Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Square Foot Garden

My garden plot is located in the Bolton Community Garden (zone 6a). Plots are 15' by 22', there is a well with a hand pump for watering, and the garden is surrounded by a 7' deer fence with chicken wire buried 18" below ground. The garden opened three years ago, during that very wet spring. My plot was sodden and every time I tilled the soil to dry it out, we got a week of rain. Last year I moved to a drier and sunnier spot and had a good year. 

This spring, however, started to look like two years ago. In early May the garden was soggy and we had a lot of rain. Actually, the whole Eastern US was getting soaked. On our trip to St. Louis in mid-May, we saw flooded fields everywhere with the plant stubble from last year still unplowed. So I can't complain but I suspect food prices will be going up. That's all the more reason to have our own gardens to provide our families with fresh produce. 

Faced with the prospect of another possible wash out, I decided to go to raised beds in my garden plot. I used Mel Bartholomew's New Square Gardening design, based on 6" depth raised bed filled with "Mel's Mix," a synthetic mix of peat moss, vermiculite and compost. Most of the garden plot was covered with a polyester landscape fabric and the boxes were arranged on top, and then filled with the mix. 

I will document details of the construction of the boxes in other posts. Here are the details of the garden as of now. A row of two 3'x6' boxes, covered with floating row cover, are planted with squash in one and broccoli and Brussels sprouts in the second. Then there are two rows of three 4'x4' boxes. I use one for collards and kale, one with trellises for cukes and eggplant, one for peppers, one forbush  beans, one for salad greens, and one for peas and soybeans. The last four feet of the garden is not yet in boxes and contains a double row of tomatoes.

Building the boxes delayed planting, and we have had a lot of cloudy and rainy days. But the garden is coming along. The following are a couple more views of the garden taken on July 5.

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