Garden Connect – April update

Garden Connect bed april

In the March post I mentioned the Garden Connect project that we’re participating in this year where gardeners from around the world grow identical 2 by 6 foot (60 x 180 cm) gardens, compare and share growing methods. Here’s an update of what I’ve done so far.

My raised beds are normally 120 cm (3 foot) wide and longer than 180 cm, so the Garden Connect plot is not taking up the whole bed. The bed housing the experiment was constructed in March and measures 120 x 300 cm (3 x 10 foot). I’ve added lots of our homemade compost, a little lime (our soil is acidic) and bentonite which is essentially clay from weathered volcanic ash and is meant to improve our light sandy soil, by (among other things) improving its capacity to hold water and adding minerals.

Garden Connect bed

This is the plan made by Matt Hiemstra for Garden Connect:


I divided the bed into squares using bamboo canes and on 7th April I sowed most of the front row squares. These are the varieties that I’m growing:

  • parsnips “Tender&True”

  • spinach “Medania”

  • purple carrot “Cosmic Purple”

  • spring onion “Apache”

  • red beet “Boltardy”

seeds for garden connect

Because each vegetable is only allotted a square foot (about 30 x 30 cm), sowing in rows is not the best option. I did station sowing instead, putting several seeds together in evenly spaced holes. If all seeds germinate, I can thin them later as necessary. The Romain lettuce I started inside and planted out on 11th April – four red lettuces in the allotted square. They came from a package of mixed Romains so I do not know what variety they are exactly.

The back row is planned mostly for tender vegetables which need to be started indoors in our climate. I have sown peppers and tomatoes in March and am planning to plant them out around mid May. The cucumber will be sown this weekend. Meanwhile, to prevent weed growth in the squares that are still empty, I mulched them with flax straw.Garden Connect bed

I am having a lot of fun with this experiment and comparing my garden to those of the other participants. Everybody is posting pictures and updates on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and their blogs. Mind you, this is not a competition but rather a friendly gathering where we can learn about gardening in different climates, using different approaches. If you think this sounds like fun it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon!

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