One year passed.
The landscaping around my house needed some TLC, so while I was busy working on that, I stuck some herbs in with the flowers along with a tomato plant. And they grew. And I could water them without lugging buckets of water, and the deer didn't touch them because they was so close to the house.
I was in love.
Cautiously, I came out of my gardening hibernation. I knew I wanted another garden, but I knew enough to know I didn't have a clue what to do. That's when my sister handed me the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It was ingenious. I set to work and by the end of that summer I had more food than my family could eat, which led to a whole new arena for me to get lost in: Food Preservation, but that will come in a later post. For now, I want to talk about Square Foot Gardens. Mel basically looked at the traditional garden, and it's wide rows and thought that was dumb, which for a home gardener, it is. We don't have tractors we need to worry about, there isn't a purpose for those rows except to be a place for weeds. So he developed the square foot gardening system, which, basically, gets rid of the rows. I'm not going to repeat here what he so brilliantly explains in his book. If you want a square foot garden (And who wouldn't? It's the easiest, best way to get lots and lots of produce), then you'll need to buy the book for yourself. You can find it at just about any bookstore, or at http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
So what is my point in this post? Is it just to sell you Mel's book? No. But you should. It's the best book on gardening I've ever read. My point is to share some improvements I've made on Mel's technique.
First: for the boxes, cedar is best, I agree, but cedar is also expensive. And pressure treated lumber can seep chemicals into your soil; not good if you're trying to produce food that you actually want to eat. What I did is bought regular untreated pine boards and rubbed them down with beeswax thinned with olive oil (Melt beeswax in a pan you don't care about anymore, seriously this will not wash off, and mix in olive oil). This provided the weather protection I needed without the cost of cedar, or the hazards of pressure treated lumber
Second: In Mel's book, he talks about a soil mix to put in your garden box, and it's a good one, but I found it cumbersome to blend it together. So now when I make new boxes, I just buy bags of potting soil. Aldi sells them cheap this time of year. That's just for the first year, after that you can use your own compost.
This is one of my boxes, ready to be planted
I'll be posting more on my garden in future posts, but for now, this should get you started. If you have any questions or suggestions, don't hesitate to reply.