Thursday, February 25, 2010

A VERY Handy tool!

In all of the reading I've done lately I keep on coming back to space as an issue. One of the way many people combat this issue is square foot gardening. A concept developed by Mel Bartholomew and written about in his book (don't forget to check amazon!) and website. The basic idea behind square foot gardening is to use raised 4' x 4' beds that are broken into 12"x 12" squares. Each 12" x 12" square can contain a certain number of plants. For example one 12" x 12" square can contain: 9 beet plants or 1 brussel sprout plant or 1 cabbage plant or 4 head lettuce or 16 leaf lettuce. The list goes on and on.

Raised beds themselves have a lot of advantages. The soil warms up much faster being the biggest. The fact that raised beds can be at various heights to accomodate gardens of all ages and physical abilities. All in all square foot gardening in raised beds seems to be a gardens best chance of high yields. Just one big thing to remember when constructing your raised bed- put some time into researching what wood you use to construct them. You want a wood that is strong & rot resistant but IS NOT chemically treated (c'mon do you really want one more chemical around your food?)

Now onto the VERY Handy tool part! Go to Hello! There are several pre-planned garden plans (Salad Bar, Kids Garden, Plant it and forget it and High Yield to name a few) to look at if that is your deal or if you like the planning aspect they have a wonderful tool that helps you with that. Really I can't talk up this plan your own device enough. You enter your available space and click on what crops you want to plant. It tells you how many can be planted in each 12" x 12" square. I don't think it could be any easier! Then if you've been doing some reading on succession planting and/ or multiple season planting you can add that into this mix.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter

So, does anyone have one of these? I was so excited to see them for $9.99 at my locals Walgreens. Much more in my price range than the previously seen prices of $20 or $30. I bought a few and thought that I'd grow my grape & cherry tomatoes in them. Well, I did a bit of research and guess what I plan on returning??? Please let me know what good and bad experiences you've had with a Topsy Turvy planter. Thanks!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My new Gardening "Bible"

So last year was my first attempt at gardening. In terms of produce harvested the garden was a dismal failure :( Part of this is because I had NO idea what I was doing! I just forged ahead and hoped for the best. I can say that it was a smashing success in terms of being a learning lesson! Oh, before I forget our tomatoes were beyond successful and we had tomatoes coming out of our ears! So I decided to use this past winter as a time to learn about gardening. I hunkered down and read a lot of books & spent a fair amount of time online. There are 2 books that were so incredibly helpful and full of information. Today I'm going to share the first with you. Crockett's Victory Garden


Amazon has several copies of this book available starting at $4.49. Now I must tell you this book was first published in 1977. Please don't let that fact that its old dissuade you from getting this book. The information by no means is dated! The book is written as a month by month guide and every month is further broken down into various crops. I loved this because it was very easy to make a gardening calendar and start a garden notebook. (Another really useful tool! Google Garden Notebook for ideas & worksheets!)
On my next post I'll share another very valuable book in setting up my garden!