Saturday, April 24, 2010

Planting the Card board Garden our 4th GGG meeting

I hope planting our indoor cardboard garden helped many of you understand the power you have in your garden.

It is your garden, you and Mother Nature and with a little understanding of her power you can take charge of your garden. How? Plant what you want, maybe you can grow it. Test out any method you can to create a warm, cozy growing location. Covers, mulches, colored plastic, early plants, early type seeds, hybrids made for wet cool places all help you master your garden.

Oh there are many ways we can work with the garden to get it to produce for us.
"Inch by Inch, Row by Row we can make this garden grow!"

Keep in mind that a plants goal is to grow big enough to thrive and be ready to go to seed when the temperatures are right. What we do is help guide the plant to accomplish this goal OUR WAY. Right now if you have onion plants in the ground you will need to give them a hair cut. Why? I want to eat the bulb of this plant but it is young and racing to grow tall giving me mostly big green tops, the seeds form at the top of big green tops. By cutting it down some several times through the early growing time I tell it to make the bulb bigger for me to eat!
By putting dirt over half of my potato plant as it grows I'm telling it to make more roots and not so much green until I have my potato can full of roots to grow those tates. It's all a trick!

When I pick my summer squash smaller than a car I tell that plant it better make some more for seed. Cucumbers are especially sensitive to this and will only produce plenty if you pick plenty!

I really like Asian cabbage (napa cabbage) but it likes to flop right open inviting all the bugs to move in and eat so tie it closed with some yarn or ribbon or twine and it will keep growing and the bugs will have to be out where I can see them.

If I want a lot of nice white leek I must mound up the dirt to cover the green area as it grows. That will make the green white, if you do it early in the growth and later as the leek gets bigger.

I can help corn pollinate, or force open the male blooms on the squash plant and use a paint brush to offer pollen to the female bloom. Sometimes the weather causes things to work all crazy and I can offer order to my garden. Last year was like that, too much heat too soon.

Remember if you want to eat the green above ground parts then a miracle grow system will make lots of leafy spinach to eat, but I won't want to boast the green outer plant if it's the root I'm eating as in carrots and beets, they need a completely different kind of food.

Our cardboard garden made it easy to show you how each square can be used at least twice maybe three times as you get more experienced. See my examples below for some ideas but remember you are the master of your garden and you may find some very neat ways to get more from your garden.

The square foot garden has a lot of squares and you may grow one plant in the center. When you do that consider what would grow in the 4 corners. Picture that the corners create a square taking 1/4 from the 4 squares around it. This space has no roots from the other plants using up the food so why not use it? I put beets in the corners of several square and was eating the greens but at the end of the season I got these oddly grown beets from being in the corners. I will do that again. The baby choi's grow nicely in the corners, onions, garlic, basil. Just make sure the corner plants aren't bigger than the main plants in any of the squares.

The green part of the square is my spring planting
The red part of the square is the summer or fall planting

The other nice thing you can do with those corners is start your fall plants early. Yes put a broccoli seed in each corner in July and in late Aug when the other plant is gone I just move it to the middle. This is an excellent way to keep the garden going. If you are a beginner don't even bother yourself with any of the above just plant the normal square foot way.

Here is a basic fun list of the length of time a plant takes to grow. We know how we will usually add a couple of weeks up to a month to these times but take a look and see which plants will be out of the space they are in faster than others. It might help you plan for those extra spaces in a square or to plan your 2nd planting in each square.

What grows fastest

22 days Radishes
49-65 Lettuce
50-65 Summer squash picked small
50-90 Beans
55-70 Cucumber
55-80 Beets
60 Chard
60-80 Kale/Peas
60-120 Tomato
65-75 Carrots
65-85 Peppers
70 Spinach
75 Collards
75-90 Corn
84-120 Potatoes/Winter Squash
90 Garlic
90-125 Cabbage
95-110 Onions
98 Cauliflower
100 Leeks
112 Broccoli
120 Brussels sprouts
120 Parsnips
133 Eggplant
150 Salsify

If I plant only one kale I can put anything I want around the edges. I like to put basil because the bugs don't like it but also as it gets bigger I can collect leaves to keep it under control, same thing with beets I can collect the greens, very yummy. The carrots are there for a while but they grow straight down not bothering anything, a couple will fit in each 1/4 area. If you put lettuce too close remember you can collect the outside leaves and manage the space just fine!

These are the odd shaped beets that grew in the corners, I use wooden dividers for my grid. The goal was to have the greens for rice and ravioli etc the beets were a nice extra, enough around the garden to can. You've had them at our first meeting!

See the radish leaf above(slightly red), this is the size you should pick it at for salad, If you wait past this point it gets a bit sticky with fuss.

I pray for my garden, not a bad idea. I sing in my garden,
I talk to my plants, I enjoy the process Inch by Inch, square by square!

1 comment:

jamie said...

thanks for all of this helpful information.