Friday, May 29, 2015

Check out some Grow100 gardens in progress!

Mellissa Smith from the Montgomery County Derwood Demo Garden has checked in with us and writes,
I thank Mary Anne at the Derwood Demonstration Garden, you may have noticed something different about the 100 Square Foot Garden. The last few years, the team has tinkered with variations on a basic four-square design, planted intensively to try to maximize vegetable production in a small space. This season a new design, conceived by MG and 100 Square Foot gardener Hope Dieckhans, allows for better flow and makes it easier to reach into the center of beds while providing greater visual interest. The four corner beds, plus the central circular bed, total 100 square feet of growing area.
Our objective has changed slightly, too. Rather than demonstrating how to maximize production in a small space, this year we are trying to demonstrate ways to bring creativity into a small garden while growing a broad variety of vegetables and showcasing intensive techniques. 

This year’s garden is an international garden, with each of the four corner beds devoted to growing vegetables found in Italian, Latin American, French, and Asian cuisines. The center circular bed is home to the “International Hub of Veggies,” with a bamboo teepee for growing vertical crops like peas, beans, or cucumbers. Using succession planting, a three-season garden is planned. Spring crops are currently featured, with arugula, broccoli, and fava beans in the Italian bed; cilantro, onions and lettuce in the Latin American bed; leeks, radishes, beets and spinach in the French garden; and Asian spring greens like mustard, choy, and snow peas in the Asian bed. Color is introduced with the addition of red lettuces, mustard, and Red Komatsuna (spinach mustard). We already have Thai basil for the Asian bed, and Sandy will be bringing purple basil in a few weeks for the French bed. There might be room in the front of the Italian bed, where the arugula is now, for the Italian basil (Eleonora), which is partially resistant to downy mildew. 
It will be a great test of the variety to see how well it does this year, after last year's experience when we lost all the Italian basil to downy mildew.With the current warm weather, summer crops are beginning to be planted. Bamboo teepees support tomatoes, and a trellis is planned to accommodate cucumbers, pole beans, and cherry tomatoes. We hope that you find the 100 Square Foot Garden an inviting place to visit and get ideas for your own small vegetable gardens.
Wow!  These gardeners are pros and we are excited to see the garden progress over the growing season.  They are going to have to brush off their math skills, calculators, and pi to calculate their total square feet from those circular beds!

Reader Pam checked in showing off her drip irrigation system and homemade compost from kitchen scraps.  Her tomato and zucchini seedlings have been in the ground for two weeks and have been doing well she says.  Pam's challenge is to keep local deer and squirrels away this season.

If you are participating in the Grow100 challenge, feel free to check in with us periodically and share your progress over the growing season.

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