Thursday, April 17, 2014

Garden Progress, Early April 2014 -- Germination & Dealing With Slugs

My Garden's Progress

Spring has sprung around my neck of the woods.  I've planted quite a variety of veggies, including spinach, carrots, beets, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and lettuce.  I've also got tomatoes and peppers in pots, ready to be transplanted to the garden once the weather warms up sufficiently.  Today, I am posting an update on how my frugal veggie garden is doing.

Spinach growing well
The spinach is coming along very well, with almost 100% germination in all the spots I've planted it.  It won't be long before we're harvesting it to use for breakfast dishes or salads.

Beets have almost all germinated and seem to be growing well.

Broccoli and kale have all germinated and were growing well, but have recently come under attack from slugs.  I am taking a few different approaches to dealing with them.  We shall see if my efforts pay off.  More info on that in the next section.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The DD's Comprehensive Guide to Saving Money By Growing Your Own Food, Part VI: Planting Your Seeds and Transplants

I have to apologize for the lack of updates to the blog lately.  My son, now nine months old, has finally learned how to crawl.  As such, it's hard to sit down for any length of time to write, as he gets into everything not nailed down!  Little rascal.  Today's article will be worth the wait, though.

After months of planning, preparing and composting, we are finally ready to sow some seeds in our garden outdoors.  If you missed one of the sections of this guide, you can get to Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V by clicking the on each of the links.  They contain important information leading up to this part of the series, so review them if you need to before reading this article.

Today's focus will be on how to plant your seeds and transplants out in the garden, spacing considerations, and general tips on how to best utilize your garden.

This is going to be a mammoth of an article, as there is a lot of information to cover.  So grab a cup of coffee or tea and set aside a bit of time to read and review all the material.  It's planting time!

Make Sure the Soil Is Ready

If you recall Part IV of the guide, we made a nice flat bed with compost and leaves, mixed it all together with the underlying soil, and let it sit for a few weeks to further decompose.  It might have looked a little something like this:

The goal is to further prepare the soil for planting by removing large pieces of debris and leaves, as well as smoothing the ground out.  You can remove obvious chunks by hand, and then use a rake to collect any remaining leaves.  The rake will also allow you to level the bed to a nice, even height.  Once you accomplish this, it should look more like the following picture.

You may notice that there are strings laying over the bed in a grid fashion.  It has to do with a particular method of gardening known as "Square Foot Gardening".  This method will allow us to grow as many plants together in one area as possible.  That leads us to the next section.