Okay, this may be a long shot, but is there anyone out there who lives in or near Sherman Texas? If you do and you garden, and you are willing to be my hands, eyes, and ears in an experiment, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!Happy gardening!
- Location: Northern Louisiana
- Gardening Year: 2013
- Planting By Color group: Red, Navy
Okay I have gotten it all completed! My husband was so nice to help me mix all my soil. I have yet to fill in the cinder-blocks because I want to make sure this all works out first.
I have provided pictures of everything that is starting to grow. I see promise in all plants except my tomatoes. It seems to be taking them a while to sprout new growth…and the bottom leaves are starting to yellow (picture below). I have researched and found this to be due to a lot of different factors…so I just don’t know which to pin it on yet. Any advice? I water this garden every day that it does not rain, and it gets partial sun from 9-10:30, full sun from 10:30-3:00, then partial again from 3:30-around 4 or 5:00 pm.
My garden is planted and in full swing! I have some photos showing my progress–from 2 weeks ago and again last Friday.
Here is my broccoli, planted April 6th. You have to look closely to see it!
And here is the same bed two weeks later. You can see the four broccoli plants, one eggplant toward the bottom, onions on the right, and a little cilantro. I’ve also planted pumpkins and squash on the ends by the trellis.
This is my spring garden bed, you can see kale on the left and parsley in the middle. Also planted as seeds (but you can’t see the tiny sprouts) are green onions, spinach, turnips, beets, radishes, and parsnips.
This close up is the green onions. Instead of growing from seeds, I cut the ends off some green onions from the store, leaving 1″, and planted them in the garden. This gives me a huge head start!
Here’s the same garden bed two weeks later. I realize that I also turned on my irrigation during this period, which made a huge difference!
I finally got around to planting my warm weather veggies, but it was still cool at nights. So I used the Wall O Water. So far, they are LOVING it, and growing really well. I have two Roma tomatoes in this garden bed, four peppers, and more peas and cucumbers in the front. You can see I still need to put up the trellis netting.
Two more Romas here, and I will be planting a Pink Brandywine and Purple Cherokee I started from seed. They aren’t quite ready to go outside yet. I had some volunteer cilantro, and planted it in the empty spots.
This bed looks boring–it’s my corn. I am showing off my new grids, made with 48″ pieces of wood from the hardware store, cost 55 cents each. I painted them, screwed it together and now I have pretty grids. This is WAY cheaper than anything else I’ve found to divide my beds.
And there it is! I’m really excited for all the progress. I’ve been a little slow this year, but the weather has stayed so cool, I don’t feel I’ve missed out on much.Happy gardening!
- Location: St Louis, Missouri
- Gardening Year: 2103
- Planting by Color: Orange/Brown
When I was a child, my parents maintained a traditional row garden, so when I finally had a place of my own, I figured I would start a garden myself. When I started thinking about starting my own garden last fall, it resembled the garden I grew up with, albeit on a smaller scale. It would be approximately 8 ft x 12 ft will rows of beans, some tomatoes, peppers and squash, however as I started to investigate urban gardening, I began to see that there were so many more options available than I had anticipated. I didn’t have to dig into the existing soil or plant things in rows, in fact, many of my presumptions about gardening didn’t hold at all. In fact, I could even raise chickens in my own yard!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. After reading through a few books on urban farming and countless websites, it seemed like the best way to start the transformation from typical suburban backyard to small urban homestead would be to setup a few raised beds using square foot gardening techniques. Using the instructions for Ana White’s $10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds as inspiration, I set out to build my own beds. I didn’t particularly have the means to rip the fence posts lengthwise so I modified the plans a bit to use some 2 x 2′s as corner supports as well as making each bed 3 ft wide. After a few hours of construction I ended up with the beds pictured below (the center bed is upside down).
When I went to sink these into the ground, I soon realized that the two foot long posts that I had put in each corner to stabilize the beds were much longer than they needed to be. In order to get around the many of the roots in the ground I ended shaving each of them down to only a few inches each, but I think it should be enough to hold it in place. To help them from moving around, the beds were screwed together on the ends.
The beds were filled with a Mel’s Mix composition. While I was able to get the peat moss and vermiculite without much issue, the bulk of my compost came from the city compost pile, which I think was mostly leaf compost, and perhaps not entirely finished. I’ll be starting a compost pile this year to amend the soil with additional nutrients, but I’ve resigned myself to at least testing it and possibly using some amendments if necessary.
I planted the garden a few weeks ago using the layout below. I know that there’s a few problems, namely that the corn plot isn’t large enough to pollinate naturally and that the tomato and corn plans share a common parasite so I’ll need to watch out for that.
Here are my beds shortly after being planted, there’s some fencing around the beds to prevent the dogs from getting too curious.
Here’s a close up of the first (right) bed, early this week.
The second (middle) bed.
The third (left) bed.
Shortly after planting we had a couple of weeks of cold temperatures and rain, so I think things are a bit stunted, however I’m positive about the outlook. Some other notes of interest:
- I conducted the soil test this past weekend, it showed up with a pH between 7 and 8, low nitrogen, low potassium, and high potash. Over the next few weeks I’ll add a soil acidifier and some NP fertilizer to bring things to where they ought to be.
- I’ve been seeing gnats around my cucumber seedlings in the morning. Given the amount of rain that we’ve received and the source of my compost, I believe that these are fungal gnats. I’ve setup some apple cider vinegar traps, so hopefully that should address the problem, if not it seems mosquito dunks might be the another possible solution.
- The asparagus was planted before the grid went down and it appears that some of them were misplaced into the corn squares. I’m not sure if I should try moving them or let them be for this year.
Any thoughts on the layout?
For Mother’s Day this year, I asked my family to help me redo our front garden beds. It took several trips to the nursery, several hundred dollars, and ALL DAY on Saturday to get it done!
Just as an aside, gardening with vegetables is like second nature for me, but I was completely lost in a world of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Thanks to several friends and a helpful saleswoman at the nursery, I was able to fumble my way through it.
This is before–two years ago in the fall I planted about 100 tulip bulbs. This was their second year. There is no doubt they are BEAUTIFUL, but within a week the blooms would have all dropped. And they were in the way. So I cut them all down, put huge bouquets in my kitchen, and gave the rest away. When I dug up the bulbs I found there were 3 bulbs for every one I planted. I definitely want to replant tulips in the fall, and enjoy them year after year!
Here is a view from the side. You can see the rhubarb plant–again it was it’s second year. I am determined to grow rhubarb and mint in these beds, because I want it to be functional and beautiful. But it had to be moved, and may not survive the transplant so late in the season.
Here is the final product in front–10 shrubs, 4 grasses, 2 trees, and 1 flat of flowers later. If you look closely you can see my bucket of cut tulips on the right.
And here is the side garden bed. I put in two Barberry bushes, one lilac, and transplanted the Johnny jump ups and pansies to the border. I will let this fill in with mint, I think.
I am sore, tired, and very satisfied!
- Location: Henderson TN
- Gardening year: 2013
- Planting By Color: Orange
Thank you for your site, your emails and encouragement to garden. This will be my third year to plant a square foot garden. We have plenty of space and great light but we have lots of deer, rabbits and squirrels so I have to fence my area which made it really small.
Here are some pictures from last year:
Last year’s plan:
I am in the orange group and ready to start making plans for this years garden. I have made many mistakes but I am learning as I go. I know that need to move things around but I am not sure how the soil from the year before affects the next year.
Where should I move the tomatoes for the best impact? Where the squash was? Where the broccoli and potatoes were?
I am learning about companion planting as well. Some things are great beside tomatoes and some are not. Some things I will not grow again this year. There will be no broccoli or cabbage. But I do hope to plant some peppers and onions. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Here is this year’s plan:
- Location: Omaha, NE
- Gardening year: 2013
- Planting By Color: Yellow/Maroon
Greetings, I’m brand new to gardening, and after a lot of research, I thought square foot gardening looked like the most efficient way to do it. I decided to start gardening after my wife became pregnant this winter. All the baby books said to eat tons and tons of veggies, and so I thought this would be a cost-effective and fun way to provide them.
My neighborhood community garden offered us a 4×10 plot, and I told my brother in law I would give him 1 row of 4, which leaves me with a 4×9 plot. In March I started 5 varieties of heirloom tomatos, 4 varieties of sweet pepper, and some eggplant. I have tons of seedlings, and would like to get as many of them in as possible.
Here’s my naked plot. Since it’s my first time using this previously-used plot, I’m not sure what was growing here before, or what is in the soil. I supplemented it with a roughly even mix of Oma-gro (compost made from municipal clippings), vermiculite, and peat moss.
And here’s how I plan to use it:
I am building a 10-ft wide trellis made of electrical conduit, 5 ft high, running along the north end. (Too short? I don’t want to shade out the other community gardeners.) I’m playing with the idea of placing the trellis one foot into the bed (one foot south of the north end), to increase access to the tomatos, cucumbers, and melons from the north end. I’m concerned it will be harder to pick the fruit through the trellis if it’s right along the north edge. Is access an issue with nylon net trellises?
I plan on pruning the tomatos to one stem each to accomodate such tight spacing. I might keep the melons to one plant (ideally two), but maybe because they’re midget melons the foliage won’t be as heavy. Anyone have experience with them?
For the rest of the plot, I’m using a kind of checkerboard pattern of big and small plants to avoid planting too densely. The big ones are peppers, eggplants, and bush beans. The smaller ones are herbs, greens and carrots. The sequential plantings are staggered so that by the time I’m on my third planting, I will only be planting in the outside edge, allowing for easy access to the soil. I put marigolds and basil near the vining plants because I’ve read they help with pests.
Looking forward to getting stuff in the ground real soon. It’s snowing in zone 5b right now, but frost-free date is two weeks off. Insane weather here in Omaha.
I will update in the comments section as the year progresses. Please comment with any words of wisdom for a novice gardener. Thanks!
I planted these onions last spring. The onions on top were planted from seed, and the ones on the bottom were green onions I bought at the store. I cut off the roots, leaving about 1″ of stem, and used the rest to cook with. Then I replanted the bottoms and they grew more onions.
These onions were growing fine last fall, and then came the COLDEST WINTER EVER. We usually get lots of snow, but then the sun shines, temps rise to above freezing, and everything melts. Not this year. There was snow/ice on the ground from December until the middle of February. So these onions were snowed in all winter, and look at them! If you look closely, you’ll see that the outside “leaves” are brown and dead, but the plant easily survived the winter and now they’re thriving.
So, when I tell you a plant is “hardy” and can tolerate cold temperatures, I’m not kidding! Read more about plant hardiness.
Honestly, this year I’m feeling so behind, a day late and a dollar short (Donny and Marie, anyone?), not at the top of my game. But then I take a deep breath and remember that gardening is very forgiving. Forgot to start those seeds? Just buy transplants. Forgot to plant peas early? Plant them later for the fall. Plans can always be adjusted, and there’s always something you can grow right now.
Once I remove all the pressure to do everything all the time, I remember that I love to garden and I start to enjoy it again. So here is my 2013 garden plan:
Some items to note:
- This is the first time in YEARS that I’m planting corn. I couldn’t resist! I am hoping that adding fertilizer (which I did not do last time) will improve my yield.
- One of my readers gave me some heirloom tomatoes. Excited for pink and purple!
- I am trying out a new salad garden plan in my north-west bed. I’ve got lots of succession planting going on–first, radishes, then peppers; replace turnips with green onions, etc. I’ll let you know how it goes.
- I’m really excited about growing squash and pumpkins over my new trellis. I got them in way too late last year, and only had one pumpkin.
- Location: North East Texas
- Gardening Year: 2013
- Planting By Color: Red/Navy
I am Brenda and I am a square foot gardener. I live in a small town in North East Texas. I have always loved gardening, but raising kids, pursuing a career, 23+ years as a youth camp sponsor for my church, VBS, and life have gotten in the way of my pursuit of the perfect garden spot. Life is slowing down. The kids are gone too far away to even make it home on the weekends. We just moved into a new house with a new yard that needs a lot of work. So, it is just time to start serious gardening again.
Thirty years ago, I discovered Mel Bartholomew’s square foot gardening method. It suited me perfectly. I recently read Mel’s second book revealing new ideas and improvements to his system. Then I journeyed to the internet to learn more and I found Emily’s blog. I have spent hours reading some of the guest posts, so I decided to try t0 share my garden with others.
My husband has been a big help building all the structures I have needed and helping make the dirt. I am calling this year phase 1 and plan to start with six 4×4 squares. At this time we have the first three squares up and growing. We made our dirt using Mel’s mix recipe: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost and 1/3 coarse vermiculite. We used four different types of compost: composted cow manure, composted chicken manure, and two other types of unknown composted material.
Mel’s mix recommends using five different types of compost so you get all the nutrients. Since I only found four different types, I am a little nervous that my soil may not have the correct balance of nutrients. After reading some of the other gardeners blogs, I think I have decided to get Texas A&M to do a soil analysis. Has anyone ever done this? I have done some soil tests with the kits from the garden store, but they were hard to understand. In the meantime, all the plants look really healthy. I have planted spinach, four kinds of lettuce, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, onions, chives, parsley, and sugar snap peas.