On Saturday I decided it was time to get the fall planting done. I was thinking of waiting because we are have Santa Ana winds forecast for the next couple of days. Santa Anas bring hot dry weather. Today’s high was 100 F, and the humidity went as low as 3%. Tomorrow is supposed to be a few degrees hotter. I didn’t want to shock my fall plants too much, but I also didn’t want to wait too long and have the plants not grow in time.
First, I needed to rehab my large raised bed. Last year when I built it, I didn’t do a good job with filling the bed with soil. I used some large chunks of wood as filler at the bottom of the bed, but didn’t pack dirt around them well enough. So I ended up with quite a bit of caving in and cracking in my dirt. I also used too much compost and the plants didn’t end up growing well in parts of the bed.
I am attempting to use as many of the principles of square foot gardening as I can. In this gardening method the raised beds are filled with “Mel’s Mix“, which is 1/3rd each of vermiculite, peat moss, and compost. This is an expensive mix to make, but the vermiculite and peat moss should last a long time and not need much replacement. As much as I would like to make my soil mix exactly as listed, I live in one of the most expensive parts of the USA and have a large family. So, sometimes I have to budget and just do the best I can. I think it is best to aim high, but not allow high standards to keep you from trying to do something. Do the best you can with what you have.
Vermiculite isn’t the easiest thing to find. I found out that the large home improvement stores in my area do not carry it. The prices I saw online were not horrible, but the cost of shipping was prohibitive. I ended up finding a local nursery called City Farmer’s Nursery that has many supplies for organic gardening along with local plants. I bought two 2 cubic foot bags of vermiculite for $29.99 each.
I ended up putting 4 cubic feet of vermiculite, 4.5 cubic feet of peat moss, and a large amount of compost into my 13 foot by 4 foot garden bed. I also reran my ropes that mark the 1 foot boxes in the beds.
Then I planted the seedlings I had already started along with many seeds and some garlic. I also planted in one of my smaller raised beds, but didn’t get to do anything other than add some compost to that one.
I planted too many things to link them all, or even mention them. I am trying a few new plants this year that I hope will grow well. Mostly I planted leafy plants, but did do some broccoli and cauliflowers. I will probably do individual posts and reviews of some of the plants that I grow as the fall goes on. I also like to put pictures of the plants I grow on Instagram and sometimes Facebook.