SQ foot container garden ready and waiting...

fisheggs(5NY)April 25, 2009

Hi all,

I've been lurking for a while and have really enjoyed reading the posts about what people are doing in their gardens, especially those in warmer climates!

I'm starting my first square foot garden this year, although it's really in containers, not directly on the ground. This is because I wanted to use the only sunny spot in our yard, which is next to a 1.5' to 3' high retaining wall on the side of our driveway. Building a box that high and filling it with soil was going to be expensive, and I was also concerned about leaching from the old landscape timbers used to make the wall. So - we built 2 standalone boxes, 2 foot by 5 foot each, and are going to give those a try. We have TONS of deer, so you'll see some not terribly attractive mesh enclosures in my pictures.

Here is an overview, with my little ikea greenhouse for the tomato seedlings (just out for the morning since it was warm here today):

Here's a view from the back, showing some of the engineering challenges we faced on our steep hillslope:

We stained the outside, not the inside. The trellis (for two tomato plants and 4 squares of sugar snap peas, hopefully) is screwed to the frame in a bunch of spots, and feels pretty sturdy, especially once the chicken wire was attached to three sides to help square off the whole thing. I'll only have access from the driveway side, but that is probably fine and will also make the deer issue a bit easier to mitigate.

We're planting (most seeds from Johnny's):

(in the sunnier of the two boxes)

one square of "Wonder Light" yellow tomatoes

two squares of "Apero" cherry tomatoes

two squares each of "Atitlan" and "Sugar Sprint" sugar snap peas

one square of a yellow husk tomato (like a tomatillo)

two squares of okra

(In the shadier box)

one square of strawberries

two squares of spinach

one square of cilantro

one square of basil

three squares of carrots

two square garlic chives

Of course, then I went and spilled my packet of cilantro over the entire box!!! Fortunately it was easy to pick those big seeds up.

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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Constructing a raised bed on a slope can be quite a challenge, as all of mine are that way. Question.....Is there a particular reason that you only planted 2 squares of okra? I did 20 last year, and it was barely enough for our family.

EG

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 9:08PM
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fisheggs(5NY)

:) I'm sure it won't be enough for us - I just had very limited space in my tiny little window greenhouse (it's the one in the picture), so I only have 4 okra plants.

Also, I'm new to gardening in New York, so I figured I'd go for as many types of plants as I could to see what did well. I'm from California originally and am still getting used to not being able to plant things whenever I want to!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:29PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Seeing what works in your new location is an excellent idea....

EG

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:46PM
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blindingbrown(6b)

Nice to see another New Yorker. We just build our first SFG this year too. And yes, we have sloping land too. You must also have rocks, like we do.

Please share which plants work well for you, and which ones struggle. I'm originally from Seattle, and trying to get a sense for what grows best in NY.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:07PM
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fisheggs(5NY)

Peas are up! Interestingly, all four sprouted in each box on one side of the garden, but we only have two so far in each box on the other side. I planted one of each variety in each side, so that I'd get a better idea of how they did in the slightly different lighting conditions.

I've been so envious of all of the warmer climate gardens that are already producing! On the other hand, we had a fantastic set of bulbs in the neighborhood this year and those of us in cold areas get to really enjoy things like the Forsythia when it blooms.

Note: my mix compacted about an inch in the past few weeks since I put it in, but the boxes are pretty deep so I still have over a foot.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 1:03PM
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fisheggs(5NY)

Update:

We have sun today!! Which is good, since for the past two weeks it's been mostly rainy and cloudy. My garden is looking so sad compared with the lovely ones I see posted here!

Tomatoes: about 8 inches high
Okra: Still only 2 leaves, not looking fantastic
Snap peas: Climbed about 2 feet high, no flowers yet
Carrots: Finally have feathery sprouts that really look like carrots!
Cilantro, basil: No sign of life. Bought basil at store instead.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 1:40PM
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