Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘square foot garden’

Looks like our square foot garden project is still not worthy of a success post

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

It was in August that I posted an update on our square foot garden project. The prognosis was not that good. I did mention that though the house project did not work out well, we were about to launch something a little more ambitious.  

Well, we did and it turned out to be too ambitious and too successful! We parcelled out part of our goat farm for planting vegetables. My intention then was that the “fruits of our labour” would be for the consumption of Zai’s household, our Indonesian farm workers and our household. And we had vegetables in abundance……much too abundant.  

The farm is about an hour’s drive from our house, so it was not practical to drive down daily for vegetables. There were just too much for Zai’s household which consists of 5 adults and 3 young children.  Even Zai’s attempts at giving them away to his neighbours, was not that successful as being a rural community, almost everyone had their own square foot garden.  


Picture shows the former spinach patch now being planted with the Napier cuttings. In the background is the patch for long beans, okra and maize. This will also soon be planted with Napier.

So we have cancelled this project and are converting the plots to grow Napier grass as feed for the goats.  

Meanwhile at our home front, the chilly plant on which I had placed hopes of meeting all our chilly requirements just died. (The late plant is the one shown in the picture.) This happened after we transplanted the plant from its pot to the ground. Apparently the soil along the edges of our house, where the plant was replanted was not that good. Now we are regularly throwing the poop from the rabbits on this part and hopefully the soil will be much improved. 

In the meantime, we are growing two more chilly plants in flower pots and hopefully they will fare better. The plants are still young. I hope that we get to eat something that we have actually grown ourselves.  

I must take my hat off to people like Frugal Dad and Lynnae who have done so much better.  The GRS household is in a class of their own. They have a GRS Garden Project and track the time and money they are spending to grow their own food. See their September report here. And Squawkfox deserves a special mention. She (with some help from her “better half” and her tried and trusted Tivo) had to contend with and overcome deer and gophers in her journey in growing her vegetables.

But rest assured that the Fathersez family has not thrown in the towel yet. 

Our square foot garden……not quite there yet

Monday, August 4th, 2008


Our very own chilly plant. Come on! Bloom, Bloom!


One of the papaya plants. Soon they’ll be bearing is a bountiful harvest of fruits, God Willing.


The present state of our square foot garden 

I first read about the concept of square foot gardening after reading Lynnae’s post on this subject. She gave credit to Frugal Dad, whose post included detailed instructions and even what the building profession would refer as a costed bill of quantities. 

Lynnae’s built her square foot garden with the help of her able assistant, her son Sam. The whole project seemed like fun and besides growing our own vegetables made a lot of sense. So with our second daughter as project manager / worker, and my wife and I as advisors and funders, the project was launched in May 08. (Yes, our family can be a little top heavy in our projects.) 

Malaysia is an equatorial country. We don’t have winter and have plenty of rain all year round. We are also blessed with fertile soil and we just pretty much have to toss some seeds and forget about them and they should germinate.  

Theoretically, at least. 

Late last month, Lynnae announced to the world that her square foot garden overfloweth. And overfloweth it sure seems to have. She posted a picture of the vegetables she had harvested and boy, it sure looks like she has a green thumb.  

Alas, I cannot say the same about our efforts. Our project manager/worker, has left home and now stays on her own, not too far from the accounting firm where she has now started work.  

The Fathersez’s family’s square foot garden has not bloomed nearly as well as Lynnae’s.  (You may note that we are using pots, unlike Frugal Dad and Lynnae. We thought we would be the only ones, but it looks like at least Jim of BFP (another blogger I follow and admire) is also doing the same).

On a positive note, the venture into farming also resulted in the sprouting of our first fruit tree. An embarrassment really, since any Malaysian worth his or her salt and with a square foot of land would have planted this tree immediately.  It’s papaya. And there are 3 of them.

The jury may be still out on our gardening achievements. We are not discouraged. In fact we have gotten a lot bolder, and have started a project that should about almost eliminate our family’s monthly vegetable costs.  I hope to report on this project in about a month or so.  

Picture Credit: Our project manager/worker, my second daughter, Azah.

We have launched our Square Foot Garden Project

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008


 Picture Credit: Azah. The stuff we bought. We have a few more packs of the garden soil.

I first read about square foot gardening in Lynnae’s post on Building a square foot garden. It seemed to be a cool way to grow some greens in not too big a space and without too much heavy activity. 

Lynnae also gave links to Frugal Dad’s take on square foot gardening. And he has written his journey into this in no small detail. 

We have some land around the house and this approach looked very doable. And besides, this looked great as a family project, something that cannot but have positive returns. 

I bounced this idea off my second girl and she agreed to read Lynnae’s and Frugal Dad’s posts. Which she did. And the project was officially launched last Saturday. 

We had some reservations on the issue of the boxes. The recommended or suggested manner seemed to be too much of a major engineering issue.  I discussed with my daughter about using baskets. After all they were about the same size and could be moved around easily. They had small holes at the bottom so drainage would not be a problem. They were so easily available, and besides we had a couple lying around at home. And secretly I was wondering as to why we could not use pots. And we had a number of available pots. 

Last night I read Jim’s post on his version of the square foot garden, the Blueprint for Financial Prosperity Garden Project. And he used garden pots!  

For now, my daughter has planted some seeds. They have been planted in polybags. (The leftover polybags bought for the incubation of the petai belalang and the geti trees for the goat farm.)  The idea is to transplant the plants into pots (for tomatoes, lime and chillies) and baskets for the vegetables.  

So far the money spent on the project is negligible. A total of about Ringgit 25 which is about USD 7.80 or so, which was spent on buying seeds, some garden soil and a couple of gardening implements.    

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