I am so very, very bad at growing things. My houseplants all die, my lawn is weedy and brown, and our two trees are completely on their own. But Gal Smiley really wanted to have a garden this year. She REALLY wanted one. And we figured it was good for her and good for us and maybe a little bit good for the Earth as well, so…I’m a sucker.
This year we have put in a very small vegetable garden using the idea of Square Foot Gardening. The concept is that you build a box and then mark off squares that are one foot on each side. The box should be 6 inches high, and then you fill it with super good dirt.
In each square foot patch, you can plant a different kind of plant, and the number of seeds you put down depends on the kind of vegetable. For small things, like carrots or radishes, you plant 16 seeds (you can put two or three seeds in each hole if you’re really nervous about it) in a 4×4 grid. for bigger plants, like peas or beans, you plant 9 in each square. Cucumbers are two per square, while tomatoes are one per square. The result is that your garden takes up a very small area, but you can still grow a wide variety. You’ll have just enough for your own family and won’t end up with bushels of vegetables to give away.
Here’s our box. Sir Monkeypants built it in one day. That’s sexy.
You may notice that for a square foot garden, it’s not very square. That’s because my friend Lee Ann, who has degrees and degrees in horticulture, has drawn up a design for gardens for our entire (currently completely barren) lot. I KNOW. Advice to all: befriend Lee Ann. The designs are AWESOME, and we love them, and we can’t wait to put it all in. Anyway, Lee Ann knew we wanted a kids’ area on our lot so she drew out an area at the side of our house for the vegetable garden, along with other fun things like a sunflower bed, sun dial area, and a bean teepee. This triangular design fits her drawing.
The taller box stuck on the end, by the way, is for carrots. Carrots (and leeks and potatoes) need a 12-inch high box to grow to proper size and depth.
So we planted all our seeds, along with a pre-sprouted tomato and pepper plant we scammed from our (much more organized) neighbours. Then we watered, watered, watered.
And lo, the miracle of life:
I took this picture just five days after we planted our garden, and already the cucumbers are shooting up. How cool is that? Right now it’s nine days since planting, and there are several baby bean and pea plants poking their heads out. AMAZING.
I did some calculations last week and it seems that everything we planted will be ready to harvest within five days of each other, oops. So it could be one intensive vegetable week only, but hey, that’s more than I expected.
I’d even say, it’s kind of a miracle.