I thought about waiting until the spring to start a garden at the new house, but with several weeks left until the first frost, I decided to make a go of a fall garden. I read Square Foot Gardening and was excited to get started. After running all over town to find the materials (mainly the five different varieties of compost), I got my little garden set up in one afternoon. (A special thank-you to my mother-in-law, who gave us a raised bed container as a house-warming gift!)
My next problem was finding seedlings. In the midst of finding and buying a house, I hadn’t started any seeds for a fall garden, and it was a bit too late to start broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage indoors. I was headed home from a local gardening store when I happened to pass Hartke Nursery. My parents had bought me and my husband a tree from Hartke for our anniversary (a Japanese Maple, now planted in our yard!), so I had been there once before. I decided to pull in and take a look around. I wandered through the rows of plants for sale and happened on a table with fall vegetable seedlings. They didn’t have many, but they had almost everything I wanted! I bought a six-pack each of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mixed lettuce, and Swiss chard. (I would have liked to plant sugar snap peas and spinach, but I’ll get to those next year!) I got home, popped them in the garden, watered them in, and they have been growing happily ever since. I fortified the garden against the numerous squirrels and rabbits in our yard with plastic chicken fencing stretched around four metal fence posts, and they haven’t broken in yet.
|The founder of this method would tell you that my garden isn’t a “true” square-foot garden because I don’t have dividers marking off each square. Maybe next year. I was more focused on getting the plants in the ground!|
I should have the first harvest of Swiss chard this weekend. (I must confess that I’ve never actually eaten Swiss chard before, but it’s so pretty and hardy that I just had to grow it.) I hear you prepare and eat it like spinach. I’ll let you know how it is. The lettuce has been the least happy of the plants; although still growing heartily, some of the plants started to bolt as the temperature climbed back into the 100’s a couple of weeks ago. I'm so glad we finally seem to be done with the heat! I’ll post updates on the garden’s progress. So far, I’m loving this square-foot gardening method!
Is anyone else growing fall vegetables and/or using the SFG method? What do you think? Does anyone have a good Swiss chard recipe to share?