We have lots of plants really taking off now that the weather is getting cooler. I planted a bit on the early side for our area and those seedlings were really attacked by bugs. That’s one reason I hear from people for waiting but they are really doing well now and the bugs are gone. I still think I had a good head start. Here are some pictures from around our garden. We just moved into this house a few months ago so it was a bit of a rush to put a few beds together before our cool season. Just a note…Storyteller has “adopted” all the weeds around the yard as her own plants. I have to be very sneaky about pulling them so the pictures show too many weeds for my liking. The girls use the weeds for their cooking adventures by adding them to big buckets of mud.
This is my garden bed. It’s 4’x4′ and 12″ deep. It’s my attempt at a Square Foot Garden however I made several changes. The four squares in the back and the two front corners are peas. I planted Sugar Ann, Sugar Daddy and Pea Progress #9 which are all short 2′-3′ vines that supposedly don’t need support. I wasn’t able to find a spacing suggestion for peas without a trellis from a SFG perspective but I found several forum posts that suggested 20-30 plants per square. I opted for 25. It looks like it’s a bit tight so I’m not going to replant the few seeds that didn’t germinate. Right now, the tendrils are starting to wrap around each other so I’m not sure how this will work out but we’ll see. The bottom center two squares are Rainbow carrots. The girls are really excited about these. Anything rainbow is sure to be a big hit for little girls!
Here is a close up of the back four squares of peas. The other square to the right is White Rib Swiss Chard.
Our first pea flower of the season started opening on a few days ago. Yippee! Peas are our favorite cool season treat. They rarely make it into the house. I’m lucky to hose them off before the kids devour them. I don’t think I could ever grow enough.
Red Leaf Lettuce (as well as other non-heading lettuce) is a cut and come again plant which means you can harvest the outer leaves and let the rest of the plant grow to continue harvesting.
I lost all my kale seedlings to bugs. Thankfully this was the only loss due to bugs. The others plants recovered just fine. My second try here looks to be doing well.
This is the bed where the girls decide what to plant and actually plant it. I’m actually pretty impressed. I thought the seeds were going to get scattered everywhere. They’ve actually planted most of my bed as well. This bed is also 4’x4′ but is only 6″ deep. According to the SFG method, a 6″-8″ depth is all you need. However, now that it’s built it looks really shallow! I have my doubts but so far everything is looking pretty good except for the snapdragons in the bottom center part of the picture. We even planted Short N Sweet carrots which are only 4″ long. The girls LOVE carrots and I couldn’t talk them out of planting them in their own bed.
These are some of the radish seedlings that Storyteller helped thin. These are Watermelon radishes. I think they’re a bit big for the depth of their bed but they loved the name and wanted them in their own bed instead of mine.
We used a seed mix of different lettuces in their bed. The seeds are several years old and last year the red lettuce was the only one that did anything. This year the arugula is really taking off. Funny how that works.
The row of Nevada Lettuce was really attacked by bugs but they are coming back nicely.
According to the Earthbox planting guide, six broccoli plants can fit into one. I grew broccoli last year in large pots they were huge! I can’t image six in a Earthbox. The spacing for them by the SFG method is 18″ which is 4 plants per 9 squares. Four plants would have taken up more that half of my 4’x4′ bed. By using the Earthbox I can get more broccoli plants into a much smaller area. It looks like it will be really tight so we’ll see how it works out.
I’ve had really bad seed germination rates in the Earthboxes this season. I have a few theories as to why but I’ll get into that in another post. I was planning on doing peas in this box. It already had a trellis so I choose some long vine varieties of peas. I ended up sowing this box four times. Yep, that’s right…four times. During the first sowing I got one seedling. The other three times…nothing. The one seedling hasn’t been doing well. It took a beating during a few windy days. So, the girls and I went to a nursery to see what transplants we could find for this box. We decided on Pretty in Pink strawberries. Storyteller was very upset to lose the one pea seedling so we decided to keep it which is why you see a trellis with strawberries. If you look closely on the far left side you’ll see a lone pea seedling. I also have another Earthbox with spinach but the seedlings are tiny and don’t show up well in a picture.
Here are some of the seedlings I’ve started. This is a self watering seed starting kit. It’s pretty easy to find these now days. Watering from the bottom is a great for seed starting. You don’t have to worry about washing away the seeds if you pour too much water on them and you don’t have to stand there forever misting the soil to keep it wet. And you don’t have to worry if you forget to water them for a few days. Now that these are outside I fill the reservoir every two or three days. I have broccoli, spinach and lettuce growing here. These will fill my last Earthbox and a bunch of pots.
This is a bell pepper that is long over due for picking but Storyteller says that this is a swing for the hormworms. The pepper plants are still going strong but the leaves are quite tattered from getting nibbled on all summer.
Well, that’s a quick tour of our fall garden and what it looks like so far. I think it’s coming along nicely especially since we just moved in and also just started our first year of homeschooling. It’s been a fun and crazy ride!