Steve has been working to get a square foot garden built this year. He sent me the following “lessons learned” and pictures. This information is also posted here.
- I tried 1" x 1/4" lathe for the square foot dividers. They took up too much room due to their width, bowed everytime I watered, would likely serve as a hard rub point for the plants, and were really a pain in the arse to work soil under. The mason's twine works well for laying things out, and Maggie the Dog thinks that they're flashy trip wires (if you know what I mean). If the string gets in the way once the plants push their borders, my pocketknife will resolve the problem quickly. They're tied to 6p finish nails driven about 1 inch into the boards. I can bust it all lose and restring at will.
- I will not start anything other than peppers and maters in the house. With our wonderful growing season, the other stuff isn't really worth the effort.
- The little peat starter kits are readily available, but I'm going to use these little tubs and peat pots next year. The little peat pellets really only get the sprouts up and have minimal nutrient value. I've transplanted to larger peat pots and compost anyway. The root systems were growing through slots in the trays, and were tough to cleanly get out when transplanting. My plants probably suffered growth wise as such. The tubs (99 cents at HDepot) are much sturdier, include lids, and will cleanly stack away for years of use.
- The cheesy bird net does a great job with birdies and hopefully has already snared the few wise old squirrels. I think they've been spreading the word. I tie-wrapped it to the PVC, and the bottom ends are weighed down with the PVC and lathe remains. I'll be more robust with the weights next year. The wind has moved them around.
- The mounds and crop circles around the squash, cantaloupe, and cukes are a trick I learned from my grandfather. They all need warmer soil to sprout which the mound helps provide, and the moat helps with watering the entire plant and encouraging the root system spread radially. Much like tomatoes, these guys don't like water directly on the plant.
- I wish everything grew like snow peas and radishes.