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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Square Foot Garden: The Final Harvest

Denver is looking at freezing temperatures tonight and possibly snow tomorrow, so I picked the last of the veggies from the garden. Here is some of the harvest:

A few ripe tomatoes, the last two cabbages, a good bunch of jalapenos, a few radishes planted for fall harvest, and a really nice pumpkin. I also cut all the remaining tomatoes and left them on bits of vine hoping they will ripen and have a little flavor. Once they ripen, I'll quarter them and dry them in the oven. That is a pretty easy way to preserve them for long term storage while maintaining the flavor.

I still have some beets in the ground that I planted for a late harvest, but they really aren't ready. Friend Paul of the 5K Garden tells me you can cover them and they will winter over for spring, so I'm going to give that a try. Right now I have them covered with some cabbage leaves, but once I get the front yard raked I'll add some leaves to the coverage as well.

Aside from the beets, I've cleared both of the square foot beds and they are pretty well cleaned up for winter. Once I pull in all the pumpkins from my traditional beds I'll clean up the vines and try to get the compost pile ready to go in earnest.

All in all a fairly successful garden, especially considering the adoption of the Square Foot method for the first time, and a work schedule in mid-late summer that led to some neglect of the garden during some of the hottest periods of the year.

I was really pleased with my spinach, carrots, pumpkins, jalapenos, radishes, cabbages and onions. The cucumbers were also fairly successful. I didn't have much success with my green beans, and I think I've made my final attempt at growing green peppers. Year after year I end up with small, tough, and bitter peppers. I might give the green beans one more shot next year.

My attempt to get a second harvest of red radishes, icicle radishes, spinach and carrots was mostly a failure, again due to work pressures that led to late season neglect of the garden. I got a few radishes, pulled today, and the carrots never even sprouted.

My tomatoes were sort of a mixed bag. I didn't seem to have the sheer amount of tomatoes I've had in years past, and the fruit was smaller on average I think. I also had a problem in the SFG beds of large dark spots on the bottom of the fruit. I'd read that can be caused by calcium deficiency in the soil, but I specifically amended the soil for that because of the same issue last year in my traditional beds. It could be that I was overwatering, or there might be some other deficiency in my SFG soil mixture.

As for the Square Foot Gardening method as a whole, I was mostly pleased. It is a very organized way of putting the garden together and it does allow a lot of plants in a limited space. I may have used the wrong combination of compost or something, because while some plants flourished (Cabbages and radishes), others struggled as if they needed something extra (tomatoes, green peppers, beets). I will have to find a good compost, or amend the soil with some nutrients for next year. I'm also going to do a couple of deeper beds using the SFG method, specifically for potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables.

For the complete rundown on my Square Foot Garden for 2007 you can see all my posts on the subject HERE.

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