I was reading a recent post on Make and Takes about Marie’s square foot garden, and when she asked what her readers were planting, I went on and on in my post. Hmm…it was getting a bit long. So I decided to take a little tour through our garden tonight. My pictures are pretty sorry. But, hopefully tell a story.
So, let’s see, walking around the yard and by-passing the perennials because I really want to talk about edible things. I did just plant 11 perennials last week in our front garden that I got from Fieldstone Gardens. Maine-grown hardy perennials. Worthy of a road trip. Seriously. They also do mail-order.
Last year, we planted 1.5 pounds of sunchokes that we got from Johnny’s. They dig them up on their farm in the fall and send them off. We were worried when we didn’t see them right away this spring, but here they are! We planted them along the edge of a naturalized area (aka weedy marsh). They should grow to between 5 and 10 feet! And they produce yellow sunflowers. Then you can eat the tuber in the fall. Sort of like little potatoes but with better flavor. They are also called Jerusalem Artichokes, but yet have no relation to either Jerusalem or Artichokes.
Sunchokes, aka Jerusalem Artichokes
Let’s see now, heading around to the backyard, we have our berry patch. We had a spot of trouble with our two blueberry bushes this year, not sure what, so the hubby trimmed off a bunch of dead branches, and they look sad, but they seem to be recovering. There are also three raspberry bushes here and a bunch of strawberries, both June-bearing and ever-bearing.
New for this year are hops. Hubby is a long-time homebrewer. Like longer than we should say out loud. He has been thinking about growing hops for quite awhile, but wasn’t sure where to locate them. They grow extremely fast and to about 20-30 feet tall, and need full sun. He’s been avidly reading The Homebrewer’s Garden and finally decided to plant a hop plant after I casually mentioned that the play structure would make a good support. Oops! Did I voice that out loud??! Right now, he’s just planted a variety called Nugget because that is what we could find locally. He just ordered two others, a Kent Golden and Cascade, I think, from a place called Freshops. He added that vertical support to the top of the play structure to give it some more height.
Now, no garden tour would be complete without a quick stop at the compost bins that hubby made last year!
Sorry about the evening shadows here. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so it was now or never.
Now, onto the fun part….the vegetables!
Some patio containers for tomatoes. Here are two that I bought as seedlings at the farmer’s market – these are Cherokee Purples and I also have Muskovich (an heirloom variety) in the square foot garden. Also have another container with a cherry variety and basil. And I have four more seedlings that I need to put into pots. Lots of tomatoes this year!!
The Square Foot Garden
We have three square foot garden boxes. Our backyard / side yard faces South, so we made the boxes 2’x8′ and sited them along the house where we don’t have any windows. They are filled with the “Mel’s Mix” that is outlined in the book, Square Foot Gardening. One is devoted to herbs, and the other two are regular vegetables. We have a trellis made of rebar and netting along most of the back of the vegetable boxes. This year, we had to put up a chicken wire fence (annoying) because our dogs kept walking in the garden. They like to eat the homemade compost (eeewwww!).
So, starting from the left, we have three squares of pole beans along the back (8/square). See the trellis? We did pole beans and bush beans the last two years, but we prefer the pole beans and they are more prolific, so skipped the bush beans this year. Pole beans are also easier to pick. Then in front, we have two squares of broccoli (new to us this year, 1/square), and the third square is broccoli raab (4/square). All but the broccoli raab was directly sown in the garden (all of our seeds are from Johnny’s). I started the broccoli raab inside and transplanted. Doesn’t that broccoli look awesome??
Pole beans, broccoli and broccoli raab
Next along the line, we have three cucumbers along the back (planted 2/square). There are slicing and pickling varieties. By using the trellis, you can save a lot of space in your SFG with the cucumbers. I started these indoors and transplanted them. Unfortunately, I moved them around by accident, and I didn’t know which ones were which varieties. I guess we’ll see! And in front, we have some lettuces. From left to right, 2 squares of arugula, and kyona mizuna. These are planted four per square, direct sown. Love the arugula and very prolific. All the lettuces are actually. You need to pick them almost every day and make sure they don’t bolt. The more you pick, the more they grow! yum!
Cucumbers and lettuces
Now for peas, peas, and more peas! We have seven squares of peas planted along the back trellis, 8/square, direct sown as early as the ground can be worked. (We were a little late, but still okay.) These are a sugar snap variety. In front, we have more lettuce, all planted 4/square, direct sown. Purple mizuna (more bitter than the kyona variety), green romaine and red romaine. I planted green romaine seeds from last year and they didn’t do well. So I re-seeded about two weeks later, but that’s why that square looks sad. To trellis the peas, you just need to push them towards the trellis as they start to grow that way, and they will latch on rather quickly. Easy-peasy. The lettuce varieties are very satisfying to grow. We’ve been eating salad all week!
Peas and lettuce
Next up are more peas and more lettuce. Peas along the back, and Deer Tongue (a buttercrunch type), Bibb lettuce, and Spinach (Emu variety). The spinach is planted 9/square.
Peas and lettuce
And finally, at the end of our vegetable boxes, we have one more square of peas, and three tomatoes (all Muskovich from the farmer’s market) in the back. And in the front, two more spinach varieties (Spargo this time), and two more tomatoes (only labeled as “patio tomatoes” at the store…hmmm…). Spinach is direct sown early, early in the season. The tomatoes are seedlings (I don’t seed-start tomatoes very well), and planted one per square. They will take over the entire square, but it will be okay.
Peas, tomatoes, and spinach
And one quickie shot of our herb box. There is dill, nasturtium, wormwood, sage, parsley, thyme, and oregano. And one tomato plant because I had an extra space.
These are still looking a bit poky. Hopefully they take off soon. We planted four squares of parsley because we love to make tabbouleh so much. The parsley went crazy last year, so we have hopes.
I hope you enjoyed my tour of our garden! Thank you for coming by. What are you growing? Anything new I should try next year that you love? We have been square foot gardening for three years, and we love it. I highly recommend it even if you have the space for a traditional garden (which we do). Almost zero weeding, easy to plant, easy to pick. It’s lovely.
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