Our garden is a work in progress. Something we have just recently begun to investigate doing is living a sustainable life. To us that means we grow as much of our own food as possible, recycle, we are going to look into renewable energies that we can implement at home, and making as much as possible. We have recently started making our own laundry soap with borax, washing soda and bar soap.
The garden began last year with trying to do raised garden beds and square foot gardening. We purchased raised bed kits that allowed for a 3′ x 3′ box that was 6 inches deep. We flattened the area we were going to use and laid down garden fabric to keep the weeds to a minimum (here at our house we have a big problem with bind weed). We created our own soil based on what the Square Foot Gardening book suggested: peat moss, vermiculite and five types of compost.
We didn’t just do one 3′ x 3′ foot bed. We did two 3’x 6′ beds, two 3′ x 3′ beds, one 2′ x 4′ bed and one 1′ x 3′ bed. Keep in mind, this was the first time we have ever tried to garden. We may have jumped a little too far our first try.
All in all, with the materials and what we call ‘store bought dirt’ we probably spent over $1000. I realize now that this is way too much to spend on your first garden when you have no experience. Lesson learned. And this doesn’t include what we spent on plants and seeds.
Seeds. Starting plants from seed when you don’t know what you are doing and don’t have the right space I have found to be frustrating and discouraging. I tried to start tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, peppers and several different herbs. It started out great but I think I started too early, didn’t give them the right environment and they got too cold. I honestly don’t know exactly what I did wrong.
According to the way square foot gardening should work we had plenty of space for all sorts of things. Keep in mind in the past the only thing we ever grew were tomatoes. But we were all in and our eyes were bigger than our skills. So last year we had: four types peppers, potatoes, onions, celery, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, spinach, peas, beans, beets, strawberries, cauliflower,broccoli, five types of tomatoes, lettuce, chamomile, dill, chives, lavender, rosemary, and basil. I feel like I am forgetting something. Oh well. As you can tell from this list we were a bit to ambitious as amateurs. You must learn to walk before you run.
This year we will be a bit more realistic. Our goal is to do canned tomatoes and pickles. So we are going to focus mainly on what is needed to accomplish that. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, and dill. We will also do strawberries, potatoes, chamomile, and peppers again. Maybe. We’ll see. Baby steps.
We will also be starting seeds directly into the ground outside and using recycled gallon milk jugs to protect seedlings. Unfortunately we just don’t have the right area currently to start them inside and after spending $1000 on dirt, I want to use it. I hope to get this going within the next week or so.
Last year I believe our dirt was too good, or high in nutrients or something. So I hope this year it will be a little more stable.
At this point perhaps an explanation of the blog title is in order. Preston is our last name. So when we do something it is rarely perfect. But it is good enough for us and our uses, so it is Preston Perfect.