one of the things on my 2010 to-do list was fill the planter box with dirt and plant a garden. well, it's finally happened! okay, the garden itself is not planted, but everything is ready to go for it and it WILL be planted in a couple weeks.
i decided to do square foot gardening because i had read that the garden stays virtually weed-free and that you can get a LOT of produce out of a small space. i did my garden on the cheap, though. you can spend a lot of money through that website, but i am not a devoted follower so i didn't. i filled the planter box with a mixture of compost, a few bags of garden soil picked up on the cheap from our local nursery, and some free sandy dirt that i found on craigslist.
then it was time to make my squares. according to mel, the grid is what makes square foot gardening work. i think it helps to keep you visually and mentally organized. i used household string and a staple gun to make my grid. i plan to plant two squares of swiss chard, two squares of bell peppers, two squares of zucchini, and two squares of indeterminate tomatoes across the back. in the front squares, i have planned a square of regular parsley, a square of italian parsley, two squares of basil, a square of thyme, a square of chives, and two squares of carrots.
i started my plants from seed. i bought a humidity dome (cheap) and some peat pellets. carrots, zucchini, and peppers will be sown directly into the soil, but everything else was started in here. i also started some roma tomatoes, to go in a large pot on our patio. romas make a bush instead of a vine, so they will be nicer in the pot than in the bed crowding out other plants, and they will look pretty when they are caged.
i also needed a trellis for the peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini. i was going to buy some, but my father suggested building one would be cheaper. for about $6 in lumber, this is what i built.
i used 2x2 furring strips for the main vertical pieces, and 1x2 furring strips for the cross-brace and side braces. then i cut small notches on the outside every 12 inches, and wrapped garden wire around the vertical pieces, in the notches. the trellis does not go all the way across the box because i only need it for six squares (two each of tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini) and also because it would block the guest bedroom window.
see those little rectangles in the front of my box? those are my labels! originally i wanted to use large popsicle sticks or wooden tongue depressors, but the craft store was out of them. these are 2x3-inch wooden rectangles that i found in the wooden craft aisle of the craft store. they were 29c each and i only needed eight (seven for here and one for my pot of romas). i wrote the names of the plants on them with a permanent marker and then tacked them on with the staple gun. i think they will be easy to pry off next year. the one for the romas i will glue to a skewer or something so it can be stuck in the dirt of the pot.
in a couple of weeks my seedlings will be ready to be hardened off and planted in the box, and then i will have to start the long impatient wait until i can harvest. i have been learning a lot about gardening, more than i ever thought was possible!