So with the construction of the Square Foot Gardening beds completed (details here) and the indoor sowing done, it was time to look forward to the outdoor seed plantings that were due to start on April 5th – namely, Sugar Ann Snap Peas, Parisienne Carrots and Gigante d’Inverno Spinach.
In preparation the beds needed to be situated outdoors, filled with the soil mix and 4×4 string grids attached. Prior to placing the support legs on the ground, the soil was leveled and compacted to keep the beds horizontal and prevent future subsidence. Then the legs were positioned on this firm soil foundation and the raised beds carefully seated on top of the support platform.
Next job to do was to mix the soil. The three components were Organic Soil (Just Natural), Sphagnum Peat Moss (Lambert, organic) and Vermiculite (Whittmore, coarse) blended in a 1:1:1 ratio. I started mixing on a tarp, but found it easier to just mix it in the boxes. One thing I didn’t do, but have subsequently read would have been beneficial, was to add the mixed material in layers which are thoroughly wetted out before adding the next layer. Wetting one thick layer from the top is not so easy.
I also bought a cheap irrigation system from Harbor Freight which was affixed to the beds. Finally, I added the green string grids – notches had been pre-cut in the boxes and the string was permanently attached with a staple gun on two sides only (top and left). This allows the strings to be removed for easier access to the beds.
The beds are being well-watered on a daily basis to saturate the mix components.
Several days later, on April 5th, the Peas, Carrots and Spinach were duly sown. In addition I decided that rather than add the sweet potato box (2′ x 1′ x 12″) into the square foot garden as originally planned I will put a layer of weedblock on the bottom and place it on the ground when the slips are ready to be transferred. This opens up two square foot sections for additional planting. I chose, and have subsequently sown, Lollo Rosso and Buttercrunch lettuce seeds in these locations. Now I await the emergence of the seedlings and I have my fingers crossed that they germinate successfully.
One final note…I have also started bringing the indoor germinated seeds outdoors into the sunlight as temperatures are in the 50’s and 60’s Farenheit during the day. They go back in at night though as it is still too cold to leave them out. They are not doing as well as I had hoped indoors on the window-sill with supplemental CFL lighting so hopefully this helps.
To be continued…