It has been about two months since I posted about starting my first square foot garden, and it has come on a huge amount so summer solstice weekend seemed the perfect time for an update. There have been some real successes, and some things that just haven’t worked out.
You might notice from the before and after photos that the surroundings have completely changed-this isn’t like one of those dodgy weight loss product before and after photos, it is the same planter I promise! Mr C has been able to shield with me at home during the pandemic, and has made the most of it by renovating the garden. We have removed a wall with built in barbecue (I have developed quite a love of demolishing things using a sledgehammer and so have the children!), replaced the old fence that was falling down and covered the old lawn in a thick layer of more fertile topsoil before laying fresh turf.
The dividing strings have met their fate at the hands of my son, whose football accidentally went behind it meaning he had to accidentally climb over it and twang every single one of the strings. Hmm, suspicious!
I’m amazed just looking at these photos, it has changed so much. As a newbie to square foot gardening, I thought it best to break it down into successes and failures so I can decide how to do things next year.
- The onions (all 18) have loved it-they have shot up and now the bulbs are starting to swell up nicely too.
- Carrots-thousands of them! (I have thinned them out considerably)
- Weeding-it is so easy to spot rogue plants when you are using such a small area, and also the square foot method means you know where things ‘should’ be growing. The density of planting means the weeds barely get a look in.
- Watering etc. is so easy and quick, although we got a bit addicted to planting seeds and there are things growing everywhere so there isn’t just this to water.
- The beetroot were very stubborn and only 4 germinated. Apparently it hasn’t been a good year for them though, as some of the other allotmenteers have also had the same issue. (2020 isn’t holding a great track record for being good for many things though is it, so we’ll let that one slide)
- I ended up planting one of my courgettes in the beetroot squares to fill the gap, only it hasn’t grown very much. It’s a bit of a wait and see situation-if it grows, it grows and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t!
- We didn’t plant anything in the bottom right hand squares, as we were waiting for the beetroot. As it was very late to plant much else, we have popped some mixed salad leaves in today (random packet found in my daughter’s bedroom-I think it was in the goody bag from Open Farm Sunday last year!) Hopefully we haven’t ‘lost’ that growing room, the weather at the moment is warm and damp so they might wake up.
So far, it has been an enjoyable experiment, and with it being in the back garden it has been interesting to watch the gradual changes and see exactly how things have developed. Things like checking the courgette daily for flowers have been good learning experiences for the children-I still find it fascinating how quickly the fruit form!
Next step, planning what to do with the produce as it ripens-I’ll have to use those 4 precious beets wisely!