Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegetable garden, v2010

Here are some things I'm trying this year, based on my reading about square foot gardening (SFG hereafter) and, to a much lesser extent, permaculture:

  • better timing of starting seedlings, transplanting, and planting seeds. I made a calendar with our zone's first and last frost dates, and a running tally of how far away we are from each date. This, combined with a spreadsheet that lists planting times and seed-to-seedling projections, suggests a timeline that should improve my yield.
  • more frugal use of seeds through reduction. SFG teaches not to oversow and thin later, but instead intentionally seed the number of plants you want.
  • more frugal use of seeds through preservation. Keep the seeds not sown above in a vacuum and in the fridge.
  • more frugal use of seeds through propagation. I've grown small lemon and grapefruit trees from seeds saved after eating the fruit and it was a lot of fun. I saved some apple, pear, bell pepper and jalepeno seeds to try out this year. They are probably hybrid and will not yield as expected, but no harm no foul.
  • More vertical growing for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc. They will be in the northernmost position in order to avoid blocking sunlight.
  • lining the bed with a newspaper mulch to block weed sprouts, retain moisture, and increase carbon over time. I used a 3-4 sheet thickness, and covered with some partially decomposed leaf matter.
  • Increased use of heritage/heriloom cultivars to increase biodiversity and increase the chance of seed scavenging.
  • separation of similar plants to discourage pest feasting
  • better planning for light preferences of the plants. Now that I've been here for 2yrs I have a better feel for how the light moves around the arable land.

Dreams for the future:
  • some hens and chicken tractor.
  • increase garden area (reduce grassed area)


  1. I did a bit of reading about SFG from you links. I think this is something worth pursuing. I tried to establish a conventional vegetable and herb garden last year with what might be generously termed mixed results. Florida is essentially a large sandbar and my yard requires a a lot of soil amendments to yield good results. Also the sub-tropical zone 9b environment loves the bugs, fungi and other assorted garden unpleasantness. The SFG approach looks promising. I have some lumber laying around, building a box or 2 looks easy.

  2. We have the opposite problem here; our soil is mucky clay. We have to amend with sand and compost.