Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In Which I Start a Garden

I have a new project!
(When don't I have a new project?)

A little before my trip, Erin shared a blog post about square foot gardening on Google Reader. Basically, the idea is: only use the amount of space that it actually takes to garden, use really rich soil, and you can grow a garden! So it's perfect for people who don't have time to weed/ have bad soil/ only have a balcony, etc; people can grow a garden even in 1ft square pieces.

This appealed to me for a few reasons:
1. I've been trying to eat more fresh/healthy food lately.
2. Organic stuff is appealing to me.
3. The price is right. (You start with seeds, which are basically wooden pebbles, and wind up with fresh vegetables!)
4. I had a plant on my mission since I couldn't have a pet. It was kind of cool to see it grow towards light and stuff. And get bigger. So I guess I like watching plants grow.

So I decided that I would build a garden!

On Friday I went to the man mall to get supplies. It was tricky. I learned how to tell the difference between treated and untreated wood. A nice thing about Home Depot is, though, the people who work there are suuuuuper helpful. A guy saw me looking at lumber and asked if I needed help. "YES!" I was like, "Okay...I need to get these things, and I don't know what they are..." He helped me go through my whole list. And he even helped me pick a good drill. (I was like "Look: I'm sure someday I'll get married and he'll have tools, and how often will I even use this anyway, so it doesn't need to be some $500 drill...but I don't want it to break in the middle of the project either." He understood.)

And THEN, another Home Depot guy carried huge heavy long boards for me, and cut them into the sizes I wanted. He even used the huge saw to cut me six little blocks to be feet underneath my garden. Nice.

The only problem was, I was supposed to get side boards that were 6" tall. And I thought, wait a minute, it's square FOOT gardening. So I wanted sides that were twice as tall. And I got them, but they were daaaang heavy. But fine, whatever. So I thought I would carry them and take the bus back home...except that I couldn't walk with the stuff at all. I had way too much heavy wood.

I ended up taking the bus and taking things in trips. It took me three trips to load everything onto and off of the bus. But it worked. And I wanted to build it the same day, because I was excited.

So I got everything ready...and realized that even though the display drill said it came with a 20 piece accessory kit (including drill bits), mine actually wasn't quite the same because it came with nothing of the sort, and didn't even mention an accessory kit on the package. I went and bought drill bits from a nearby store. And I bought vegetable garden seeds.

BUT! Nowhere had the right kind of soil!

And then Saturday, in between Conference sessions I constructed my garden. I was so proud of myself. Aside from having no dirt, it looks fantastic!

It is also very heavy, so I don't know how I'll move it in August. But whatever. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

NEXT POST: Planting seeds!

[NOTE: I'm not sure how I wound up with all of my pictures sideways. They started out right-side-up. I'll try and fix them tomorrow. EDIT: pictures corrected.]


Uffish Thought said...

Confession: I just bought more seeds. And a hose. And a tomato plant. And a window box. And more dirt. And a little herb-growing kit. I think I'm addicted. Forget drugs and alcohol.

Also, your square-foot garden looks really professional. It's gorgeous. Remind me what you're planting?

We are so cool.

erin said...

Wow! You actually did it! I'm so proud. I actually got the idea from frugal dad's website... and someday I want to build my own (someday meaning after finals are over and after I move). Maybe I'll have to ask you for advice now!

Me again said...

My Dad built his square foot garden last year. His plants grew faster than ours (we planted a month earlier). It was to much produce for him and my mom.

He also convinced my brother to start one when it was mid june. Everyone told my bro that there was no way he would get anything because he planted so late.

They got so much produce from his 2 4x4 boxes that they bragged about it all year.

This year we have converted to what we call a modified square foot garden. Basically the same soil, boxes, etc. but since we have room for a huge garden we won't plant things quite so close. When you plant so close the plants need a lot of attention, trimming back and such.

FYI, call around to your local garden centers, greenhouses, plant stores, etc for vermiculite. The stuff is expensive. We found a great price at $18/4 cu ft. Peat moss is around $10 / 3.8 cu ft.

Teresa said...

We love square foot gardening, and yours looks awesome. Good for you! I'm so glad that spring is here, and reading your post makes me eager to get some things in the ground, except that snow is in the forecast. Crazy weather!

Thank you so much for your donation to my Seattle Breast Cancer 3-day walk. What a kind and and generous gesture. It means so much to me!