Tag Archives: raised bed square foot gardening
Since I wrote this morning, the rain stopped and the temperatures soared. It’s only 90 degrees F. outside now, with humidity around 65%, but if you’re working in the bright sunshine it’s HOT.
I’ve been doing a first-pass session of weeding in my raised bed, square foot garden. With all the wonky weather we’ve been having, the weeds have tried to take over.
I harvested some grape tomatoes, some celery stalks, and a spaghetti squash. I’ll take pics in a bit and share them. I spent about 45 minutes, and that was really all I could do. I’m drinking cold water and wiping off my head with paper towels now, I’m so wet. UGH.
Still it was nice to know that some things are still doing well in the garden even now.
The new celery I’m starting, and the new experiment with the tomato suckers, and anything else, will stay in the house until it’s time to transfer them to the fall garden or the greenhouse. I’m supposed to be starting lettuce and spinach from seed at the end of August or the 1st of September! I’m hoping to have some nice, healthy transplants to go out in the fall garden and I’ll move any happy tomato plants into the greenhouse this fall. (Right now the thermometer in the greenhouse is still ready above 120 degrees F.)
I’ve had a lot of fun with my garden this year. As usual, I’m still learning a lot of what NOT to do next time, but I’m encouraged that I actually got celery and spaghetti squash to grow for the first time, and we had a really nice season of fresh tomatoes. I got a real harvest of sweet Georgia onions for the first time this year. They’re hanging in mesh bags in the pantry so that I can simply reach in and get one any time I would like. :0)
I’m hoping to have a nice crop of lettuce and spinach for the fall. Last year I lucked out and was still cutting leaves for salads into January!
Still reading about what else I can plant for the fall garden, and when I need to starts seeds. Will report back later.
I hope you’re having a happy day.
I just harvested 3 more tomatoes while Amber and I were taking a walk, but they’re smaller and not as pretty. I’m grateful for whatever we can get at this point. I’m going to try to get some suckers from the tomato plants and plant them in pots in the house or on the deck for now. It’s still too hot to put them in the greenhouse. If I can keep them alive until they can go in there, I MIGHT be able to keep harvesting tomatoes for quite a while! Can’t wait to start the experiment.
I showed you two spaghetti squash(es) I harvested a week or so ago. I cooked them a couple of days ago and was able to freeze them into individual size servings – enough for 10 meals! I have about three more coming in the garden. I also am still able to harvest handfuls of grape tomatoes – a fun thing to throw into salads or have with dip with celery and carrots.
I still have some celery growing, and have more on the kitchen counter getting ready to put out. My celery doesn’t look like what you buy at the store. I have read that I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together. I’ll try that one of these days, but I’m just cutting off stalks and bringing them in.
A couple of days ago we were mourning that we had eaten all our good tomatoes. Look what was ready this morning – with more to be ripe in a day or two!
This is half of our onion harvest.
I cleaned them up and put them in these two mesh bags. They’re hanging from hooks in our pantry, continuing to dry out. We’ve eaten several, and they’re nice and sweet.
I’ve pulled most of the rest of our plants, with the exception of grape tomatoes, a couple of spaghetti squashes, and lots of celery.
After the hail storm, I cut off lots of broken leaves. We had good eating from the sweet, broken plants, but it was sad to see everything so battered. Today, things have rebounded and I got our first real harvest of the year. I could have harvested much more, but I’d like to ‘eat our way through the garden,’ if possible this year. These were the largest of the radishes so far.
Red leaf lettuce.
My husband came in just as I was finishing washing everything. He said he’s looking forward to a big salad with our grilled steaks tonight!
Not long ago I posted pics of our garden, battered by a hail storm and eaten by ‘someone’ other than us. Happily, the garden seems to be rebounding! We’ve still had too much rain for me to start really trying to combat the insects, but I cut off and cleaned things out, bringing in what was good to eat and composting the rest.
Here are some pictures I took yesterday of the garden –
These are the tomato plants in what we call “the nook” – a planter we built beside the back porch behind the easternmost part of the house. The plants are more protected here from the gusty winds we get, so sometimes, these are the only tomato plants that do well. My husband built some super-sturdy things to which we’ll tie the plants as they grow, since the medium grade tomato cages collapsed with the weight of the plants last year.
The is the brick planter to the east of the house that we also converted to be a square foot planter. We now have six tomato plants, planted at three different times, hopefully to expand our tomato eating season.
These are newly transplanted celery plants. I cut the bottoms off celery bought at the store, plopped the bottoms in glasses of water, and put them on the window sill.
These are older celery plants. I have no clue if I’ll actually get celery to eat, but I’m sure having fun trying.
This is the largest spaghetti squash plant, also grown from seed from one I bought and put in soil in a pot on the window sill. Again, who knows if anything will come of it, but I’m like a kid at Christmas…
The romaine lettuce and spinach have rebounded. We’re still enjoying the harvest of broken leaves I gathered after the hailstorm, but the plants seem happy now.
The broccoli and cauliflower plants look pretty good. I don’t know if I’ll actually get much from them. Last year I had good-looking plants, but not much actual broccoli and cauliflower to harvest.
It has lightened up outside now, but the wind is really whipping our tree branches around. The forecast is for scattered showers (80% chance) the rest of the day today and into tomorrow, so I won’t be outside again, probably, until Tuesday, when I hope to get more flowers!
Isn’t this little guy a cutie?
I can’t believe how much our garden has spurted with growth in just the past few days. Of course, we’ve had a lot of rain and some good sunshine, but I’m still shocked.
This is the north side of the garden.
And this is the south.
This gives you an idea of the whole garden (except for the tomatoes).
This is one of the spaghetti squash I grew from seed on the window sill.
Romaine lettuce and spinach.
Red leaf lettuce.
Celery plants grown from the ends cut off celery I bought at the store.
I’m really encouraged so far. I’m hoping for a good harvest this year.
I’ve liked this rhyme since I was a child, but I no longer garden by it. Now my garden is not only the wonderful square foot gardening, started by Mel Bartholomew, allowing people like us to bypass our awful, rocky ridge line soil, having a chance to enjoy a garden, but now I have a RAISED BED square foot garden.
This lady is hopelessly spoiled now. I can plant, water, weed, and harvest – all without having to bend over double or get up and down endless times off my knees. I have SQUARES of plants now, rather than rows, and the plants seem very happy about it.
Our total garden is approximately 25 feet long and 15 feet wide. It’s surrounded by fencing, and then chicken wire around the bottom. We have all kinds of critters roaming around because of living on top of a ridge line, outside the city limits, in a more wooded area, so we have deer, possums, raccoons, rabbits, roadrunners, etc., who need to be kept out of the garden. We have a neon pink surveyors tape around the middle of the fencing to let deer know the garden is there before they run into it.
The garden has six 4 foot by 4 foot ‘boxes’ that are 8″ deep on metal support tables. They’re about chest high. We then marked off sections with stretchy string. I had some little bitty weeds trying to get a foothold in the garden yesterday. I weeded the whole thing in about 45 minutes with little effort, other than trying to make sure I got all the ones I could see out.
We have our irrigation system on a timer that goes for 5 minutes at 5:00 daily right now. We can change this any time it’s needed.
Last year I had some beautiful broccoli and cauliflower LEAVES, but didn’t get a lot of actual VEGGIES from the plants. I have no clue why. I’m hoping for some good eating this year. I’m also trying to grow celery and spaghetti squash for the first time this year.
So, you see why this lady is spoiled beyond repair now, happy as a clam, playing in my plants, and looking forward to eating romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, radishes, spaghetti squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and tomatoes this year!
We had several HARD storms yesterday afternoon, evening, and into early this morning. There was a lot of wind and DRIVING rain. I was afraid of what I might find in the garden with my tender, new plants.
The part of the garden that had the hardest time was my labels! They’re all dirty – I guess from blowing rain and Mel’s mix. I’ll have to clean them up at some point, but today was too busy. Here you can see the three raised bed boxes on the north side of the garden. The plant that had the hardest time was the red leaf lettuce. Some of it looks pretty beaten down, but I’m hoping they’ll perk up.
The Georgia Sweet Onions are doing well. The empty square will hold more spaghetti squash plants soon, I hope. I planted three tomato plants today, plus one celery plant and three spaghetti squash plants today.
My spinach plants and Romaine lettuce plants are doing fine, so far. I’ll be able to start harvesting the outer leaves soon. On the right is a new spaghetti squash plant I transplanted today from the window sill.
I started two squares of radishes.
I have broccoli and cauliflower plants. You can see some of the celery plants on the upper left of this photo.
We have more forecast severe storms coming Sunday night into Monday morning, so fingers will be crossed again.
I’m very happy that our garden is alive at all right now. Our weather has roller-coastered between hard freezes and a high of 90 today. We also had a timer malfunction on the garden irrigation system, so the plants were really badly overwatered at one point before we figured out the problem and replaced the timer.
Now I THINK we’re finished with the hard freezes. Our temperatures are still roller-coaster-y, though. 90 today. 60 tomorrow. 80 the following day….
I need to take some sharp scissors to clean up the plants. Some have bad leaves. I did get out a few arrogant weeds today, though. :0)
Here you see red lettuce leaves and spinach.
As you can see in this, and the next, pictures, some of the celery is doing well. Some has croaked.
This is the south side of the garden. I’m growing Georgia Sweet Onions in the back, red lettuce and spinach in the middle, and broccoli, cauliflower, and celery in the box closest to you.
Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and red lettuce in the planters in the north row.
Spinach sprouts on the window sill.
One celery plant and two spaghetti squash sprouts here.
Hopefully, things will settle down now and my plants can grow in peace.
This is the first time we’ve had all six raised bed square foot garden boxes in our garden! We have SIX 4′ x 4′ x 8″ boxes on legs connected by an irrigation system so that we can water everything on a timer. Each box has a sprinkler in the center. The timer is between the house and the garden, and we can either just turn it on to water manually, or use the timer so that all gets watered for a specific amount of time daily.
We have fencing plus chicken wire around the garden to keep critters out. The pink tape is to keep deer from running into the fencing at night. We can put bird netting and shade fabric over the top of the garden, if needed.
I found SPINACH plants! Hooray!!!!!!!
These are romaine lettuce plants.
This is red leaf lettuce.
Georgia sweet onions.
I have moved some of my window sill plants to the back porch in preparation for moving them out to the garden. I have some celery plants and some spaghetti squash plants. My spinach seeds have tiny sprouts on the window sill now. I may have some more spaghetti squash plants.
I’ll probably get more plants tomorrow. I want the local co-op guy to REALLY know how much I appreciate his getting spinach plants this year.
We have some issues with water pressure right now on the irrigation system. After messing with things for quite awhile this afternoon, we think we must have a hose blowout somewhere between the well house and the garden, but we were too tired to tackle the problem today. Tomorrow is another day…
For two nights this week I’ve had to spread sheets over our fall raised bed, square foot garden, trying to bring the plants through the freezes. Last night it wasn’t supposed to freeze, so I held my breath and didn’t cover the plants. I went out to check on things this morning and all our plants were still alive! I have several different types of lettuce that I’m HOPING I can continue to harvest into January. Time will tell. The above is head lettuce.
I’m not sure what this is called, but the leaves are frilly and curly.
This is kind of ruffle-y.
This is one of the two raised bed planters that are almost entirely devoted to broccoli and cauliflower, although you can see two lettuce plants on the left.
This planter is almost entirely lettuces. If you look carefully, there’s a ‘salad blend’ brownish lettuce in the center. The weather was so warm I almost lost the lettuce plants due to them trying to bolt. That’s why the plants are so tall. I have no clue what will happen, but I’m harvesting every two or three days for as long as they’ll allow.
This is the treasure I found this morning – a teeny, tiny head of cauliflower! Isn’t it cute? :0)
I tried to grow celery this year, planting three ‘bottoms’ of celery I had gotten at the store. Two immediately croaked when I transferred them to the planter, but one is still alive, quite green, but only has small leaves and doesn’t seem to be growing. I’m just glad I tried, kept one alive, and will keep trying.
I finally folded up the king sized sheets I used to cover the planters. We MIGHT get much-needed rain tomorrow and I don’t want the sheets to get wet.
So far, so good!
I covered my fall raised bed garden plants yesterday afternoon in preparation for our first freeze of the season. This gives you an idea of what my garden looked liked, except mine are boxes up in the air about 4 feet or so. I used three bed sheets anchored with a gazillion clothes pins, trying to keep the covers from blowing off in the gusty, cold wind.
I forgot to take my camera, but I was too cold by the time I finished to take a pic anyway. :0)
My plants made it through the first freeze of the season. I went out to the garden, afraid that the sheets would be bunched up against one fence or another in the garden, but all stayed where I put them! And when I took the sheets off, the plants seemed to be fine. HOOOOOORAAAAAY!
I left the sheets and clothes pins in the empty planter boxes, ready to cover things again tonight. If I can pull the plants through another two nights, I think we’re home free until NEXT Saturday, unless they change the forecast.
We turned the heat on downstairs for the first time this season yesterday.
We just put up a cat cube in the garage for our newest cat, Smoke, who is used to sleeping on the back porch. We closed that off to her about three weeks ago, and she’s finally learning that we feed Abby and her on top of the wood pile in the garage. I hope she likes the cube, as it will allow her to be safe and warm this winter. (You can see from the pic that Abby’s cube on the left has been well used. My husband built a strong support for each cube and then anchored the cubes to the wooden support so they won’t move as the cat jumps up or moves around inside.)
Appendages crossed that we make it through Freeze #2 tonight!
You can see two of the three 4×4 foot squares of our raised bed, square foot garden in this picture. I’ve been trying to grow broccoli, cauliflower, two kinds of lettuce, celery, and radishes this fall. You can also see the three NEW squares we now have ready for the spring.
I harvested some broccoli and some lettuce this afternoon. I’ll post pics as soon as my camera battery is recharged. (Don’t you wish WE could recharge our batteries by just plugging into an outlet on the wall?)
Our weather here is nuts. We’ve been having some really nice weather for the past couple of weeks. Today and tomorrow, though, the highs are in the mid 80’s – followed by Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with possible hard freezes. I’ll go out and clean up the garden as much as possible this afternoon. Tomorrow evening we’ll take down the automatic irrigation system for the garden. I’ll still be able to turn it on manually, if needed, but we don’t want the system to freeze. I’ll also plan to cover the plants with sheets for the three days. We usually have a cold snap that kills everything, followed by warmer weather. I’ll do what I can to keep things going as long as possible.
To say we’re exhausted just doesn’t cut it.
We spent all afternoon putting up the last of the six raised bed planters. Part of the process went well. My husband had made the stakes come to a point on the lathe. The drilling on three of the four holes went well and the stakes went in pretty easily. It went down hill from there, though.
We had trouble getting the 4×4 template up off the stakes, bringing two of them back up in the process. We managed to pound them back in, and then brought out the metal legs and square box frame. We had trouble getting the frame at the right height, having to move vice grips one at a time and moving the legs from the inside of the frame to the outside, trying to get all to fit and be level.
We discovered that one part of the frame didn’t have a hole drilled in like it was supposed to. We had to rig to bring the drill out and do it in the garden. We got the legs cut off and the extra hole drilled and finally got the bolts in.
The last step was bringing the wooden box out and placing it into the frame. Except this time it was too big to go into the frame! My husband said he thought this frame was the first one he made. After this one, he decided to give an extra 1/8th of an inch or so on the frame dimensions to give us more slack. This time we had to use a chisel, pry bar, and a sledge-hammer to move down the edges and force the wooden box into the frame.
We finally prevailed, but the installation of this last box took us about four hours and completely exhausted us. The next step is to install the sprinklers in the three planters on the north side of the garden and unite them with lengths of hoses, attaching them to the irrigation system for the garden.
Tomorrow I’ll put the Mel’s Mix into the planter. We also plan to remove the fabric shade from the garden now that the 90 degree + weather seems to be behind us. (The first year we had the garden, we had an ice storm. The weight of the ice pulled down one half of the garden completely. Usually we roll up the fabric shade and attach it to one side of the garden. This year we’ll take it down and dispose of it, putting up a new one for the spring planting.
Tomorrow I also plan to harvest lettuce and maybe some broccoli! I’ll take some pics of both the planters and the fall garden to share with you.
Late yesterday afternoon my husband and I tackled putting up raised bed planter # 5 in our square foot garden. It took us 3-1/2 hours and we were exhausted by the time we finished, but we’re delighted it’s up!
Today I put the Mel’s Mix I dug out into the finished planter.
I then dug the Mel’s Mix out of the remaining square on the ground, putting it into three trash barrels. I put the barrels under the newly finished planter in case it rains before we can get the last planter up. We’ll actually put the last planter closer to the perimeter fence, giving me plenty of room to walk all the way around each planter.
I took the old, rotted wood out to the burn barrel.
The new planters should last a good while. The wood isn’t on the ground as it was before, so it shouldn’t deteriorate nearly as fast.
I took some pics of the south side of the garden so you can see how the fall garden is doing –
You can see the sides of two of the three planters on the south side of the garden. Mostly, you’re seeing broccoli and cauliflower plants, but there’s a head lettuce (light green), too.
This is a picture taken at my eye level of the two kinds of lettuce. Isn’t it wonderful!
The first sign I’m actually growing broccoli, instead of just great leaves!
No sign of actual cauliflower heads yet. I’ll need to harvest lettuce and plant another batch of radishes soon.
I’m rich in lettuce!
This picture shows you the north side of our square foot garden. We finally got the last vertical pole out, so we can now start installing the three raised bed garden boxes and the irrigation system that will go with it. We’re not going to plant in these until next spring, so we’re not in a hurry. I’m emptying out each 4 foot x 4 foot square into trash cans, saving as much of the Mel’s Mix as possible. Then we fill the planter box and then move to the next one.
This is the first of the three raised bed planters we’re using for our fall garden. The plants have at least doubled in size now. We have a broccoli plant, some celery, and two different kinds of lettuce planted in this one: salad blend and head lettuce.
This is the second raised bed planter. We have head lettuce (the light green plants close to you) and the rest is broccoli and cauliflower plants. I have no clue whether I’m just going to get a lot of green, or actually get broccoli and cauliflower. Fingers are crossed.
This is the third raised bed planter, filled with broccoli and cauliflower. I really love the way I can walk around each raised bed, can reach all the squares easily for planting, weeding, and harvesting.
The fall garden is doing really well right now. I harvested lettuce for the 2nd time yesterday. I could have harvested a bunch more, but I want it to last as long as possible. We’re eating a lot of salad now, and enjoying about half of it being from our garden. The plants are really producing, happy with the suddenly cooler weather (high of about 80 degrees F). I think both plants and people are feeling a burst of energy right now. :0)
The celery I tried to grow by cutting off the bottoms of the celery I bought at the store and putting them in water to grow roots, then putting them in the garden didn’t work yet. I have another plant started in the house and will transfer it to the garden as soon as it looks like it might live out there. I love this idea and will keep trying it.
Our cauliflower and broccoli plants have doubled in size in the past few days. I can’t believe how large they are. So far, they’re just leaves, and I’m HOPING we actually get some veggies, instead of just showy plants….
My radishes are looking good, too.
My husband got antsy to try to get the last large vertical pipe out of the garden yesterday. We haven’t received the replacement pipe puller yet, but he decided yesterday was the day. He MADE a puller out of iron, putting stiffeners on the edges and cutting the hole in it freehand with the torch. It gave a good pull, but no bananas. We put a bunch of water around the concrete, thinking that would make the pulling more effective. We did this twice, to no avail. We took the grinder and a long extension cord out there and he cut the pipe off at ground level.
Now he’s antsy to start installing the last three raised planters we made for the garden, but we have other priorities right now. We have plenty of time. We’re not going to use them until the spring.
Meanwhile, I hope I’m not driving you nuts, telling you how MUCH I loved the raised planters. I walk out, stand there calmly pulling out weeds and adding them to the bucket I brought out, or snipping lettuce leaves in comfort, putting them in the special harvesting basket. I’m STANDING there, doing my gardening, not down on my hands and knees, getting up and down, up and down, over and over until I’m exhausted; or bending over double in order to reach the weeds or plants. I’m thoroughly spoiled already!!!!