Square Foot Garden: The Onion Experiment

We went for a walk this weekend, on down to check on the garden. It's growing so fast, I wish I could be there every day. 
 The tricking thing about square foot gardening is that things really do get PACKED in. The brussel sprouts are probably still 2-3 weeks from being ready for harvest (or more? I don't know) and they are shading beet seedlings and pushing over onions. The potatoes are the same, I have no idea how big they will get before they are ready to dig up, but they are pushing into peas and the spaces I set aside for green beans. I think the key is to stagger crops. Green beans will go in next week and the first potatoes will come up a week later. It's a constant rotation of the new and the old.
Onions have been my experiment. The large onions in the picture below  were planted from bulb sets in late February. It seemed silly to plant a small onion just so I can grow it into a bigger onion. All that energy already put into growing it, tending it, picking it, drying it, then shipping it so I could plant it. But I went ahead and tried it out. The small ones near the bottom of the picture were also onion sets, but they looked more like small green chives that had been picked by the root and bundled. Not quite as silly as the other onion sets. I planted them three weeks ago and they seem to be doing fine. They are about the same size as my THIRD onion experiment- just between the large onions and potatoes- which was planting from seed in late February. So far, I'm impressed. If started early enough they seem to give the same result as the sets I planted a few weeks ago.
And that's the latest garden fun. Here's hoping we can get some tomatoes and green beans in this weekend- it might be a squeeze but I want to go for it.


Square Foot Gardening: In anticipation of greater things

Today, I built a trellis. Because, one day the little early pea sprouts will be looking for a place to climb. We have a yard full of bamboo, since our neighbor planted a running bamboo, and we are constantly cutting it back. That leaves us with more than enough for yearly projects.
 I started with some fresh cut bamboo and some wire caging left over from a project involving rock and concrete. The bamboo needed a bit of a hair cut.
Regular loppers did the trick and I took all the extra limbs off the bamboo stalk. Bamboo is a lot less overwhelming after a trim- kind of the way a fluffy kitty looks after it's thrown in a pool of water.

 I actually wove the bamboo through the wire caging, Over/Under, then I lashed it to the perimeter with kite string
I made a frame around the top and two sides. I didn't even lash the sides, except at the top where the joint between the two pieces of bamboo.
 I also wove some of the thinner bamboo through in a diagonal pattern. You can see that the sides go down an extra 18 inches (ish) so it can be put in the garden. Ta-Da! It's pretty sweet.
 The real fun was transporting it. It wasn't heavy, but it was large. 7 feet across.  You can see the hot-pink string that tied it to the mirrors. My husband was the grandmaster behind this plan. We also had only about a mile to drive.
 Ready to put it in the garden~ we could hardly wait. When did I become such a garden nerd?

Yes! It's lovely!! And just what I hoped for. The little peas at the base are just barely ready to reach it, but hopefully with some warm weather we'll see those lovely veggies climbing to the top.
And we had our first harvest! The best part about radishes is how fast they grow....


Square Foot Gardening: Slow Spring Start

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Starting seeds as early I did has been an experiment- and a lovely one. Because, I have a garden! It doesn't grow with the leaps and bounds of a summer garden, but peas have sprouted, potatoes are up, the onions are doing well, little radishes are moving along quickly, and the brussel sprout starts should give us something delicious to eat before summer gets too hot. 
Even with the slower spring growth- comparing this pictures to the one from last post shows how much it's really taken off. 
I need to build and get a trellis in for the peas- they are growing slow but they'll want something to hang onto soon. I have plans for a bamboo trellis- my lesson for last year is to make it TALL. 
The hot February that had me inspired to start has been replaced by a normal April that reminds me there is still time to do more and do it well .

With spring comes the first signs of slugs. SLUGS. Last year I let some bugs go, accepted the little holes in the leaves- but this year I'm going to war. I feel protective of my little pea sprouts and my precious carrots. So I broke out round one of slug defense- the classic beer trap. Do you see it tucked in there? Look close--

There- at the bottom of the picture- my first defense. When we went to empty them after a week I had about 12 dead slugs. HA! Hopefully it's keeping my little plants safe. I'm also going to try grinding up egg shells into a dust and putting it around the garden. Supposedly slugs won't crawl over it. We'll see. If I use the shells from easter eggs I'll have a pretty little slug barrier. 
Look at these plants grow! If I could be in the garden every day, I would be.