The Garden

May 8, 2007

This is my third summer at my house and this will be the year that I have a bountiful crop of vegetables. Last year my tomatoes and beans were dismal and my mom took one look and said that there was so much space left over.

This year, I decided to have a plan. I found a book called Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and thought that it would be great for my space. I was really intrigued by the trellising of cucumbers, melons and summer squash. I bought the book and started reading.

Looking at my 8’ x 16’ garden, I had a potential of 128 squares to work in. I could set up a wire trellis along the east side of the garden (I know trellises should be on the north side but I wanted more than just 8’. I’m hoping that this will be okay.) Needing space to weed between the squares, I penciled in two 2’ x 7’ walkways where I’d lay down wooden planks. This would create three 4 ‘ x 7’ areas with a 1’ x 16’ continuous area along the east side.

I now have 100 squares to plant my vegetables. That’s a lot of green stuff. To create my organized garden, I went out and bought:

  • 4 bags organic sheep manure
  • 3 heavy-duty t-bar posts, 8’ high
  • 2 pieces of concrete reinforcement mesh, 4’ x 8’ with 6″ x 6″ holes
  • bag of zip ties
  • wooden planting stakes
  • twine
  • 3 ½’ wide mini blinds
  • craft brads, tape measurer, Sharpie
  • tomato fertilizer

I had been using cow manure but was told that it contains more weeds, as cows are not as discerning as sheep in what they eat. I spread 2 bags of sheep manure over the top of my 8’ x 16’ vegetable garden. Using a pitchfork, I worked my way from one end to the other by digging up a foot of soil and shaking it through the pitchfork to work the manure in and to break up any hardened chunks of soil.

Using a metal mallet, a level and a ladder, I set the posts 1.5’ inwards from the north and south sides and 4″ from the east side and bashed the t-bars 2.5’ into the ground, leaving 5.5’ of post to attach the mesh. I attached the mesh to the posts with zip ties.

Next we made the 1’ x 1’ square grid to put in the three 4’ x 8’ planting areas. The mini-blinds that we were given were 3.75’, just shy of a perfect 4’ width. Stacking the mini blinds, we drilled holes at the ends of each blind using a 7/64″ drill bit. We attached them with metal craft brads into one long piece. To create the horizontal strips, we measured out seven 4’ lengths and three 8’ vertical strips. We measured out 1’ intervals, stacked them up and drilled more holes. We created the grid by attaching more metal craft brads. I also measured out the 2’ x 7’ walkway for which I still need to find some planks.

Here’s the almost-finished garden:

I soaked some pole bean, bush bean and pea seeds and planted them along the trellis and in two squares on the front. You can see the two darker areas where the soil has been watered. Here are the seeds soaking:

I’ve also started to harden off my plants. They went sightseeing yesterday:

Tonight I’ll be planting some carrot, spinach and herb seeds directly into the garden. I feel like I’m really behind on that.

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