I've been readying beds for plants, and a neighborhood cat think he's
died and gone to heaven. Such big litter boxes!
I let him do his thing and then rake out his leavings. No serious harm,
no foul.... left after it's removed.
And the cat's happy, so he remains friendly.
I'm putting in a new raised bed this year, three 4' x 4' beds arranged
in an L without internal divisions. One leg will be getting strawberry
plants I ordered yesterday. I'm not sure about the other parts. Maybe
my summer squashes, if I get those parts filled in time. I'm 57 years
old and have arthritis in my knees, and I'm shifting one garden cart of
soil every evening after work to fill the bed. Anyone got a spare
teenager I could borrow? LOL
One zuke of crookneck could fill 1 of your 4X4s. One winter squash or
pumpkin could fill it all, and still be looking for room to spread.
Unless you really have your heart set on squash, I'd recommend tomatoes,
cucumbers, beans, kitchen herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon,
cilantro [cumin]), lettuce, and Swiss chard to name a few.
This is an *additional* bed. ("a new raised bed this year.") I already
have a large (for an urban garden) area for tomatoes and beans. Herbs
have their own bed, which they partly share with rhubarb. This new bed
was intended for a couple each of cukes, zukes, and crooknecks, but then
I increased it by 50% and decided to put in some strawberries. I don't
grow winter squashes, melons, or the like because the part of my lot
that gets good sun is limited.
I do intensive gardening with lots of compost and soaker hoses, and I
get a lot out of a square foot.
I have 6 "marketmore" cucumbers and 7 "Dixie belle" bush yellow squash in a
nominal 3'X4' raised bed. Both were "relay" or succession planted at
approximately two-week intervals. That's typical for my garden. The cukes vine
on an 8' tall trellis of 6"-mesh galvanized field fencing; the squash shade the
bed completely. I picked the first squashes yesterday and the cukes aren't far
behind. I never apply mulch. The balance of that 3'X8' bed hosts okra and
additional yellow squash. The bed is divided into two zones using separate
soaker hoses so that each may be watered individually. I do intensive gardening
with lots of compost and soaker hoses, and I get a lot out of a square foot.
This past fall-winter, I reclaimed three 3'X8' raised beds that had been
unused for almost 10 years. This year, they're for heat tolerant legumes with
some sort of "green manure" underplanting. My next "project" is to begin
replacing the soaker hoses with drip irrigation. The soaker hoses that I use are
the inexpensive kind made from shredded tires. I find them to be short-lived,
fragile, difficult to repair and more expensive in the long run, particularly
when the "frustration factor" is taken into account.
Well, I think I've given the soaker hoses a fair test and IME they just
don't hold up in the long run. Over time, at least in this Florida climate, they
simply self destruct even when left in place and undisturbed. They develop
pinholes that shoot a fine jets of water in every direction, which sort of
defeats the slow, low evaporation, soaking concept and, with a little age on
them, they become brittle and break at curves and at end fittings. Repairs are
difficult and unreliable due to the lack of elasticity of the raw material --
old tires. Mine are on an inline regulator that maintains 22-25 psi regardless
of well pump pressure so I'm not exactly exploding them. I think I've decided to
go the route of low volume pressure compensated drip emitters. I can use the
same regulator and manifold and believe that I can home-brew filtration that's
superior to the overpriced commercial products I'm seeing.
cat pee/poo are not good things for human
contact (or eating if they get splashed on
food) so you may wish to discourage the kitty...
i have some feral cats using the sandy loam in
the tulip gardens and it smells horrible. when i
see them out there i will be discouraging them
it's amazing what can be done a little
at a time. hang in there...
I have since the "Mother Earth News" introduced me to so-called "French
intensive" gardening in the 1970's. Although, I've read Bartholomew and
occasionally visit a number of "square foot" web sites, I'm not quite as
doctrinaire. Nowadays, I do more "block" planting, although, still in raised
beds. Trellis or cage anything and everything that could possibly benefit
therefrom. The operative is, "intensive": "Feed the Earth and the rest will take
care of itself". There's no such thing as "too much" compost!
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