Before jumping into the next progress report on my use-it-or-lose-it goals, I thought I'd show off my garden. I have threatened to build square-foot garden beds for a couple of years now, but this year we finally did it. We built three 4x4-foot beds.
this is the patriarch of them all. Plants are trained to grow vertically and in a more compact arrangement. It is so much neater and tidier, easier to weed, and can be built virtually anywhere. Basically, you build a square or rectangular box that is at least 8 to 12 inches deep, fill it with easily prepared good dirt like this, grid it off into 1x1 foot sections, follow guidelines something like these to determine how many plants to plant in each square, then dig away.
It stands to reason that I love this so much. It feeds my affinity for order and symmetry, and my not so well-disguised undeniable granola-eating, hairy-legged, plow-the-back-forty, chicken-pluckin' alter ego. Here they are just before gridding them off and with a wheelbarrow full of plants.
Instead of building the fourth side of our boxes with planks, we used our wooden fence as the back wall of the boxes. Ain't we clever? In our boxes we planted 18 tomato plants, 9 cucumber plants, 9 squash plants, 9 sweet potato plants (have you figured out yet that they were being sold in packs of 9?), 6 banana pepper plants, 4 cantaloupe plants, 6 corn plants, 16 onion sets, carrot seeds and lettuce seeds.
We've lost 2 cantaloupe plants, 2 banana pepper plants, and all of the corn. But other than that the garden is thriving. I had pictures of the garden in it's current condition. It's amazing and huge and beautiful and different everyday. I can't find the pictures now (I probably winnowed 'em, heh, heh.), BUT (there's that big ol' "but" again) here are some harvest pictures (like fifty-six of the same two baskets/pots full, but please humor me).
Ahhhh, I love it. The sides for tonight's dinner came straight out of the ground and off the vine today. Fabulous. I am totally aware that by no means am I a master gardener. I could maybe adequately push the wheelbarrow of a master gardener around. But it has been a great venture, as full of teachable moments in my internal soil as the number of grains of dirt in the raised beds.
This is a do-over.