Vegetable Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot GardeningWhat is Square Foot Gardening?
Square foot gardening is an easy, efficient way
to grow vegetables, herbs, and even flowers in
a small amount of space. With square foot
gardening you create beds above ground level
that maximize space while reducing the effort required to prepare the
soil, maintain the garden, and harvest your vegetables. Square Foot gardening
was introduced by Mel Bartholomew in 1981, and has since been
practiced worldwide.
Mel’s website, squarefootgardening.com has more information than you’ll ever want to know on this

Does it work?
Imagine growing all of these vegetables in one season in a 4 foot by 4 foot area*

16 carrots9 turnips
4 bunches of leaf lettuce5 lbs of peas
4 bunches of spinach1 head of cabbage
16 radishes4 heads of romaine lettuce
9 beets1 head of cauliflower
16 scallions1 head of broccoli

Benefits of Square Foot Gardening
Works anywhere, even on a patio (All you need is a 4 foot by 4 foot area)
Requires a 5th of the room and soil of conventional gardening
No tilling or heavy digging
Virtually no weeding
Eliminates over planting and having to thin out your crops
Highly productive

Getting started with Square Foot Gardening?
Choosing a site
Choose a sunny location with at least seven hours of direct sunlight daily.
Avoid low areas that may puddle after a hard rain.
Make access convenient for watering and harvesting.

Building your box(es)
Build 4’ square boxes (length can be longer, but for access avoid wider than 4’).
Boxes should be 6-8” deep.
Use untreated wood 1”x8” lumber in 4’ or 8’ lengths.
(building supply store will cut lumber for you with no charge)
Use deck screws or nails to hold corners together.
If you build more than 1 box, separate them by at least 3 foot so you have room to work.

Square Foot GardeningFilling your boxes
If you have built your boxes over grass, you may want to line the bottom
with newspaper or weed barrier before filling with soil.
You may have your own aged compost to use
or try
1/3 topsoil, 1/3 mushroom compost, 1/3 hen manure (mix thoroughly).

Making the Grid
Dividing your box into 12 inch squares is the key to making this so easy to manage.
One 4’x4’ box makes 16 squares.
You can use a strong wax coated string, thin wood strips, or a coated wire. Use nails or screws to attach
the dividers to the sides of the box.

Choosing your seeds or starter plantsChoosing your seeds or starter plants
Select a different vegetable, herb, or flower for each of the squares.
You will plant, 1, 4, 9, or 16 seeds or starter plants per each square. Follow
any instructions on your seed packets for spacing. For example: 3 inch spacing
means you can use 9 seed per square. 6 inch spacing allows you to plant
4 seeds per 12” square. If the packets suggests 12” spacing, plant just one
seed per square. Save your seeds, as you can have several crops in one season.

Planting your seeds
Using your finger punch a hole in the soil to the recommended depth on the seed packet. Plant just one
seed per hole, and lightly cover the seed with soil (do not pack the soil down). By following the recommended
spacing and just using 1 seed per hole, you eliminate having to thin you crop in the future.

Square Foot GardeningWatering your garden
There is no set rule for watering.
The soil needs to be kept moist while the seeds germinate, so you will be
watering frequently at first. You don’t want soggy soil, just moist. Keep
in mind, hot weather, or windy days will dry the soil faster than mild or
overcast days.
When watering, avoid heavy direct sprays. Use a watering wand or water
by hand.

Replenishing your crop
As you harvest a square, you can immediately replant.
Keep some extra soil on hand to fill the box again if need be.

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