Saturday, May 8, 2010

Square Foot Gardening: New England Style

This is year four of my growing a vegetable garden... and it has not been a very fruitful journey. The above photo was pretty much the whole bounty from last years garden. Sad, huh? My first year, the garden was completely flooded. The second year, it simply didn't grow... poor soil... poor watering... poor light??? Who knows? Last year, I meticulously hand tilled, added tons of organic soil, spent hours and days tending to the garden, only to have so much rain that everything pretty much molded or simply couldn't grow.

So, this is my last ditch attempt and a whole new idea... I am trying a raised square foot garden. This should solve the whole water issue, since the recipe I used for the soil is extremely conducive to drainage and, since it is raised, it would be really hard to flood it.

I started by building my box at 4 feet by 4 feet with landscape timbers I already had on hand and a few purchased lag bolts. This was clearly the hardest part... especially since I built it on the deck, not thinking of how heavy it would be to move!

After that, I used a wheel barrow to mix up some soil consisting of peat moss, compost and perlite (all found at my local garden center.) It makes a very fluffy mixture, so much that I asked a friend about it retaining water and she assured me that when she used peat moss, she had her best crops ever.

This is a great point for the kids to join is as they will love to stir up the mix.

After the mixture was stirred well, we added it to the garden. Acadia then decided to climb in to make sure it was appropriately mixed...

Use string ans screws to portion the garden off into square foot segments. You will plant one vegetable per square foot, which is supposed to yield a considerable amount more per square foot than row gardening. I found this handy chart on how to plant each vegetable in each square foot.

So far, I have only planed my basil (hellllooo, yummy pesto!)

If you are in New England, use this chart to tell when to plant your vegetables. I am still waiting for some of my other seedlings to grow hardy enough to put outside. Wish me luck. I will post often to see how it is progressing. Check out as a great resource for any questions you have.

All this veggie talk has my hungry for a salad... check out of my great summer recipes from previous years: delicious salads.... and more delicious salads.

1 comment:

  1. Last year was the first of our square foot gardening. We built 2, 8'X4' beds. We got the soila ll ready last weekend and have some seedlings, but are going to direct sow some seeds this weekend! I hope June isn't as rainy as last year because my peppers didn't really grow, but on the plus side I think I watered my garden myself only a few times all summer!