Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Square Foot Gardening

Two summers ago, I wanted to garden. But Iain was weensy, and I needed a method that would be easy. We were also planning to go away for a long time (about 7 weeks) so I needed something I could ask my FIL to watch over.

Square Foot Gardening fit the bill. I ordered some supplies and built myself a 4x8 bed, into which I planted tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, peas, and chard. We departed, and the garden grew like crazy.

Seriously, like crazy.


The basic idea is that by planting pretty densely you avoid a lot of weeding. You also make for easier watering, fertilizing, and supervision. Finally, you can plant seeds deliberately - in other words don't just scatter the seeds and then thin them out. You poke a hole and plant a seed. Given the germination rates of modern seeds...it'll grow. That way, you buy fewer seeds, waste fewer plants, and harvest just as much as you want (but no more!).

My beds are 4x2 this year. I learned, two summers ago, that 4 feet across means reaching. This year the beds will be narrow so I can reach everything easily. Each contains 8 square feet, which means I can distribute the beds thusly:

Bed 1: Blue
  • 4 squares worth of carrots
  • 2 squares of spinach
  • One pea plant (snow) takes 2 end squares
Bed 2: Orange
  • 2 squares of Chard
  • 2 Bell peppers (one square each)
  • One pea plant (sugar snap) takes 2 end squares
Bed 3: Purple
  • Lettuce (spring) whole bed, one square per variety
  • 4 Tomatoes (summer) take 2 squares each
  • Lettuce (fall) whole bed, one square per variety
Bed 4: Green
  • Two blueberry bushes (already planted)
  • Tender greens that like some shade
  • Dahlias!
And in each, marigolds, lilies, and other flowers to please the eye and the bees.

2 comments:

Debb said...

Ronn and his dad both had great luck with square foot gardening. Wish he would get back into it!

Miriam said...

You will love the carrots you get-- they actually have a taste. And you can get some fun kinds: purple, red, white! No more boring orange carrots for you!