This is my first garden…ever. Let’s hope I don’t mess this up!
I enjoy reading and research. It’s true. I really geek out on technical details. So of course I read all about gardening, watched YouTube videos, and talked to a lot of locals before I started. Square Foot Gardening seemed to be a logical choice for a neophyte like me. So, I purchased Mel Bartholomew’s book and began as soon as I could!
The Day Before Planting – September 23rd, 2017
First, I opened the compacted peat moss and spread it out on a 10 x 10 tarp. It should increase in volume once it’s aired out. According to the book, it’s important to have equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and compost. If you don’t let the peat moss air out, it could distort the ratio. Then, I assembled the cedar bed. This kit was very easy to put together and it looks good for this price point. I laid down weed barrier and simply placed the frame on top (click images to enlarge).
Next, I prepared the soil. I followed the directions in the book precisely. I mixed 5 different types of compost with equal parts of vermiculite and peat moss. To ensure I had equal parts, I used a plastic bucket as a measuring cup. I dumped 1 bucket of compost, vermiculite, and peat onto a 10 x 10 tarp. Jeremy and I folded the corners of the tarp back and forth, left and right to mix it up. Finally, we dumped the soil into the bed and repeated the process 1 more time to fill a 4 x 4 x 6 frame (click images to enlarge)
Planting Day – September 24th, 2017
In the morning, Jeremy helped me nail the grid to the top of the bed. These baseboard trim pieces were just the right fit.
Once the grid was in place, it was time to plant! I planned ahead using this convenient companion planting guide from Walden Labs.
Apparently, cabbage and carrots are not good companions so I made sure they were on opposite sides of the bed. Everything else seemed to compliment. I purchased lettuce, kale, and spinach seedlings from Crabtree Farms. The rest I sowed directly into the soil. I’m not sure what to expect from the onions. The seed packet says it takes 80 to 90 days to harvest. I probably should have purchased seedlings and transplanted them. Live and learn! (click image to enlarge)
I left several empty squares so I can plant additional seedlings every two weeks. Bartholomew calls this succession planting. I only planted what I can use at harvest time without waste. Two weeks from now, I’ll plant more carrots, spinach, lettuce, and kale for a second harvest. I may go back to Crabtree to purchase some onions to transplant. I read that marigolds and nasturtiums can deter unwanted pests so I may plant those too.