Jun 30, 2011

Foodie Friday #15 - Quick Dishes For A Busy Gal

Hey all - It's been a pretty busy week as I mentioned earlier working in the garden, fixing up the house in honor of guests this weekend, and adding a complete office makeover on a whim...not good planning on that one! :) I am happy to say it is almost done but time is a tickin' and I am under the wire. I need to get the office cleaned and start something for dinner before E gets home...

In case you are feeling like me, totally time deprived and needing a speedy meal, my features are quick meals to feed your loved ones pronto! Let's get to it...


Summer Soup - Ms. Enplace. This is the perfect "soup" for this time of year...especially with home gardens starting to flourish!


Zesty Black Bean and Corn Salsa - Small Town Life. Raid the pantry for some staples that will get this dish served up in a jiff. you know how I love me some tex-mex.


Fruit And Veggie Lettuce Wraps - Peas and Crayons. This is a simple way to add flavorful fruit to veggies...or veggies to flavorful fruit! No matter how you dice it (seriously, it's diced) you can add your own spin and you'll have a fresh dinner in no time. Jennifer added some shrimp to some of the wraps...um, yes, please!



Simple Pasta Sauce - Run DMT. In my opinion, everyone should have the staples for this dish in their house at all times. This is super fast and the red pepper flakes give it just the right amount of kick!

Congrats, Ladies! Don't forget to grab your featured button from the side bar! :)




NOW ON WITH THE PARTY


*Here are couple rules before we get this party kickin'...*
  • It would be super nice if you Followed LBR, your hostess with the most-est...while you're at it, leave a comment if you so desire!
  • Your link MUST be a food related item, duh! It can be a recipe, a specific dish you are craving, a new foodie product you just found, a specific restaurants specific dish...it can be a picnic you had - I really don't care! Just make me want to eat it!
  • {mandatory} Please post my button or a clickable link in your post so others can join in - they are located on the bottom of the right sidebar...Walnuts or Garlic? I dig em' both! If you don't know how to do this just email me and I can help you out...
  • Try not to post and run - check out another recipe and see what's cookin' elsewhere! You may just learn something! :)
  • Please DO NOT link up your linky parties.
  • FYI - By linking up your are giving me permission to use your recipe, blog, and or photos in an upcoming feature. No worries - Ill always link back to you and your blog!! :)


Let the mouth watering, drool inducing, stomach grumbling fun BEGIN!! I'm Hungry...
LET'S EAT!!

Bloggers - Please Help Spread the Love

via
Hey All -

I wanted to take a quick moment to send some love to a blogger friend of mine, Linda, from Our House on The Corner.  Linda and her three boys recently lost their husband/daddy in a motorcycle accident.  Please take the time to pop over and send her some love.  I can not even imagine what she must be going through but I know that in the past few months blogging I have been encouraged by all of your comments, support, and well wishes.  If there was ever a time to support one of our own now would be it.


I other news, I am taking a bit of a break in prep for this weekends shindig at our house.  We will be hosting our friends form the far off burbs as well as our neighbors.  This weekends forecast is to be 90 degrees - not exactly the best weather for baking indoors but it will be a must as we will be preparing a Bosnian traditional dish called Burek.  Oh, don't you worry, there will be much more on that later!  In the meantime...

  • I almost have the finishing touches done on the 3rd post for Sq. Ft. Gardening so I hope to have it up later today but if not I'll have to wait till Monday as not to interfere with Foodie Friday - ya'll are joining me, aren't you??
  • Today I am working in the office and purging all non necessities for the Garage Sale...so much harder to do than say
  • I am also dog sitting my moms pooch who is crazy on his own but when put together with Bubba makes for an interesting mix of  crazy and exhaustion - for me, not the dogs!
Thanks to everyone and I will be back soon...Foodie Friday should be up and running tonight around 8pm.  If you are following my Sq Ft Gardening posts I will do my best to get the next installment up before them...only time (and unexpected interruptions from crazy dogs) will tell...

Jun 28, 2011

Sq Ft Gardening - Dirt, Dirt, and More Dirt

Welcome back to Day 2 of our Adventures in Square Foot Gardening!  If you don't know what it is by now make sure to pop back over to THIS post to read all about it.  Yesterday we learned how to plan your layout as well as how to build your boxes (HERE).  Today we are going to get dirty (and a little broke) mixing up our custom blend of soil.


The soil is by far the most expensive, not to mention laborous, part of the project.  By no means do you HAVE to make new soil mix.  If you have an abundance laying around feel free to fill up your boxes with any old thing or you can even have square yards of top soil delivered to your house from a nursery...trust me - it is much easier than grabbing a ton of bags on your own.

 We decided starting with our own fresh soil mix was the best thing for us based on the following:
  • Our existing soil is clay like and doesn't drain too well. 
  • With a new soil mix I get to control what is (better yet, what is not) put in our soil including the absence of animal by products that commonly find their way into certain fertilizers, pre-bagged soil mixes, and traditional top soil like horse and chicken manure.  Not exactly prime growing material for a vegetarian...no thanks!!  
  • We currently have TONS of weeds amongst other things like gravel and even a knee bone which I hope was from a cow or some non human being...
  • I was in the mood for some heavy lifting and back breaking work.
**WARNING** - The next part of this post is super boring talking about mixing your custom soil including calculations and math and all sorts of other snooze worthy crap so if you don't plan to mix your own soil then feel free to skip down to the muscle flexing mixing part of the post...

In the book, the author makes up his own mix called "Mel's Mix" aptly named after himself.  It is a 3 part mix of 3 ingredients: Peat Moss, Course Vermiculite, and compost made up of 5 different sources.  Since Vermiculite is EXTREMELY expensive and often not readily available, we decided to double down on a pre mixed soil in its place - enter Dr. Earth's Veggie Planting Mix.  We also forgo-ed the 5 mixes of compost and went with only two - Cotton Bur and Organic Worm Castings (from our neighbors, of course!).  For some reason worm poop seemed "cleaner" to me since they naturally are already in soil and you don't often find a chicken, cow, or horse when diggin' in the garden.  So here is a look at B's Mix...aptly named after me:
  • 3 parts peat moss
  • 3 parts compost made up of 2 different types compost
  • 3 parts Dr. Earth's Vegetable planting mix (which includes additional fertilizer (though no animal by-products except sea life which, again, I am OK with!)
In addition - 
  • One 2 cu ft bag of vermiculite (I couldn't find coarse ANYWHERE) just for good measure

Calculating How Much Soil You Will Need

The best way to calculate how many cubic feet you would need to fill your boxes it is to multiply the width times then length of the box and then DIVIDE by 2.  We are using 6 in deep boxes not 1 ft so you must divide by 2.  Here is an example of how I calculated our needs:

Each 2x8 box = 16 cu ft /2 = 8 cu ft per box  →2 boxes = 16 cubic feet
Each 3x8 box = 24 cu ft/2 = 12 cu ft per box →2 boxes = 24 cubic feet

The total = 40 cubic feet divided by 3 = 13.3 cubic feet of each of the 3 parts.  I messed with this a bit more and did 18 cubic feet of Dr Earths and split the last 20 cubic feet between the peat moss and compost...don't forget I had 2 cubic feet of vermiculite...

On day one E and I mixed up the 2 2x8 beds together.  On the second day I went it alone...

Materials Needed:
  • Giant Tarp
  • Shovels, rakes, or whatever else you can find to mix with
  • Your soil components
  • A garden hose to lightly spray peat moss and vermiculite as you add them to prevent some of the dust
  • Proper Attire including: work gloves, face mask & goggles (it gets super dusty), stilettos ~ just making sure you're paying attention, Long pants and long sleeves.  You should look a little something like this except with goggle on...


Directions...

This is a 2 man job but when you are impatient like me you can always find a way to make it work.  Here is how I did it all by my lonesome...


Start by dumping your different composts in the center of the tarp and mix mix mix



Add in the vermiculite and peat moss and a little spray of water...not too much because it is HEAVY...hopefully you found a friend or loved one to help you but if not then go slow and be thorough...



Once you are done mixing it should all be uniform in color.  Here is where I had to improvise.  Instead of adding the Dr. Earths on top of everything else, I decided to split the bags I needed for the 2 beds I was doing and pour Dr Earths directly into the bed.  Then I split the soil I had mixed and started adding that to the beds.  Then I got funky and mixed the beds by hand - with gloves on, of course!  Yes, not exactly glamorous but it was better than the thought of trying to mix it all with a little shovel then having to shovel each and every scoop into the wheel barrel then into the boxes.

E Helping Fill the Boxes on Day 1
By the time I was finished mixing on the tarp I was completely pooped and forgot to take pictures!  Here is a look at the beds a few days later all filled up with a little hint to tomorrows project - adding your Sq Ft Grids...without them it is not square foot gardening!  :)


Here is the cost break down on the soil ingredients.

Cost Breakdown for 40 Cu ft (which is equal to 80 square feet of gardening space):
  • Dr Earth Veggie Mix (1.5 Cu ft each) 12 bags x 12.99 = $155.88
  • 2 cu ft Vermiculite = $29.99 (now you can see why we didn't make it 1/3 of the mix as suggested!)
  • Cotton Burr Compost - 2 bags of 2 cu ft at 7.99 = $15.98
  • 6 bags Antaeus Worm Castings = $0 due to a nicely timed trade of baby sitting services and wine to our neighbors!  :)
  • 3 bags of 3 cu ft compressed peat moss at $9.26 = 27.78
Grand Total though I am thoroughly afraid to look:  $229.63 + 9.5% tax = $251.44

Add that to yesterdays box building costs and this little project is weighing in at $426.66 thus far.  We originally budgeted around $600 so we are just about on budget though perhaps a little under!  


** Don't FREAK OUT just yet.  The most expensive parts are already done.  We have an abnormally large garden for suburbanites.  If you live in the burbs or the city I am guessing you wont be doing quite as large of a plot but in the event that you are there are a few ways to keep the costs down with delivered top soil as mentioned above.**

We are almost done now so make sure to stay tuned for tomorrows post on getting the square foot part of your garden up and running.  This will require wood laths (ask in your lumber department) and some 1 1/4 inch screws and nuts.

Anyone else taking on this project??  Have any tips or tricks to share?  Feel free to leave a comment or email me with info!!  :) squ


**Update**  See what started it all HERE, See how to choose a layout and build your beds HERE, See how to make Mel's soil mix HERE, and See how to grid your garden HERE!are foot gardening, mel's mix, square foot gardening tips, 

Jun 27, 2011

Sq Ft Gardening - Choosing a Layout & Building Raised Beds


Welcome to Day One of our Adventure in Square Foot Gardening.  I spoke a bit about our new garden plans last week so this week let's get to the fun part of actually building your garden step by step.  Remember - you can do this garden ANYWHERE - even a balcony for you city dwellers - so grab a pen (or a pin if you're on Pinterest!) and let's get started...

Step 1 - Decide Layout and Build Your Raised Beds

Materials needed:
  •  Pen & Paper
  • Measuring Tape
  • A Brain - FYI - It doesn't need to be yours.  Mine is rarely functioning so make sure to eat your Wheaties before planning.

Deciding on a layout came pretty easy for us.  We already have the 25 wide x 18 deep area sectioned off from our regular yard.  We knew we would be building around those dimensions but weren't sure the exact width and length we wanted each box to be.  Ultimately we wound up with (2) 2x8 boxes  built specifically for the trellises as well as a privacy screen from the alley once the trellises are covered in veggie bearing leaves.  Directly below we put (4) 3x8 boxes.  Each pathway is between 2.5 - 3 ft to make sure it is easy to get at your garden from all sides.  You can kneel, squat, do jumping jacks - whatever - you have plenty of room to move through and even bring in a wheel barrel if you so desire.  


My only regret is we didn't leave much space for composting.  I want the garden to be all encompassing so everything we need is in a central location.  The other layout we were thinking of was pushing the top 2 boxes together to create a 2x16 box and cutting the bottom 4 boxes down to 3x6's.  Once the bottoms were centered with the top that would have left a nice wide area to the right where we could put our composer and an additional 2x8 box going vertical from South to North.  We ultimately went the other route to save on construction costs (cedar ain't cheap) but I have a feeling next year that will all be switched up!  

Another tip we learned is to save wood costs by sticking to the multiples of 2 when building boxes.  Each board of cedar came in 8 ft lengths.  I am sure you could find 12 footers or 6 footers then it wouldn't much matter but for our garden 8ft lengths was all we could find.  By making the 2x8 boxes we used 2.5 pieces of wood or 5 total for both 2x8 boxes.  When making the 2  3x8 boxes we used 6 pieces of wood but had (2) 2 ft scraps leftover.  I suppose next year when we add the last 2 3x8 boxes that will give us 2 more 2 ft lengths which we can then build one 2x2 box somewhere...hmmm....

Anyway - my point is to be wise when doing your layout to get the biggest bang for your buck.  A 4x8 box only takes 3 pieces of wood making it double the capacity of our 2x8 boxes with only half a board more.  Make sense??

Now that we have the layout down let's get ready to make our boxes...


Step 2 - Building Your Raised Beds

Materials Needed 
  • 2x6 boards of whatever length needed No need to have a saw as the lumber store can cut them for you...in most cases you don't even have to bat your eyes!
  • 3 inch Rust Resistant Screws (deck screws work)
  • Screw driver.  I suggest borrowing an electric one if you don't have one yourself. 
  • Optional - Weed blocker.  Not so optional in my opinion, OK, just do it...$22 to save time on weeds is so worth it!  
  • Optional - Staple gun for above weed blocker!  If you don't have a staple gun - no worries.  Just lay the box on top of the weed blocker.

With your grid in hand it is time to go to your favorite lumber store to grab your wood.  I HIGHLY suggest using cedar for its rot resistant capabilities but it is much cheaper to go pine or something similar.  You only need your garden to be 6 inches deep but I love the look of a deeper box.  Again, to keep costs down we stuck with 6 inches and will possibly add on once we win the lotto...totally keeping my fingers crossed for that day to come!  

Due to untimely weather we have no shots of actually building the box but you want to rotate the corners at each end and drive 3 screws into each corner.  We made sure to drill pilot holes first to prevent splitting.  Here is the after once they were put together...


Now grab your weed blocker.  Not using it...did I mention it is HIGHLY recommended by yours truly??    Alright - Ill let it slide this once but might I just add that we bought a 4x50 ft roll for $21.97 at HD.  It would probably be cheaper else where but I was in a rush and couldn't wait.  Even so - it is totally worth the investment.  

Take the corner of your weed block and staple to the corner of your box.  Roll the weed blocker down and staple taught as you go...  TIP - If you plan to mulch or gravel your walkways leave at least 4 inches overhang on all sides of your box.  This will help when you lay your pathways to overlap the weed block for extra weed blocking protection.  You will see I didn't do it on the first 2 boxes but I realized it for the last 4! 




When you get to the edge and it is all stapled grab a scissors and trim off the roll


When you get the first length done move to the next section and overlap by a few inches...







 And here you go - 2 boxes completely weed blocked and ready to add to your layout.


Since we are working in an already planted garden (seen HERE) I had to be strategic in regard to moving things and building walkways as to no upset our already blossoming plants.  Luckily, our already existing path was close to where the new boxes were going so I just rolled up the weed block with the mulch in it and cleared a path for the new box.  It took a bit of muscle but I got er' done...


The dirt below was extremely hard (like dry clay) and uneven so I gave it a go with my garden Claw...don't laugh, the CLAW rocks!!



Once it was all broken up we raked and got it smooth then walked all over it to pat it down.  A nice smooth even area for our new boxes...

TIP - If you dont have a staple gun to staple your fabric to the actual wood beds then now is the time to lay it out before placing the beds on top...

E Being Manly

And there you have it.  Steps 1 and 2 are complete.  Here is a breakdown of costs thus far:

  • 11 - 2x6 8 ft long  cedar studs at $11.94 each = $131.34 (From Lowe's)
  • 4x50 ft weed block from HD = $21.97
  • 100 ct 3 inch screws from HD = $6.71
  • Staple Gun and Staple = $0  (Already Owned)
  • Man Power From E = $0...but I did have to cook him dinner...
Total Cost including 9.5% sales tax (highway robbery, I know) = $175.22


Tomorrow we will focus on the soil mix to add to your brand spankin' new boxes!  The book suggests something called "Mel's Mix" (named after Mel Bartholomew who is the creator of Square Foot Gardening) but for costs sake I had to thrift it down a bit and tweaked the mix to now be B's Mix named after me, of course!  

If anyone else doing the Square Foot Garden thing?  Any tips and tricks you would like to share?  Feel free to email me or leave a comment so we can spread the word!

See you tomorrow bright an early for Day 2 of Adventures in Square Foot Gardening...


**Update**  See what started it all HERE, See how to choose a layout and build your beds HERE, See how to make Mel's soil mix HERE, and See how to grid your garden HERE!are f

Jun 23, 2011

Foodie Friday #14 - Refreshing Salads Galore


The time has come where our garden is in full swing and the plants that have survived our recent transplanting are either thriving or dying...the lettuce planted did a little of both but for the most part it is thriving and ready to harvest in abundance. Perfect timing as I have declared never to eat sweets, carbs, or any fat to thigh provoking foods ever again...or until lunch time that is... In honor of our hearty surplus of Romaine and Swiss Chard our features will be focused on all things Salad this week.

Here are a few of my favs from the past few weeks..


Honey Apple Chicken Salad from Miz. Helen's CountryCottage.



Oriental Chicken Salad from Cook Lisa Cook


Taco Salad from BJ at Sweet Nothings.


And from the Foodie Friday Archives...




Quinoa Cranberry and Nut Salad from Easy To Be Gluten Free.

And there you have it! Healthy salads with bright colors and delicious flavors are a great way to keep the pounds off but the spirits up...how long I may last is still to be determined... :) If you were featured feel free to grab a button on my right side bar. For the rest of you, stay tuned to next week because you never know when I'm going to hit up the archives!


NOW ON WITH THE PARTY


*Here are couple rules before we get this party kickin'...*
  • It would be super nice if you Followed LBR, your hostess with the most-est...while you're at it, leave a comment if you so desire!
  • Your link MUST be a food related item, duh! It can be a recipe, a specific dish you are craving, a new foodie product you just found, a specific restaurants specific dish...it can be a picnic you had - I really don't care! Just make me want to eat it!
  • {mandatory} Please post my button or a clickable link in your post so others can join in - they are located on the bottom of the right sidebar...Walnuts or Garlic? I dig em' both! If you don't know how to do this just email me and I can help you out...
  • Try not to post and run - check out another recipe and see what's cookin' elsewhere! You may just learn something! :)
  • Please DO NOT link up your linky parties.
  • FYI - By linking up your are giving me permission to use your recipe, blog, and or photos in an upcoming feature. No worries - Ill always link back to you and your blog!! :)


*** FYI - Linky Tools had some new options that I am trying out this week. If you have any troubles linking up, please double check the rules and make sure you got it all down. If that isn't the problem feel free to email me and Ill see if I can help on my end. ***


Let the mouth watering, drool inducing, stomach grumbling fun BEGIN!! I'm Hungry...
LET'S EAT!!

Easy Guacamole - Slicing and Dicing the Lazy (yet effective) Way!


Last week I promised to post my easy guacamole recipe but, to be honest, what makes it so easy is the slicing of the avocado itself!  There are no silly gadgets required which makes this so simple and relatively mess free.  Here is a detailed look at one of my all time favorite foods!



Easy Guac...
Featuring Pain Free Jalapeno Slicing

  • Slice avocado in half using sharp knife and following the pit around a circle...so much easier with pics...


    • Remove the pit by whacking it with a sharp knife...BE CAREFUL!!


    • Holding half the avocado in your palm slice the meat of the avocado lengthwise with the skin on.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO SLICE THROUGH THE SKIN for obvious reasons!!  Um...a smarter person would just put in on the cutting board and cut but I like to live life on the edge...the sharp edge...



    • Now slice on a diagonal one way and then the other way...


    • Use a spoon to scope the sliced up avocado into a bowl.  No need for mashing!!  :)


    • Add the juice of one lime...I used lemon because that's what I had on hand but it doesn't prevent the browning as well as lime does.  

    Now for the good ole jalapeno.  For those of you have been daring enough to slice these babies sans gloves you know how your fingertips can burn anything they touch for the next few hours...no matter how many times you wash your hands.  Eyes and lips be damned...that fiery touch will stay with you!  If you don't like the heat  get out of the kitchen...I couldn't resist!  But, seriously, if you don't want to burn your skin then slice your jalapeno the same way I do my PINEAPPLE by holding it by the stem and cutting straight down from top to bottom.  Rotate then cut down again  and again until all you are left with is the stem and seeds.  Toss and move on.  Need Visuals?




    Chop some red onion and fresh cilantro add a dash of salt and pepper & do a quick mix to combined it all together.  Throw 1 or 2 of the avocado pits back in (to preserve color) and you're done!





    Such a perfect accompaniment to any meal...well, I suppose you can make it a meal of it's own like we often do!  What's cookin' in your kitchen tonight?  Any great tips to share?  Feel free to leave a comment with your latest and greatest and a link to your blog if you feel like sharing.


    Stay tuned to Little Brick Ranch for Foodie Friday which will post at 8pm tonight!!
    ow to make guacamole, how to cut a jalapeno, how to cut an avocado, how to keep an avocado from turning brown, using pits in guacamole
    Linking up to the following:
    -{M}- Keeping it SimpleToday's Creative BlogOrganize With SandyNew NostalgiaHope StudiosHome Sweet Farm -{T}- The Lettered CottageAll Thingz RelatedThe Thrifty HomeMy Backyard EdenDIY by DesignTip JunkieAt Home With KDomestically Speaking,Coastal CharmA Little TipsyEisy Morgan -{W}- Organize and Decorate EverythingSomeday CraftsTales from BloggeritavilleFireflies and JellybeansNight Owl CraftingThe Shabby Chic CottageBeyond The Picket Fence -{TH}- Foodie FridaySimple Home LifeSomewhat SimpleThe Shabby NestFinding FabulousMiss Mustard SeedThe Frugal GirlsAt The Picket FenceStuff and NonsenseChic on A Shoestring Budget -{F}- Tatertots and Jello -{SUN}- Between Naps on the PorchThe DIY Show OffThrifty Decor Chick & Centsational Girl

    Jun 22, 2011

    Adventures in Square Foot Gardening

    I first heard about Square Foot Gardening a few years back and thought little to nothing about it. At the time I had no garden and little out door space...although, that didn't stop me from trying to grow tomatoes in a planter on my balcony ledge. One good gust of wind had those babies crashing down to the sidewalk 10 feet below...I am happy to report their were no injuries other than the 2 baby tomatoes I had been watching grow for weeks. : ( It was a dreadful start to my gardening career.

    Last year we moved to the house with a nice big 18x24 ft plot already sectioned off from the rest of the yard and previously used as a vegetable garden. Though the land was vast (to us city dwellers) it was also dull and boring - just a big plot of dirt. I took a lot of time using landscaping bricks and borders from other parts of our yard to create paths and a workable layout. Throughout the season I sweat, cursed, weeded constantly, and nearly got malaria from the swarms of mosquitoes but overall my attempts were rewarded with a great harvest from a job well done. As excited as I was I thought this year I could push to make it even better. Sq Ft style...


    For those of you who have not heard about this hang on to your seats...or office chairs. Square foot gardening can be done ANYWHERE as long as you have the space for a small planter box at least 6 inches deep. That's it - 6 inches deep! All you have is a balcony? No problem! You can fit a 2x3 sq ft garden or even a 1x2 or 2x2 or whatever configuration you would like. The book suggests a 4x4 starter box but since when do ya'll pay attention to the rules?

    Since reading the book I have been dreaming of a luscious vegetable garden with little to no weeding and nice wide paths to move around in. Not only are the raised beds more beautiful but this method is a more efficient way to garden which uses less seeds for planting and less water for, um, watering...sounds pretty good, right? Well...the only downfall to Square Foot Gardening is the immense start up cost to build your boxes and more importantly the soil which is a custom blend called Mel's Mix (check the book for further details...your library should have it!). To defray the initial start up costs we decided to use a more expensive wood (we choose cedar which should last a long time and resist rot) and skimp on some of the soil ingredients using a premixed organic soil as well as worm castings, peat moss, cotton burrs, and vermiculite. So far so good.

    Here is where were 5 weeks ago...


    Everything was planted and starting to grow. Then we had some major rain and weird highs and lows n the temperatures and things stopped looking so peachy. I thought it was perfect timing to throw caution to the wind and make the big switch...much to E's dismay, of course. Regardless, most everything did OK and here is where we are at today...


    I have transplanted some things into the first two boxes while the other two sit waiting for B's Mix...yes...I stole the whole Mel's Mix idea and created my own! :) We are waiting to transplant the rest of the peppers and the Swiss Chard will soon be gone so I felt no need to move it. Lettuce does not transplant well...take it from someone who knows...

    Since this little project has taken most of my free time in the past two weeks I thought it best to dedicate next week to the entire process step by step. Our new layout will allow for 80 square feet of gardening plus an additional 48 next year for a total of 128 square feet of planting room. Not bad when you consider that a 4x4 plot of land can harvest the following in one spring season (Pg. 44 in the book!):

    • 1 head of cabbage
    • 1 head of broccoli
    • 1 head of cauliflower
    • 4 heads of romaine
    • 4 heads of red lettuce
    • 4 heads of leaf lettuce then 16 scallions after the lettuce is out
    • 4 heads of salad lettuce
    • 5 lbs of sugar peas
    • 8 bunches of Swiss chard
    • 9 bunches of spinach then 9 turnips
    • 16 small ball carrots
    • 16 beets plus 4 bunches of beet greens
    • 16 long carrots (you will need a deeper box for those - 12 inches as apposed to 6 in)
    • 32 radishes

    That's a whole lotta greens! Interested in following along and/or building your own? Check out your local library now or grab Mel's latest version of the book off Amazon HERE. FYI - I don't get paid anything to promote this book - I just thought it helpful to some of my readers who have taken an interest in our garden!

    Next weeks posts will include everything you ever needed to know on how we started our Sq Ft Garden including:
    • Deciding the Best Layout for Your Garden
    • Building your Square Foot Boxes and Prepping the Garden
    • Buying and Mixing your Soil
    • Building Your Trellises
    • Prepping for next Years Seedlings
    • Making Your Grids and Planting your Seeds and/or Seedlings

    So what's growing in your garden this year? Trying anything new or sticking with the same old same old? This is my first year trying beets as well as watermelon...I CAN NOT WAIT to see what happens!! Feel free to leave a comment with what you are up to in the garden this year...

    **Update**  See how to choose a layout and build your beds HERE, See how to make Mel's soil mix HERE, and See how to grid your garden HERE!


    Bianca Square Foot Gardening, Mel's Mix,


    PS - I was not paid, perked, or bribed for this endorsement...though I am currently taking cash, bribes, and perks for future endorsements! :)
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