Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Virtual Square-Foot Gardener


Image from The Greenest Dollar website
I am still waiting for a calmer, dryer day to go out and "make" my soil formula (vermiculite, peat, compost) for my square foot gardens (2 of them, 4 X 4).  Today I will line the second box with cardboard (what I am opting for instead of weed prevention fabric.)

I have everything to go to put up one "vertical garden"-- bought 2 10' (1/2" diameter, hollow inside) electrical conduit pipes made from galvanized steel and had it cut into 1-4' piece and 2-5' pieces.  Also bought 2 elbow connectors that fit over the pipe ends to form a 4 X 5 X 4 trellis when the nylon net (which I can't find anywhere) is placed over the frame.  We have a couple of 18" rebar pieces that we will sink into the soil first and then put the frame over that to keep it sturdy against the wind and the heaviness of the squash, or whatever heavy fruit grows up it.  I also bought a package of 4' lathes to make the grids for the 2 gardens (I will need 12 lathes) and some screws and nuts for that.  This visit to Home Depot cost me around $40.  I have to keep rationalizing the expense for these gardens to my husband (the accountant).  I point out that once it is set up as designed in the book, there will be no need for fancy tools, rototilling, soil amendments (as in re-doing your soil make-up-- all one does is put in a scoop of compost when removing plants), and much fewer seeds are needed so that annuals seeds can be stored for a couple of years in most cases and used in years to follow.  There are all sorts of tricks to keeping rabbits out and the use of water to a minimum, as well, that should pay out over the years.  We'll see.

Update on the Vermiculture: I thought perhaps my worms had died because when I peeked in a few times over the winter it looked like no activity had taken place.  I stopped putting apple cores and banana peels, etc., in a long time ago. So, when I saw the plastic hamper sitting there in what I considered a position of 'un-use', I decided to take it out and just throw the stuff into the regular compost so that I could, indeed, re-use it.  Welllllll.... when I began to dump it out I caught a glimpse of several long, languorous worms moving, and actually, quite a bit of quality castings and compost... so, I did some damage control and took the box and most of its contents back in the house.  I put it right in the dining room in a discreet location where it can't be seen.  I believe that the issue was that the back pantry room where I had located it before was just too cold (it is my "cold" room, after all).  I've begun to feed them some more table scraps.  We'll see what results there are in the next few weeks.  There is no noticeable odour, which is a good sign, right?

Update on Bokashi: I made all of these fancy bokashi buckets (okay, not so fancy) and have a large quantity of wood-pellet bokashi, but somewhere during the winter I stopped using the process.  It's really not my cup of tea in the winter... I was supposed to go and dig a trench and place the begun-ferment into the trench and never got to that, opting to put it into the regular compost.  The bokashi also does not have a bad odour (yay).  However, I do not like the looks of the inside of the buckets after they have been emptied... remind me of old toilets. yuk.  I will, however, start up with them again when it gets a little Spring-ier.  I am either very lazy or actually am more sensitive to the damp cold than when I was younger?

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