This question usually comes up when friends take a look at the garden. There’s sometimes more interest in the garden “accessories” than in the plants themselves!
Garden Box Strings
We have a great backyard at our house, but the swimming pool takes up about 80% of it. The garden is in the back corner and along the back fence. I’ve gotten very good at squeezing crops in here and there, so most of the backyard is practical, not ornamental.
The strings on the garden box are part of the Square Foot Gardening method. This method is also known as intensive gardening, since you plant the maximum number of plants that will grow in each square foot. In addition to being easier to weed and water, it gives you the maximum return for the space you use.
The strings are there to mark the spaces between each crop. That way, the carrots aren’t running over into the jicama and I know right where each plant is. This sure helps with weeding! The pepper plants are smack in the middle of each square, so if anything pops up around them, I know it’s a weed and pull it right away.
Omelettes and breakfast-for-dinner make frequent appearances on the menu over here. Add in a bit of baking, and each week there are a lot of eggshells to be disposed of—but not in the trash! During the winter, I crush them and put ‘em in the compost bin. In spring and summer, they’re a snail and slug barrier.
After using the oven for that week’s baking, I put them and let them dry from the residual heat. This hardens them a bit and makes them less fragile. The next morning, Jackjack smashes them (big fun when you’re 4) and we sprinkle them around the seedlings.
The sharp edges keep the little gastropods away from my plants and I don’t have to use any chemicals to get rid of them. This is especially important because I don’t want pesticides in my pool, my family, or any of the birds and cats that roam the backyard.
This contraption is a compost bin that I’ve converted into a potato planter. Taters need to have soil mounded around their stems as they grow. By doing this, the stem turns into a long taproot with side roots that branch off. Theoretically, all of these roots will turn into potatoes!
When I started, the planter was empty and I placed the prepared seed potatoes right on the ground. As they started to grow, I added dirt mixed with straw (for aeration) as the stems grew. Looks like they’re due for another load of dirt…and I’m due for another trip to the landscape supply store.
According to what I’ve read, they’ll be ready to harvest after flowering, when the vines have turned brown and died back. Since they haven’t flowered yet, it may be quite a while before they appear on our dinner table.
The garlic and onions I planted last fall are almost ready to harvest. Stay tuned!