The Victory Gardenby Michael, posted May 4, 2013
When we moved last fall, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do was try growing some vegetables at the new house. So a few weeks ago, Clara and I stopped by our local garden store and picked up a bunch of seed packets and a bag of seedling soil.
That weekend, I started tomato and pepper seedlings in egg cartons. I tied them down to a piece of spare wood, and suspended them from string in our front window—where they’d get lots of sun, but not be accessible to the little one. Within a few days, the tomato plants had started coming up:
The following weekend, I also started some basil and cucumber plants, in a similar manner. Last week, the tomato plants were starting to look a little droopy and discoloured—seems like they were probably outgrowing the egg cups, but may also have been over-watered. In any case, before we left on vacation, I transplanted everything to more spacious accommodations:
I also put together my garden box, where this stuff is getting moved to. The soil mix suggested by the square foot gardening method is equal parts compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. I had hoped that my backyard compost would be ready in time for this, but I wasn’t satisfied with it, so I ended up purchasing composted manure from the garden store. They also had peat moss, and were able to order in the 4 cubic foot bag of vermiculite I required.
It’s too bad about all the plastic packaging involved here. If you have a pickup truck, there are some garden stores which will dump bulk soil components directly into the truck bed. Our store doesn’t do that, and it wouldn’t have been an option anyway with the little Yaris.
In the future, I might try to go more natural, perhaps trying to use more of the existing soil, but given all the other unknowns in this project, I wanted to maximize my chances of success by keeping it simple and eliminating unknowns.
I ended up deciding to place the box on the boulevard strip right by the curb. I think this is technically municipal property, so I’m prepared to move it if necessary, though there were others in our old neighbourhood who did exactly this. In any case, it’s where the best sun is, so I’m going to stick it out as long as possible. Our landlord is very easy-going about this project, and obviously I’ve agreed to repair the grass once I’m done (or we move, whichever comes first).
This is not strictly square-foot. Because I’m doing tomatoes and peas, which will need something to climb, I think it’s more reasonable for those at least to be row-style.
I’m not certain my seedlings will work out. A friend has graciously agreed to water them while we are away—if they end up looking good when we’re back, they’ll go in the ground; otherwise, I’ll purchase new ones from Little City Farm.Filed under: House, Projects | 1 Comment »