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My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PART 2

Posted by mike_in_paradise 6 US 5A Canada (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 10, 08 at 19:51

I am going to start a 2nd part as the first post is getting big. The link at the end of this post will take you to the first part.

Started another box and this is in very rocky ground and has lots of gravel after scrapping away the paltry bit of top soil.

Again this is built from the free wood that my neighbour gave me.

I still have enough of that wood for another 2 4x8 boxes and 5 4x4 boxes.

So first I dug down and move the gravel off to the side.

Looks like a gravel pit in at the bottom!

So for all of you other there who say their soil is bad..Look at this :)

Next I screen out the gravel using my fine screen.

I use my course screen to pull out some crushed stone stuff and then put the rest in another wheel barrow.

Between leveling off the ground and digging the bottom I took 7 wheel barrow loads of gravel and 8 wheel barrow loads of rock. These go in the driveway that was once swamp.

I screen in a full bag of peat moss to mix in with the screen stuff below grade in the box. I have read posts where people complain about peat moss clumping but I have used about 40 bales in the last couple and years and have never had a problem but I either mix it with the tiller or in the boxes I screen it to break it into fine particles before mixing into the soil.

Now screen in some more of the existing soil.

And that just takes me up to the bottom of the box and the end of the day. Oh my back!

Now I have to add soil, peat moss, compost. I am out of vermiculite and am not going to put any in this box.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PART 1

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Awesome job, although I'm sorry about your back aching because of it!

Interesting how you screen the peat moss. It's also interesting to me that Mel's book doesn't cover this problem at all. I'm glad to know there is another way (screening) so that it doesn't stay all clumped up even after massive amounts of soaking and stirring... ugggh

Keep the thread going forever. It's quite an interesting read and chock full of helpful hints. Thanks for sharing!


RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

You know, I've never had a problem with peat moss clumping. I've used it both damp and dry, and the damp is a bit easier to work with (especially if it's windy). I put soil or compost in the wheelbarrow, add an equal amount of peat and just whack any lumps with the back of the shovel, they break up easily. I mix the soil and peat with the shovel until it's well blended and use it in that form. Last time I did it (this spring) I used dry soil and dry peat moss. If the soil had been damp, I probably would have dampened the peat (I just poke a hole in the plastic, insert hose and run water right into the bag, let it sit overnight to evenly dampen it). I really have to put a peat/compost mixture on my blueberries and my rhodies this fall, so I'll let you know if I have to eat my words!


Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Finished filing the box for now. I am going to let it settle and them fill up with Compost and manure.

I forgot to add lime to it which is a must for us as our soil is so acid. Of course this makes nice blue Delphiniums! :)

Lots of tomatoes are starting in the Tomato house. To bad they are so darn late getting going!!!!

More heads on the sunflower. AND BLUE SKY FOR A CHANGE!!!

I am going to put more flowers in the Sq Ft Garden next year.

The flowers make it look nice even when the squares have been harvested.

Update on the potato bin.... Look up the Bin again 2 post as they pointed out that for these boxes to be sucessful you need to plant late potatoes. I have no idea what I have planted. Apparently with early potatoes you will only get potatoes on the bottom layer..Important info...

We have turnips!!!!

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Yeah Mike, sorry about not knowing that sooner. So if I were you I'd dig around to feel for potatoes or remove one of the upper boards to see if anything's growing, if not, then stop going up. Or do what Granny suggested and plant another layer of early varieites, if you have enough time before the first frost for flowering and potato production.

Good luck this year and better luck next year with late varieties.

Your new bin looks fabulous!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfoinian's garden adventure!

Strange Footprints in the new box

I had corn bites for supper.

I went through the corn box and picked all the remaining cobs. I ended up with lots of partial cobs.

Seems like once the corn blew down it did not pollinate properly.

Still getting lots of beans off the inter planted Scarlet Runners but the the Kentucky Runners are just starting to flower now.

Hmmmmmm seems to be some strange foot prints in the new box.

The culprit!Who Me? says Sam!
He just loves to lay in fresh dirt or any dirt for that matter!

Another box on the go! I am taking advantage of the decent weather that we have been having to get some boxes in. It is cooler and windy but sunny!

It is interesting to see the difference in shade in this area this late in the season. There is a nice big birch providing the majority of the shade but I going to leave it as it is fine for most of the summer.

I am going to transplant the high bush cranberry once I harvest the berries and it loses its leaves.

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Mike, how do you like the scarlet runner beans? Are they quite productive? How does the taste/texture compare to the Kentucky Wonder? I remember planting them once, long ago, and loved them for the flowers. Can't remember much about the beans, though.

Your new beds are looking great! I wish I had those strawberries.


Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Granny...The scarlet runner beans are long and flat. IE 8-12 inches or more. If you let them get too long they become tougher. I like them. They are very productive and look great. They are the most productive bean that I have planted.

Next year I am going to grow them over the Arbors in the SqFt garden.

They are the ones above the corn in this picture.

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

I want my pole beans to go up the side of the 6-foot high dog kennel, then across some twine or rope over the top. Since I want some color in the garden, I think the Scarlet Runners would be great. I'd try to pick them young, and could always back up with bush beans if needed. Thanks.


Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

Darn Moose again

The moose are getting to be a really big pain.

He stopped my my trees and had lunch on 3 oaks and 3 maples which now just look like twigs.

Then he went to the strawberry patch for a little dessert!
ARGHHHHH! Moose walk through the strawberry patch all the time but this is first time that they have actually eaten the plants.

Cucumbers are finally starting to fruit. Everything is just so late this year.

The corn is still going to be touch and go with the first frost.

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Great pic by pic information to clip for my SFG next year, thank you! Also nice to have the new post, since the old one takes sooooo long to load!

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

So Mike, how many SF do you now have built? I'm still at 130 but you have more land than I do by far! Just curious.

Great work! Thanks for sharing

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure!

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Quote: "So Mike, how many SF do you now have built?"

Gee I have not added it up..

Beside cabin: These were quick and dirty boxes as I did not have to do much prep but are only temporary, not sure if I will keep them when the rest of the gardens are done.

2 - 3 x 10 = 60 sq ft - orig. beans and carrots but now a mix
1 - 4 x 11 = 44 sq ft - corn and beans

Total 104 sq ft..

Fenced Sq Ft Behind cabin still in process..

perimeter - 40 x 2 = 80 sq ft
boxes 2 - 4 x 8 = 64 sq ft
1 - 3 x 8 = 24 sq ft

Total 168 sq ft

In progress another 40 sq ft perimeter to finish closing in
and a couple more box probably 4 x 4's

Say additional 100 sq ft for next year..Will replace the boxes beside the cabin...

Creek Square foot garden, I knew that these would be a lot of work and that I would not get them in in time for this year so I am just doing them now.

3 x 12 - 36 sq ft tomatoes peppers
3 x 12 - 36 sq ft strawberries
4 x 8 - 32 sq ft strawberries
2 - 4 x 8 = 64 sq ft - empty

168 sq ft.

Then I have my other conventional garden areas which have strawberries, corn, pumpkins(laughable this year), zucchini, beans, cauliflowers etc.

Now some things you have to remember. We have a very slow short cool growing season where you will only get one crop per year out of most squares. Also add 25-40 percent on the time showing on the seed package for most crops to grow.

So for me getting multiple crops out of a square is not a reality, so more squares.

For instance this is 57 day corn planted on June 19th.

Look at how small the cobs are..Of course yesterday I had someone tell me that you cannot grow corn here. This is my third year and first that I have managed to get anything to eat out of it.

Next year I am going to make some big changes as lots of the larger plants in the sq ft garden, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts basically ruined the smaller crops beside them and I am getting almost nothing out of those squares. The same plants planted elseware in the garden did ok.

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Wow, that's 440 SF! Nice work! And that doesnt' include the traditional garden space you were talking about! Way to go Mike!

And I agree, people say you can't grow corn here either. I did mine too close together but it's possible, just not practical.

Good luck with next year! Oh and are you planning on using hoop covers or coldframes to extend your season or do 4 season gardening with cool-weather crops?

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure!

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Quote: are you planning on using hoop covers or cold frames to extend your season?

Not this year although I have thought of doing both.

My big problem is that I do not live there and our weather is so variable that if you did not get there on the warmer days, I am afraid that stuff would cook.

I actually have the glass and wood sitting in my woodshop to build the cold frames but that is as far as I got and it has been in there since May.

The 2 acre property next door to us sold and the new owner wants to develop the back portion of the property in to a bunch of lots which means I will lose some of the serenity back there when and if this happens. We actually wrap around the one side and back of his property. He still has some challenges as the building next door is a designated Historical building and with tearing down or moving buildings he will have trouble getting a road back to that area.

On the right side of this picture is the Tomato house and the sq ft garden that I have been recently working on. The property line is about 15 ft from the recently added boxes.

This is a wide panoramic view that might take a while to load. Once you get to the image shack site you can get a really wide view by clicking on the picture.

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Good luck tearing down historical buildings. "Someone" should contact the historical preservation society or the city permit department to inform them that a historical building is in danger of being destroyed. That should keep things going at a good pace.

Frost Warnings..

I was in the car yesterday afternoon and on the radio comes the first frost warning of the year.

Darn, I had not planned on going out to the garden but packed up the dogs and off I went to cover my tomatoes. I also had some other plants that I had propagated and were in pots but I just did not get the beds in and figured I should try and get these in the ground.

So I closed in the Tomato House.

Then I figured that the cucumbers, peppers are not gong to produce much this year even if they avoid the frost so I pulled them out of the ground and potted them and brought them home with me.

I wonder how many bugs they will bring in the house with them!

Turns out today that we did not the the frost last night but tonight we have another frost warning. I guess that I will just have to see.

Sun Flower

Also picked a sunflower for the Table and my 6 year old crappy camera actually took a nice close-up picture.

21 C today, beautiful

Since I posted we had 2 days of hail and 3 days of frost warnings. Today I made it out to the garden and all loooked ok! :)

Picked more corn, Just getting 1/2 size cobs but at least it tastes great!

Picked some Chard and made chard roll-ups for supper tonight. See the chard Post Link on this post for details

We have had a nice couple days and I have not made it out to the garden and with the tomatoes closed in I was a bit worried but they were hot and happy as can be...

Potato Bin growing like crazy but no flowers yet..

Also picked some broccoli which I threw out at home as I found worms, zucchini, some green tomatoes and my total fruit harvest.

Yes that one apple is the total harvest from 3 apple trees, 1 pear tree and 2 plum trees. 1 STINKING APPLE!

Darn moose! Moose stew anyone?

Here is a link that might be useful: See My Chard Rollup Recipe in this thread...

Are your leaves turning colour yet?

Here is a view of valley below the main sq ft garden.
We are just starting to see the leaves turn so should really start this week or next.

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Mike, don't throw out that broccoli! I've never grown any that didn't have some little green worms hiding in it, but a soak in cold water with about a Tbsp. of salt in it brings them all out and then they're good to eat...uh, the broccoli is good to eat, not the worms *g*


Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

Thanks Grannie but that is how I found the worms. My better half will not eat any veggie that has more than 1 worm or so...

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

More for you then! Then again, my better half won't eat broccoli anyway, so it's ALL MINE! MUAHAHAHAHA!

Couple of questions... how much land do you have? Is that valley yours, or is that what is going to be developed?

Also, you said you went to the garden, is your garden close to your house? I'm not sure we've ever seen how far it is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure!

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA


how much land do you have? 5 acres..

Is that valley yours, yes....The top of the hill in the picture is about 1/2 way on the lot.. This is a Google Sketch-up that I did of the property using the survey as the base..

or is that what is going to be developed? - Click on picture and I have marked what he wants to develop. The lots would have a nice ocean view but you can see the buildings on the lot that would make putting in a road difficult.

Is your garden close to your house? No..

I have 3 ways to go from home in Paradise to the garden...

1)4 lane divided highway it is 40 km (25 mins).
2)By pass Highway and Local = 36 km (30 mins)
3)The very scenic and slow local road = 32 km (35 mins)

And a picture of some Swiss Chard in the garden yesterday!

I went out to the local organic farm today and was able to buy some Latah Tomato seeds. These are being very grown successfully here with our short season. So maybe next year I will actually be able to grow red tomatoes..

We have just had 2 beautiful days of weather after the hail last week!

Here is a link that might be useful: Article on the Latah Tomatoes

The Sun!!! The Sun!!!

Nice day so I made it out to the garden...

The tomatoes are still happy closed up in their little house! If you all cross your fingers and toes maybe I will finally get a red tomato!

Harvested a bunch of corn nubs..They are very small. I also gave away about 25 to my neighbours before I took this picture. I still have about 150 plants to harvest. I used 3 ft wide rows planting in a diamond shape with 5 every running foot. I think this is too close and will plant further apart next year. Corn in the raised box with plastic mulch did much better before it blew down.

The Sq Ft garden is looking bare!

FINALLY! Starting to get flowers on my glads now that frost will be here any day now!!!!

Pic of the fenced garden, I really need to finish the fence and stain the Arbours.

I am getting sick of cutting grass and at least it is slowing down!

He likes the marigolds.

Vistor to the marigolds in the sq ft garden...

Before and After..

I found an older picture of the spot where the square foot garden is when we were first looking at the property in August 2005.

If you look you can see my better half (She really is!) in amongst the bush.

Links to continued posts...

RE: My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PA

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