January 27, 2016

Planting Template for Square Foot Garden ~ Wish List

I love gadgets that make work easier and these hand made square foot gardening templates are going on the top of my wish list.  Greg Holdsworth, over at Vegetable Gardner, shares how to make wooden planting templates from plywood and wooden spools with a handle on top.

I know we have a lot of old spools of thread (the thread is now weak so I won't be using it), some even wooden, that I may be able to use and not have to purchase any.  I even have a piece of plywood.  These are going on my square foot gardening wish list for a rainy day: one with 16, one with nine and one with four.

January 26, 2016

Watering Grid for Square Foot Garden ~ Wish List

I need to research this more before a final decision, but I think this square foot gardening watering grid is ingenious!  It was shared here on the Square Foot Gardening Official Forum by Hoggar.  He designed it and gives detailed information on how we can make our own.  I'm adding this to my square foot gardening wish list.
Image credit goes to Hoggar on Square Foot Gardening The Official Forum

January 25, 2016

Trellis for My Square Foot Garden ~ Wish List

Our current home's location and large deer population dictates that my square foot gardens be right in front of the house I want it to look as lovely as possible.  I found this image in a Google search of a square foot garden with trellises in the back for vining plants.  This would be perfect in front of the brick wall of the garage. (I've included a link to the image as I can't find how to get permission to share it here).  I've added trellises to my Square Foot Garden Wish List.

January 24, 2016

Where to Buy Vermiculite for Square Foot Gardening

One of the trials of Square Foot Gardeners is finding a source for Vermiculite.  I stumbled upon this Google Document with vermiculite sources listed by state.  There are none listed near me, but I did find one within easy driving distance for a relative who comes to visit.  I am looking into having them pick some up for me from Palmetto Vermiculite in South Carolina (or Coleman Farm Supply at 5980 Highway 101, Woodruff SC, (864) 476-2914).  Palmetto actually carries one specifically labeled for Square Foot Gardening.  Note:  looks like 2 cu ft = 10#.

January 23, 2016

"Top Hat" Added to Make Deeper Soil in Square Foot Garden ~ Wish List

I am adding a "top hat" or two on my Square Foot Garden wish list.  They are made of cedar planks and are 1' x 1' square and 6" deep.  You place one on top of one square in the garden, fill it with soil and plant carrots or potatoes (or other crops requiring more than 6" of soil) in it.

Square Foot Gardening sells them for $9.99 plus shipping.  I can get a 1" x 6" x 8' cedar at Lowe's for just under $15.  I am adding this to my square foot gardening wish list.  I may not have them this first year, but perhaps next year.  For this year I'll plant short carrot varieties.

January 22, 2016

I've Ordered The All New Square Foot Gardening Book by Mel Bartholomew

As you can see my Square Foot Gardening book is quite old (copyright 1981).  I know that Mel Bartholomew has learned a lot since he wrote this book and so I have used some of my Christmas money to order a like new copy of  Mel's latest All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Edition book from a seller on Ebay.  I can't wait until it arrives.

I tend to look at several sources to learn a new skill.  At this stage in my life I think it is best to just stick with Mel's years of knowledge and try it.  So I am putting away my other books:  for now anyways.

January 21, 2016

Gardening Home Library

We have collected several gardening books in our home library over the years; most of them from used book stores.  They came in handy when we lived in the country with a large garden.  We moved them to the city with us but they have been hidden away until now.  I plan on studying them to learn how to incorporate their knowledge into my Square Foot Garden journey.  I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands over a computer on my lap while learning.

January 20, 2016

Soil Needs for Filling My First Square Foot Garden

Apparently soil used in a square foot garden needs to be quite specific in its blend if success is to assured.  Mel, from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation gives this recipe he has used with fantastic results:

Total Soil Needed for 4' x 4' x 6" Bed:  8 Cubic Feet
  • 1/3 Coarse Grade Vermiculite (Palmetto Vermiculite in SC)
  • 1/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss (bag is compressed, when opened it about doubles)
  • 1/3 Blended Compost (a variety of types -- 5 preferred)
From my reading it appears as if the Vermiculite is often hard to find locally and expensive to ship.  They suggest possibly finding it at Commercial Nurseries or swimming pool companies if local home and garden centers do not have it.

Since my first garden is being paid for by birthday and Christmas gifts I am taking the easy route and buying pre-mixed, bagged soil.  Instead of jewelry or lovelies of some sort I will request dirt!  Both Lowes and Home Depot have it listed on their websites, but it is not yet in stock in the stores (shipping from HD is $10 a bag and Lowes does not ship it).  I am hoping my local Lowes will stock it soon.
Both of these are the exact mix developed by Mel Bartholomew (they even have his image on the bag).

Soil upkeep from year to year is simply to add homemade compost.

January 19, 2016

Ordering Seed Catalogs for My Square Foot Garden

Usually by this time of January we have received several seed catalogs, but since we moved to the city and haven't ordered anything in four years they have almost dried up...so I am off to order several (see my list below).

Ordering Seed Catalogs for Square Foot Gardening
Photo of a page from a Gurney's catalog I have.

January 18, 2016

Ordering My First Square Foot Garden Frame

I am by nature a very frugal person, but I am choosing to splurge while beginning my Square Foot Gardening journey.  I have $250 in gift money that I have been hanging onto for a while.  I just have trouble spending it.  $150 of it was given to me specifically to "spend on a whim."  That was a few years ago--it is still in the envelope waiting for a whim.  Well, my Square Foot Garden is going to be my whim.

I am splurging on ordering my first Square Foot Garden frame directly from Square Foot Gardening.  I am choosing the 4' x 8' x 6" frame.  I wish it was a little deeper, but most things I have read say 6" is deep enough, so I will give it a try.  I thought it would look nice, too, along our white railing in the spot I chose for my first garden.

With my birthday just around the corner I will be asking for "dirt" to fill my garden!  So tho I am not looking to do this first garden economically, I will also not be spending any budget money on it -- it will all be gifts.  It still makes me nervous to splurge.

Editing to add:  I changed my mind.  After further research, checking my garden location and discussions with my family I decided on ordering three 4 x 4 frames.  Shipping was the least expensive per garden this way (over 2, 4 or 5--I checked them all to see how much a difference quantity made on the shipping costs). With shipping to my part of the country they came to $94 each.

January 17, 2016

Getting Started on My Square Foot Gardening Journey

I am just beginning my Square Foot Gardening journey and hope to record each step on this blog.  I will share what I learn and what I do along with my successes and failures.  My first step is choosing a location for my first garden.

Because we have a huge deer population which love to eat our plants I am choosing to place the first garden in front of our front porch.  So far the deer have not eaten any of the plants grown against the house.  We will see.  Here is my chosen location as of January 17, 2016.  [I am still studying how to grow vegetables safely near a house foundation.]