Last year's square foot garden was comprised of 5 boxes. This year, we added 3 for a total of 8. What better way to celebrate the first day of spring than checking that chore off the list?
We started by laying out the newspaper we'd saved all winter all over the new ground to be covered. We did this "Guard-thick." This just means that we took our local, small-town newspaper, opened it up to the middle, and laid it out so that the ground was covered with paper 3-4 sheets thick.
Once the ground was covered, we soaked it so that it would stay put (the wind was really blowing).
We positioned the new boxes atop the paper.
One Day 2 of the project, we made good use of our new garden cart (and child labor) and moved all of our materials (totaling around 2 tons) over to the garden boxes where we would mix it all together.
The girls showed off their muscles as they lifted these 40-lb. bags.
Here are all of our supplies, organized and ready for mixing. The girls are atop the peat moss bales. The vermiculite is in the middle, and the compost is on the right.
We filled in between the boxes with old hay (it was a little too wet to feed the animals) and mulch leftover from our 2 truckbed-fulls we bought last year.
Then on Project Day 3, we mixed together our ingredients on a tarp, drug it over to each box, and dumped it in. (That sentence makes it sound very simple. In fact, it was very messy and took a lot of muscle and time. This may be too much information, but I'm still blowing dirt particles out of my nose.)
Once the trellises were all up in the correct spots, I put up the signs I made for each of the kids' areas of the garden.
Here you can see the string I used to section off the square feet. It may grow slack over the course of the summer, but I thought it was worth a try since this option is much cheaper than the window blinds I used last year.
Finally, here's a look at a new type of trellis I am testing out this season. In just this bed (which is naturally shaded by the house in the morning), I put in these slanted trellises. The idea is that I can grow vining things on the trellis and lettuce underneath. Hopefully, the additional shade will allow me to grow lettuce later into the summer than a fully sunny spot would allow. We'll see.
How are your garden preparations coming?