Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How does your garden grow? Square Foot Gardening, Take 2...

This is the second year we're trying out the Square Foot Gardening method. Last year the veggies grew like gangbusters. We had so much fun with it.


Until the plague hit.

See that cute little green guy up there? I always thought they were good bugs. Turns out they're just buggers. They annihilated my garden last year. And I let them. Because I had no idea what they were capable of.

This year I'm armed. With knowledge. And a shoe. If those grasshoppers come back, I'm gonna whack 'em. You've been warned, grasshoppa.

I learned some other things from last year's garden. And I've made changes accordingly. I'm not following the Square Foot Gardening method as strictly this year because it got overcrowded. So here's what I learned...
  • plant less plants
  • plant only 1 tomato plant to each square
  • plant all of the tomato plants next to each other at one end of the garden. They spread too much if you intersperse them and interfere with the neighboring veggie's sunlight and happiness.
  • plant the other tall growing vines like green beans and cukes next to the tomatoes at one end of the garden also. Same reasoning as above.
  • zucchini is an ENORMOUS plant. Make sure you plant it at the end of the garden where it will have room to wander.
  • you need major supports for tomato plants. Those little cages they sell at the garden store are NOT big enough. BSD made super wide, super tall chicken wire cages this year. We'll see how those work.
  • bean stalks will grow into the clouds just like they did for Jack. Be prepared. I'm not prepared yet.
  • strawberry plants will stay in the garden all winter here and grow new strawberries in the spring. Great for the gardening ego.
  • I cannot seem to grow lettuce. Spinach and Swiss chard, yes. But lettuce ain't happening. I need lettuce. What's up?!?
So...we planted this year's garden over Spring Break. The tomatoes and cilantro were little starter plants from the nursery. The rest we planted seeds. Here's how it looked a week later...
 I don't know why there's a border around this picture.

Those large plants in the foreground are the strawberries leftover from last summer. They are thriving and spreading. If the veggies don't pan out, in a few years, we'll just have a U-Pick strawberry farm.

I love the way this picture looks kind of Mayberry RFD-ish.

I'll keep you posted on how the garden grows this year. If anyone has any experience with grasshoppers, I'd love to hear how you got rid of them. Or any advice on why I can't grow lettuce?

19 comments:

Amy said...

I have never heard of the square foot gardening method. Very cool. I'd love to try a garden but I'm afraid the dog would dig it up. Love that last photo-very cute.

Gabe said...

I got my garden in this weekend. We have lots of blossoms on our strawberries too. Hoping the chipmunks dint get them all!

sloan said...

that garden's gonna be ah-mazing!! i remeber beign so envious last year - we just don't have the space for one of these babies ... can't wait to see what happens this year with yours!!
and yes, that last photo really does have a Mayberry look to it - did you alter it to have that look or is that the natural way it came out?! The red pops so much - I love it!!

Karina said...

It's so hard to believe how big the plants will get. I can't believe that sweet little bug wiped you out. What a bummer - I can just see you stalking around with a big ole shoe in your hand. Here's hoping you have a bumper crop this year - looks like you are off to a great start.

Andrea said...

Oh dear, I wouldn't want to be one of those green buggers :) It looks fab. Sounds like you and your helpers have it all sorted! Great shots too xo

Sheryl said...

Here in England I can't get any lettuces to grow either. Best buy them started off for you. I read the other day that if it is too hot they won't germinate, which is a shame because I need lettuce too.but I am living growing my own. I don't know about you but sometimes I get lost I'm my garden and my family have to come and search for me or else I would forget to make dinner! Good luck withbyour veggies, itbis looking great!

Bridget said...

Can't wait to see how it turns out! Good information to use from last year, too.

Love the last picture!

Amanda said...

My SIL does square foot gardening. I have yet to try. I love that last shot! So sweet! Adore her freckles :)

karren said...

I have heard it works really well...thanks for sharing.

Cindy S said...

Wow! That garden is LEGIT! Impressive.

Pam said...

I had a small garden last year and hoping to expand a bit this year...wanted to try lettuce. Now not so sure. We have bunnies and deer and who knows what else out there eating all my yummies! I was going to try and put a little fence up but I'm sure that won't do it either...LOVE how your garden looks. Keep us posted will ya??

Nicolle said...

I have 2 peppers, on a plant, in a pot. I know you're jealous!! :))

Your garden is going to be amazing. I want those strawberries. My mom has grown lettuce. I will ask her. She is a master at the garden. LOVE that last picture too!

Jill said...

Awesome gardening! Looks great! Love the last pic of her with the strawberry! Neat effect! Have a great night!

blessings,
Jill

Jen said...

We need more sunshine....love this garden. No idea on the grasshopper thing.
I emailed you my number to your Kimgrowsup email!

Maggy said...

that's SO exciting!! I am hoping we can squeeze one into our tiny yard!

Teresa said...

That picture is totally Mayberry and I love it!
I also battle the grasshoppers. They've been a plague the last two years so I'm hoping they've moved on for this year. One can dream, right?

Kerri said...

That first picture is hilarious!!
And the last picture is so sweet! You do amazing stuff with your camera girl!

I can't believe your stuff is sprouting up in just one week. I like how you have it set up...it looks all nice and tidy!

Melissa said...

Nice garden (both last year and now)! Love all your shots; you are so creative!

Dani said...

You go, garden girl!

I've heard that the square foot method is really good for beginners. I'm reading a lot. Not doing.

Next year. For reals.