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My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PART 4

Posted by mike_in_paradise 6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 6, 08 at 18:18

Ok I am going to add a part 4 which should be the last one for this season in order to keep the load times down.

Links to first 3 Parts:

My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PART 1
My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PART 2
My Square Foot Garden History, Building ,Pics and Progress PART 3


Follow-Up Postings:

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Whats Up Doc?

Harvested carrots today..

Before:

WHAT IS THIS - Space Alien I think!!!

Take me to your leader earthling!

I am amazed at the different size of carrots coming out of each square. This picture I kept all the carrot from a particular square together. They were planted 16 to a square.

Did anyone else have vastly different sizes of carrots in each square?

It is now getting dark at 4:30 and I was cutting the tops into the composter in the dark and did not get an after picture.


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You Say Potatooh, I say Potato

Soooo I eagerly started to dig into my potato bin today.

Of course not knowing if I used late potatoes as these were just some potatoes that were sprouting I did not have high expectations.

Nothing in the first layer...Gosh Darn it

Eureka, We have potato, well babies, small babies in 2nd from top layer. Still I was thrilled to see these up so high.

End of layer 2...

Drum roll Please...

Ok so maybe a Bronx Cheer would be more appropriate...

Here is the 3rd layer results....

Remove the bin to get at the bottom...

Now as I was taking out the soil I screened it into another out side frame box in the square foot garden and I got a few more tiny babies..

Considering that:

1) I did not start this until the end of July,
2) used sprouting potatoes of unknown variety
3) They did not flower but were killed off the 1st frost

I am just happy that I got something out of it. This was more effort than it was worth for these few potatoes but now that the box is built I will give it a try again next year.

REMEMBER IN ORDER TO GET LAYERS OF POTOTOES YOU NEED A LATE VARIETY.


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

You rock on rollerskates Mike! Nice job on the potatoes. I put the little potato in during September, and it's already greening up on the top. I'm going to have to bury it while it snows.


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

  • Posted by peel z6 CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 6, 08 at 22:19

Those carrots are making me so excited for next year's harvest. I planted a few this year, but too late. When I cleaned out the bed to make room for the garlic I pulled out some tiny little orangish roots and one pinky-sized carrot. I ate it right there, and it was the sweetest, crunchiest carrot I have ever tasted. I can't wait for next year.


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

Mike: do you plan on using or putting up all those carrots? I harvest only what we eat. The keep in the ground far better than the crisper.

As for the potatoes, great work. Yeah, go for a solid producing late season next year, but not bad. Rule of thumb is 10:1 poundage ratio so if you did better, bravo!

Carolyn: potatoes are a summer crop here, where are you that you're growing them now? Frost will kill the plant before any potatoes form.

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


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

sinfonian: Those carrots are just for current use. I have been harvesting carrots for quite a while and those are the last squares in the fenced sq ft garden. I gave some away and the rest will last a couple of weeks.

I still have 10 squares of carrots left in another box in another garden.

The potatoes results were just OK but not really worth the amount of work. But then considering how late I started them I am happy getting anything.

The encouraging part is the number of small potatoes that would have given a better crop if I had planted them sooner.

The other thing I that they do not grow below the level you plant them at so I would plant them 3-4 inches lower next time.

It is all a learning experience :)


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

Ok I am down to 1 meal left of the carrots that were harvested.

It was my better half's birthday yesterday and her parents wanted to take the family out to dinner so I made her a carrot cake using carrots from the square foot garden.

The funny was that her mom also made a carrot cake at the same time so I challenged her to a cake off.

Every one got 2 pieces of cake, mine is on the left, hers is on the right.

So who one, while many people liked mine as it was meatier and moister the birth girl preferred her mom's as it had a layer of cream cheese in it.


I


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Crappy weather

Weather has not been great and I have only been up to the sq ft garden a couple of times.

I took the pear tree out of the fenced sq ft garden now that the tree should be dormant and moved it. Now I can put in another box in that spot.

I really need to spend a few days at the garden finishing the fencing and hopefully if the weather co-operates staining the arbors.

I took my little 4x6 mini green house from the side of the house and stuck it in the back of the truck in piece and drove it 32 km and put it inside the cabin at the sq ft garden in one piece. I did bend one of the poles in the process just has I was putting in through the double doors at the cabin. Doooh!

Looks like a dog has been digging in some of the boxes in the square foot garden down by the creek. Funny but the boxes he dug in were the new ones I put in that have never had anything planted in them. Maybe likes the manure.

Speaking of manure I was talking to a fellow when I was walking the dogs around the pond by my house and he told me of a source for free manure. It is a riding stable that is on my way to the sq ft garden. I will have to check this out next time I am going by with the truck empty.

Funny how the thought of free horse poop can make a guy happy.

Of course right now I have the back of the truck filled with bags of leaves that I scrounged to take up there.


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

Mike, I'll take a dark, moist carrot cake over cream cheese filling any day! How sweet of you to make that for your wife. Mr. H could/would make me a birthday breakfast of "fried everything", but wouldn't have the vaguest idea of how to bake a cake.

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


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I never do what I plan on...

I had the truck full of leaves and intended to go to the square foot garden and build a cage for them.

Best thing though is on the way to the square foot garden gas dropped in price to below a dollar a litre (4 litres to a US Gallon) 93.3 cents...WHoooo Hooo...

It has been a couple of years since it has been this cheap.

I cleaned out the corn stalks and I had left some of the inter-planted bean pods on hoping to get seed. Unfortunately the critters have eaten most of what was left.

Now the question is drying them out. I just put them in a plastic garden holder for pots that has an open grid bottom. I hope that they dry out OK.

I cut the grass between the boxes. I have decided that I am going to leave the 2 square foot boxes beside the cabin for next year and do corn and beans in them(with side supports added to stop them from blowing over).

However I am going to take the corn box out and move it down to the creek square foot garden...

Of course in order to place the box I needed to move 2 plums trees out of the creek square foot garden which I had planned on doing anyways cause of the moose eating them. I decided to move them up by the cabin by the road as the moose rarely comes up there. (I will probably end up eating those words)

I also moved a couple of corkscrew willows around. These tree just do not do well with the amount of wind that we have.

Then of course as I was in the tree moving mode I moved 4 volunteer spruce trees that hatched from the neighbors pine cones(I guess I should say spruce cones). When these get big they will end up blocking off some of my ocean view at the front but should give me a bit more privacy out front.

In total I ended up moving 7 trees and used up 24 bags of manure and compost that I had been saving for the square foot garden. Oh well they were on clear-out at the closing of the garden center for $1 bag.

Of course by the time I finished moving trees it was 4:30 and already dark. Gosh I hate these short days.

I never did get the corn box moved.
I never did get the leaf cage made.

Oh well so much for plans.


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Yes I have a sweet tooth...

Anyone else considering planting Stevia in their square foot garden.

I am not sure how this plant will react to the our Newfoundland climate but it intrigues me. I did the Atkins diet for a couple of years and used a lot of Splenda.

The other interesting thing is:

"Stevia is not bothered by many insect pest or diseases. In fact, plants have been found to have insect-repelling qualities."

So a sweet plant that might help scare away some bugs.

Some Links:

http://www.stevia.net/

http://www.steviacanada.com/

The Cultivation of Stevia, "Nature's Sweetener"

Now it is interesting that the US FDA seems to have a problem with it but Japan has embraced it.

Quote: "The subject of searches and seizures, trade complaints and embargoes on importation, stevia has been handled at times by the FDA as if it were an illegal drug.

Since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), stevia can be sold legally in the United States, but only as a "dietary supplement."

I am definitely going to give this a try...


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

There is some evidence the use of stevia can cause sterility in men. Other than that, it seems to be safe. I have never looked into growing it, and have no idea just how, once it has grown, it is processed to use as a sweetener.

Granny

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


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Sweet Contraceptive?

So is it a sweet Sweet Contraceptive?

Quote: There is some evidence the use of stevia can cause sterility in men.

Granny that is interesting. When I searched this on the web most of the posts are just repeating info with links to studies.

This link does point to some study but of course this link is by pro-stevia website.

"One study in 1968 by Joseph Kuc at Purdue University showed that there was a reduction in offspring by female rats that consumed a concentrated Stevia solution equaling a human consuming 2.5 quarts of this liquid in 20 minutes. . . . Even Joseph Kuc admits to problems with the study and how it cannot be equated to humans."

And here's a link:

The fact that it is widely adopted in Japan and the fact the agriculture Ontario seems to be in favour of it are good things.

Like everything else we have to research the good and the bad and make up our own minds.

Good thing that I am well past having to worry about my sterility!


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Whats up Doc?

Yesterday I changed over the car tires to the winter steel studded ones and took the summer tires up to the cabin at the square foot garden for storage.

While there we harvested some more carrots and just took the ones that looked big on top. Funny how two carrots side by side, same diameter and one is 8 inches long and the other is 3 inches long.

Sure not much left in the garden. I looked at some of the onions and they are just tiny. These were not very successful this year.

I have one of those black circular compost bins in the square foot garden that the Newfoundland government was sponsoring. What a poor design.

The problem is that it is in 2 pieces. If you try and turn over the compost inside the top half pops off and then the weight of the composting material on the sides distorts the bottom and makes it difficult to put the top back on. I am not going to attempt to turn it over any more.

Also it always seems to be too dry to me. I usually pour a couple of 4 gallon buckets of water over top when I am there.

We will see how it ends up working.

While down checking out the creek square foot garden, I noticed that the trout are running up the creek to spawn(I know how hard it is to do that with no feet!). I forgot to take my camera so no picture.

While I was looking through my old pictures to see if I could find one of the trout I came across this one of a farmer that I frequently see on his tractor with his dog on my trip to the square foot garden. Makes me smile every time I see this.


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

So true, Mike. Unfortunately, any time there is a controversy, most of the information we find here is from someone's blog...and they are usually opinionated and not in the least scientific. It's like someone saying "ban peanuts" because some people have a fatal allergic reaction to them.

BTW, my source was from the book "You on a Diet" by Dr. Mehmet Oz. I don't have the book here with me, so I cannot cite his source.

In any case, I personally wouldn't worry about using stevia, but to be on the safe side, I'd not encourage my 9-year-old grandson to use it with any frequency, for instance in daily diet sodas.

BTW, I was raised by a diabetic mother. I have consumed almost every artificial sweetener that ever existed, depending on which happened to be popular at the time. To this day, I grab my sweetener packet rather than dip my spoon into the sugar bowl, and I haven't suffered any adverse effects from having done so for nearly my entire life :-) I'd be very interested in any attempt to grow stevia and the process to get it to a usable state for stirring into my coffee!

Granny

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


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RE: My Square Foot Garden History Black compost bin

Quote: "I have one of those black circular compost bins in the square foot garden that the Newfoundland government was sponsoring. What a poor design."

That's the truth! I have had one of those things for years, and have never taken a shovel full of decent compost from it. Mine will not stay together in the middle, and now if I turn the lid shut it locks on and won't turn back to open...I have to physically pry it off. Next year I'm just going to use the bottom of it for a potato bin or something. Maybe for sweet potatoes. Maybe the top half, too. I think it would make a couple of good sweet potato bins!

Granny

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


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

I haven't grown Stevia, but my garden buddy in Alabama (no, not EG) Judy grew it last year and she was very impressed with it. It grew 3+ feet tall and it was easy to dry the leaves. I plan on growing it this spring if I can find the space for it.

Interesting to hear about serility. I'm good since we're done, but that would be a real problem for my boys... hmm?


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

Quote: I'd be very interested in any attempt to grow stevia and the process to get it to a usable state for stirring into my coffee!

Granny here is a link to a discussion on the Herb form:

Your point on using the bottom of the composter to grow potatoes is a great idea, especially seeing as I have an extra bottom. I had bought 2 of these from the Newfoundland government and sat them at the side of the house. When I look the whole top of one was gone. Not sure if someone stole it or if the wind blew it away. I will have to use it for potatoes next year.( If I don't forget by then :) )

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread on Processing Stevia


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

That was interesting and informative, Mike. Thank you!

The drying and grinding to a powder is exactly the same as I do with my sage and basil, so that's easy enough.

It seems many people just don't like the aftertaste of this plant when used as a sweetener, so I think I'd buy some from a health food store to taste before I decided to grow it. I'm wondering, as were some on that thread, how it is commercially processed from a green powder to white. That, to me, would give a hint that it is not all natural in the purchased form, as bleaching of some sort has been done.

Granny

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


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Brrrrrr Cold....

It was sunny in paradise so I decide to trek out the garden and give the boys a chance to run after all the rain we have been having.

I drove through some snow flurries on the way out to the square foot garden. They melted on hitting the ground. They were not in the afternoon forecast. Good old Newfoundland weather.

I did fire up the wood stove in the cabin for the first time this year as I had to do some repairs on my wood chipper.

There were some discussions on swiss chard and cold weather and you will see in this picture how well it has held up through the frosts so far.

One of my arbours had toppled over so we must have had some wind out there. It was not permanently fastened and with the weather we have been having I am not sure if I will finish this off this year or wait for the spring. The arbour was not hurt so all is well.

Another good thing is that this is the first time that the composter was soaking wet so at least I did not have to drag any water up to wet it.

The creek square foot garden is the wettest that I have seen it. I moved the plum trees out of it but I still need to move the high bush cranberry. I was going to move it today but the sun tucked itself behind the hill at 3:30 this afternoon down there and I just did not feel like doing this in the shadows. The property is in valley and loses the sun about an hour ahead of the highway.

You can see the ocean over top of the tomato house.

The view shows how waterlogged my future field is..

Lots of water in the little waterfall...
It actually looks like a waterfall for a change.

And the creek. I guess the trout are finished spawning as I looked and could see no sign of them going up the creek.


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This turnip is bigger than my head!

I am going to have to dispute Mel's saying that you can get as much out of the square foot garden :)

I came across this picture of one my smaller turnips from last year. This is from the same spot that now holds the square foot garden. Actually I had 5 or 6 turnips that size.

Here are some from the Square Foot Garden this year:

They are very puny!!! LOL


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

I was replying to one of EG's posts on cabbage space and thought I would post some progress pictures of the cabbage in the boxes over time..

Weather Notes:
June was unseasonably cold,
July 3-21st was very hot and dry above average for use
July 22-July 31 got more rain than normal for all July

June 12th Planted

June 19th

June 25th

July 3rd

July 7th

July 13th


July 24th

July 30th

August 3rd..

August 16th

August 18th

Here is a link that might be useful: Eg's ppst on cabbage spacing


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Anyone got any spare wood...

Ok forget building more Square foot boxes, I am going to build an Ark.

After raining that beautiful Newfoundland sunshine all week we got 100 mm of rain on Saturday. This washed out roads in the city and my little creek overflowed.

We are having warmer than usually weather and as least it is not snow!

These pictures were taken yesterday about 16 hours after the rain stopped. I have never had this much standing water in the fenced square foot garden.

My strawberry patch ( and the new rows I added square foot style) got flooded but at least they did not get washed away this time.

You can see how high it had to be to go over the banks in this picture.

It even ran down the middle of area beside the creek which is a first. At least it cleaned out the leaves.

I harvested the rest of my carrots and chard.

The carrots were pretty small in this box.

I got about 1/2 a bucket full.

Soooo that is all for the garden harvest for 2008.

There is still some onions and garlic but they seemed too small so I am going to leave them over winter and see what happens.

I also cut the chard off but left the plants in out of curiosity to see if they will come back in the spring.


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

We got about half that much rain over a couple days here this summer, and we had a bit of a lake going in the back yard. I don't know that our soil could take anywhere near that amount of rain. We don't get that often. We were working on a project this summer/fall building some steps and a garden bed, and part of it involved a drainage project. It hasn't rained enough here since then to even have water go into the dry creek bed, much less to see if the whole "system" will work worth a darn.

I was looking at your cabbage pictures. There must have been a huge raincloud over the entire east at the end of July. I was in Vermont then, and it rained more than I have seen in years (since I moved west at least, I'd guess).

How many hours of daylight do you get there at your highs & lows? The cabbage looks like it grew so fast (of course, I've never grown them before, so what do I know). It made me think of the giant veggies at the state fair in Alaska (even though yours look like normal veggies). Are you far enough north to have the real extremes of light?


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

Quote: How many hours of daylight do you get there at your highs & lows:

Now I am going from my recollections here but about 7:30-4:00 of daylight on the shortest day and about 5:30-9:30 on the longest day.

My garden is in a valley and the sun gets blocked by the hills close to an hour before the higher elevations.

Notes on our crappy climate from Wikipedia(Garden is 1/2 hour from St. John's):

Of all major cities in Canada, St John's is the cloudiest (only 1,497 hours of sunshine a year), snowiest (359 cm; 11.8 ft), and has the most wet days per year (Environment Canada, 2005). However, St. John's has the third mildest winter in comparison to other Canadian cities.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia St John's


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Ok I just had to add

I just saw on the National weather that we have the warmest temperature in Canada today.

WHOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!

That does not happen very often.. 13c (55F) and still pouring rain!


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

Mike,
They say Colorado Springs has 300 days of sunshine per year. I have officially been here one year today, and I suspect it may be true!

You don't get the really long & short days there like I thought you might. I don't remember how far north we were in our travels through Canada when I really started noticing a difference in the day length.


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Newfoundland Square Foot Garden December

We usually have crappy weather, we get lots of rain, but this year it is beyond ridiculous.

We are getting 4 or 5 days in a row with no let up in the rain and big storms, than a crappy day and then more stormy days. It feels like the house is going to lift off its foundations and that I am going to be off to kansas to see the wizard. I forget what the sun looks like!

It has been above average temperatures (17c yesterday) one day then freezing the next. We will get 4-5 inches of snow that turns to rain and then gets washed away. I forget what the sun looks like!

The dogs and I are getting fat as we have not been doing anything and it has been tuff to even get out for a decent walk.

My poor better half is working in the middle east this week and the weather has totally delayed her travel plans forcing her to have to overnight in a hotel at London's Heathrow airport at a cost of 185 british pounds which is close to $400 for a stinking night.

The rain took a pause today and I figured I would go out and check out the garden.

First thing I notice was that the neighbour's fence had blown down.

The moose was though the hill garden recently:

Here is the square foot garden beside the cabin today:

I think I was talking with EG about swiss chard a while back and here it is after several frosts.

I cut this chard to the ground in the fenced square foot garden a couple weeks back and you notice even in this weather it has grown a bit. Amazing stuff and so good with garlic and a little chicken broth.

The creek is eroding away beside the creek square foot garden. I hope it stops there, Next year I am going to have to put rocks on the side of the bank here.

Here is the strawberry patch where the creek overflowed.
The two new areas that I planted square foot style have a bit of sand and silt but I hope will be ok.

The creek has really suffered some erosion this last month.


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

Mike - thanks for showing the pics. I bought some swiss chard seeds yesterday, and will plant in February. They only had the white variety, not the rainbow. Is that as good as the rainbow?

EG


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

Eg: The white and the rainbow taste the same. It is just the appearance that is different as the white is just not as pretty :)

I am curious to see how this over winters. Apparently it can survive and you can get an early spring crop out of it before it bolts to seed. We will see.


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

Quote from Sinfonian: "I haven't grown Stevia, but my garden buddy in Alabama (no, not EG) Judy grew it last year and she was very impressed with it. It grew 3+ feet tall and it was easy to dry the leaves. I plan on growing it this spring if I can find the space for it."

This is Judy :-) Yep, the Stevia is still growing! I can't believe it. I've had to cut it down several times. I have a bag full of dried leaves -- they were easy to dry in the dehydrator. I know so far, it's been able to withstand temps down to 30 degrees F. It's also seeded now... I don't know anything about Stevia seeds though because I purchased my plant as a seedling.

I saw commercial on TV the other day advertising a new sweetener that is made from Stevia! I just barely caught it so I'll have to watch out for it again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Judy's Square Foot Garden


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

Mike - sorry I haven't noticed your response earlier...Anyway, thanks for that information. I'll plant some chard soon.

EG


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

Mike,
I am new to your site and have loved reading all the posts since the first one in part 1. My hubby and I have started a new garden for this spring. We are in NC so we have a lot of growing time. But I wanted to tell you that your pic in part 1 (the very first pic) showing your garden/fence was an inspiration for us. We are going to duplicate it to keep our dog and other critters out as much as possible. I had a question after finally getting to the end of part 4. What do you do with ALL the produce? Do you can them or sell them ( Im talking about the extra). I want to keep and can as much as I can as I have 3 children and my hubby to feed!


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Slowly thinking about coming out of winter hibernation

I have not read the board for a couple of months. I think I just hibernate my interest in Gardening during the winter as it is just too depressing to think about :)

Thanks for the kind words from some posters. As to what we do with all the produce, the answer is eat it and give some away to family and friends. I did not get as much out of the garden as I should so I am hoping to improve my yields this summer.

First we are having a strange year for us. Much colder and much less snow but also much less rain so we have at times it seemed like more snow on the ground than usual.

Of course my 11 year old snow blower broke again and we had to break down and buy a new one.

Now we had a bunch of rain last week and the snow is pretty much all gone.

These pictures were taken yesterday.

The poor gardens are exposed right now and that is very unusual for this time of winter. Plus with much colder than usual weather not sure how they will survive.

The moose was around last week. Of course JD had to smell and then roll in it.

My poor strawberries. With the weather they are exposed whereas normally at this time of the year they would be snug as bug in a nice cushy blanket of snow.

And even the strawberry patch is exposed.

Oh well another couple of months I will start to think about getting some seeds going.

I am envious of the rest of you starting already.

Yawn, Back to hibernation!


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

In my quest to actually grow a red tomato outside in Newfoundland I had picked up some Latah Seeds from the local organic farm. They had good success with them last year.

I planted some Heirloom seeds and then 8 days later planted the Latah's after I moved out some other things I was growing from under a seed starter tray with a dome.

The Latah Tomato plants have caught up with the Heirlooms and are just starting the first set of leaves.

That is very encouraging.

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


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

Mike, glad to see you back...I missed you!

Granny

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


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

I am just happy that I got something out of it. This was more effort than it was worth for these few potatoes but now that the box is built I will give it a try again next year.

Lisa11


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