Friday, May 27, 2016

Garden, version 2016

This year we decided to try our hand at gardening again. We attempted it a few years ago with terrible results. The mulch and soil we added got sucked into the red clay and everything died.

The next year we didn't get around to it, though we did have a broccoli plant that somehow survived and managed to grow one small floret before dying in the heat.

We thought about trying again 2 years ago, but it just didn't happen, which turned out to be a good thing since a tree fell on our garden spot (it's the one area of our yard that gets decent sun throughout the day).

Last year I was pregnant and Mr M was supposed to deploy and we didn't even think about putting in a garden.

This year we decided it was time to buckle down and give it a go. Since our in-ground rows didn't work so well we're trying square foot gardening in raised boxes.

The frame in the foreground is one I purchased several years ago at Sam's Club. The larger frame in the background is made from wood that was in the shed.

the layer of cardboard is there as a weed barrier

I bought the mix recommended in the square foot gardening book/site, but ended up only buying enough for the smaller of our frames. It was expensive enough that I didn't want to have to buy twice as much to fill the larger frame. Since we're also doing chickens this year, I decided we''ll dump chicken poop and straw in the larger frame and let it compost and it'll be ready for planting next year.

what we put in the frame

After mixing the materials and filling the frame I attached string to form a grid. The purchased frame is not actually great dimensions for square foot gardening- each square is 2.5 feet square, not an even 2 feet or 3 feet. It made figuring out the spacing a bit challenging, but I think it'll work out. I may take apart the larger wood frame and cut down the boards to even lengths. I didn't do that when I assembled it- I just used what we had without trimming since I had enough of the same sizes.

We weren't able to plant until May 13 because it rained almost every day from the middle of April when we got back from Colorado until the middle of May. The 13th was somewhat sunny, so I jumped on the chance to finally get the seeds in the ground. Of course, then we had a cold weekend with temps down in the thirties, followed by days of more rain. We weren't sure if they'd actually germinate and sprout, but they've done ok so far. At least the roots didn't rot in the beds.

the short fencing won't keep many animals out, but it will stop little boys from stomping across the beds

When I made the plan for planting seeds we ended up not being able to plant anything that needed to be started early and transplanted. As it was, we planted so late that we weren't sure if we completely missed our window.

color coded map to what got planted where

After planting:

We have sprouts!

Most of our seeds have sprouted, though we do have a couple spots that haven't sprouted at all. We've noticed some ant hills near those locations, so I wonder if the ants didn't eat the seeds?

the tallest plants are peas. it's time to get a trellis in to start training them up

I've decided I'm going to build a rudimentary greenhouse in the fall so we can start seedlings in late winter/early spring and transplant them. The first time we attempted a garden we started seedlings in the house, but that was before either of the boys were born. With little boys running/climbing/crawling every where and getting into everything, starting seedlings indoors really isn't an option. I'm not quite sure where to put the greenhouse though- we're running out of space in our sunny spot.

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