This year we are experimenting with square foot gardening. Last year’s garden was a success and this year we wanted a higher yield. Our hope is to maximize our small lot (5500 sq ft) with this method and also grow a larger variety of food. We dismantled one of the raised beds that we built last year. They would have probably made it another season, but the wood was too thin we wanted stronger beds that would last for the next few years without intervention. This year’s new beds are constructed from 2×6 boards with 2×4 corner bracing (I later discovered that I did not need to 2×4 bracing if I alternated the boards in spiral formation). We were over zealous and started our seedlings way too early, back in February. We were clearly hopeful and suffering from spring fever. Most of them died. So we restarted with direct sowing into our beds and a few store bought seedlings.
We read in a blog somewhere that even when you have gardened for twenty years, you have only really done it twenty times. That puts a lot into perspective. This being our second time gardening, we know we are taking some risks. But homesteading is not without its risks. Three of our beds have hoop houses (aka hooped 1/2″ PVC pipe) that will be covered with 3.5mm plastic sheeting to keep them warm on any cold nights early in the season. As the seedlings mature and the days and nights grow warmer we can remove the plastic. Year two and we are excited to see what we get this year!