There is some excellent discussion on RRSPs happening at the Red Flag Deals forum right now. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are within 20 years of retiring, or if you are puzzling over whether to pay down your mortgage, invest in a non-registered account, or put your money into your RRSP account.
Personally, right now it makes sense for me to pay into my RRSPs for 3 reasons: my company matches my RRSP contributions, effectively making my ROR 100% immediately, I am more than 20 years away from retirement, and I still need to pay back my Home Buyer’s Plan withdrawl.
If the government changes their income splitting rules so that I can share my income with Tracy when she is no longer working, I will have to rethink my savings plan.
There are a few changes that I would make to the Square Foot Garden if I wanted to make a low maintenance version. Right now I don’t have a plot anywhere, but in the future I want to expand my garden, and that means I’ll probably have to find space in a community garden. I’m also thinking of places like summer cabins where the garden would be planted in the spring and only visited once a month until summer vacation starts, and then you want as much food as possible.
Irrigation: First would be how to deal with watering. Mel recommends you inspect the plants while you water. This isn’t possible for a low maintenance garden, so I have several ideas.
- Buried terra cotta pots: Apparently an ancient form of irrigation, the pots would be buried in the garden, filled with water, and covered with a lid. The water will pass through the breathable clay into the dirt. Note that the bottoms would have to be plugged, and the SFG would need to be made slightly larger to accomodate the pots. They could possibly be buried on the outside edges of the squares, in the walkway, which should still keep the soil in the sqaure moist. A modern variation is using 4L milk jugs, with holes punched in the direction you want the water to go. This might be a good way to use up space in the paths between squares.
- Drip irrigation: I’d like to get some IV drip bags from a hospital
- Wicks: I haven’t seen many people doing this, so maybe it’s not feasible, but I think a good way would be to use some kind of canvas that is in a water container in one end, and buried in the garden in the other. Maybe it would be wrapped in plastic until it gets below the soil so there isn’t too much lost to evaporation.
The other things that Mel recommends are great ideas, for example rain collection.
Pests: The second problem is pests. Slugs are a very common problem around here because of the relatively cool weather. The slug problem would be dealt with two ways: a barrier around the planter, and a barrier on the planter itself. The barrier around the planter would be two things: egg shells and pistachio shells. Apparently the slugs don’t like to crawl over the sharp edges.
If they do make it past, the next barrier would be copper tape. It could easily be mounted on the 2×6’s.
Other methods of slug control aren’t low maintenance enough, for example stale beer, which would either get filled up with slugs or diluted with rainwater.
Now that winter has arrived, I’m starting to think about how I can improve the garden for next year.
Time: One thing was simply the date I got started. I didn’t buy the SFG book until after my first frost date, so I didn’t get things in the ground early enough. Next year, lettuce and other leafy plants will get started in January, so they are ready to go when the danger of frost is gone. I’m just starting to harvest the lettuce now, but I could have moved that date back another month if I was better prepared.
Plants that get direct seeded will be started earlier as well. It means that I will have to pay more attention to the weather and soil temperature, but now that I have the basics figured out, I’m confident that I’ll be able to handle the extra complications next year.
Late planting also has a ripple effect for succession planting. I have a square that is still full of tiny carrots when I was planning on putting beans in soon. That in turn will effect when I can replant it for the fall.
Staggering: I also need to get better at staggered planting. I planted two squares of radishes all at once, when I should have spaced them out with once a week planting a half square at a time. Same goes for the onions
Soil: This year I didn’t have much compost so I think that affected yields. It seemed like the maturity times are much longer that what was written on the seed packets. For example my radishes took about 50 days to harvest, when the package says 30-40.
This morning, the windstorm hit.
I remembered hearing that it would peak at about 4am, and at 3:45am, Tracy woke me up to ask what the noise was outside. I looked at the clock and listened for a second, until I heard a branch hit the roof. Right away I knew what it was, so I told her it was the windstorm, and she fell back asleep immediately.
I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Aargh. I tossed and turned, thinking about my day, and various other things, until I got up at 5:00. That gave me some extra time to design a kickass coldframe setup for the Square Foot Garden. Hopefully I will be able to understand my chicken scratch when I look at it again. It should be pest and deer proof too.