended up moving them into seven squares, the three on the lower end of the photo and four more near the top of the photo.  There's romaine and two types of leaf lettuce in the center, Scott's lone cilantro plant left center, and strawberries at the end.   There are three empty squares with garlic in them for next year, and other empty squares waiting for broccoli and cauliflower.

Next year, I'll plant broccoli and cauliflower for an early crop.  We didn't get the boxes built in time this year.  I'll also plan on planting a late crop of broccoli and cauliflower in the first spinach squares.  I know now that spinach can be planted and harvested early enough to put a second crop in the same space.

Here's a close up of the lettuce.  We've harvested about three heads of lettuce already.  I need to be making some serious salads in the next couple of weeks to use up that romaine lettuce.  The leaf lettuce will be ready before long too.

This photo is at a very weird angle, I know.  The three squares of bushy plants are green beans.  They are about 18 inches tall and already have green beans about 1 1/2 inches long and just a millimeter or two in width.  The bottom square is finally got warm enough for it to grow.  My other cucumber plant didn't make it through the sunless spell but I reseeded for a second plant.  The three boxes with sticks are herbs that I reseeded.  The first set didn't make it, I think because the cats dug through those squares.  We'll see what happens.

This is our next box.  It has three varieties of tomatoes, half of our strawberries, and a single zucchini plant.  We decided not to spend extra money making the vertical supports this year.  Instead, I dug out some old tomato cages buried in our garage.  They are deformed but will work.  The tomato plant behind the zucchini (below my neighbor's daisies) is a persimmon.  Each persimmon should be about a pound each and a nice golden yellow.  We've never had them so it will be fun trying them out.  It's a late maturing tomato so we have flowers but not tomatoes yet.  The zucchini will have nine fruit as far as I can tell...maybe more.

This is a close up of our sun gold tomatoes.  They are a orange cherry tomato.  The kids are quite excited to see all of the little tomatoes on the vine.  So is Mama.

Our other tomato is a stupice.  It's a roma-sized red tomato.  We're pretty excited about them, too.

Here's a close up of half of our strawberries.  A couple of the plants don't seem to have any berries, but most of them have two dozen or more berries growing.  We've picked two berries, and Sam just picked a completely unripe (white with just a touch of red) berry.  Grrrrr...

Our last box is our deep box for root crops.  You can see that the potatoes (about 14 plants) are growing quite well.  In the back, we have about 30 carrots that are about 3/4 inches around.  We harvested three of our baby carrots recently for a salad.  They were sweet and yummy.

Mika asked about the potatoes so I dug down into the dirt to show her.  They are definitely growing down there...about 2 inches around the long way.

It's been fun gardening.  I definitely like the square foot method better than traditional gardening.  There's a lot less tilling, very little weeding, and good success.

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Anonymous said...

This is my first year with square foot gardening, and I too have changes in mind for next year. But I'm very happy with this method!

kristen said...

Hi! Your blog came up on google when I was searching for info about the air show!

I am also a homeschooling Mom, fairly new to Tacoma. Does your family attend a co-op? We are trying to find one, in this area, that fits our family. I just wondered if you could recommend one!

klpeirce (at) yahoo (dot) com