Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Has Sprung! (If Only in My Head)

With the winter not anywhere close to being over (ridiculous groundhog) I have had to cling to warm days like today as if they were the very sustenance of life. Because really, I've mentally moved spring gardening.

Last year I began an experiment in gardening. I used a book called The Bountiful Container to try my hand at growing veggies in pots instead of the ground. (Basically, Terry wasn't going to let me destroy grass when I had no idea if I was going to grow one thing past the first year.) And I liked it! Pretty good results, although slower than I had hoped. Apparently, gardeners have to be patient. Sheesh. And it was comparatively inexpensive and less time consuming than a traditional garden.

This past fall I got my hands on a new book called All New Square Foot Gardening. I am still not interested in destroying the grass even in 4x4 foot blocks. So, I am taking several of the ideas in this new book, and applying them to my containers.

Here are a few things I am changing this year:
1) Bought better/larger pots. Still plastic or fiberglass. But they are square so I can still use the square foot method (mostly) when planting.

2) Buying the "ingredients" to make Mel's mix. This mix is supposedly just the right amount of compost, peat, and vermiculite that I shouldn't have to fertilize or make sure I have the pots at the right pH.

3) Going a bit vertical. I'm investing in one of Mel's vertical trellises in order to have my squash and even sugar baby watermelon grow up and off the ground.

4) Invested in a good soaker hose and will probably get a hose timer to water for us when we are out of town. Watering was a big "fail" for me last year. And trust me, tomatoes need water!

5) Starting from seed this year. I should still have enough seeds to last me several years. By using the square foot techniques, I can use less seeds, less space and save money. I ordered my seeds from Gurneys but the ones at Lowes are probably just as good. They just sent me a coupon, so you know. Frugal. =)

What I am planting this year: tomatoes (3 varieties), cucumbers, squash, basil, bell peppers, cantaloupe, sugar baby watermelon, and mint. Still may throw in some eggplant and zucchini but I kind of have a full plate already. Or hope to have a full plate!

Nope, have no idea if it will all grow well, but I'm using inexpensive seeds so I don't feel like I'm wasting too much.

As soon as I get everything set up, I will post pics. Until then, go check out those books and let me know what you think!