Gardening in one Square Foot
If you havent heard of square foot gardening, youre about
to learn one of the most useful and versatile gardening techniques
ever created. Conceived by Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot
Gardening, the techniques have been enthusiastically adopted by
gardeners all over the world. Square foot gardening is eminently
suited for container gardening, patio and roof gardening, backyard
gardening, organic gardening, herb gardens, vegetable gardens, flower
gardens and more.
The basic concept is to start small the unit of measure is the
square foot. Although Bartholomews original square foot garden
was four feet square, many schools, community gardens and home
gardeners start even smaller a couple of one square foot
containers is plenty to get you started. According to Bartholomew
though, a four square foot garden provides just enough harvest for
How to Create A Square Foot Garden
Creating your own square foot garden is as easy as building (or
buying) a box in which to garden. My own first square foot garden was
a two square foot garden on the cement apron outside my back door in
a city apartment. I used four square wicker plastic lined wicker
wastebaskets bought for a dollar apiece at the All-for-a-Buck store.
Any container that can hold 6-8 of dirt, and has drainage holes
in the bottom will work. The biggest requirement for location is sun
choose a nice, sunny spot to place your garden.
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Did I say dirt? Amend that. Bartholomew recommends what he
calls Mels mix instead of soil. Mix 1/3
vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost to fill the squares of
your box or container. A 10 pound bag of each was plenty to fill my
little 2 square foot garden.
Choosing and Laying Out the Plants for Your Square Foot Garden
The most important factor in laying out your garden is the
one-square-foot grid. Youll be planting one type of plant in
each square how many of them depends on the recommended
spacing between plants which youll find on the back of
the seed packets. Depending on the needs of the specific seedlings,
you can plant 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants in each square. To break it
down if the recommendation on the seed packet is 1 foot apart,
you can plant 1 in a square. If they need six inches between plants,
you can plant 4. Two inches gives you room for 9 plants, and one inch
spacing means you can fit 16 plants into one square foot.
My own first square foot garden was a spaghetti garden with this layout:
Basil Plant 4 Tomato plants
Oregano Plant 16 Onion plants
After You Harvest Your Square Foot Garden
Harvest the crop in each square foot when its ready, and
continue harvesting until its no longer producing
fruit/vegetables. At that point, uproot the plants in that square
(use them for compost!), and plant another, different crop. By
refilling and rotating the crops, you avoid depleting the natural
nutrients of the soil, and keep every bit of space productive
throughout an entire growing season.