Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summertime Greenery

Chives and Sweet Basil growing in my summer gardenSummer time is fun for gardeners. Above you see chives (wonderful for garnishing soups and of course they are great with baked potatoes) and sweet basil (I'm a big pesto fan). Here in Southern California we can grow vegetables and herbs year-round, but summer is when we grow the good stuff: tomatoes, basil, beans, peas, zucchini, and cucumber. I use the Square-Foot Gardening technique by Mel Bartholomew (or the updated one is here). There are differences in the books; some reviewers recommend them both for the most complete reference.
Raised garden box with zucchini and cucumbers (on the left)
Here's the big picture: you build raised garden boxes (I made mine four feet by six feet out of two-by-twelve redwood boards and lined on the bottom with chicken wire to keep out root-loving gophers). You import nutrient-rich soil and divide the boxes into one-foot squares. How many plants per square depends on the vegetable. Lettuce, basil, chives all are four plants per square. Tomato is one per square. Zucchini requires nine squares (a three-by-three portion of your garden box, as shown above).
Chive flowerChive bud
Chives have beautiful flowers and buds that give your garden a bit of color.
Still-ripening tomatoesPole Beans
These tomatoes are getting there. And, here are my pole beans, just beginning their climb to the sky.


Tantalus Prime said...

Thanks for the "square foot gardening" method. I will have to look into that. I have been looking for ways to increase my garden output, and maybe that would work.

It's weird that your chives are just starting. My chives, in the mid-atlantic region, have already grown, flowered, and started to die off.

Gail said...

The chive cycle is more a question of when I (trans)planted them (about 6 weeks ago), not their growing cycle here. They will grow pretty much 10 months of the year here. (I have a photo with my garden box and healthy lettuce growing surrounded by freshly fallen hail, a testament not so much to the hail as to the year-round gardening possibilities. I plan on publishing this photo one of these posts.)

The square-foot gardening technique was a break-through for me. Wanting a garden and having a successful garden were worlds apart until I followed this method. I highly recommend it. Good luck and thanks for commenting.