The Preparedness Papers
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PICK A GOOD LOCATION FOR YOUR GARDEN
You will want your garden to have good drainage, lots of sunlight (6-8 hours, 9 am to 4 pm best light) and be close to home so it is easy to water, you can harvest fresh for meals, you can have herbs to cook or garnish and will keeps animals away.
Soil is composed of different sizes of particles of silt, clay and sand. There is also air and moisture in the soil. Ideal soil is called loam. Loam is made of 7-27% clay, 28-50% silt and less than 52% sand. Soil is much more complicated; we could spend many hours studying soil.
Clay soil: A heavy clay soil can be improved by tilling in coarse sand, 1/16 to 1/18 on an inch; three inches thick and add lots of organic material.
Sandy soil: Sandy soil doesn't hold moisture. To improve sandy soil, add lots of organic material.
Some examples of organic material are peat moss, leaves, animal manure, straw, hay, seaweed, weeds and kitchen matter (no meat).
The pH scale tells you how much acid or alkaline is in the soil. On a scale of 1-14; 7 is neutral, below 7 the soil is acidic and above 7 the soil is alkaline.
Acidic soil: If soil is too acidic, add lime (50-60 lbs. of ground limestone per 1,000 sq. ft.); to bring the soil to about 6.5. Fall is best to add ground lime. You can also use wood ashes, ground oyster shells (grind up or smash with hammer), or bone meal. Wood ashes contain potash. Bone meal contains phosphorus and nitrogen. Wood ashes should be only be added in the spring (2-9 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.).
Alkaline soil: Alkaline soil can be made more acidic by adding sulfur or lots of peat moss. You should get a soil test, then you will know exactly what to add t your soil for what vegetables you want to grow.
You may want to bring in soil and improve it.
Put mulch between your walkways because it helps keep moisture in the ground, it holds soil from erosion, its low maintenance and keeps shoes clean after rain.
As your soil breaks down each year, add 2-3 inches of compost and mix it in.
Why raised beds?
Advantages: produces up to 40% more, easy to plant, almost no weeds, if too much rain, vegetables are above ground and spring and fall beds hold heat longer.
Disadvantages: beds dry out sooner during a drought.
The best wood to use for your garden design is redwood or untreated lumber. You may want an animal barrier to solve the pest problems. A four foot high fence is adequate. French marigolds planted every four inches, usually discourage most critters.
The rule for the size of your square foot garden is one 4 foot by 4 foot square for each adult family member. If you have two adults and two small children, you would build three of these. If you can food, you should add more squares to accommodate. The measurement inside the square is 4 foot b y 4 foot= 16 sq. ft.
OTHER GARDEN DESIGNS
You may want a larger square foot garden. Remember, it should not exceed four feet wide because you will not be able to reach the center without stepping on your garden. Never step on your garden soil.
Other sizes of sq. ft. gardens are listed in the guidelines. Try to keep to these sizes: 2'x8', 4'x8', 8'x8'x4' (L-shaped), 4'x16', 2'x2' or 2'x 16'.
PLANTING: WHAT TO PLANT
Don't plant for others; plant only what you and your family will eat. Take an inventory of what your family enjoys eating. If no one will eat a hot pepper, than don't plant hot peppers. If someone want to plant something for themselves, tell them they must start their own garden. If they tell you they don't have space, tell them to plant a pot garden. The idea of square foot gardening is to produce as much as possible in the least amount of space and time with the least amount of effort. Extra produce can be canned, frozen, dried, and/or donated to a senior home or food pantry.
NEVER WALK ON YOUR GARDEN SOIL, FOR ANY REASON!
EDIBLE VEGETABLES, HERBS AND FLOWERS
Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, melons, okra, onions, parsnips, peas, peanuts, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, rutabaga, soybeans, strawberries, sunflower, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips and watermelon.
Herbs: anise, basil, bay, bee balm, borage, caraway, catmint (catnip), cayenne, chamomile, chervil, chickweed, chicory, chives, clove, comfrey, coriander, dandelion, dill, egyptian onion, eyebright, fennel, feverfew, garlic, ginseng, horehound, hyssop, lovage, marjoram, mint, mullein, oregano, parsley, pennyroyal, rosemary, rue, sage, sorrel, tarragon and thyme.
Flowers: day lily, nasturtium, pansy, rose (hips) and violets.
HOW TO PLANT A SQUARE FOOT GARDEN
When planting a square foot garden, think only think about 1 square foot at a time and plant 1 at a time. Have a clipboard with paper and a pen available, so when you finish planting each square, you can make a map of what you planted, where and the date you planted it. You may even want to have a marker to put in the ground so you know what you planted there.
In one square foot you can plant 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants. The following is a listing of plants recommended for planting based on the space they need to grow:
1 Plant in one square foot: broccoli, cabbage, corn, eggplant, pepper, tomato, potato, brussel sprout, sunflower, cauliflower, kale and herbs.
4 Plants in one square foot: swiss chard, lettuce, celery, kohlrabi, okra and peanuts.
9 Plants in one square foot: beans, spinach and parsnips.
16 Plants in one square foot: beets, onions, carrots, leaks, leaf lettuce, scallions, turnips and radishes.
All types of vines are trellised upward as they grow. To hold large vegetables, use panty hose or anything that will not damage the vine or fruit.
Trellis all vines for cucumber, squash, pumpkins, melons, pole beans and watermelon.
As you harvest each square, replant it and fertilize it. I personally prefer an organic fertilizer like fish emulsion.
Flowers are weeds that have pretty flowers. Many flowers are edible. Be 100% sure before trying them. Many attract or repel insects.
Herbs have many uses. They can be used for decoration, landscaping, medicinal, cutlery or insecticide. Before chemical drugs were manufactured, people used herbs to heal the sick, make teas to drink on cold winter nights next to a fireplace and flavor foods. Many herbs like pineapple sage; smell good. We are relearning what our great grandparents knew when they were little. There have been thousands of books written on herbs. Check some out at your library.
HOW MANY VEGETABLES CAN WE GROW IN ONE 4'x 4' SQUARE?
WOW!!!!! That's 137 plants with 16 different varieties and that's not counting the 8' x 4' trellis and replanting after the harvest of each square. Do you get the idea? No weeds, a mass harvest all summer long!
What more can I say? Happy Gardening.
Basil, tomato and asparagusBroad beans, cabbage, beetsPeas, potato, cabbage
Cucumber, sweet corn, beansOkra, cucumber, melonsParsley, asparagus, tomato
1. Grow chives under roses to help protect from black spot and increases rose perfume.
2. French marigolds repel pests.
3. Spinach grows good with everything.
4. Mexican marigolds (Tagetes minuta) roots secretions kill nematodes.
5. Stinging nettle makes tomatoes ripen fully with less rot and increases the oil content of herbs grown nearby.
6. Carrots and onions grown together confuse their respective flies.
7. Wormwood drives pests away.
8. Marigolds in a greenhouse, repel white flies, but won't drive them out if already established.
9. Nasturtiums are grown under apple trees to drive away wooly aphids. The trailing varieties prevent blight.
10. Rabbits dislike onions.
11. Elder leaves discourage mice.
12. Slugs and snails dislike wormwood.
13. Apples are protected from apple scab by garlic and chives planted in a ring underneath.
14. Catnip drives away fleas, ants, birds, aphids, flea beetles, Colorado beetles, squash beetles, weevils and Japanese beetles.
15. Chervil repels aphids from lettuce.
16. Rhubarb leaves used in a spray for black spot on roses.
17. The smell of rue drives away fleas, Japanese beetle and flies.
18. Tansy spray can be used against aphids, Japanese beetles and squash bugs.
19. Chives spray is used against downy and powdery mildew on cucumber and gooseberries.
20. Chrysanthemum coccineum kills nematodes while in flower.
21. Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium has insecticidal properties.
22. Clover planted under cabbage discourages root flies.
23. Scattering bits of tomato plants around collards discourages flea beetles.
24. Coriander repels aphids; as a spray repels spider mites.
25. Dill aids cabbage, onions, lettuce, sweet corn and cucumber by repelling aphids and spider mites.
26. Garlic emulsion kills aphids, onion flies, codling moth, snails, root maggots, Japanese beetles, carrot root flies and peach leaf curl.
27. Use horseradish tea for apples to prevent brown rot.
28. Mint repels rodents, Colorado beetles, ants, fleas, flea beetles and aphids.
29. Us a tea of parsley to repel asparagus beetles.
30. A spray of hot chili pepper made from dried fruit and seeds, discourages pests. DON'T GET IT IN YOUR EYES!
31. When you are finished planting your garden, you may want to say a short prayer to help your garden grow.
1. The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. (Dorling Kindersley 1993). ISBN 1-56458-187-X
2. Herbs by Lesley Bremness. The Readers Digest Association, Inc. 1990 ISBN 0-89577-355-4
3. Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Rodale Press 1987. ISBN 0-87857-699-1
4. Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Rodale Press 1981.
5. Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond. Garden Way Inc. 1982
6. Your Organic Garden by Jeff Cox. Rodale Press 1994. ISBN 0-87596-624-1
7. Jeff Ball's 60-Minute Vegetable Garden by Jeff Ball. Macmillan Publishing Co. 1992. ISBN0-02-030376-9
8. The Postage Stamp Garden Book by Duane Newcomb. Bantam Books 1977. 0-553-10071-8
9. Gardens Alive, 5100 Scheneley Place, Lawrenceburg, IN. 47025. Catalog of organic products.