Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Let The Weirdness Begin

Liz: What are these eggshells doing on the counter?
Me: Drying.
Liz: Let me guess, you're going to use them for some weird gardening thing?

Why yes. Yes I am.

It's that time of year again, when my thoughts turn to gardening. I have a green thumb, although I don't always apply myself. Mostly I grow flowers, but will occasionally get the urge to grow something edible.

Like this year. I've decided to do a little Square Foot Gardening. I've planned out two four foot square beds and have started to get things together.

The fundamental bit here is that you use raised beds, lined with landscaping cloth on the bottom to prevent weeds. Then you fill the boxes (mine will be framed with 2x10's) with a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite and compost. Notice what's missing? Yep, no dirt. No topsoil. No "potting mix".

The other important thing is the "square foot" bit. You plant the beds in one foot plots. So for my first try, I'll be planting 4 squares of lettuce (16 plants), 2 of carrots (32 total), 2 each of spinach, broccoli and green beans, snap peas *and* snow peas (trellised), cucumbers (ditto), plus more! The idea is compact and intensive growing and harvesting. When a crop is done (for example, carrots), then you immediately plant the next crop, whatever it may be. You can add compost or a little fertilizer as needed, and because of the growing medium there is very little weeding to be done.

And y'all get to share in my little gardening adventure.

You may recall a few weekends ago, Liz and I travelled four hours to buy bags of vermiculite. In the gardening world, that counts as adventure.

Oh, and the eggshells. You see, you collect them until you have a dozen or two's worth (rinsed, of course), then soak them overnight in a five gallon bucket of water. Use the water to give your peppers and tomatoes a drink. They love the calcium. Then you can crush the eggshells and spread them around your plants. Snails and slugs hate to crawl over them.


sheri said...

I know people who've square-foot-gardened and loved it. I'd try it but I'm too lazy. So I'll read about yours. Well, that's enough work for today.