Saturday, 22 January 2011

Micro farms - square foot gardening

A micro greenhouse (a heated propagator) that could
 be solar powered if I connected the right
transformer or rectifier. I haven't done this yet
so still using fossil fuels from the plug socket.
Started Saturday 22nd January 2011 Time 1441 GMT
Words 442

Preparing to square foot garden.

Seeing plants grow is one of the most satisfying activities I know.  Set the right conditions, allow the plants to make hay while the sun shines and then check at night by the light of the moon that all is well and the pests are asleep.  Early in the morning make sure there is sufficient water for the day and that your plants are disease free.  If disease is present plan an appropriate strategy and carry it out. Go through this routine for a number of days or weeks  depending upon the crop, days for alfalfa sprouts or multiple weeks for potatoes.  The reward is the added value of free fixed carbon and a tasty meal.

The following growing season either rotate your crops  and with appropriate  amendment to soil conditions or plant the same crop and be prepared for a yield hit or greater vigilance against pests and diseases.  This is in essence the  agricultural cycle.   This works on the macro scale ( farm size over hundreds of hectares) or micro scale (square foot gardening).    

So what should we be planning or preparing to plant in January.  Essentially whatever you would plant in the soil on a field level can be replicated in a square foot or a container.  Potatoes is one of the crops we should be thinking of preparing for planting.  The process of preparation is known as chitting.  These can then be plated in pots or special bags that emulate the ridging carried out on a field scale.

An interesting vegetable to plant in January is the Jerusalem Artichoke.  Rhubarb can also be planted if the weather conditions are suitable.  The  start of the growing season for individual plants may be delayed or advanced depending upon local climatic conditions.  Fruits that can be planted in January include Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Gooseberries, Loganberries, Raspberries, Red and White currants.  If you have a greenhouse or window sill you can go out of step a little with the season.

So back to the photograph at the top.  In the recycled cardboard tubes I have planted Cat Grass.  I aim to have a continuous alternative vegetarian offering that is non-toxic to my assistant mouse minder.   I might be able to maintain another Malabar Chestnut and some Lucky Bamboo by deflection of the evil mastications of my not so doctored feline.   Hopefully I will not have to use the kitty scarer ( follow link to see effect of kitty scarer).

More detail on how to grow some of the plants mentioned in this blog can be found by visiting the links above near the title for the Blog and Blog   

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