First Sprout of 2011!

Briefly, I will mention that the birds are kicking into gear today with the impending storm coming into town this week. Obviously, something is in the air. The weathermen are talking ice turning to snow. Let’s hope for no power outages, as they are comparing this storm to the last major ice storm in 2006 that knocked 500,000 people offline for 3-4 days. That was not a fun week. Fingers crossed for no encore performance.

I haven’t had much of a chance, or desire to create one, to take bird photos lately. But, I may get back in there with some fresh snow cover again. We’ll see. My attention, lately has been on the second original focus of this blog…..gardening.

I am really getting overdue for a content post, and I would like to make it about the general concept of SFG, but I just can’t grab the time with everything going on around me.

What I can do is show you what I have done this week. I have built my boxes. One is a 2×8 foot box that will go up against the south wall of my house. That box will contain mostly tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers….my vines. I will build a trellis to support them and keep them there year after year only rotating the squares in which particular plants reside. I may put some lettuce or radishes in some of the squares before I can plant tomatoes or after the tomatoes are done to help with the nutrient rotation and fungal cleansing crop roation provides, but I should be ok to just switch the tomatoes with the peppers and so on.

The other box is the bigger one…..4×12 foot. That box will contain a bunch of lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans, and whatever else I decide to toss in. My goal with this box is to cover it early and late in the season with a hoop house, which I will show you how to build, and extend my growing season past Thanksgiving Day and into winter. I have seen pictures of greenhouses keeping veggies at 50F while the outside temps are in the single digits. Imagine fresh garden salads in December? It’s possible, and I intend to show you.

The boxes were easy to assemble. I want them at least 6 inches deep with soil (with square foot gardening techniques, you don’t need to dig up your existing, crappy soil. You just make your perfect soil and put it on top of the dirt in your yard. The veggie roots don’t go much deeper than 6 inches because all the nutrients are right there for them.). I bought 8 inch wood widths because it was cheaper. It provides me the added benefit of a couple inches of soil to settle and still get me the 6 inches I need.

Picture one is the wood lengths laid out. Picture two is the assembled boxes. Assembly is super easy. Just pre-drill two holes in each corner and screw them together after your wood is cut to the length you desire. One word of caution: Don’t ever make the boxes wider than 4 feet. You can run them as long as you want, but don’t make them wider than 4 feet if you plan to access them from either side. If they are going up against a wall, no longer than 2 feet wide….hence my 2×8 box. You simply cannot reach into the box to work veggies if they are more than 2 feet away. And, the biggest No-No in SFG is stepping on your soil and compacting it. (Again, more on SFG concepts later.)

The third picture is my first sprout of 2011. I have lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower started in my basement. I planted them 4 days ago. Lettuce comes up really fast. Broccoli and cauliflower will wait another week or so….along with the celery I have forgotten to mention.

My calendar, according to the average last frost date, dictates I have the garden installed by February 25th so my veggies can go outside. You may laugh, but remember, I have the hoop house. I will put a thermometer out there to monitor the temps. And, cool season veggies like broccoli and lettuce can take some pretty cold temps. Spinanch can even withstand some freezing.

So enjoy, and realize I may not have been posting, but I am busy starting my garden. You will get pics as I complete small tasks. So, Keep Chuggin’!

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