A fumble and a save

About three weeks ago the ground became “workable”, I rushed to the garden with a few packets of seeds that clearly indicated “sow outside as soon as the ground is workable”. I planted bean, pea, carrot, beet, radish and lettuce seeds. As excited as I was to start planting, I must admit it was not a happy or even productive time. I recall how I was still wearing a down jacket then, and how my fingers froze from exposure. I spilled some seeds as I trembled, and hurriedly marked the squares where I had sowed seeds with orange flagging tied onto a small bamboo stick that I pushed into the ground.
Fast forward to today, I have seedlings coming out in all of the squares, some lined up in neat square foot gardening patterns, others growing all over like what they probably are, weeds.

These are all lined up neatly, maybe beets or radishes

Since I had committed to memory the identity of the seeds and the planting density in each square, it is almost impossible to know which seedlings are keepers and which are junk. The only possible solution was to turn the soil over wherever I was unsure of what was coming out and start the process all over again.
I am now fully aware of my memory shortcomings, so I decided to plan my work ahead of time. I had seen a friend of mine use cheap disposable cutlery to mark her seedling trays, so I replaced the flagging bamboo sticks with cutlery left over from an already forgotten event (funny how you always run out of forks but end up with plenty of unused knives and spoons). To further simplify my work I wrote on each utensil the name and the recommended planting density per square foot. I did all this on my kitchen counter to avoid fumbling with sheets of paper that always want to take flight when you are outside, and to stick to the master plan on how many squares of each type I am planning on growing this year.

Easier to plan ahead and avoid getting carried away
Got my work cut out

By planning ahead, it  allowed me to share the planting with Beth, and carry on a real and totally unrelated conversation in the process without having to answer or guess “how many of these should I put here?” at every square.

My new markers in action. The orange flagging marks a square where seedlings are already coming out in a predetermined pattern, I just don’t know what they are

I am thinking this may be a nice way to involve young children when planting a garden. The cutlery provides specific instructions on what to do, and is a great visual cue as to the progress of the work… once they are all used up our job is done.

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6 thoughts on “A fumble and a save

  1. Hi there. Thanks for linking to me. Your garden looks like it’s going to be great! Square foot gardening seems like it involves a bit of planning. Since I do everything in containers, I feel like I can be more relaxed about stuff. Like I started some lettuce from seed and died. Oh well, whatever I figure. More room for tomatoes.


    1. Square foot gardening is a totally new experience for me, I read the book about it last summer, and it made good sense. it has taken a lot of planning, but I have enjoyed it although I am kind of like a compulsive type of person. Thank you for visiting, I will keep on following your gardening throughout the season.


  2. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.


  3. I had a chuckle at your expense I’m afraid, due to the utilization of memory to remember what’s planted where – been there, done that! The good thing is, a garden can be quite forgiving (sometimes).
    I just read about the SFG system early this spring; naturally, after I’d just sort of placed stuff (as I like to think of it) ‘organically’ (read, haphazardly, lol). How are you finding the system so far? It does seem to make a lot of sense, but I’d love to have a user’s opinion as well. I’ll definitely be following your gardening season.


    1. Thank you for visiting. As a matter of fact I am still waiting for some of the plants to take a bit more shape so I can id them…
      SFG did seem to make a lot of sense and the conversion of my garden to SFG was just a fun project to work on once last season dwindled down.
      So far everything in my garden seems to be growing well. I am also experimenting with several air pruning containers, see my future posts on those. I am sticking to as much organic as possible.


  4. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!


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