Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vegetable Gardening 101

Today I spoke to a group of women from my church who were attending a class on Landscape Design.  My friend Mary Pat was teaching the class and many of the women were interested in vegetable gardening so she asked me to come and share some of what I know from experience in my own garden.  I feel like a real amateur but was willing to share what I've learned along the way. 

Several years ago I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and it changed my life.  Not every aspect, but at least how I viewed the possibilities of getting more serious about gardening.  This author and her family for one year grew or raised their own foods only supplementing those things also grown or raised by local neighbors.  Depending on my memory I believe they limited this to a 100 mile radius of their Virginia farm.

Here's a link to a post  Recession Garden in Photos  where I took photos of the process of starting Square Foot Gardening at the very beginning.... a very good place to start with filling the beds with soil.    The recipe for the soil mixture we used was found in another great book All New Square Foot Gardening, Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholemew.  This book takes you step-by-step and shows how to make this method of gardening work for you in the space you have available.

This will be our third year of gardening using this method and it does get easier past the first year of building the boxes and filling them.   The soil line does become compacted and falls below the top of the boxes after a long winter dormancy,  so in spring we mix another batch and fill up to the top, re-string the boxes and plant. 

If you follow my blog and garden yourself, please comment so I can follow your progress if you have blog.  We can share ideas and learn from one another. 

Here's my list of what I'll be growing this year in my garden:
Lettuce, Red-leaf, Romaine, Arugula, and other mixed greens
Sugarsnap Peas
Peppers:  Green, Ancho, Poblano, Jalapeno
Squash-Yellow and Zucchini
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes:  Brandywine, Purple Cherokee, Sweet 100s, Yellow, Black Krim
Yellow Watermelon

Here's to happy gardening and big harvests all summer long and into fall. 


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