Back in August, I wrote about my plan to try square foot gardening. In a nutshell, my garden is huge. And it’s hard to keep up with the water requirements and pest management over summer. It means that each year, I lose my gardening mojo as plants die, pick up diseases, or just get attacked by insects.
So, while I have a lot of the same plants in other parts of the garden, I also have one small garden bed where I’m growing everything I want to regularly harvest throughout summer. I’ve set it up with bug protection and irrigation. If everything else fails, then (at least in theory) we’ll still be eating out of here.
The bed is 1.4 x 1.8m. In that space, I am now growing tomatoes, capsicum, basil, coriander, lettuce, mesclun, spring onions, cucumbers, carrots, and a couple of marigolds.
What didn’t work
When I wrote in August, I was writing a plan. And, of course, not everything always goes the way we think it will.
In my plan, I was just going to sow seeds directly, which I did in September. I got absolutely no return on them. Nothing grew. Or if it did, it was wiped out by slugs and snails before I had a chance to see it. Direct sowing was a total failure.
Likewise, it took 3 tries to get my carrots to germinate. Again, slugs and snails may also have been implicated. Transplanting isn’t a great option for carrots as it disturbs the roots too much, so I had to get direct sowing working. This week, I finally succeeded, but they’re definitely running behind schedule.
Then I had trouble sourcing a really big red capsicum plant. I found lots of yellow and orange ones. There were also plenty of chili in a bunch of varieties. But a red capsicum wasn’t happening in the larger grades. I ended up purchasing 2 well-developed 10cm California Wonder plants. Combined with some store credit I’d accumulated, I paid about $4.50 for both plants – a massive saving over what I’d planned.
Finally, some of my seeds were too old and even when I tried germinating them again in a more controlled environment, I didn’t see results. So in some cases (lettuce, rocket, marigolds), I resorted to buying a 6 pack of seedlings and planting them instead.
What did work
Toilet rolls worked! I sowed a lot of my seeds (rocket, lettuces, mesclun, coriander, cucumbers, and basil) in toilet rolls. They worked a freaking treat! When it came time to plant, I chucked the whole thing in. The toilet rolls degrade, and my plants are thriving!