Friday, November 12, 2010

Filling the Square Foot Garden

So I was going to write about how I prepared my vegetable garden a while ago, but I have been too busy in my garden to actually get around to blogging about it! So I actually did this back in August, and it is working very well, but I'll update with new garden photos later. First off I want to explain about the mixture I used for the boxes. As I am using something called the 'Square Foot Method' I wanted to be fairly true to the book and follow the instructions to create a good growing medium. This involves using a formula of 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 vermiculite (a type of volcanic rock) and 1/3 peat moss. I was a bit sceptical about using peat moss as I remember the devastation of peat bogs in the UK, but peat moss in NZ is from sustainable places apparently so I felt a bit better about it. The vermiculite was difficult to source, but I eventually got it from a gardening supply place in Christchurch who happily couriered it down to me. For the compost, the book recommends using at least 5 different types, but this was pretty difficult, especially as many bagged composts don't actually state what is in them. I used Tui vege mix, Nicholls organic, Tui organic and worm castings. My boxes are 12" deep but I only needed to use the mix for the top 6" so the bottom half I just used plain compost of a different type again underneath.

My equipment - tarp, buckets, and compost, as well as the trusty book.

First I mixed up all the compost (I had already done lots of sums to work out how much of each compost I would need).

Then the peat and vermiculite were added and the whole thing was dampened and mixed some more.

Then I dragged the tarp over to my boxes and started shovelling it in with the bucket, wetting the mixture frequently which helps the compressed peat moss to expand.

I actually mixed it up for each box one by one, so did the whole thing 4 times. It got a lot easier...

All four boxes are filled up, and I had some left over as I have a box which is only half the size of the others - saved it for my next box. My flatmate and her entire extended family turned up while I was doing this... I'm pretty sure they thought I was completely crazy...

Then it was time to start planning and planting. I'll update with photos of my lovely growing garden shortly, it is doing very well.

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