Moving Right Along

I am at a standstill with the gardens today.  My tomato and pepper plants are very much ready to be in the ground.  I keep planning to do that, and then something comes up, which has turned out to be a very good thing, as we’re dipping close to freezing temperatures tomorrow evening.   So they wait for just a few more days.  They are all too big to fit under the lights anymore, so they’ve been going outside for the day, and coming in at night while cold and/or storms roll in.   Here they are, basking in the sun.

This year I’m using surveyors tape to label my plants as they grow in the ground.  The pepper plants get a bamboo skewer, the tomatoes will have the tape tied right to them when they go in the ground.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get everyone labeled correctly.

Since those are on hold, I turned my attention to some herbs this past weekend.  I filled a few pots for on the deck, and then tucked a lovage and peppermint plant into my community plot.   I have more herbs to add yet, but this is a nice start.

And now for some pictures of my main garden here at home.   We have discovered that Andy over-ordered the compost to fill the beds.  We’ve worked compost in everywhere, and still have a big pile.  He’s going to haul some over to my community garden tonight and tomorrow, which will be much needed over there.  We have so much, though, and he had lumber on hand, so he spontaneously built another bed for me.  This one is outside the fenced in garden, and we decided to put the sprouted potatoes in there from last fall.  I have no idea if they will actually grow- I have terrible luck with potatoes.  But if they don’t sprout soon I’ll figure something else out for the bed.  The main purpose of this though is for garlic in the fall.  Here you can see the new bed with the garden behind it.

See all those buckets filled with dirt?  Those are what he is going to take over to the plot, and THEN we will probably still have enough dirt to fill them again with.   I will then plant some extra peppers in the buckets- I’ve always wanted to try a few different things in buckets, so this is the perfect opportunity to try that.

Here’s another view looking down the length of the garden.

All that space in the ground is where I am going to plant some tomatoes.  The rest of the tomatoes are going in the community plot.  Today I plan to go out and staple down the landscape fabric in this space.  That bed to the right with the pink flags in it holds my eggplants and a row of snap peas.  I’ll have to cover that bed up for the next few nights.  Eggplants do not like it cold!  There is also plenty of space in this bed for cucumbers, and I’m thinking a row of bush beans right now.

And then one more view

You can see I’m going to have to do some serious weeding between the beds soon.  The bed here in the middle has cauliflower, kale, collards and broccoli in it, as well as scallions and radishes.  I am saving space in this bed for the cucumbers as well.   To the left, where you see more pink flags, are a few peppers, as well as some Swiss Chard sprouts, and then a whole bunch of blank space for bush beans.  The two beds in the back have lettuce, carrots, spinach and beets in them.  Those beds get some shade at the end of the day from the trees next to the garden, and I’m really hoping to extend the lettuce season that way.  Hopefully it works!


Garden Update: End of June

What a beautiful garden!  Every time it rains, the garden shoots up like gangbusters.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been doing that much, and watering has had to suffice.  I’m really enjoying my garden this year, and I’m already planning how to deal with the abundance that will be rolling in soon!  Let’s take a tour!

This is my zucchini patch.  All three plants are doing great.  One is a bush zucchini, one is a traditional green, and one should be a yellow.  We’ll see what actually shows up!

Next door to the zucchini we have the tomatillos.  This bush is massive and so pretty with all the blossoms.  I’m still waiting for some of them to take, and I’ve certainly seen bees and other bugs about to do their thing… I think the second bush just needs to do some catching up.

The hot peppers, and sweet peppers for that matter, are really loving the heat.  We have blossoms, peppers and some growth.  Surprisingly, the Ghost peppers I have in pots are neck and neck with the ones in the garden proper.  I find that very interesting.   I think the peppers above are Bulgarian Carrot- which we’ve decided I need to try pickling for Andy.

The beans and cucumbers are doing amazing.  Many of the bean plants have the beginnings of blossoms- I’m hoping they can hold off until after our camping week coming up to start fruiting.   I have beans planted all over the place.  After getting only a few handfuls last year, I decided I wanted tons this year.  My freezer is just dying for several quarts of frozen green beans!

We’ve been sneaking a few carrots here and there.  The kids just love them so much!  I’d love for them to continue growing and get bigger, but it’s hard to resist a carrot fresh from the soil.  I do have more planted- these are from my March planting- but the germination on the second round is not as great as the first round.

So how about some tomato talk?  My tomatoes… wow, are they blessed this year!  They’re so large and deep dark green, and the blossoms are rolling in.  Many are bearing fruit already!  I have the thickest stems I’ve ever seen- I’ve been doing the Florida Weave for support, but honestly, these plants are four feet tall and don’t need the support yet.  Absolutely amazing.

Here’s one of the beds above.  This bed has the dwarves planted in it- which has been my only problem so far.  They’re shorter than the other plants (duh) and they grow slower, so using the Florida Weave has been problematic.  If I continue to grow dwarves in the future, I’m going to have to take that into consideration and plant the dwarves in rows together.

My Southern Night is in the bed above, and these are the size of the leaves on that plant.  I’ve never had tomato leaves this large!  It’s a potato leaved plant, and is also supposed to be a determinate- we’ll see how it does!

Here is some fruit on my Raspberry Lyanna! This was one of those varieties that I had to have once I read the description.  I have another one somewhere in the garden.

Here’s the second tomato bed.  This is the home of most of my cherries and determinates.   This bed is doing great, of course.

Here are some Earlinorth- true to form!  An early determinate, I have four of these in the garden, and am so eager for a taste!

The Sungolds are the first cherry to bear fruit as well.  I really wasn’t going to plant any of these.  Now I’m glad I did, because these guys may give us an early taste!

Here is bed number three.  There are also eggplants in this bed- no blossoms on the eggplants yet, but the tomatoes are looking wonderful.  I need to go out later today and fertilize this bed- a few too many blossoms have not taken for my taste.  Part of that could be a lack of pollinators, but I definitely see the bees working it, and I do my daily inspection and shaking, so we’ll add some fertilizer as a back-up.

Here is my problem spot that is causing me all kinds of angst.  At the very far right of this picture is my hot pepper patch.  At the top you can see some broccoli plants and kale plants.  And tomatoes.  Lots of them.  Every single one is a volunteer- there are at least a dozen, though I haven’t counted.  At the bottom of this picture is the second planting of carrots.  I just don’t know what to do here!  In this bed last year I had Sweet 100’s, Purple Russians, Black Krim and Pineapple tomatoes planted.  The Pineapple never bore fruit, but the others did… and for absolute certain, there were Sweet 100’s that were dropped.  Zander loves Sweet 100’s, and I didn’t plant any this year.   I want to leave some, but I just can’t bear to pull any out!  We’ll see.  At this point I’m thinking I’ll pull the smallest ones, and there is one in the middle of my kale that needs to go.  Sigh.  As it happens, I also have a cucumber growing in one of my tomato beds that I did not plant.  I was going to pull it out, but it lives on for another day.

And finally, here’s a picture of the potato patch, which appears to be doing well.  Some of the plants are flowering, and we’ve added dirt quite a few times.  The dirt is now up to the top of the cinder blocks, and I’m unsure if I need to keep hilling up or if there is enough dirt to keep the potatoes safe.  I have no idea, but so far, this growing potatoes gig is really easy.  If it produces, I think they’ve just become a staple in the garden.



I took my camera out to the garden today to snap a few pictures.  We’re in a happy place with the garden- I feel so much better now with the fences up around them.  Every day I would go out and dread finding something else missing or decimated- now, I know the critters are not in them, so it’s a real pleasure going out to the beds.

This first picture is of cucumber blossoms.  I have quite a few blossoms, and have just learned how to hand pollinate, so I will be keeping an eye out for female blossoms in need of pollination.

Next, I have a new picture of the mystery pepper.  The peppers are getting quite big, which means they are not the tabasco I first thought they might be.  Nor are they any variety of bird chile- they’re simply too big.  If they weren’t growing pointed up, I would say hot wax, so I am now thinking that we have a cross-breed here.  Sure would be nice to know what it is though.

These next peppers are fascinating me.  These are the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper that I got from Seed Saver’s Exchange. Woops! So I totally lied there! I just consulted my map and it would appear that these are my Cascabella peppers, not the Bulgarian Carrots, which are on the opposite side of that bed.  I’m confused though, because I grew Cascabellas last year (from the same seed packet!) and they were definitely a round pepper- not a pointy pepper.  The plants themselves are a much lighter yellow-green than any other pepper plants- and the peppers are this pale creamy shade of yellow.  And they are abundant, so I’m very happy and very excited to watch these little guys grow!

And then we have some tomato action!  First up are a few Roma tomatoes.

Next we have a Cherokee Purple.

And a Green Zebra.

And Purple Russians!

There are quite a few other tomatoes growing, and blossoms as well.  The hot peppers are the most impressive to me-  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many baby peppers and blossoms on my hot pepper plants before.  They’re happy here!  It’s going to be a scorcher here the next week, and I expect my tomatoes and peppers will thrive in the heat.  I went out today and fertilized, and a little later on I’ll give everything a good watering if it looks like it’s not going to rain at all.

All of the beans I replanted have sprouted and are growing great- broccoli has come up, and many of the lettuces have sprouted as well.  The garden grows well, and I’m looking forward to tasting.

Five Weeks Of Growing

And things are surely looking different!  After a week away camping, we arrived home to find radishes and greens, and also some bolting already.  I guess it got hot while we were gone.  Unfortunately somehow the bunnies have figured out how to get on the beds- or the squirrels are bean eaters, because ALL of my beans are gone.  Just the beans.  (And the parsley.)  At first it was just the blossoms, but now the leaves have been eaten too, and all I have are these little spikes of stem all over- bush beans, pole beans, roma beans, all gone.  I’m sad about that, but it’s not too late to replant if I can get creative with protecting them.

How about some pictures? I’ll post the beds again, left to right.

First is bed one.  My greens are looking great, the tomatoes are healthy, and the kale is looking pretty good too.  I have bird netting over this bed, but I think something got in last night, because one of my red kale plants has a few branches that have been pushed off.   The greens right at the front are broccoli raab, flanked by swiss chard.  The broccoli raab is bolting, so I’m thinking tomorrow it’s going on the dinner table.  Some of the swiss chard and mesclun is going on tonight’s table.  I cannot wait!  After I harvest tonight, I’ll be stapling down the bird netting in a few spots.

Bed two is great, except for the pole beans.  The sweet peppers have plenty of blossoms, and the tomatoes growing on the Florida Weave in the back are looking great.   Right at the front are some radishes.  I’ll be harvesting a few for tonight’s salad too.  Towards the back on the left are my Mizuna and Ruby Red Streaks (a red mizuna).  The red has already bolted, sadly, but the mizuna is ready for harvesting.  Delicious, delicious mustard green.  It adds a fantastic peppery punch to a salad or sandwich.  I will grow both of these again, and am going to try them as a fall crop this year.

Bed three is doing very well.  The hot peppers all have blossoms on them, and the zucchini plant is looking nice and healthy.  In fact, look at what I found on the one jalapeno plant:

The first hot pepper! I sure hope all his cousins and brothers come out to play soon!

And then there’s bed four.  Sorry, it’s kind of a wonky view, but this bed needs some love.  I have a lot that never came up, and of course, there was a lot of beans planted here- along with some snow peas which were eaten by rabbits as well.  To the right you can see my makeshift trellis for the cucumbers to climb up.  I’m also hoping it’s a bit of a rabbit deterrent.  I’m trying to figure out what to do with all the space where nothing is growing.  Any carrots or beets that came up have been eaten.  The watermelon and cantaloupe plant are still chugging along in there though, so we’ll see.

My tomatoes are blossoming and some are showing fruit.  I believe this one is from my Lemon Drop- a yellow cherry tomato plant.   I still don’t think my garden gets quite enough sun- though I see exactly what Andy needs to remove to make it better.  Just a touch more and I think my plants would be loaded with blossoms.  I’m confident I’ll get a respectable harvest this year, my plants are happy and healthy, but another hour or so of sun and they would be burgeoning!

Oh, and then we have the corn and pumpkin patch.  This is doing better than I expected.  This bed has a 3-foot fence around it, and I’ve covered it with bird netting, so nothing’s getting in there.  By the time I have to remove the netting, the corn will not be desireable to the critters.  I hope.

Ultimately, I’m hoping that Andy can find some time in the next few days to build me more of these fence panels.  If they were up on the other gardens, I could use the fairly inexpensive bird netting to keep the animals out.  I’m already making my notes for next year, and am going to plant things differently.  The tomatoes will all be in one bed, the beans in a second, the peppers in a third, and then the fourth bed will be for the greens.  Other beds will receive carrots, beets, and miscellaneous.  For now, I’m just so happy to have a harvest with the greens and radishes, and I’m looking forward to more.

I didn’t take pictures of the herbs yet- my parsley has been eating down to the nubs by rabbits, but everything else is doing really well.  I’ve even had a miracle tomato come back to life.  It literally was snapped off at the dirt line, and a little shoot took off from there.  It’s a respectable small plant now- I don’t know if I’ll get any fruit from it this year, but the little Valiant plant is the little engine that could!

Two Week Check Up

Here we are, it’s been two weeks since the gardens proper have been planted, and we definitely have action.   I’ve been seriously fighting the squirrels though, as they seem very fond of Bed #1.  I replanted a good bit of it about four days after initial planting, because they just kept digging and digging!  As a result of that digging… well, it looks like I have weeds all over the place.  Some of them are weeds, I’m sure.  But some of them are also most likely the greens that I’ve never grown before, so I have no idea what they are.   I’ve had to rig up some bird netting to cover this bed and try to keep the squirrels out.  Its working, but I can’t raise it up any higher, and my tomatoes are pressing against the netting.  Don’ know what we’ll do when we go camping in a few weeks.  You can see the light green patches towards the back- those would be the mesclun growing very nicely.

Bed # 2 is also growing very well.  I’ve had excellent germination on pretty much everything except the carrots- those are taking their sweet time in all the beds.  I have some new-to me greens looking almost ready already.  The Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens and Mizuna could probably stand a thinning in the the next week.  The squirrels have not spent much time in this bed at all.  The large plants toward the front here are my sweet peppers with some radishes right in front of us.  Beets have also been slow, as there are a few of those in this bed.

Bed #3 is doing well, this is the hot pepper bed.   I also have my zucchini in this one.  I planted a bush zucchini smack dab in the middle of a four square patch- then planted radishes all around it.  That should give the zucchini a little space to sprawl when the time comes.

And then there’s the fourth bed.  Here, it looks empty, but again, I have a lot of carrots and beets in this one- both are slow to come up.  The carrots have begun poking through, but they look like tiny blades of grass at this point, and you really have to look for it.  I noticed today that the mache I planted here is also just starting to poke out.  I have one variety of cucumber that hasn’t germinated yet, and I so wish I knew which one that was.  Abigail planted the cukes for me, and while I know which three squares have the picklers in them, the rest are a mystery to me.  I’d plant more if I knew which variety it was…

All of the tomatoes I’ve planted in the beds are doing great.  I have a few blossoms on some of them- as well as the peppers.   I’m thinking about doing a Florida weave to trellis the tomatoes this year if Andy has time to get the poles attached for me.  Otherwise I’ll just use my standard flat cages and string.  The tomatoes I’ve planted with the herbs are perking up- all except the Pink Grapefruit.  I’m afraid that one is about to be removed, which is okay, because I forgot to plant a patch of new scallions, so I’ll pull him out and put the green onions in there.

I’m seeing great progress!  Our big camping vacation is in just a few weeks, and I fully expect that when we return from our week away we will be harvesting radishes, baby lettuce and broccoli raab to our heart’s delight.   Timing-wise, camping is going to work out great this year, as nothing will really be ready for harvesting while we’re gone.  I’m just worried about that first bed and the squirrels.  Maybe I can get Andy to quickly build me some a fence around the bed…


Blackberries And Sad Tomatoes

This morning I walked through the yard, and as I made my way out the door, I saw my blackberry canes sitting on the shelf- desperately needing to be planted.  I heaved a big ole sigh and then headed out, to survey and find a good spot for them to go.  My original intention for them is not ready, so I needed to come up with a plan ?”B”, and after a careful going over, chose my spot, and began the arduous process of ripping out weeds and working in some composted manure.

When I went to get the blackberries though, I found that 4 of my really, really sad tomato plants were actually still sporting green leaves.  It only took me a second to decide to go ahead and plant them and see if anything came of them.  I already had the dirt ready, nothing else to put in the dirt, and if the tomatoes die, it’s no big deal, as the ones in the gardens proper are thriving incredibly.

So today I planted six blackberry canes and then four tomato plants.  The pathetic plants I buried in the soil were my Pink Grapefruit, Green Zebra, Reisentraube and a Valiant.  The pathetic ones I’d put in the other gardens perked up and came to life, so we’ll see how these do.  The Pink Grapefruit has started looking worse since I put it in, but time will tell.  I also fertilized and gave that side of the yard a healthy watering.

As long as I was digging in the dirt, I also took the time to prep the corn patch.  The kids have been asking and asking if we could plant corn.  I told them that if Andy could get another bed built in time, we would plant corn.  Well, the bed’s been mostly finished for a few weeks now, but I haven’t had any time to do anything about it.  It still isn’t totally finished, but I went ahead anyway and got it ready.  First I had to remove weeds and roots, and then I worked in four bags of topsoil and one of composted manure.  Once my dirt was all mixed up, I planted three varieties of quick-growing sweet corn, and also nine pie pumpkin seeds.  I’m really not sure if we’ll have enough time for any of those, but I planted these specific sweet corns because they said they were quick growing.  Hopefully Andy can actually finish assembling the bed now that it’s planted.

So, how about some pictures!

This is another picture of the right side of my backyard.  This is the herb garden The red you see at the back of the picture are my old bar stools with pots on them.  One pot has parsley, the second pot I planted with Buttercup Squash today.


Here’s some new herbs- you can see the very edge of the tall onions to the right.  Then I have added Rosemary, Summer Savory, French Tarragon, and another Parsley plant.  The biggest plant towards the middle there is the parsley.  To the left of him I have three of my scrawny sick tomato plants- which you cannot see in this photo.

And here we have the left side of the bar stools.  There is another tomato plant which you can’t see.  The plant in the ground there is my rhubarb, and then between the rhubarb and that lattice panel I’ve planted the blackberry canes.  Today I also planted a row of Scarlet Runner Beans in front of the lattice.  It would be fun if those took off- they make very pretty flowers.

Here’s the new Corn Patch.  Once everything is said and done, there will be four of these small beds along the back of the yard.  Each of the kids will get one to plant next year, and then two of them I plan to use as cold frames.

And then here’s a last picture to kind of give you an idea of where the new Corn Patch sits in relation to the rest of the gardens, and my garden shed.

There will be more pictures to come soon! I discovered that I have some asparagus fronds peeking out from the asparagus patch, the gardens are full of sprouts and my plants are thriving beautifully.  I fertlized everything today and gave it all a good soaking, and I’m already dreaming of my first taste of fresh greens from the garden.

It’s A Garden!

I am just so excited to have my garden back!  Yesterday as I measured out my squares and carefully planted my seeds, it was like a reunion with an old friend.  I really love square foot gardening,  and trying to do without it last year was more than enough trying for me.  Never again.

I have four main garden beds, three of them measure 10 x4 and the fourth one is a few inches shy, so it’s more like a 9×4.  Total,  that is 156 square feet of growing space, and boy, did I plant a lot!

I have 21 tomato plants, 27 hot pepper plants- including one habanero plant, 7 sweet pepper plants and scads and scads of other edibles.  I planted tons of new-to- me greens, like claytonia, mache, mizuna, cress, two kinds of endive, and many different kinds of  lettuce and spinach.   There are 13 square feet of assorted carrots, kale, broccoli, chard, lots of radishes and 5 varieties of beet- some prized for their greens, some for the root.  I planted six square feet of pole beans, and then six square feet of bush beans, PLUS the 9 square feet that are half bush beans, half cucumbers.  The six varieties of cucumber will be trained up a trellis, and I’m hopeful that I’ll have enough picklers to make pickles this year.  We even plopped in a watermelon and a cantaloupe plant.  Not sure how those will do, but the kids wanted to try them out.

I made the decision that for this year at least, the herbs and onions will not go in the raised beds.  Rabbits pretty much leave herbs and onions alone, so tomorrow I will spend time cultivating the herb bed and planting what I have ready in there.  My basil, marjoram, thyme and chervil are all doing really well, and will be so happy in the ground.

It was so wonderful today to walk out to the garden and see that my pepper and tomato plants survived yesterday’s crazy wind all right.  Today I am a bit on the sore side from yesterday’s efforts, but I certainly feel that all is right with the world now.  The garden grows, and we eagerly await a harvest.

For the record, these are the tomato and pepper plants I have growing.  Most of these tomatoes are new varieties to me- I’m excited to try them!

Tomatoes 2011:

  • Tigerella
  • German Johnson
  • Roma
  • Moskovich
  • Lemon Drop (two of these)
  • Woodle Orange (this one is rather pathetic looking…we’ll see)
  • Purple Calabash
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Striped German
  • Black Cherry
  • Yellow Brandywine
  • Green Zebra
  • Pruden’s Purple
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green
  • Valiant
  • Purple Russian
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet 100
  • Black Krim
  • Ananas Noire (also rather sickly, but worth a shot)

Hot Peppers 2011:

  • Serrano
  • Cascabella
  • Bulgarian Carrot
  • Maule’s Red Hot
  • Joe’s Round
  • Hinkelhatz
  • Georgia Flame
  • Aji Cristal
  • Habanero
  • Jalapeno

Decimation And New Hope

I’ve been putting off updating here on the garden blog.  In fact, the Minnesota gardeners have been putting off updating as well, because we’ve been stymied this year.  After growing like gangbusters, for apparently no reason at all, my tomatoes began dying.  And not just a little wilting or leaf-dropping, but full out keeling over of plants.   When I first noticed that my plants were on the decline, it was at the beginning of a busy company weekend, and the plants had to wait several days before attention could be given, and that was the beginning of the end.

I suspect that my first culprit was over-watering.  Growing under lights was a whole new ballgame, and there obviously is a learning curve.  I over-watered, and I watered from the top, so the roots on my plants had no incentive to grow and expand south as they normally do.  Once I realized this, I re-potted my tomatoes, using Miracle Gro soil (hoping the added nutrients would help) and then I didn’t even water them for a few days.  But by then, the damage was done, and they started dropping like flies.  Of the 48 heirloom tomato plants I started with, I have about 6 remaining that I’ll put into the ground, but don’t really expect much to happen there.

This whole time, my peppers and herbs, which were grown under the exact same conditions were thriving like gangbusters.  They’re all beautiful plants and almost ready to go into the ground.

So I resigned myself to having to buy tomatoes this year, knowing full well the limited selection of heirloom tomatoes that I would find at my favorite garden center.

Then, this past weekend, hope arrived at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.  We were out visiting the Minnesota gardeners, and our great big planned plant swap consisted of just a few of my hot peppers arriving in Minnesota.  But that farmer’s market!  We found heirloom after heirloom, and at SUCH reasonable prices.  Not only did we find hope- we found joy, as we recognized these tomatoes.  While I will go yet another year without knowing how Pink Grapefruit and Emerald Evergreen taste, I will get to enjoy some new varieties, such as German Johnson and Moskovich, Tigerella and Cherokee Purple.   We both found ample heirlooms, and it was as if everything in the world was right again.   We also now know for years to come.  Should we experience further problems with tomato propagation, we now have a fallback plan to be able to plant those wonderful heirlooms into our own dirt.

And now the growing season can begin.  The sun is finally beginning to shine, and the waiting game begins.   Pictures are forthcoming, as my first 40 square feet of garden was planted this evening, and the remaining 120 will be planted tomorrow.

As long as there are new seeds, there will always be new hope.

Why I Love Square Foot Gardening: Reason #1

When you garden in a traditional method, you scatter seeds.  You wait for the ground to be ready to work, and then you tackle the soil.  You till it and prepare it, and then you use your hoe to make a little furrow, and then you sprinkle your seeds right into the furrow.  If you’re thorough you will use the entire packet of 30-50 seeds in a three or four foot row.  Then you cover your row, water, and wait for the seedlings to come up.  And come up they do! Like an army, springing forth from the dirt.  Except there are waaaaay to many seedlings there, so you start thinning.  Maybe every other one to start, but as the weeks go by you pull out more seedlings and more seedlings, to make room for the plants to grow.  Sometimes you leave a seedling where you shouldn’t, but you just can’t bear to pull another one out, because dag-gum, that tiny sprout will turn into a mondo head of broccoli- there’s food in that there sprout.  And in the end, in your little four foot row you have about seven broccoli plants that are sort of squished together, and not producing as well as they could, when you started with a packet of 30-50 seeds.  See where this is going?

With the square foot gardening method, I plant just enough seeds.  And when there is snow cover and frost in the ground outside, I can start my seeds inside, and I know how many seeds I should start.  One broccoli plant will take up an entire square foot, and, at most, I want four squares of broccoli, so I plant just five broccoli seeds.  If I end up with five thriving seedlings, I’ll share the fifth with someone else.  Because I’m only planting five little broccoli seeds, it takes mere minutes to plant them.  In this case, I used some plastic cups.  I used a nail to punch drainage holes, set the cups in a bucket, and then poured dirt in the cups.  Seeds, dirt to cover, and a little water, and I was done- all told it took about two minutes, and half of that was hunting down the bucket.

My little packet of broccoli seeds that I bought two years ago still has a ton of seeds in it.  Not bad for a $1.99 investment.

In addition to broccoli, I also started ten red onion seeds.  I had bad luck with onions last year, so I thought I’d try again by starting earlier with them.  Then today, I was more than surprised to find my back-ordered Caraflex cabbage seeds in the mailbox from Johnny’s.  You have to love that service! I was told they were back-ordered until March 7th, at best guess!  So I promptly grabbed another pail, five more cups, and then started ten cabbage seeds.  The Caraflex are a unique diamond shaped cabbage that is much smaller than a regular head of cabbage.  I have high hopes for it in my square foot garden.

In two weeks, the cauliflower gets started, and something else, but my mind is drawing a blank as to what that is.  I’ll be reporting back.

P.S.  Don’t forget to label the cups, cole crops all look very similar when young.