I raced home against the sunset and put down a couple inches of straw on my garlic bed tonight. We’ve already had frost the last couple of nights, which really snuck up on me. I don’t want to lose the garlic before it’s had a chance to start growing!
October 21, 2008
October 19, 2008
Well, this is the beginning of my serious organic gardening adventure. This past season I did plant several things, but because of poor placement and excessive rain almost everything succumbed to powdery mildew. We have mature trees surrounding our yard, and getting full sun is an issue. I did have great success with my tomatoes grown in a Self Watering Container (SWC), however, and it made me realize that if I can control the moisture and drainage levels I might have better luck. While I’m going to make a few more of my own SWCs to add to the one I bought, I decided that for my next try I was going to focus on Square Foot Gardening, using the techniques developed by Mel Bartholomew. I have gone against his recommendation to keep it simple (I never do!) and came up with a plan for 4 boxes. We bought the lumber yesterday and Al constructed the boxes today.
The two main boxes are 4×8, and the narrow ones are 2×8. The narrow beds in back will be for vertical climbers. We’ll need to put up some trellises, but I figured I’d wait until things were planted. There will hopefully be squash and beans growing in those next year.
I’m doing some calculating and I think I know how much of each component of “Mel’s Mix” to buy. I should be able to do that next weekend. Instead of pulling the grass out in the spring I’ll line the insides of the boxes with newspaper and lay the mix down to let it sit through winter. By spring the newspaper should have smothered the grass and broken down, allowing for the multitude of worms we have in the yard to move in.
Obviously there won’t be too much going on here for a while….this winter I’ll be making my final seed selections and placing some orders, which I’ll catalog here, and I may be doing some indoor growing to get a head start on the season. I’m using this site for my own documentation as much as for having other people check in and help me out if I get stuck.
A side note: I planted 40 cloves of garlic in traditional soil in my existing raised bed next to the shed on Columbus Day weekend (October 12th). It’s an experiment….but isn’t everything?….to try 4 different kinds and see how they fare. I should probably see some growth before winter which will tell me if they’re surviving the first stage. Then I’ll bury them with mulch to keep them warm, and I won’t know until spring if they made it through winter. If all 40 cloves grow, I’ll end up with 40 heads, so my family should be prepared next summer to receive the extras.