At the end of August I actually tested my soil before beginning the new garden, a new garden by the way, using the Square Foot Gardening practice. My soil was sorely lacking in many nutrients. In fact, the only positive thing that could be said about my soil was that it was PH neutral. But for all the compost and manure we have laid in past years, the simple fact was, with our torrential rainy seasons, the soil never holds those nutrients for long and the garden would simply need fertilizer - organic fertilizer, mind you, but fertilizer, nonetheless, in addition to the compost we continually create in our back yard bin.
So far so good! I've got arugula that will be used today for the first time (!) in sandwiches at lunch, baby cukes, zucchini, and crookneck squash on the vine. Thanks to a blend of 50% milk and 50% water, I've been able to fend off the fungus that likes to destroy my tomato leaves; I've got 3 healthy, growing plants so far. Beets, chard, radishes, nasturtius and parsnips are all babies in the garden right now too. My packet of spinach left much to be desired, though. I have very few sprouts.
The garden project is proliferating this year too as you can see from the above photo. The boxes behind mine are my neighbors' and are a project of our house church youth group. The kids filled the boxes, picked out the plants they wanted and the seeds, and planted them. They are helping to tend to the gardens regularly as well and all will share in the harvest! If our garden is successful, extras will go to share with other neighbors or even a food bank. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, though. So far we've got baby sprouts, but it's a start and everyone loves it!
Here are some photos of the kids on planting day. It was HOT, but two hours of labor left us with nicely watered beds and tired, but happy kids.
Square Foot gardens are an easy way to garden with your children... and even your neighbors. What a beautiful sight it would be to see boxes like these in backyards across the country: feeding people, working together, and eating locally.
A peek at my crookneck squash babies: