Sunday, April 8, 2012

Springtime Crazy

I apologize for the lack of posts for the last month, it's been kind of hectic around here.

My mother got married a few weeks ago, and the little one had a birthday (she's THREE!), after that I got hit with a bunch of orders, and then my back went out and triggered a massive flare up of Sciatica that had me in pain for more than a week and unable to do much of anything.... And then when I started feeling better, the sun finally came out and I've been obsessed with gardening, lol. That was my month in a nutshell!

So, onto the gardening!

Hubby and I have had this grand plan, every year, for the last 4 or 5 years, that we are going to start growing as much of our own food as possible. It hasn't worked yet.

This year, I'm not working outside of the home, so I'm here to actually DO SOMETHING with the garden!

Back a few months ago we ordered an awesome seed kit from Baker Creek, a huge variety of seeds, specifically picked to grow in Northern Climates (YAY!), and ordered the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. We had come across his website a few years ago, and liked the idea of this method, but never really did much research into it and it fell to the backs of our minds.

We've had the book for a couple months now, but hadn't read it. Hubby put together some garden beds, and we bought a few loads of a Loam/Compost/Vermiculite mix from a local farm and put that in a couple of the beds. Then I read the book. So we aren't using "Mel's Mix" like the book calls for, but it should still be a good start!

I started by planting some Lettuce that we had been growing inside. Some of it survived being harvested and then transplanted a day later and is coming back with new leaves, some of it didn't make it. I also started some seeds in the ground, other types of lettuce and greens (Oriental greens, swiss chard, etc).

That was about 2 weeks ago. This weekend I worked on transplanting Cauliflower and Broccoli and getting the grids up on the beds. Unfortunately, I ran out of string, so had to eyeball a few of the transplants. I came across a really good idea for planting Radishes and Scallions in the 1 foot grid lines, so maybe hubby can have his string back!

After I did all that and got the cauliflower and broccoli planted I was exhausted, so I relaxed the rest of the night. The next day I transplanted the rest of our seedlings (except the onions, those are coming due this weekend). I'll post a list at the end of this with the count of what I planted, it's kinda crazy lol

So here are the pictures:

Our "Three Sisters" bed (ONE of the two we will have) Corn and Beans/Peas in the center 2 rows and different types of Squash in the outer two rows

At the far end you see Hubby, next to him is where our lettuce is planted. This was taken before the picture at the top, as you can see from the top picture our tomatoes are now along the fence with peppers and eggplant in front of them

Our first time using "home grown" compost! Had to sift out some uncomposted materials, but found some useable!

Adding the compost to the soil (we didn't buy a mix for these 2 beds, they were an afterthought and we were broke haha)

Cauliflower in the top 6 rows, then Broccoli in the bottom 2 (and in 4 rows of the next box that you can't see)

As for the final tally, I sat down yesterday and figured out exactly how much I have planted, here we go:

I currently have 2 areas of the yard with garden beds, one bed is 64 square feet, it runs along our front fence (2 feet deep by 32 long) and another that is 4 sections that are 8x4 for a total of 192 square feet..... 
This is what I currently have planted:
  1. 144 corn seeds (80 more will be planted this weekend in a new bed that will 10x4 feet and will also include more beans and squash/Pumpkins) 
  2. 16 Zucchini plants
  3. 8 Japanese Cucumber plants
  4. 8 Winter Squash
  5. 8 each of 3 types of beans
  6. 8 sugar peas
  7. 24 Cauliflower and 24 Broccoli plants
  8. Lettuce and other greens
  9. 8 varieties of tomatoes, up to 12 plants of each type (Nearly 100 plants total by my count)
  10. 24 each of 2 varieties of garden peppers
  11. 12 each of two types of hot peppers
  12. 6 each of 2 varieties of eggplant
I also have 4 rows of 4 squares that are left empty, originally waiting for peat moss (at hubby's request) so I could plant 2 types each of carrots and radishes, but now I'm thinking of doing those in place of the grid lines, so I'll have those 4 rows for something else!

I also planted 13 Sunflower seeds. Hubby and I ordered more Corn, some Jack O Lantern pumpkin seeds and some Buttercup squash. Fast producing varieties because we have to have them shipped and our growing season is short anyway... All of our seed varieties are Heirloom seeds and we also ordered a book on Saving seeds called Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners so the $110 we've currently got invested in seeds will HOPEFULLY be a one time investment!
 I'll post more pictures as things progress, and try to get a big picture view of the whole garden area so you can get a really good idea of the layout, it's hard to tell from the pictures I've got!
Full disclosure: If you click on any of the links that go to above and purchase any of the items I posted, I'll get a tiny reward for sending you their way, I'm all about saving money though so if you can find it cheaper somewhere else,  more power to ya!