Call me sad (don’t you dare!), but I’m all excited – our Square Foot Gardening bed is up and running!
You can read about the basics of SFG here if you haven’t already done so.
Preparing the Raised Bed
The trellises are in place – the posts were bolted to the inside of the bed, the top rails screwed on, and the wire mesh attached in the same way as I attached it to the passionfruit frame.
Again, the wood was recycled from building scaffolding, so it’s fairly warped.
Some would call the trellises rickety and lopsided; I say, they’re charmingly rustic! Thanks, guys.The soil has been wheelbarrowed in – we paid Joselito’s son, Alan, to do it because it was too hard for us to do. You’ve got to recognise your limitations sometimes! I then tipped compost on top, and raked it in.
If we have trouble with stray cats (or Tipsy) using the bed as a litter tray, I’ll block off the long sides with shadecloth.
I’ve surrounded the outside of the bed with snail pellets because this is the time of year when the giant African snails really come out to play, and to munch their way through your garden.
Selecting the Plants
Using the companion planting guide from the website, My Square Foot Garden, I’ve come up with this plan (the brackets show the number of plants per square) – click on it to see an enlarged (and clearer) version:
I’ve positioned the more tender plants at the rear of the bed, so that the taller plants in the centre will provide shade from the afternoon sun.
The “blue” squares indicate successive planting – I’ll be sowing a new square of lettuce or English spinach every two weeks so that we have a constant supply – in theory, at least!
As you can see, I’ll be trying to grow parsnips, but I don’t think I’ve got much of a chance, as they like cold weather, which we never get. Worth a shot though, as I love them! I’d also try rhubarb if I could find a rhubarb crown. And asparagus. Yum!
I’ve chosen vegetables that are either expensive to buy, aren’t sold here, or varieties I can’t get here. I can’t see the point of planting things that are cheap and plentiful when they’re in season.
I’m also planting herbs that I use regularly. Even though they’re cheap to buy, it’ll save Alf a trip to the shops whenever I need them. They’re at the front of the bed for quick access.
I’ll plant butternut pumpkin as a groundcover in the flower beds – I’ve already had a practice run, and found that they grew best in the side and driveway beds.
Here’s a photo of my first pumpkin:
I also want to plant honeydew melon as a groundcover, but I have to source some seeds first – guess I’m going to have to fork out $6+ for a melon! But if they grow, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Planting the Bed
According to my research, because we’re in a tropical zone, and therefore don’t get frost, we can plant at any time of the year.
I’m not too sure about that – even here some vegetables seem to be seasonal.
I don’t know, so I’ve stuck the seeds in anyway, and watered the entire bed with Seasol (seaweed extract) which is supposed to aid with germination.
I bought coriander and spring onions with roots still attached and planted those, and stuck some thyme cuttings in as well, along with a parsley plant I already had. This way, there’ll actually be something green in the bed while I cross my fingers and wait for the seeds to germinate.
Some of the seeds are pretty old, so I don’t know if they’re still viable.
I’ve mulched the “herbed” squares with seaweed, and will mulch the rest, if and when, the seedlings come up. The seaweed improves the soil, feeds the plants, suppresses weeds, and stops water evaporation and soil erosion.
Now it’s just a matter of watering and waiting.
And watching out for giant African snails!
Yuk! Where’s that pressure cleaner?