Monday, June 1, 2009

The Weekend Update....



According to my planting chart, May 31 was THE day for getting everything into the ground in the square foot garden. Actually, my list had May 24th as the best day to plant, but I decided to put it off a week in the hopes of better weather for those plants that prefer the warmer temperatures like tomatoes and peppers (good thing I did- we had some frost last week). At least that’s what I’m telling myself. In reality, the main reason is probably because I have been late with everything so far (as I have lamented on in previous posts). Too many activities and not enough time. Also, it doesn’t help that my other half- the construction half- probably has his mind on other things, namely the hockey playoffs- and wouldn’t you know his team is still in it!

Sunday was a beautiful day here in Halifax. I was able to get a lot accomplished. All three boxes are now almost completely planted. The exceptions are the zucchini (because I seem to have temporarily mis-placed the seeds), the basil, and the odd vegetables that I am staggering for continued harvests (ex carrots). So here is the play-by-play:

In my daughter’s box, which I shall refer to as Box # 1, I have planted her choice of broccoli and cucumbers and added dill and thyme.

In my son’s box- Box#2, we have peppers, carrots and Yellow Beans.


In the Main Box- you guessed it- #3, we have more peppers, carrots, swiss chard, green onion, parsley, basil, thyme, and my personal favorite- tomatoes. I have 3 different varieties of Indeterminate, or vining tomatoes, planted along the north side of the bed: "Sweetie" cherry and Tigerella (from Hope Seeds) and Chocolate Cherry (from Vessy Seeds).



When it comes to the tomatoes, the main dilemma is how many to plant. In his book, Mel Bartholomew says that you can do 1 indeterminate plant per square foot.


I have been lurking around the Garden Web’s square foot garden forum and there seems to be two schools of thought. One is for those who give more space to the tomatoes and others that have had success with 1 per square foot. Certainly the 1 plant per square foot would require aggressive pruning in order to have the one main stem climb vertically. Well I say go big or stay home. I’m going for the 1/sq ft. After all this is an experiment. If I’m not successful, I’ll know better for next year. And, since I’m the only one who actually enjoys eating tomatoes in my family, I’ll be the only one disappointed if it fails. In the meantime, I have done my research as usual, and have found some very helpful information on pruning the tomato vines, which I’ll save for another post.

This weekend I also introduced a new planter to the backyard. I found a nice cedar ½ barrel at Home Depot for $20. I have a plan in my head to plant the zucchini separately from the rest of the garden in this space. My original plan was to take some leftover untreated lumber, have my husband cut it down and build another small box. My husband vetoed that idea in favour of the $20 planter (again, hockey on the brain, not gardening). Oh well, it looks better anyway.


According to the book, Zucchini can been grown vertically, one plant per 2 square feet.



Intriguing…

I didn’t want to actually spend more money on a separate fence post, so to keep costs down, I decided to use a piece of cedar lumber I had in my shed. This is what I did: I cut drainage holes in the bottom of the planter along with a hole in the middle for the pole to go through. I dug down into the ground, put the post through the hole, pounded the post through the ground, and voila. If all goes according to plan, I will train the zucchini up the pole. I may need add a few screws at different intervals up the pole as the plant grows (ie something to support the rope). Seems pretty sturdy. If necessary, as I’m not sure how heavy the zucchini plant will get, I can brace the pole by tying the top with a rope to my shed. Will it work? I don’t know. I feel like a mad scientist at work…lots of experimentation going on here.

So there you have it. You’ve been updated. On the horizon this week: Trellis Construction

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