I have become obsessed, obsessed with creating more and more opportunities to go harvest from my own garden. I have an apple tree for some years now and last year we added another one and a pear tree. You know about my rhubarb plant (last big batch of my Rhubarb Breakfast Muffins will be baked this weekend since the harvesting season on my rhubarb is almost over), and last year I had a totally unplanned and unexpected tomato crop.
But I wanted more, much more. And a bit more planning and beauty too. I wanted a true edible garden.
So I have been gathering inspiration….
My Edible Garden Inspiration Board on Pinterest
On Pinterest I have started an edible garden board. Who knew that growing veggies in your garden can look good too!
Anyway. The plan for my edible garden started quite some time ago when I stumbled onto a Dutch website written by teenager Jelle, who started what he calls an-easy-vegetable-patch (makkelijke moestuin in Dutch) in his parents backyard. Take a look at his site Makkelijke Moestuin (it is in Dutch but Google can help you with that), he is adorable and so smart.
I thought if he can do it, then I really have no excuse whatsoever. The way he describes it, it is
vegetable gardening for beginners.
He bases all of his knowledge on Mel Bartholomew work, Mel is the author of Square Foot Gardening. That man has turned square foot gardening not only into an art form but into a life’s mission as well. Mel Bartholomew has set himself the goal of fighting world hunger by introducing square foot gardening all around the world. Talk about ambitions!
Anyway. In true researcher-Songbird fashion. I bought the book . Read all about it and did nothing for a year.
The book is good though. Not a lot of pictures, but loads of information written with so much enthusiasm you want to start digging right away.
Which I didn’t for over a year (call me procrastinator or what).
Until this Spring.
I showed you that I had cleared out this border in my garden. This border had never really worked, it was always a hot mess with mostly weeds growing. I guess I just can’t keep up with the garden work, and this one was always last on the list. So whatever I did here had to be low maintenance, to that I vowed.
The too-easy-veggie-growing idea from Jelle seemed perfect.
Well that was early Spring, now it is almost summer. So that border was no longer weed free, but I had a plan.
First gather materials.
Left over scaffolding boards from my bedroom project, some extra boards found in a basement somewhere, heaps of special veggie gardening mix (more on that later) and ground cover.
I measured how big my garden patches could be in the border, cut them up and did a test run.
LOL, you can barely see the boards for all the weeds that were growing there. But it seemed to work according to plan. So I moved on.
Getting rid of most of the weeds.
I wasn’t too perfectionist with this. I knew it would be okay anyway. I just wanted to have the big weeds out and enough of the smaller ones too, so I could straighten and even out the soil (which I obviously hadn’t done yet in this picture).
Then the real work began (and I stopped taking pictures of every step, sorry that happens to me all the time).
I assembled my two veggie squares (screws in wood) and I covered the soil with anti rooting membrane. This will allow moisture to get true, but prevent weeds from growing up from underneath and plants to grow to deep into the soil on top. Perfect for easy weed control!.
On the other side of that fence, is a little pathway. The weeds from there are forever working there way into my garden, and because of the fence it is so hard to get to them properly. So I cheated a bit.
I wiggled and waggled a little skirt of the plastic underneath to make sure no weeds from the other side could invade anymore. I’ll have to come up with something to make this look better on this side, but I am not in a hurry.
Then I simply placed my frames (no bottom just four sides) onto the ground cover and filled them up with my soil mixture.
The special soil is a mixture of turf, compost and vermiculite. The turf provides the base, the compost feeds and the vermiculite retains moist. Vermiculite is a product used in insulation and is very light weight and holds fluids like a star. Both Mel and Jelle have done a lot of research into it and it is apparently both perfect and completely safe for this use. I trust them.
Once everything starts growing I only need to add compost to the mix from time to time, the rest is a one time investment.
You can also see the grid here that is absolutely essential for square foot gardening.
I bought the cheapest plastic strips I could find and attached them to each other with some button thingies I had laying around.
In between the two patches I covered the ground cover with wood chips. Both for looks and comfort.
I measured the distance between the two ‘containers’ by kneeling in between them, I can now but I’d better not gain a lot of weight
And then I was ready for seeding and planting.
Since I am so late in the season, I went to the market to get some little plants all ready. Here you see a couple of varieties of lettuce, endive, and broccoli.
But I seeded in some squares too.
Yesterday I saw the first seedlings popping up in one of the squares. I think this is some kind of bean.
(I made a little diagram of what I put where, because I would never remember otherwise).
Can’t wait to see if it will all come up. I hope so. I go over there every day to talk to the little seeds in the ground, encouraging them to come up and show themselves….
Granted it isn’t that beautiful yet. But I already get such a kick out of it. And I am sure that once the squares are all filled with all the colors vegetables bring, it will look bountiful and beautiful. And it will be so much easier and more fun to maintain than the weed patch it was before.
I guess my urban homestead dream has become a bit more real again.
So do you harvest from your garden? Got a vegetable patch? Got tips for this beginner?
Let’s talk veggies…..
PS Disclosure. The link to the book Square Foot Gardening is an affiliate link to my favorite online bookstore BookDepository that has free worldwide shipping and great customer service (in my humble opinion)