Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Finally, Finalizing Finely Spaced Spacers

If you remember from yesterday's post, I made three seed-spacing tools. They are based on a tool made by Earl Fincher, a farmer in California. He made his a long time ago. He made his with corks, but I have no access to corks so I had to make do with what I had.

Here's how they worked when I tested the idea in my garden. I needed to plant some more garlic cloves and beets and carrots. I wanted to plant them in evenly spaced rows but that takes some time.

First, I prepped the bed by removing the last plant stuff from what I had harvested. Then I raked the beds smooth. It just looks better to me when I'm planting if I start with smooth beds. It also helps me see where I have planted.
My plants are happier when they are grown in nice,
even and good looking grow beds. 
I used my one-foot marking stick against the front of the grow bed. Since I was planting garlic, I needed to plant them at 9/square foot. I pressed it into the soil in the bed. I didn't push too hard. I wasn't looking for it to dig a hole, just make an indentation. Success!

Sorry for the fuzzy photo. You can still see the 12" marking on
my marking stick.
When I pulled the spacer away, I could see all 9 indentations.

Evenly spaced impressions, ready for garlic.
Then I used my dibber to loosen the dirt for the garlic. Then I placed a clove into each impression, and yes, I made sure that I planted them pointy-side up. (Garlic does have an up and down.)

By placing the marker one foot above the previous one, I made the second impression, then the third, then I was off and running. I found that I could plant 27 cloves in the time it used to take me to plant less than half that amount. It was better than woodworking. I measured once and then planted 27 times.

When I had planted 10 feet of bed (that's 270 more garlic plants), I moved on to beets. For these I used the 16/square foot marker. I planted 4 feet (that's 12 square feet of beets) Then I moved on to the carrots and planted 4 more feet (for 12 square feet of carrots).

I planted nearly 200 beets and 200 carrots and 270 garlic cloves in less than an hour. I was most impressed.

Then I sifted some compost on to the seeds, covered the whole area in straw and watered it down. 48 square feet of garden planted with nearly 700 plants in an hour. Wow. I'm hooked.
Freshly harvested compost from my Backyard
Black Gold Machine.

Straw for mulch. I live in the desert. I can't
afford the water if I don't mulch.
Now, I'm going to finish planting my winter garden over the next two evenings. But at this rate, it may only take me one.

Total cost?  $0.00 I had everything on hand, left over from other projects.

Thanks, Earl Fincher. You're a genius. Can't wait to plant the rest of my winter garden this week. And my seed starts, and next spring's garden....

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