Our Garden Experiment

gardenday10This garden has been over a year in the making. We originally intended to get it started last summer right after we moved here. Well, last summer came and went and all we had done was read a book on gardening and buy some cinder blocks. Work and school got going and the garden dream got filed for another day.

I’ve read some financial blogs where the author has used Dave Ramsey’s plan for getting out of debt and they love it so much that they affectionately refer to him in their writing as ‘Uncle Dave’. In our house it would be Uncle Mel because the only garden books we really read were Square Foot Gardening, editions 1 and 2, by Mel Bartholomew. We’re counting on you Mel!

We chose the square foot gardening method because Mel’s approach fits our lifestyle the best. He recommends doing your garden in a 4′ x 4′ space and making your own soil (1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss). Considering that we live on the side of a mountain and 90% of our land is really steep and/or rocky it seemed to fit what we were looking for.

One of the reasons we didn’t get the garden going last summer is we felt like we didn’t have enough time to get it set up. It was also the reason that we delayed planting this year until Memorial Day, when Andy was finished with school. However, once we actually got out there and did it, it took maybe 2 hours tops and was fairly simple. The hardest part of the whole thing was getting water to the garden because we put it in our only flat land which is about 200 feet away from the house. Our hose is less than 100 feet, so we had to carry buckets of water down. Next year, it should be even easier because all we have to do is put some compost on top of the existing soil and we’re ready to plant.

We decided on the following starting line up for our first garden…

  • Bell Pepper
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Cucumber
  • Summer Squash

So let’s review the progress so far. We planted everything as a seed except for the Bell Pepper and the Tomato which Mel said we didn’t have enough time to start from a seed. Andy and I still have a hard time believing that we’ll actually be able to eat something that we grew ourselves, but so far all signs point to that happening in the future. As Andy often says, “Unbelievable!”

We saw the most dramatic change in the beans by far. We checked them on Day 6 and you could barely see the stem. A few days later we went down there and they were HUGE! It was amazing.

According to Mel, the summer squash is supposed to get really big so if multiple plants sprout, you should remove one of them so they don’t get crowded. Well, we had two sprout so we had to pull one of them. (We also had to do this to the cucumbers.) It was so sad! I worried that the one left behind would die and then we would be left with no plants. So far, my worries were in vain.

I’ll try to keep you updated on the progress. No guarantees though. I already had a garden post started and then I saw this link-up at Clan Donaldson. It gave me the motivation to get it finished and published. So thanks, Cari!

7 thoughts on “Our Garden Experiment”

  1. I was totally going to try square foot gardening this year and then I got too wrapped up and overwhelmed planning it out, so I’ve just been haphazardly planting things… I was amazed at how fast our beans sprouted and grew last year too! It’s amazing what good soil will do 🙂

  2. I love Mel’s book, too! I’ve never given it a try, but I loaned my copy to the neighbor, and SHE tried it. And now I suffer from garden envy because her vegetables are always a couple week ahead of mine.

    1. We’re hopeful about it! It was so surprisingly easy that it is hard to believe it could work. I’m glad it works for your friend. Maybe we’ll be the garden envy of the neighborhood in a few years. 😛

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