Friday, April 27, 2012

Square Foot Gardening–The basics

I have never been a gardener.  Yes, I admit it.   But, I love to garden.

I hate weeds.  I hate hoeing.  I hate the heat of the sun in the garden. 

But, I love garden food. 

And, I am trying really hard to fix healthier foods for my family.   So, last year we started square foot gardening. 

If you hate weeds and hoeing, this is the thing for you.

I’m not going to lie and say its easy, because it still takes work.  But it is easier than regular gardening.

Here are a few reasons why:

Weeding is super simple- just pick each one out as they come and no hoeing.

Watering is quick and painless.  I don’t even usually get the hose out.  I just leave a bucket sit next to the garden and dip cups of water out and put it exactly where it is needed.  Plants love sun-warmed water so this is perfect for them.

Planting is easy because each thing is planted in a one foot square.   You know exactly what and where the plants are.  (This helps with weeding if you aren’t sure what is weeds and what is plants.)

Are you interested in trying this?  

The most work you will do is building your boxes and getting the soil ready.  The good this is you only have to do this once.  After that, you just add compost and replant. 

I read a lot of books last year when I was getting ready.  My favorite was Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.  It was the most informative and easies to understand.

I am going to blog about each step of the process but today I am sharing the Basic 10 steps for square foot gardening.   These are taken from the book above.   You can also check out the Square Foot Gardening official website here.


1.  LAYOUT - Arrange your garden in squares, not rows. Lay it out in 4'x4' planting areas.

2.  BOXES - Build boxes to hold a new soil mix above ground.

3.  AISLES - Space boxes 3' apart to form walking aisles.

4.  MEL'S MIX - Fill boxes with Mel's special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite. (This is super important.  We tried this in two boxes and just regular dirt and this works so much better.  Don’t waste your time and money on regular dirt.)

5.  GRID - Make a permanent square foot grid for the top of each box. A MUST!

6.  CARE - NEVER WALK ON YOUR GROWING SOIL. Tend your garden from the aisles.

7.  SELECT - Plant a different flower, vegetable, or herb crop in each square foot, using 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square foot.

8.  PLANT - Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. Place transplants in a slight saucer-shaped depression.

9.  WATER - Water by hand from a bucket of sun-warmed water.

10. HARVEST - When you finish harvesting a square foot, add compost and replant it with a new and different crop.

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