Mine on Monday-Building A Square Foot Garden
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Friday, March 03, 2017
By Lavender Lane Photography
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I love sharing my life with all of you on Mondays and allowing you to get a glimpse of what makes me happy! While a military wife, we moved often and l never really thought about gardening. Florida was very hot and tricky to grow certain crops while the Idaho desert was the opposite-windy, frigid in the winter, blazing hot in the summer. So when we moved back to North Carolina, I decided that I wanted to learn more about gardening. My stepdad taught me a little bit about tilling, planning your garden, and learning what you could plant in your zone of the country. I was addicted that first summer and froze and canned tons of goodies. Then when we finally bought our house and moved into it, I couldn't wait to start a garden again. Although we have 2 acres, a lot of it is wooded and just doesn't have a great spot that gets a lot of sun like most crops need. 

So I was walking through Lowes one day and spotted a book called "Square Foot Gardening" (buy it on Amazon here). It seemed like an interesting way to grow more plants in a smaller space, so I thought I'd give it a try. I followed the directions in the book to do the following for my first raised box:

1. Put weed barrier on the ground where I planned to put my raised box. 

2. Built my box out of 2x6s. It is 4 foot long by 4 foot wide. 

3. Filled my box with "Mel's Mix", a soil mixture that the author recommends. It is made of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite (to hold moisture), and 1/3 compost (made of as many different types of compost as possible). 

4. Divided my box into 16 equal sections with wood lathe (you can also use string or dowels). 

5. Used the guidelines in the book to plant in each section. For example, you can plant 1 cabbage plant per square foot, 4 lettuce plants per square foot, etc. 

Here is a photo of my completed box!

 

 

After my first box was successful, I built 2 more for my first fall garden. I planted broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to see how it would go. After a successful season, I decided to go full throttle for last spring! I expanded my garden to a total of 9 boxes in my main garden area, using cattle fencing to construct arches. I also built some smaller boxes throughout our property so the kids could have their own boxes and I could plant some veggies in some other areas that got great sun. Here's a picture of the garden in progress last summer!

It wasn't long before I had plants growing completely over the trellises and I was harvesting like crazy! In just that small area, I was able to provide fresh veggies for my family all summer, but also froze or canned the following:

  • 35 quarts of green beans
  • 30 quarts of spaghetti sauce, all made from veggies and herbs from my garden
  • several quarts of onions that I chopped and froze for meals
  • about 150 green, yellow, and red bell peppers, sliced and frozen for meals all winter long
  • about 500 jalapeno peppers
  • 35 quarts of salsa
  • 40 quarts of squash and zucchini for my freezer
  • fresh sugar snap peas
  • fresh lettuce, spinach, and kale
  • a few watermelons and cantaloupe to enjoy
  • 30 quarts of pickles and cucumbers daily to enjoy (they flourished last year!)
  • fresh herbs all summer long

Here's a glimpse of some of my harvest one day. Next week, I'll share details on what you can plant in our local area and when it is suggested to plant. I look forward to sharing more of my gardening journey with you!

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