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All about creating abundance by gardening!

   May 14

All about Square Foot Gardening

 

Square Foot Gardening Method – Sow & Dipity

What is Square Foot Gardening?

It’s a garden method that allows you to grow a lot of food in a small space. A typical size is 4’ x 4’ but you can adjust the size as big as your space will allow.

Use any type of ‘safe’ material to build your frame. Untreated lumber or bricks will work fine. If the bed has a ground floor that can be dug, then 4’ x 6’ lumber would be adequate, if not use a 4’ x 8’ instead… allow at least 8” of soil depth for most vegetables.

Soil can be well-rotted compost combined with top soil. Once your bed is filled, mark out your square feet from the corner and fasten strings across in a grid fashion to form perfect square guidelines.

 

What to consider when choosing your plants:

  • Taller plants should be planted to the north of the bed so they don’t shade shorter plants
  • Using a Trellis at the back of the bed is ideal for climbers
  • Root vegetables should not be planted in squares that touch each other as they can compete for space
  • Sprawling vegetables such as cucumbers or squash can be trained to climb or spill out of the bed if room allows
  • Use a cage for your tomatoes or a vertical potato tower to contain bush growing crops
  • 2 corn stalks in the same square can be used as a support for a couple of bean plants
  • Familiarize yourself with companion plants that help ward off pests of other plants
  • Create a plan and keep it from year to year so you can rotate your crops

How many plants per square foot?

There are plenty of plans out there that will give you quantities to plant in each square but I’ve provided a few below of the most common vegetables you may want to grow.

For instance, it may seem silly to plant just one cabbage in a square, but it will be there awhile and put on size until it’s ready for picking. Consider that your leafy salad greens will be eaten up first as they will not do well in summer heat. After you harvest a square, plant another cabbage in that spot. This is called succession cropping and you can have several vegetables of the same variety maturing at different times.

 

Square foot garden spacing

 

The above is in alphabetical order for ease of reference but do not follow this as a plan. Keep your Brassica’s together in part of your grid ( this is your broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage ) so that you can rotate them next year to another area of your bed. This helps prevent a build up of pest and diseases that would attack a specific variety and since different vegetables take up more or less nutrients in the soil it helps to move them around. This is what I referred to above of rotation cropping.

Read more …

 

How to Build a Square Foot Garden | Stretching a Buck

How to Build a Square Foot Garden

This is a guest post written by Kristi.

Square Foot Gardening is the answer to that age old question of how to grow a lot of fruits and vegetables in a relatively small space. Using enriched potting soil, 6-8 hours of sunlight, and good watering techniques you can grow up to 24 plants in one square foot! With square foot gardening the potting soil is the key because of all of the amendments that you add to it. You are able to do successive plantings in one growing season as the plants mature faster and set fruit earlier than in regular gardens.

Here are some tips on How to Build a Square Foot Garden:

Square foot gardens tend to be one of two sizes, either 4×4 or 3×3 with the latter being used if you are building a child-friendly garden so they can reach into the middle of the square. Step one: Use six-inch wide untreated lumber to build the outer square. A key step to this process is to lay down a weed barrier to prevent weeds and grass from growing up into the plants. Plastic trash bags or plastic garden liner from your local hardware store will do. If you are growing your square foot garden on a patio, you can build a bottom onto the large square with plywood. (Know that you will have to change this out every so often as the wood breaks down.)

Step two: Next comes the fun part of creating some super awesome potting soil. The secret to square foot gardening success is in the blend of different materials by using equal parts of bagged organic potting soil or compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. If you use organic potting soil instead of compost, mix a few different types or brands together to give a good variety of nutrients to the mix. Two great brands are Supersoil and Black Gold, stay away from anything with synthetic additives. Every potting soil on the market is made differently and you want to capture those differences for your square foot garden. Add in organic fertilizers to this initial mix as well which is a cup of blood and bone meal and 3 cups of earthworm castings. Now pour this mixture into your pre-made square and water it down well until you can squeeze a handful of the soil and no water drips out. This squeeze test is how you know the water has been completely absorbed.

Step three: Create a 4×4 grid marked off with 12” squares using string or paper, and place it on top of the soil so you know exactly where to plant your seeds or transplants.

Use this is guide to help you know how many plants go into each square:

  • Small: 16 plants per square for 3” spacing
  • Medium: 9 plants per square for 4” spacing
  • Large: 4 per square for 6” spacing
  • Extra Large: 1 per square for 12” spacing

Step four: Plant your seeds! Every seed packet has a planting guideline to know how far to space seeds, but since the soil is amended with square foot gardening, you can tighten up those numbers a bit. For instance if it says to plant carrots 4 inches apart, you can plant them 2 inches apart with this gardening method. They just need enough space to grow – usually 1-2 inches.

If growing tomatoes, peppers, or squash plants remember that they are heavy nutrient eaters so only put one plant or seed into each square. Smaller plants like lettuce or spinach can have 16-24 per square.

Experiment with your square foot garden and try different plants together in different squares to see which plants like to be next to each other. For instance plant carrots which are a root vegetable next to spinach which has a shallow root system. One is growing above the soil and the other below – brilliant!

Note from Marcy: Consider installing plastic garden fencing around your square foot garden if you live in an area with wildlife/animals. We lost several plants in our square foot garden last year to deer and rabbits!

For More great info on Square Foot Gardening go to get

Inside scoop on adapting the Square Foot Garden | River City Harvest

Read more …

And if you haven’t read the book All New Square Foot Gardening, you really should order your copy or check it out from the library!

Now you can do Square Foot Gardening with your Kids!

Get your copy of  Square Foot Gardening with your Kids here:

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