Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gardening in 2012 ~ Doing it BIG!!

This is not my very first attempt at gardening, but I am trying a few new things this year. For one, everything that I have grown was started from seed. I never really thought of growing my veggies from seed because I have always just bought seedlings from Lowes and plopped them in the ground. The reason I decided that I wont be going that route anymore is because I do not wish to have any GMOs or Genetically Modified Foods in my garden and onto my plate. The seeds that they use for those seedlings are GMOs so thats a no-no for me.

The second new thing for me this season is Square Foot Gardening which entails the use of raised beds and plotting the beds in one square inch blocks that you will plant a certain amount of plants in, depending on the plant that you put in the square. For example 16 onions will go into one square foot block and 9 spinach will go into a square and 4 lettuce heads go in another square and one tomato per square.
To jump start my growing season, which did pay off by the way, I did another first which is making mini hoop houses, which are in essence small green houses. I was able to start my seeds off then transplant them early and now I already have lots of lettuce and some cucumbers growing. I will also be able to extend the growing season and even have some things growing year round.

In past years since I only planted veggies that were available from Lowes, Home Depot or a nursery, I was limited in what I could plant which was typically for me eggplant, onion, pepper, tomato, squash/zucchini,  and cucumber.  Starting from seeds gives you a wider range of options for your garden.  This year in addition to what I mentioned above I am growing broccoli, cabbage, 2 varieties of romaine lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe, okra, garlic, and celery. I have never grown any of these things so this also will be a big experiment, lots of trail and error and a big learning experience.

As of today this is whats going on in one of my 4 boxes, the biggest one which is a 4 x 10. It has a whopping 40 squares in it so I should be able to get a lot out of just that one box. Here in this pic to the right from top left to right is broccoli, carrots, celery, in the corner is pepper, and in the very front is onions. I have already taken a few of the carrots and they were TASTY!

Here are some onions that didnt grow AT ALL last summer that I left in the box for dead. I just....left them there haphazardly in different spots and they grew some greens. I moved them to one square and to make them grow from tiny scallions I just moved the soil from around the bulbs so they would get bigger. They are about 4x bigger than they were when I first got them. Right beside them on the right is more carrot and in the foreground to the left is eggplant. I dont know if it can really be seen but theres a tiny speck right by the twine in the front. Thats one of the garlic bulbs that have started to shoot up.
And finally here is one of the cucumbers that I mentioned before thats already started to come in.