6.15.2014

The unsquared of square foot garden spacing

Honestly, I have been a bit reluctant to show off my latest little urban organic gardening experiment for fear of exposing the bare nakedness and somewhat ‘thrown together’ confinements of my little square foot garden space.

The Garden

Well, it was originally supposed to be planted as a square foot garden…  Somewhere amid my seeding adventures this spring, it became a little unsquared it seems.  Really, there isn't much about my garden this year that is square apart from the packets full of seeds I have crammed into my little 8 X 10 vegetable rectangle.  

Let me first explain…  I have a playful large, old dog, an extremely inquisitive child, and a low (I would say more like non-existent) budget for the garden this year.  Needless to say, any edible areas of the yard had to been fenced and this is what worked out.  For my neighbor’s sake, I am looking forward to the snow peas and Scarlet Runner Beans soon covering up my makeshift garden fence.  At this point in the year, it may not look like much but underneath the soil brews an abundance of edible treasure!

My plans for the backyard last week were to get a major weeding done and a second planting of seeds in. It got done and just in time for Friday, the 13th, the Full Moon and a lovely spring storm.  After weeks with no more than a drop, or two, of rain, the skies covered over and the rain fell for nearly two days. I cannot wait to see what happens out there over the next week, I am already seeing brand new radish sprouts popping out of the soil from what I planted only a few days ago!

It was not until I finished the second planting and was cleaning up that I realized I may have actually planted myself out of the garden though…  And possibly wasted a ton of seeds.  It is kind of an experiment, I am really curious to see how much food we pull out of the garden this year and if the plants will grow and produce the same as if they were planted in a more traditionally spaced garden area.  I do wish I had planted at least a small area in squares though… It is what it is and ultimately I am happy with how it all turned out. 

My little garden helper may have to venture in there to pick all the green beans and corn by the time fall rolls around.

As for the little experiments we have growing this season, the garden will be full of surprises!

Seeding 1

Experiment 1:  The Corn
Things got out a little out of hand during last week’s second seeding and I am a little concerned there might be upwards of 100 corn plants stuffed into the one side of the garden…  Yes, I may be crazy!

Experiment 2:  The Tomato Fences

Tomato fences

Tomato plants seem to love my garden, it must be the sun!  My original plan was to cage them this summer to save myself the endless staking and propping again and keep the plants at least somewhat under control.  A friend suggested weaving the plants into a fence.  So far, so good...  I would like to grab one more plant to cage and compare which technique produces higher yield.   

Experiment 3:  A Potato Tower
This is my first attempt at ever growing potatoes (my Irish blood boils as I admit to this) and due to a lack of space I thought I might give a potato tower a try.  So far, the cage shows no sign of life.  I think I may do a little digging around next week if there has been no change…

Potato Tower

Experiment 4: The New Composting System
After amending last year’s compost into the garden soil early this spring, I decided to try something new this year. I decided to add a DIY compost bin into the garden and a compost/ grass clipping walkway running through the center of the garden bed.  

The new compost bin consists of a plastic garbage can with the bottom removed and holes punched into the sides and buried about six inches into the garden.  Now, when I water the garden I simply place the sprinkler in the middle of the garden and flood it- watering and feeding at the same time.  Once the bin fills up, I will take the nice, rich compost material from the walkway, sprinkle it around the garden and move the bin materials into the walkway and start the cycle all over again. The garden is already showing signs of happiness. From the edge of the compost pathway, I pulled a twoonie sized radish today. Those seeds got in the ground less than a month ago!

Getting back to the organics of the garden, I decided to keep the herb garden and hot peppers up at the house with a nice little layout of greens, beans and peas.  Basically, any inch of garden space that is not green already, should be by the end of the month! I have one last section that I am hoping to seed one more time at the end of the month, if the garden will allow. Next on the slate, a little organic pest control for ‘whomever’ is eatin’ up my spinach, followed up by a good feeding of Epsom Salt and Sugar. 

I am so looking forward to the outcome of this little “unsquared square foot garden” experiment of mine.  Let’s just hope the whole idea does not backfire and leave me with a leafy, fruitless garden…   

Seeing as you are still here and reading, Thanks for stopping by and sticking around my “…small garden, in a small backyard, in a small town…” (About the Gardener)!

Now... Square, or unsquare, which do you prefer? SHARE your thoughts below:) 

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