Oh, how I love to grow plants! When the sun warms the earth and things to begin to green up in my valley, I long to spend every waking moment at it. It is just so soul-nourishing to be outside, with the sun and breeze—insects buzzing, birds chirping, and flowers blooming—feels like paradise to me!
This is my third summer of Square Foot Gardening, and I am having such fun with it. I get at least double the produce I used to harvest in my traditional garden, and I don’t have to till, use a shovel, pull weeds (much), wear shoes or even get dirty!
Come with me into my garden and I’ll give you a little tour. This year, our spring was very late, so everything is about a month behind scehdule. It is June and we still don’t have peas yet!
First thing, right outside my kitchen door, is a big pot (about 2 feet high with drainage) in which I’ve planted rosemary, oregano and lemon balm. I use a deep pot so there will be a lot of root room to hold moisture. If you plant in those shallow planters, you have to water them much more often, and they don’t grow as lush. Although I grow herbs out in my garden too, having herbs handy right near my kitchen means they’ll get plucked off by hand and used in cooking much more often than if I had to tromp out to the garden to get them.
Next, we’ll go out into my Square Foot Garden, and I’ll show you what is growing so far this year:
Peas and poppies! I left this bed pretty much undisturbed (except for covering it over the winter with an old blanket held in place with big rocks). So spring brought California poppies that reseeded themselves from last year. I didn’t want to bother them, as I love them so much, so I just planted my peas amongst the poppy seedlings. It’s so pretty with both the white blossoms of the peas, and the bright yellow-gold poppies!
Chard, kale and garlic overwintered and took off growing as soon as it got warm. I also have lettuce that reseeded itself and grew into big heads before the weather was warm enough for me to get out and plant my garden (lettuce loves cool weather). Other spring greens have flourished: spinach, green onions, dill, cilantro, and many varieties of lettuce provide us with a big salad at each meal! Before I did Square Foot Gardening, I never grew decent lettuce. Now it is a mainstay of our meals.
I like to intersperse flowers among the vegetables to make the garden a feast for the eyes, as well, and to keep bouquets of fresh flowers on my table all summer long. Since each bed is marked into square foot sections, it’s easy to put a square foot of zinnias between a square foot of onions and lettuce.
We’ve got all our garden beds planted. Daily I see new seedlings that have popped up. Keeping the ground moist while seeds are germinating makes conditions ideal, and radishes are up within 3 days, beans within 5 days. Louisa and I go out every morning to check what has sprung up overnight!
Now it is just the work of the sun to make it all grow. Since each square foot is covered with plants (no pathways), there really isn’t room for weeds. The only work I have to do until harvest is pull a random, tiny weed seedling here or there, and keep the water coming. And enjoy! It is so very satisfying to garden using this method!
If you’d like to take a look at my past Square Foot Gardening adventures, here’s some photos: