Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gardening Time

Did you know that you can go to and type in your zip code and they will tell you the frost/freeze forecast for your area? Two years ago I was feeling so good about my efforts to planting a great garden and in our area Mother Nature decided to pull a, not-so-funny, joke on us. We had a late freeze for our area. I was discouraged with the loss of all of my cucumber plants and several other plants. I felt it was to late to plant from seed and plants were not as available at the nurseries. So this year I have been very hesitant about putting my plants in the ground. Then I discovered this great service from I learned that my area has a great ten day forecast and I will keep checking to insure that all is well and if not I will have a heads up to cover up better than I did in the past.

Why am I writing about my garden? I have tried growing vegetables in years past with some success. Last year we were involved in other good endeavors and didn't plan out the spring very well so we had no garden. I missed the fresh off the vine tomatoes and yes even the zucchini! I have amazing friends who made sure that I had some fresh produce, even for canning. I have never canned like I did last fall and it was so great to see the 'fruits of my labor' in beautiful pint and quart sized bottles all in rows in the storage room.

Last years canning experience has given me the 'Can Do' attitude that I will can even more this year and it will help feed my family during this economical squeezing time in our lives.

Monday I marked my garden as a 'Square Foot Garden' and then drew up a plan. I jumped on the band wagon too late for making boxes as the author, Mel Bartholomew, teaches is best for this style of gardening. We had a neighbor bring us some of their horse manure for free fertilizer. My dogs loved rolling in it so it must have been good stuff. It was placed and tilled into the ground everywhere in the garden except where the tomatoes are going. I have learned that horse manure is not the best ingredient in growing tomatoes. I'm sure I have eaten many foods grown in this flavorful fertilizer but I'm chuckling to myself at the thought of my family around the dinner table having a great meal and afterward reminding everyone that our garden produce was fueled in part by our wonderful neighbors horses. He he.

Let me add that I am amazed at how many plants/seeds you can get into the same garden space or even a smaller space than what I have been doing in past years. In my map there were a lot of empty squares as I made my plan for the plants and seeds that I had already purchased. So I was off to buy more seeds; potatoes, white onions, and green onions were left behind in the first garden shopping trip. Sadly I did not realize that garlic, being a bulb, is only available in the fall. I will plant some later on.

So far I must say that Square Foot Gardening totally rocks.

Can planting a veggie patch really save you money? Government agencies and gardening organizations say yes.

Every $100 spent on vegetable gardening yields $1,000 to $1,700 worth of produce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.

You’ll get a half-pound of edibles from every square foot of ground devoted to backyard crops, according to the National Gardening Association. Even a modest garden (15-by-15) can produce more than 100 pounds of garden-fresh tomatoes, salad greens, vegetables and herbs. Better flavor and bragging rights come with the harvest.

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