Saturday, September 18, 2010

Square Foot Gardening - Ideal for Small Area.

Our square foot garden beds.

The idea behind square foot gardening is that you can plant fruits, vegetables and flowers in raised beds, above infertile soil and even out of the reach of some pets. Seeds are planted in 1X1 square foot plots, and when harvested a new plant of a different species is installed in the square. On a larger scale this is called crop rotation. Different plants take up different nutrients from the soil.

Raised beds can sit directly on the ground, or include a bottom layer and be placed on patios, decks or porches. Here we have bird wire netting to keep our Maltese Terriers from digging the plants out. SF gardening makes it really easy to weed and keep an eye on pests.

This is a close up of one of our SF garden beds. If you look closely you can see the wire that divides the bed up into square foot areas with one or two plants in each square.The term Square Foot Gardening sounds a lot better then square 30 centimeter gardening!

The best rule of thumb is to start small, and then grow a bit more each season. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed and burned out!
  1. Write down a list of all the foods you wish to grow. Keep in mind–if you don’t buy it fresh at the store, you probably won’t eat it, even if it’s home-grown and free!
  2. Decide how many squares of each plant you will grow. One or two squares of each is probably plenty! 
  3. Add up the total number of squares you need for your garden.
  4. Design your garden.
Our SF gardens are 4 foot x 4 foot. We kept the measurements in feet rather then convert back and forth between imperial and metric. Here is a table kindly donated (read stolen!) from another web site:

To calculate how many plants per square, look on the back of the seed packet–totally ignore the row spacing, just look at the plant spacing:
  • 12″ apart, plant 1 per square
  • 6″ apart, plant 4 per square
  • 4″ apart, plant 9 per square
  • 3″ apart (or less), plant 16 per square

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