Thursday, 24 April 2014

About the "magic squares" and other gardening stuff.

How did my garden patch evolve?
I have always had a soft spot for gardening. Digging in the soil, and seeing seeds grow up into delicious foods or flowers. 
When we moved in here I just knew that I couldn't get stopped from working on that garden. 

The vegetable garden idea originated from a book I found in the library. 
It was called "A magic square", (Lolo Houbein).
My first attempt of "squares", seen in June 2012
The author suggests that instead of having a labour intensive, conventional garden, to try and play with a 9x9 ft square. Big gardens seem too intimidating, and who needs long rows of carrots, cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes when you have only two people to feed?
If you liked it, you could always add another square and so on. 
So, the magic square it was. 

Hubby was so kind to produce the wooden frames; I had decided for two. 
The idea is to divide each square in several, smaller squares, 
then plant a few different plants in each section. 
That way you get a lot of variation and it isn't overwhelming. 

These two squares gave me 2 x 9 smaller squares to fill.
I planted:
3 broccoli, 3 cauliflower, carrots, beans, sweet corn, 4 tomato plants, lettuce, parsley, chives and some flower seeds (cosmos, sun flowers).
 Same squares seen in August 2012
Weeding was not a problem at all, and it was amazing how much we got out 
of such a small area. It provided plenty of fresh vegetables all summer long! 

This was so encouraging that I decided last year to add two more squares. 
But I had to dig up soil the old fashioned way, there was just not enough time for hubby to get two more squares ready in time. 

Second attempt with added area for more vegetables
(early July 2013)
I drew a sketch of the garden to remember what I planted where. 
Now I am able to just move the combination of crops over to a different square with each new season. 
That way I don't use the same vegetable in the same spot more than once in the time of a four years rotation.
It is good for the soil and prevents diseases.

My dear husband finally had time to construct the additional two squares I had requested and I am glad for that. 
Weeding and watering is so much easier in raised beds. 
 (April 2014)
Now I am eagerly waiting for the weather to turn warmer in order to get a new round of crops into the ground. But it doesn't look good at all! :((
On my list are: 
3 Broccoli, 2 white cabbage, red beet, radish, 6 peas, carrots, 6 bush beans, 9 sweet corn, 1 tomato, basil, parsley, cilantro, lettuce, collard green, and of course potatoes. 
That sounds maybe much, but remember, there are just a few plants of each. Enough to provide a wide variety of organic greens all summer long.
Otherwise there is not much of a "flower garden".
Most of the houses here are surrounded by coarse grass. That's the easiest way to keep a tidy look all year round. 

"Mow it and be done with it."

Nondescript, boring front in 2010
In my dreams I would like to have "botanical garden", but that unrealistic. Therefor I dug up just a very few, small flower beds. One front of the house, one around the apple tree,  an other around a big rock, and a "proving ground" where new plants are placed to see if they can survive. 

Add to that a vegetable plot and you get the idea.  

Working on a flower-bed along the front of the house.
(July/August 2013)

And should the occasion arise the whole area can easily be transformed back into "grassland". 
The front in last year (July/August 2013)
July/August 2013
So much more pleasing to look at.

Apropos to:
Barbara: It was really easy. Just set your camera on auto and "multiple shots", keep the focus on one bird and start shooting as soon as it makes a move. I took 46 shots all in all. It could have been worse. Laugh.


  1. Love what you've done with your raised beds and also your small flower gardens spread about your property - so colorful! My motto is keep it simple. That way it's fun and not overwhelming. Thanks for sharing!
    Connie in PA

  2. Those Magic squares sure do make a lot of sense.
    It is amazing how much you can get from a little land.
    Hope you weather gets better soon.

  3. Oh honey-bunny. When I see those summer pics I want to come home and have summer with you and Molly.


I love getting a comment from you now and then. Be patient, they will appear, I just have to see first if they are OK to publish. No anonymous any more. I am getting too much spam.