Since last year’s garden was
a flop less successful than we had hoped. We decided to try a different approach this year. We looked into the Back to Eden method and almost went with that. In the end, we decided to try out the Square Foot garden method, using raised beds. So far, we really like the results.
At first we were going to try a few items in raised beds and plant the rest in rows. We started out with some tomato and pepper plants in the ground but had problems with voles getting them. I was not a happy gardener when I walked out to find that some creature had yanked my lovely plants down into a hole. This is when we decided to build raised beds for everything (except potatoes) and give the Square Foot Gardening a go.
We still lost a couple more plants but we have seemed to ward off the voles now. We used a castor oil spray (apparently, voles hate castor oil) and saturated the whole garden. This worked for about a week, then a couple of my nice lettuce plants disappeared. A good farmer friend of ours, Alan, told Farmer Derek that his dad used to pour Borax down the vole’s holes and that got rid of them. This method has seemed to work for us so far and is non-toxic. We’ve lost a few potatoes since then but all in all it is much less of problem now.
We actually got our seeds started early enough this year, yay! We started lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers. We also purchased organic, heirloom seeds for green beans, squash, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, carrots, sweet corn, glass gem corn, cantaloupe, and two types of watermelon.
We’ve also planted potatoes and sweet potatoes. A friend of ours (same friend with the Borax advice) gave us five cushaw pumpkin plants that we transplanted to the garden. If you’ve never had pumpkin pie made with a cushaw pumpkin, you are missing out. They are the best pumpkin to bake with, in my humble opinion.
Another friend of Farmer Derek’s gave him some old boards he had laying around. We were able to build many of our beds from these. We still needed more beds so farmer Derek cut some more boards using his Alaskan Chainsaw Mill.
We only had to purchase the screws to put them all together. This made me and my budget very happy. We have a total of twenty one beds in our garden, most of them are three foot by five foot. We also have a three foot by ten foot bed outside of the garden for our watermelons.
We filled each bed with soil from the garden, composted horse and chicken manure, a little organic peat moss (omri certified), and a little organic vermiculite (also omri certified). In the watermelon and cantaloupe beds we added some sand to help the soil drain better. It has been a very time and labor intensive project but well worth it.
We have had great success this year. We are enjoying lots of fresh garden goodies right now and will continue to enjoy our harvest throughout the year.
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