Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Experimenting with Gardening

It has been QUITE a while since I have posted anything and here is why - I have started a Veggie garden! I have been engrossed in it to the point of near craziness and have discovered a new 7 month hobby to occupy me (because I am not busy enough).

After hearing and reading about "The Square Foot Garden" concept, I realized that THAT is exactly the kind of growing that would work in the city. We are blessed with a decent size yard for our area but nothing large enough for rows and rows of veggies and sections of orchards that I, longingly, envision in my head.

The concept is simple - you can grow a lot of food in ONE SQUARE foot of dirt. So, my husband built me a box (4ft by 10 ft) - NO digging required and I mixed the soil (1/3 peat moss, 1/3 manure & 1/3 vermiculite) then filled the box. As my mothers day gift, the whole family went to the nursery and I picked out my starts.

In the raised bed I planted: 1 green pepper, 3 Roma tomatoes, 6 red leaf lettuce, 6 romaine lettuce, 4 zucchini, two acorn squash (from seed), 5 celery, 5 broccoli, 4 eggplant, 1 burp less cucumber, 10 green onions, 9 spinach, 4 cherry tomatoes, Italian parsley, rosemary, 2 sweet basil, sage, creeping thyme (edible) and curry.

In large pots (I picked up at BIG LOTS for $16 bucks) I planted: 2 Roma tomatoes & 2 burp less cucumbers.

I was also given several Cherry Tomato plants by my green thumb neighbors so I have a few more containers and pots around the yard with 5 more tomatoes. We REALLY love tomatoes!

Lastly, after watching several youtube videos on making my own potato bin - I did it! I think I will do things differently next year but, we will have potatoes in the fall!

My experimental gardening has been going well for the most part. The weather was CRAZY hot during the first few weeks so the spinach went to seed and never recovered. I finally pulled it out and put in a few more green onions I had in the kitchen.

I have spent most of the summer battling CUCUMBER BEETLES. They have really attacked the cucumbers I have in my bed. When I thought they were controlled, I got a total of 2 cucumbers and now the virus that they spread has taken hold and my cucumber is pretty much dead. I have decided NOT to pull it out because it still has a few places for them to attack and I don't want them to move to the cucumbers that are in the pot.

Yet another bug I have discovered while gardening is the CABBAGE WORM. It is a white moth, that lays it eggs on cabbage and broccoli leaves. The eggs then hatch and these green worms eat the leaves and eventually try to work their way to the head of the broccoli (in our case). They are "cute" according to my bug loving son but my 14 year old brother in law wasn't too fond of finding one on his plate for dinner (not my doing). They are very hard to spot because they are the SAME color as the leaves and they are usually found on the back of the leaves or on the stalk. If you see little black or orange pellets on your produce, start checking the leaves and stalk around it for a worm - those are their "left overs".

My newest PEST is the SQUASH BUG. They are U-G-L-Y and kind of smelly and really annoying. I found several batches of eggs on the underside of my acorn squash leaves today. In the last two weeks, I have been killing two bugs a day. Ironically, I pick them up and SQUASH them. ha ha ha ha ha
They like to bury down to the roots of your zucchini and squash and eat away. Keep an eye out for this obnoxious bugs and get to them FAST!


  1. Oh, Adrien! Call my kids the next time you have squash bugs.

    We had a nasty infestation of them a couple of years ago, and Dave assigned the kids to getting rid of the gross things--bugs, eggs, and all. They became quite the experts, poor dears.

    Of course, I never offered to help them.

  2. I will be honest, i had my boys squash them and they did have a good time!

    Good to know, i can call in reinforcements that happen to be experts in the field.

    Thanks for offering your children.

  3. I lived in the middle of the city once and had a small brick courtyard. It was amazing how much veg I could grow in containers scattered around. Good luck with your crops!