This article on Square Foot gardening covers:
You can actually grow a lot in a 4’ x 4’ box. Instead of planting long rows with lots of space in between for weeds, you grow 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants in each square foot space, depending on how much space each plant takes.
It is compact gardening at its best. The All New Square Foot Gardening book tells you how much space to allow for each type of plant, and how to keep the plants within their space.
Being able to grow a lot in a small space may be THE KEY to surviving difficult times. If food becomes scarce, what do you do?
Mel Bartholomew, the author of All New Square Foot Gardening, shares with us how to meet the specific needs of various crops. He gives details about planting, protecting, and harvesting.
This compact gardening method could be the difference between having something to eat and starving.
Fertilizing with trace minerals helps to boost the nutritional goodness of what I grow. Some crops are ready to harvest in as little as four weeks.
How about food for the winter? Some crops can be stored for use later. You can also convert your square foot garden into a little greenhouse.
I did this with my 4’ x 12’ garden. I put the trellises I constructed for growing vertical crops every 3 feet, then put in a long center rod down the length to give the plastic covering some slope. I got some 6 mil. plastic from a hardware store for a cover for my little greenhouse.
To have access to the garden, I simply loosen the two bungee cords on each end, then flap up a side. This takes just a couple of minutes.
Even in January we enjoy fresh produce from our garden, most of which was planted in the fall.
With row gardening, you tend to plant more than you can use. This isn’t bad, except that over producing requires more time, physical labor and expense.
Why not just grow what you actually need. Square foot gardening helps you to do this.
You divide your garden into one foot squares. So instead of planting a long row of each type of vegetable, you can plant a square with 8 carrots and 8 radishes.
You plant another square of lettuce, another of broccoli, another of cauliflower. Every week or two you plant or replant more boxes, according to what you need.
By staggering your planting, you are always able to go to your garden and find something to eat. Because your garden is made up of one foot squares, it is easier to manage.
When you finish harvesting a square, just mix in a little compost and plant the square into something else.
In his book, Mel tells you what time of year is best to plant each type of plant. This helps you in deciding what should go into your garden next.
The first year you might stumble through this a bit, but it will get easier as you gain some experience.
Because Mel’s mix is 1/3rd compost, 1/3rd peat moss and 1/3rd vermiculite, it is a healthy soil. Not only is it rich in natural nutrition for the plant, but the peat moss and vermiculite allow airflow down into the soil (this is important), and it prevents over watering.
If you do give your garden too much water, the soil holds what it can, and the rest just runs out the bottom.
This gives a healthy environment for beneficial microbial life, and beneficial insects. Furthermore, Mel’s mix gives you a clean start, as it doesn’t contain any weed seed, and doesn’t contain any eggs or larvae of harmful insects.
To improve your soil health even more, feed the microorganisms in your soil some good micronutrients. The best source I have found for these is concentrated sea minerals, which contain all 76 elemental minerals.
For ongoing soil health, consider Mycorrplus, which contains sea minerals, fish, kelp, humic and fulvic acids, and a complete biological. It highly structures the soil, plus it prompts the plant to sequester large amounts of sugars (liquid carbon) into the soil.
When put your garden box out in your yard, you can put a weed cloth under the bottom of the box before filling it to keep out weeds, and to keep pests (like gophers) from coming from under the soil.
Mel also gives easy to follow instructions on how to protect your garden from animals and birds. Since you are growing in a box, it is fairly easy to construct a removable structure over the box to keep out birds, raccoons, squirrels, etc.
A compact square foot garden is also easier to protect from insects, weeds, weather and wind.
In conclusion, I believe that square foot gardening may be perfect for many people.
If you think it is right for you, I recommend that you purchase Mel’s book, take a few days to digest it, then get ready to enjoy gardening like you never thought you could.
For more approaches to gardening, I invite you to check out my home page.
(Return from Square Foot Gardening to Squarefoot Gardening)
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