Of course I threw my plan out the window once my garden was ready to plant in I filled in the square on the edge that I should have reserved for the watermelon, but I'll adapt. I may move the strawberries to a different square tomorrow. Of course the spinach in the next square over may be ready to harvest before it's time to plant the watermelon. We've had such a late spring, that it may work out that way. It snowed a little last week, but we're only 2 weeks away from the last average frost date!
I decided to pick up some swiss chard seeds, as they're one of only a few plants that can be planted and harvested all year long. I need a few plants like that to fill the squares as the seasons progress.
I'm starting to wonder why I'm doing two boxes. I've only finished one of them so far. Leveling the ground, mixing the "soil", filling, and putting on the grid was more work than I realized! It's very nice once it's complete, but I'm resting on that for a few days as the other box is mainly for summer crops anyway, and I haven't planted in all of the first box yet.
I also made quite a bit extra of Mel's mix, and I've only mixed the first box worth. I think the peat moss expanded quite a bit. I put some of it in the tomato pots for the back fence, and some of it back in a bag. I'll use less peat moss for the next box. Mixing the soil is a big job for one person, but I didn't have the patience to wait for helpers, as I wanted to get the spring stuff planted before it's too late. On the next box, I'll wait for helpers!
I'm looking forward to being able to harvest food as needed, rather than having to buy a whole bunch of green onions at the store, when I only need 1 or 2.
My husband watched the kids for a while yesterday so I could get out of the house. It was great. I went to pick up the supplies for my square foot gardens. I found all the lumber and hardware for the actual boxes, and some of the Mel's mix. I'll need to pick up a few more things today, but I'll have my boxes put together soon. The boards are cut and pre-drilled, just a matter of assembling them.
This should be fun!
I'm a little late for strawberries, so I'm only doing 2 squares this year, less room taken up if they fail. Spinach may be late too, but I'll try one square in the spring, and the rest in the fall. No corn. There may even be room for a few more flowers.
I was really hoping that my baby's illness was simply gluten, because the alternative, that it was gastroenteritis and we would could all get it next, was not a pleasant thought. With gluten, I have some control, with a virus, I'm a victim. I've learned to prefer control.
But when he got really sick I was also hoping his reaction to gluten couldn't be that severe. He's pretty much over it today, as am I, and my 5 year old hopefully will be able to keep down food as well. Phew. Now my husband has it, he was the last to get it. I couldn't have weathered it without his help when the boys and I were all sick. Without giving too much information, I'll just say that that night when the 3 of us had it was, um, interesting. As a parent, I just went into roll-with-the-punches survival mode...and we survived it.
Last Saturday I was going to build my square foot garden boxes. Instead I've been cooped up inside with lots of time to plan them. I now know my small triangular back yard will have two boxes, each 8 ft long and 2 feet wide. One side will be against a retaining wall, with protection from the wind and elements, for the more tender plants. The other side will be along a 4 ft tall chain link fence. There's also a sloped back fence that is 6 ft tall. The ground there is too sloped for any sizable square foot garden, so I'll dig in some pots for tomatoes and train them to climb up that fence. That solves my space problems, and introduces some vertical spaces. I may let a watermelon and sweet potato vine around outside of the boxes toward the back tomato fence. I could vertical garden the watermelon, but that ground space isn't used and doesn't look great at present anyway.
The numbers next to the names are how many plants to put in each square foot, some I am guessing/experimenting with.
A few plants of note, beside the basic garden/supermarket fare:
Sweet potato: I'm mainly growing it for the leaves, but may be surprised by a few roots. I thing they're good for my little hunter, and I may be into black dot territory by harvest. Black plastic covers to warm the soil since I'm pretty far north for these guys.
Jerusalem artichoke: I'll let these go crazy on the hill, rather than in the garden. Hopefully they'll like it there.
Okra: Another southern crop that I'll black plastic and experiment with. Some varieties mature in 50-60 days, so I think I can pull it off.
Asparagus Pea: it took a bit of searching to find sees (tmseeds.com) but I'm willing to experiment with these as well.
Some others: Turnip (for greens), fennel, spinach, red perilla (I have some seed though I don't remember why I bought it, it may be red basil), genovese basil, holy basil, cilantro, parsley, greek oregano, etc. Zucchini will be on the hill as well.
The strawberries are just because my husband and kids buy and eat them no matter what, so I prefer they have an organic source because we simply can't find them in stores. The corn is just for fun for the boys...it may be a bad idea with our raccoon history! I am planning some pest control measures. Hopefully netting will keep the cats and birds out; the raccoons are a challenge I may or may not have to deal with.
I may have already killed my elderberry starts on the hill, but I see some signs of life in them yet. Currants and raspberries are other options for some hill space I'm getting cleared off.
I've ordered the seeds and plants, I just need to buy supplies for the boxes and such...there's no backing out now! Planning has always been my favorite part, and usually the only part I complete, so I'm hoping that square foot gardening will keep the dream alive this time. We've had a cold spring, so I don't think I'm too late getting started on some of these plants.
I never really cared for rows or rototillers.
I should stop calling my youngest a baby, as he's very much into toddler mode at 2 1/2, but when he's sick, I can't help but think of him as a baby.
I usually watch him like a hawk at social functions, but tonight we were all enjoying the company so much that I forgot to keep a close eye on food dangers. There were babysitting-age kids around keeping him physically safe, so I relaxed a bit too much for a little while. I noticed a baggie of goldfish crackers after he'd probably already gotten into them. Goldfish crackers should be outlawed; my older son got sick from them too many times when he was small, they're just so hard for a child to resist, and there is no packaged gluten free version.
He became very irritable soon before we left for home, and it went downhill from there. Stomach pain, gas, more irritability, vomiting, and diarrhea. Now it's almost 6 AM, and I've been up with him all night. (He's slept some, but I haven't). He's never had much more gluten than a trace amount, but has always proven to be the most sensitive of all of us. (He's got many Hunter traits.) I'm afraid this time he had much more than a trace amount.
Two days ago, I took him to Costco with me and we stopped for a hot dog with no bun (checking for crumbs, as always). A bigger little boy came up to him with a cookie in his hand and decided he had too many cookie crumbs on himself then started shaking them off of himself, right next to us. When I told him the crumbs would make us sick, he and his parents acted like I was crazy. Sigh. Fortunately I was able to protect the food. (I guess I'm just the crazy lady on crumb patrol!)
Some people think that crackers/bread/cookies can't possibly make anybody sick. It's annoying to me, but also sad for them if they happen to unknowingly be one of the people who are getting sick from gluten. If you're sick all the time, and eating poison all the time, it's hard to put the two together. I'm just glad we aren't in that boat anymore. I doubt I could have even had children if I hadn't given up wheat, then gluten. One person I spoke with about it questioned whether I should have had children, knowing I had a genetic condition I could pass on. Being that it is a treatable condition, and I'm also passing on the knowledge, I have no question in my mind that I did the right thing by having my two. Considering that 97% of full-fledged celiacs don't even know they have it, and countless clueless others with gluten sensitivity, I have no guilt or ambivilance about my decision whatsoever. Some people think the gluten free diet is a fate worse than death, but I completely disagree. Other than social inconveniences, and trying to help young children navigate the crunchy dangers, it's pretty trivial. My 5 year old is very expert at avoiding gluten, in any situation, so I must be doing something right... of course, he also had to learn the hard way a couple times.
I can't imagine waiting for positive test results to put this baby on a GF diet. The misery of one night of gluten is too much, the months it might take for the lab to show anything would be torture (for him primarily, but also the rest of the household). I've confirmed this morning that he probably did eat some goldfish crackers. I'm about to launch an anti-goldfish campaign, kind of funny really since they're so cute and likable, they just drive me nuts with their kid-appeal.
Some sources say the world will run out of wheat supplies in 10 weeks. If you're still eating wheat, don't start panicking, do something for your health and stop eating it today. In America, we have plenty of other food, so let those who need the wheat have it, and stop poisoning your body with it. (It will keep most humans alive, unless they have Celiac disease, but it has long term health consequences for many) Wheat is bad news for most blood types and most genotypes, and no better than neutral for the rest. Next time you go for a sandwich, find something else to wrap it with: a romaine leaf, a nori sheet, there are so many other options. Same goes for rice, it's mostly neutral for most of us, but we have other options, so it's a good time to explore them.
Also, in this time when many people in the world are panicking, remember those less fortunate. If you have some avoids or toxins in your pantry, donate them to the food kitchen, or somebody who needs them worse than you do. If you gave up wheat long ago, but still have some stored, right now is a great time to find a new home for it. Produce production this year should be good in the western US, at least I don't see any reason why it won't be, so replace some of those scarce grains in your diet with vegetables. Take the rising prices of the foods that are bad for you as an opportunity to branch out and try new things...and start that garden!
Once I get my son's new bed built, I will embark on a garden building project. One 4ft by 4ft square foot garden can provide fresh produce for one person for a year. Save seeds while you're at it. Even though their germination declines over time, there are so many seeds in a packet that it's worth using them up over time. You can reduce waste and feed your garden by composting as well.