Archive for Square Foot Gardening

Gardening Books to Review

I just checked out a couple of gardening books from my local library. I will provide a in depth review of them in a week time.

In the mean time, I have added my cursory, first glance review below:

Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs : a bountiful, healthful garden for lean time

by  Jim Wilson
(picture credit: http://www.amazon.com)

First-glance review: I love the pictures. I was salivating looking at the pictures. They look as if I could just grab them! The advice is easy to read and more aimed at a gardener just starting out…like me.

Square foot gardening : a new way to garden in less space with less  work
by Mel Bartholomew
(picture credit: http://www.shopping.yahoo.com)  

First-glance review: When I looked through it, Mel, the author is very knowledgeable in many different styles of gardening. He also provides how-to’s to better improve your garden. I really like the graphs especially the seed-starting graphs.

Grow great grub
by Gayla Trail 
(picture credit: http://www.growgreatgrub.com)

First-glance review: Gayla Trail, author of You Grow Girl has done it again. She has great projects and tips in this new book. It is for the every day gardening: beginning, intermediate and advance.

Happy gardening and stay tune for a full review!

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Update Fall Gardening

Here are some pictures of how the fall garden started out. Enjoy!

French Lettuce Mix (swiss chard, bib, black seeded simpsons, beet, etc)

Purple Podded Beans 21 days from seed

Basil Seedlings 21 days

Carrots 21 days from seed

Update of the Fall garden. I was able to have success on all the seeds I planted in my raised beds and I planted a lot of things. The list includes: beans, carrots, lettuce, peas, garlic, cilantro, basil, radishes, arugula, spinach, cucumbers. It was a busy fall and winter. The beans were the success of the story. It was so nice to have so many different colored beans in your dinner. We grew purple podded beans, green beans, and yellow wax beans. I allowed a couple of plants to grow and dry so I would have some for next year. I absolutely love the purple podded beans. They are actually a bush variety that produces purple beans. However, when you cook them, they turn green. I believe the purpose of the purple shell is so it is easier to find. Imagine picking green beans in a sea of green leaves!

Almost everything survived the winter except for the beans, arugula, cucumbers, and basil. Those are typically warm season plants so I did not expect much from them. I was able to enjoy a plethora of arugula before they died. I had planted arugula in my front yard and I allowed them to seed and I find arugula everywhere now. So beware, arugula can be a weed to some gardeners J. I enjoy them nonetheless.

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Fall Seed Sproutage 09-29-08

The arrugula and bibb lettuce have sprouted. It only took them 6 days with a west facing window. I’ve been turning the trays every morning so they don’t get spindly and long.

I also let my basil flower and go to seed. I germinated the thai basil seeds I collected the other day and they work magnificently. They took around 4 days to sprout. I guess the fresher the seeds, the faster the germination goes! Yippee.

Today, I plan on collecting more basil seeds from the plants (I have lemon, sweet basil, thai, and large leaf basil) and package them for next season or possibly trade them. Let me know if you’re interesting in a trade! Happy gardening everyone!

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Growing Garlic in a Container

Garlic Plants 199 days 05-27-08

The garlic I started in November (around 7 months) is slowly dieing back. I dug a couple inches down to the bulbs and I can feel it. It feels big and bulby. I think it needs a little more time in the sun. I saw on Martha Stewart when they had the garlic expert on TV that it takes 9 months for garlic to mature and I still have 2 months left before it ripes.

The way I did it was I got a big container and put the bulbs 4 inches deep. I water it and just wait…and wait…and wait.

I’ve heard elsewhere that when the leaves on garlic die back, that it is ready but I disagree. I think the longer I have it in the soil the bigger the bulb gets. Well, I guess that’s all for now. I still have more packing before our big move to our very first place! Yippee.

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A Veggie Garden Update 05-21-08

I know I haven’t updated in awhile but we’ve been completely busy. We actually have some good news: we’re going to be home owners. We’re in escrow and so excited about the possibilities of being a homeowner. we can’t believe it!!! Here’s a picture of our new garden area:

Garden View A

Garden View B

So, my garden has experienced a lot of thinning due to us moving in only a short 20 days. I am just hoping I can get some ripe tomatoes by then so I can save seeds. This year, I am growing a variety of tomatoes that I wanted to collect seeds. Tomatoes that I’m not taking with me include: black cherry, red and gold, and fireball tomato. Those already have little green fruits on them so I can hopefully get them to ripe so I can get seeds from them. Luckily, I had a feeling that we would buy a house before summer’s end so I put most of my plants in pots. I still have tons of Swiss chard plants ready to be harvested and cooked. I cook my swiss chard simply with some olive oil, lemon, and garlic.

Swiss Chard 118 days 04-17-08

Let’s see…it looks like everything is growing nicely except when we had a couple of days that were in the 100s. During this time, a lot of my plants got completely sunburnt. My mint had burnt leaves and so did my tomatoes. Poor things didn’t know it was going to be so hot. I’ve also had some problems with scale. I just spray them with my organic pesticide I made. It only takes a day before they’re dead! All my herbs are coming along. The tomatoes are blooming and fruiting nicely. I also noticed I have some peppers that are blooming. I’m keeping them in individual pots so I can plant them in our new place.

The hydrangeas are blooming. They’re blooming a gorgeous pale pink. When I first got this plant from my husband, it was purple and now it’s pink. I guess the fertilizer I use changed the blooms to pink. I’ve heard acidity levels can affect blooms. Well, I guess that’s all for now. I promise to to try to update more. Happy gardening everyone.

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Gardening 04-24-08

Pretty Pot from Mom and Dad

Today involved a little gardening. It was windy and very gusty at times. I had to take most of my plants off the fence so they wouldn’t blow off.

The radish plants I planted in November are finally flowering. I can’t wait until they finally get to seed so I can rip them out and plant something else. It seems like it takes so long for things to ripen to seed. I have several Bok choi plants that are ready to seed but they’re still green and not ready to pick yet. I plan on planting some peppers in their spots but right now the peppers aren’t too bothered being in their transplant pots. Once I see roots poking out of the drainage holes, I’ll be concerned and maybe move the Bok choi to a different location. We’ll see how the season progresses.

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Growing Swiss Chard: the Colorful Spinach Substitute

Last year, I started growing swiss chard for the first time. I only grew several plants because I wasn’t for sure if I would like the taste or not. Anywhoo, it grew like crazy and I was able to make one dish with it. I cooked it like spinach, sauteeing it with some olive oil and garlic. After it wilted a little, I added some lemon juice and red pepper flakes. It was a great side dish. Swiss chard is such an easy plant to grow and the varieties are endless. They have a variety called rainbow swiss chard and the colors are amazing. They’re a perfect addition to any vegetable garden or a side plant in the front yard. They’re a vegetable that I can’t live without. What do you guys think about this one?

This year, I was determined to grow continuous crops of swiss chard. The first batch, I started in January. January 1st to be exact. They took a week to sprout and grew like mad. At first they were leggy and spinly but after a couple of weeks, they grew thick stems and strengthened up really well.

Swiss Chard Seedlings at 31 days 02-04-08

I moved them outside in the ground in an area that gets late morning sun, a couple of weeks before my last frost, around February 11th. They looked so puny and defenseless. To protect them from critters like the dreaded slugs and snails, I would cover them with plastic cups for the next two weeks at night and uncover them in the morning before work. It worked. The snails didn’t get too much of them and they grew very well.

Swiss Chard Transplanted 02-11-08

So they grew and they grew without too many problems. Not a pest to be found. I’m still crossing my fingers! Here they are a month and a half later, still growing steadily:

Swiss Chard 59 days 03-23-08

And grew they did. I’ll probably harvest these soon and make some yummy side dishes.

Swiss Chard 90 days 03-23-08

Here are some pics of the other swiss chard plants I have laying around the garden. I plan on planting them in a spot near my fence that gets regular morning sun. They really enjoy full sun but part sun wouldn’t hurt them much.

More Swiss Chard Seedlings 40 days

Swiss Chard Seedlings Transplanted 45 days

Well that’s all for now folks. Happy gardening everyone!

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