Friday, July 15, 2011

Update on Square Foot Gardens 2011

Japanese Perennial Onion flowering.
An apology to those regular readers! I've been so slow on the uploading of photos and new posts but I've got a valid excuse. Turns out my body- unexpectedly- began making a human being about thirteen weeks ago. This will be the third baby to join our house and now that I'm feeling less tired, it doesn't sound as exhausting as it did to me four weeks ago! 

As for the square foot gardens, they are doing well despite the lack of sun: besides we're thankful for the rain (and a working sump pump!).  I took these photos on June 29th- the date of my 2010 update. My biggest challenge continues to be nutrients as I don't have a great compost system yet (though Mat just built me a huge double-bin compost that should be a big help next season). This year I've added significant amounts of sheep and cow manure, as well as used a flax/hemp based fertilizer from the farmer's market. Based on a great Mother Earth News article, I will soon begin experiments with liquid fertilizers using the common household material: diluted urine. I'm hoping the girl's enjoy peeing in a bucket!

Pictures were taken July 29th:
Spinach bolting and peas a-flowerin'. The greens in front of the box are hardy, oriental poppies.

The back row are my potatoes (see below for a close-up), and the onions are a perennial Japanese onion. My girlfriend smelled them and marvelled, "They smell just like baked potato with all the fixings!" I love how this picture shows the succession planting of the carrots in the front two rows. We are just now beginning to harvest from the far left box.

The lettuce in the front, centre boxes has been harvested two times already. I'm really happy with this butter lettuce I bought from Richters. The arugula (on the right) has bolted, but the flowers are just as delicious as the now-very-strong leaves. The peas  make up the back row, with swiss chard taking over the middle. 

More lettuce. I can't keep up! Unfortunately, this prego lady doesn't have any craving for salad. Just oranges?!

The left row (north) is lettuce and arugula. THe front row are tomatoes interspersed with self-seeding marigolds. The tomatoes have grown well. I did an experiment this year and planted them successively to see if the early planted ones are stunted. They all seem to have grown at similar growth rate, with the one planted early May (second planted) being marginally further along.

Also featured is my sweet ride to work everyday. I love our scooter- $4 fill every three weeks!

Yarrow bordered by squash. These squash aren't doing great, but they may be a little crowded!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Feels like a Bumper Crop Year

Good news! My honeyberries performed better than expected this year and I definitely achieved my goal of "more than eight berries". For accuracy, there was not more than 80- but for three year old bushes, I think it's a sign of things to come. The bush that is located in the sun had sweet berries- similar flavour to huckleberries from my childhood- on Sunday, July2. The other bushes will be ready to pick by this weekend. And by then-- hurray- the saskatoons and raspberries should be just about ready. 
We've got a bumper crop of Strawberries this year too. Bowls of them are coming from the large strawberry plants. The alpines are only just beginning to flower for harvest, I'm going to guess in August... anybody have an idea of a realistic harvest date on those?

From the square foot gardens, lettuce and peas are producing like crazy. I've never had great luck with lettuce, but this year I'm giving it away. I've four boxes planted with a butter lettuce, equalling a total of 16 heads of lettuce of a variety that grows back from cut stalk!

I don't have enough peas to freeze, but I planted only enough to eat fresh. With about five boxes planted, I'm harvesting about a cup a day for the past few days. I expect I have another couple weeks of this, since I've planted a few in shadier places, so those plants are only now flowering. 

Hope you're having some bumper crops too! 

Snap peas that didn't grow as tall as I expected, but are fruiting better than expected.