Friday, April 10, 2009

Becoming a Gardener

It's the Friday evening of Good Friday and I've got a little time to waste. Two of my chickadees are spending the night somewhere else, and it makes a huge difference. I've been tossing around all kinds of bloggy ideas and thought I'd go ahead and write about one of them.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am no gardener... I even posted about it last year. However, my desire for homegrown stuff has exceeded my aversion to dirt. So, I'm doing a Square Foot Garden. If you want to know about SFG, you need to check out the book and read up on it. The author, Mel Bartholomew, makes all kinds of promises about weed-free, quick growing, easy to maintain gardening. Lord knows I wouldn't even attempt this if he didn't promise that it would be easy. I looked up SFG online and found lots of other people blogging about their garden, and singing Mel's praises. So, I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

My Handy Man built me 2 boxes, each of them 4' x 8'. Then, we went and bought the stuff to make "Mel's Mix", which is what he says will make the gardening so easy. The mix is made of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 vermiculite. They are close to the house because I know myself well enough to know that I won't take care of them if I have to trek across our 5 acres to get to them... I know...I'm so lazy!
Here you can see the boxes... Technically, I have 4 4'x4' boxes, they just happen to be connected. Mel assures me that it's fine. We put that plastic stuff on the bottom before we added the dirt.
My plan was to have a Spaghetti Sauce garden... only tomatoes, onions, peppers, oregano, and basil. Well, once the boxes were complete and the mix was in, the kids got interested. My first instinct was to tell them no way was I going to let them plant stuff... I just want to keep it simple and I don't want to be responsible for their stuff. But, being the good home school mom that I am, I put away those selfish thoughts and told the kids they could plant some squares. My littlest is going to plant a square of Catnip. Isn't that nice of him? Now we can use our precious soil to help the cat become even more of a spaz... Awesome. Sam loves corn, so we're going to let him plant several squares of corn while Katie is going to plant marigolds because we've heard they are natural pest repellents. Then, Handy Man thought that it would be silly to waste any soil and have empty squares, so he bought a bunch of bush bean seeds... Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "Keep it simple. Keep it simple."

So, I went ahead and planted 3 squares of onions because Mel says I can plant them up to 6 weeks before the last frost. Guess what!! They're growing!! I'm growing onions!! And, to prove that I'm really serious about doing this, I actually started seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and cantaloupe inside. Did I mention the cantaloupe? Keep it simple...keep it simple.... Anyway, I started them and they're growing. Hopefully they'll do well when I transplant them outside in another week or two. And, I know you won't believe this, but I've even started composting. Handy Man took a plastic barrel and sliced off the ends. Then, he put screen over the top and bottom, and made a door on the side. Now, I take our compost stuff outside, open the little door and dump it all in. Then, I close the door and roll the barrel so it all gets mixed up. Truthfully, composting has always intimidated me. The thought of having to use a shovel to turn everything over and move it from one pile to the other has always been overwhelming to me. But, we don't really need a whole lot of compost and I can at least roll a barrel.
I'm pretty excited to see if I can do this. Is this a small measure of what "real" gardeners feel?


Elizabeth Haught said...

Wow, You look like a pro with those grids. I bought that book two years ago and loved the idea of the simple process. Would your "handy man" be interested in making two of the same things you have and letting me buy them and the barrell?
I am excited to see pictures as your garden grows. I hope to do this too!

Melissa Flaming said...

LOVE this post! I've done a box garden in NM and is WAS easy. I think I'll talk MY Handy Man into another, because, like you, me hates the weeds! Also, can you post a pic of the compost barrel? I, too, want to compost, but my idea lasted two days, because I didn't want to do the turning, shoveling, etc. Rolling? I can do that.

Christy said...

You are too cool!!! I want to be you when I grow up! I love it!

Lynn said...

The marigold thing is true. We ALWAYS plant marigolds around our gardens and have done this for years. We only have a small tomato garden here, but still put marigolds on both ends. We also put a screen on top when the weather gets really really hot!!

Love your boxes....